Op-ed by Lisa Gensheimer
Thumbs up to the Film Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania for bringing the documentary Triple Divide to the Erie Art Museum. Thumbs down to the Erie Times-News Viewpoint: Could Erie gain from fracking? which appeared the following morning.
Just as Public Herald journalists, Melissa Troutman and Joshua Pribanic, brought the results of their investigative study to the screen, the editorial touted talking points delivered by Governor Corbett on a recent visit to Erie. He was hoping to persuade voters that his job creation record is not as dismal as it seems (Pennsylvania has gone from 6th to 45th during his tenure despite the promise of Marcellus Shale jobs).
Environmentalists are not “turning up their noses” at jobs in the natural gas industry for frivolous reasons. These teachers, doctors, farmers, business owners and families are concerned about mounting evidence that unconventional natural gas drilling affects the water we drink and the air we breathe. We have the right to clean water and clean air, which, by the way, is guaranteed in Section 1 Article 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Triple Divide moves beyond the sensationalism of Gasland with science, fact-based reporting and personal stories from Pennsylvania’s shale fields. The filmmakers and a former employee of a natural gas company, whose job was to mitigate and sometimes cover up “mistakes,” urged citizens to pay attention. Hold local media accountable for reporting all of the stories, not just those from gas industry insiders, they said.
As we speak, exploratory wells are drilling beneath Greenfield Township in the Utica Shale. Some neighbors came to the screening and I could see the desperation in their faces. Will you go out and talk with them? Will you watch the film? Will you cover what the Erie region could *lose* from fracking?