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.
Op-Ed by Jennifer Chesnut On Thursday an editorial appeared in the Erie-Times “Can Erie’s economy gain from fracking?” but failed to mention the impact fracking is having on the health of workers who fuel the economy. I'm a Canadian on holiday in Erie, and I attended a local showing of the investigative documentary Triple Divide — a film that documents Pennsylvanian experiences with fracking. Farmers, from places like Potter and Bradford Counties, shared stories of dangers they faced when exposed to waste or wastewater from fracking: such as fevers, rashes, and enlarged spleens. I don’t know much about Pennsylvanians, but you seem like a friendly bunch that extends kindness to strangers easily. After hearing the stories of your local people in Triple Divide, I have much worry for your farmers and the communities they serve. Some farmers expressed concern about the safety of their milk, when their cows got sick and drinking water wells showed high rates of carcinogens like methane, barium, strontium, and radon.
If you're not angry about what the gas industry and its profiteering shills are doing to areas with shale gas, you probably haven't seen Triple Divide; an excellent investigative report on the unsavory underbelly of this beast in PA. Of the fifty some area residents who gave up their Saturday afternoon to attend the showing I'd arranged in Blossburg, one left about two thirds through the film. He was clearly very upset and disgusted as he approached the filmmakers and me near the concession stand where we stood watching. He said something about the futility of opposing the industry which would get away with whatever it wanted. As an afterthought he turned and ironically added, "You're doing a good job."
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