More on That Natural Gas Protest That Bombed

Saturday morning a group of about 150 anti-natural gas folks got together to protest natural gas development in New York State.  We provided a live report that day but there’s a lot more to tell.  This was like some Back to the Future time machine trip to the 1960’s without the magic or the DeLorean and nothing but the eccentric Doc Brown.  It was totally anti-climatic – a protest that, in the end, and, in a word, bombed like a poor comedy routine.

The protestors began by meeting at a park and ride facility in Cayuta, New York (just south of Ithaca) where several out of state vehicles driven helped  filled the parking lot.  We noticed some familiar faces such as the Raging Chicken’s friend Wendy Lee from Bloomsburg University, for example (the raging chicken is a website run by a Michael Moore wanna-be out of Kutztown).  Once there were no parking spots left for anyone, including people using the park and ride for its intended purposes, the natural gas opposition vehicles (NGOV’s) overflowed to a motel parking lot next door.  The joke was on them though as Frank Maines, the owner of the Redwood Inn, who is very supportive of the natural gas industry, called the police.

Enough Already!

Here is what Maines had to say about the whole thing:

I don’t want these tree huggers on my property and I would like everyone to know that these people are in the minority here.  They come from all over including different states to protest something that will ultimately help the New York area.  I got tired of looking at the economically depressed areas in the Southern Tier, I bought a little place in Pennsylvania for retirement after I sell the Redwood Inn.


Police called on protesters assembling

License Plate

From Vermont to protest in New York – A typical NGOV


Protesters at site


Once everyone assembled, the leader spoke briefly and then led the crowd in a car caravan several miles south to the gates of Schlumberger’s facility in Horseheads, New York.  The goal was to block Schlumberger trucks from entering the facility.  Unfortunately for the protestors, Schlumberger had discovered there was a possibility they were coming the night before and simply avoided bringing trucks in while the protestors were present, closing access for that purpose.  This completely deflated the balloon launched by our friends on the other side, who, sadly, seemed to take glee in the fact they might have deprived Southern Tier workers of an opportunity to make a living (they didn’t but are quick to claim they did).


Schlumberger – No Trespassing

We saw many familiar faces including Sandra Steingraber.  Steingraber is a graduate of Ithaca College and a known anti-natural gas activist.  She compares the protestors’ actions to those of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  She also mentions that if people are willing “to lay their bodies down” there may be hope in keeping hydraulic fracturing out of NewYork.   This was desperate pitch, to say the least, but overstatement and hyperbole are hardly new to Steingraber.  She also uses natural gas to heat her home, of course.

afton board members

Mary Jo Long & Mike Bernard

Another couple at the event were from Rachael’s home town of Afton, New York.  Attorney Mary Joe Long, Green Party member and former candidate for New York State Attorney General, is an Afton Town Board member who is adamantly opposed to natural gas development and a lot of other things besides (as you might expect).  She has previously counseled protestors on how to deal with vandalism charges and is another example of the permanent protestor mindset and surely would enjoy a trip back to the 1960’s on that time machine.

Long brought along her husband Mike Bernard, well known to all Aftonians.  Nothing is ever peaceful when Bernard is around as he seems to have trouble controlling his outbursts.  As Joe was taking pictures, Bernard screamed out, “Flip off the gas man!! Flip off the gas man!! The guy in the white hat is with the gas industry!”   One girl who worked to set up the protest ran over to him and reprimanded him immediately.  Some class, huh?

giving the finger

“Give the gas man the finger”

Accusations and Assertions Fly

The leader had a few outbursts of her own including accusing us of lying and attempting to stand in the way of Joe taking pictures.  Some of this is captured in the short videos below.

[myyoutubeplaylist OgBPZT3R-Hg, S-Y-esKES6c, UWM-FPQpZ-M, QROd4E39G9I]

Yes, we laughed, too, when they called Ingraffea “the father of fracking.”  What a huge exaggeration that was for a guy who appears to have spent about 2% of his time several years ago supervising a Cornell study for Schlumberger and then runs around talking about having “worked for Schlumberger” as if he had been in the industry.

You’ll note the antis appearing in these videos were also quick to criticize a comment made by Tom at a Bloomsburg University panel discussion about natural gas development being likely to improve water quality in Pennsylvania (first video 0:15).  This is due to the extensive baseline water testing being conducted as a result of it, the undeniable consequence being that previously unknown water quality problems are now being identified and corrected in direct response to it before natural gas development even takes place.  Let’s look at some information from Brian Oram.

I have baseline tested areas with no gas development at all. 49% of the people had water you couldn’t drink because of bacteria. 20% of these had e-coli and arsenic above the drinking water limit. We are also finding elevated levels of barium. Again, this is in an area of no natural gas development.

Given Brian’s observations, is there any doubt water quality is improving as a result of natural gas development?  The answer is obvious.  The antis are ignorant of the simple facts and choose to substitute their own baseless speculation for them.  That was pretty much par for the course at the Horseheads protest.


Inside the Mind of the Protester

From talking to the protestors, it turns out at least a few of them use natural gas in their homes.  This seemed strange so we asked one of the activists why they thought it appropriate to object to a resource they use every day themselves. One of the folks we asked responded, “We have the infrastructure for natural gas so I can’t use anything else. Its not just about natural gas, America as a whole wastes a lot of energy.”

Lets break this down in its most fundamental parts –

1) I protest the development of natural gas.

2) I go home and use natural gas.

3) I think we should be using renewable energy as an energy source.

4) I don’t use renewable energy as an energy source.

5) America wastes energy



Protester with drum

Protester with drum

Bill Huston

No surprise Bill Huston was there

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

We then asked the same protestor  how they reduced their energy use.  The response was unexpected and rather shocking as the activist declared, “Nothing, I won’t make a difference, its up to everyone together to get on board with this to make a change.”  Isn’t this typical of so much of the opposition to natural gas development?  How is it that a person can argue for change without being willing to change their own lives one iota in support of their principle?  Well, the answer is simple.  What they want is respect for their beliefs without the necessity of any responsibility for them – a cheap ticket to glory.  No sacrifice is required.  No wonder we see so many trust-funders among the opponents.  No other single statement so captures the essence of what our friends on the other side are all about and it may be summarized as “do as I say, not as I do.”


upside down sign

Kids at the protest

Kids at Rally

I’m sure these kids know what hydraulic fracturing is…

Wendy Lee (friend of the raging chicken and frequent commenter on this blog) cut in to snap a picture of us filming, as if we weren’t going to put up a post discussing the rally and she needed a video to prove the natural gas industry was there.  Lee had used Facebook to encourage people to come and protest by saying the following:

Anyone with any sense, any respect for science, any feeling for the dignity of human life, any appreciation for that wonder that is the  natural world will oppose fracking and all of its associated industries.  Watkin’s Glen. BE THERE.

Is it too much to ask for Wendy to come down off this high horse (or raging chicken) and recognize we, too, have respect for what the science has said since day one – that natural gas development is safe and can be done responsibly.  We also value the dignity for human life.  The industry creates jobs for people who have been out of work, people who cannot make ends meet anymore.  The natural gas industry could mean saving a family farm in upstate New York or may be the difference of passing a family farm down to grandchildren or handing it over to a bank due to foreclosure.

Sad Song Revele and Ode to the Sixties

Like any protest, this one offered plenty of chanting and the antis even broke out into song.  Their song, and their mindless chants during the song (e.g. “frackeree, frackerah”), drove home the absurdity off what we see from these folks on a daily basis.  The lyrics alone show how little research has gone into their narrative.  Rather than investigate the real story of natural gas development and discuss how to continually improve the process, they chose to spread misinformation through song.  Once they finished singing and chanting, one of the lead antis followed by screaming, “the industry lies!”  It’s hard to imagine, but these not so clever one liners lured in this crowd hook, line, and sinker!  Watch the song, chants and outbursts below.  See if you don’t agree this was little more than a protest for protest’s sake – a sad song revele that might well be described as an ode to the sixties.

The Air Goes Out of the Balloon

The afternoon fizzled quickly once the group realized trucks were not going to enter or exit the facility.  The anti-natural gas leaders actually tried to convince the crowd they had succeeded in shutting the industry down.  Nonetheless, once the group heard the trucks weren’t coming they left, obviously disappointed.  It was

Schlumberger, in an extremely fitting end to this sorry routine, released a public statement about the rally.

We live and work in the Southern Tier of New York—it’s our home, too.  We employee more than 350 individuals at our Horseheads facility, the majority of whom are from local communities.  So we are particularly focused on reducing the impact our activities could have on the environment and our neighbors.  Not just here, but in each of the locations in which we work.
We recognize individuals’ right to demonstrate as long as it’s done legally—in accordance with local and state laws. However, out of an abundance of concern for the safety of our employees, we purposefully chose not to engage with protestors in any way.  Because we were concerned about the protestors’ stated plans and potential for criminal activities on private property, we were able to proactively manage our activities to ensure our operations and services to our customers were not affected during the time of the demonstration.
On our base, and in the field, it was business as usual.
Our sincerest thanks go out to the men and women of the Horseheads police department and the New York state troopers.

So it was finished, until next time.  We’ll be there.  You can count on it, but don’t expect anything new.  This stuff has been going on for half a century now and some folks just refuse to grow up.


  1. Wendy Lynne Lee says:

    Energy in Depth (EID) faux-reporters Rachael Colley and Joe Massaro really only have one teeny-tiny problem with respect to their reporting at the Schlumberger Direct Action, 8.11.12: only the most trivial aspects of their report are actually true. True! There was a protest which assembled at a Park-n-Ride. True! Human beings did attend the action. True! EID dispatched Colley and Massaro to “cover” the day’s events. True! Massaro wore a black T-Shirt with a drinking skull on the back. True! Colley and Massaro are speakers of English (although they could use a Basic Grammar refresher course: “where several out of state vehicles driven helped filled the parking lot”?).

    But that’s pretty much where the truth leaves off and EID’s commitment to “truthiness” takes the floor.

    To be specific:

    1. It’s a sure sign that C&M had few facts at their disposal when, in the very first lines of this woeful “report” they resort to ridicule: “This was like some Back to the Future time machine trip to the 1960′s without the magic or the DeLorean and nothing but the eccentric Doc Brown.” This, of course, is an attempt to discredit the action by (a) comparing it to something we’d presumably all find ludicrous, and (b) making fun of the participants by comparing them to their 1060’s incarnations. But the comparison begs the question by presupposing that the protests of the 1960’s were ludicrous–and this, of course, is not the case. Indeed, many (including those who opposed, for example, the Civil Rights Movement, The Feminist Movement, the Gay Rights Movement, the Anti-War Movement) would certainly beg to differ here. Taking C&M’s remarks at face value, we can only conclude that they’d have opposed the Civil Rights Movements, et. al, and that they’d prefer a time when, say, African Americans couldn’t enter the front door of a restaurant like Frank Maine’s, or women were relegated to jobs a lot less fun than Rachael’s. Unfair? Hardly–If C&M want to compare the protests of the present to those of the past, they’d do themselves a service by getting it clear that THAT past is about far more important things than what’s depicted in Back to the Future, and that the concept of having and exercising a RIGHT is what connects Civil Rights and Environmental Integrity.

    2. Frank Maines of the Redwood Inn has every right to believe what he wishes and say so, but he is hardly an objective source as he stands to profit directly from the fracking boom via filled rooms for which he can charge an exorbitant rate. Sad reality check for Mr. Maines: should New York lift its moratorium, and the boom he’s jazzed about now turn, as it will inevitably, to bust–leaving in its wake all of the erosion, blight, and joblessness that he thinks fracking is going to cure, the joke will be on him. Only worse–he will be poisoned by the very water and air he’s willing to see sacrificed for the green-backs sicking out of his fat wallet. Even worse than that: we’ll all be poisoned.

    3. C&M claim that because Schlumberger knew of the protest plans and diverted some of their trucks accordingly, that the protester’s discovery of this fact deflated the protest. Moreover, they claim that this diversion away from the main gate was of no consequence to Schlumberger. Both are laughably false:

    (a) The notion that the protesters did not know that Schlumberger knew of the action only indicates how genuinely naive are C&M about the orchestration of protests. I have no illusions–and I seriously doubt than any in the anti-fracking movement do–that fracking and fracking associated representatives regularly troll Facebook pages and event sites for information just like this. The event was posted on Facebook. Of COURSE, Schlumberger knew. So, we knew that they knew. Honestly: DUH! This is not only NOT deflating, it is galvanizing because….

    (b) Schlumberger DID have to divert truck traffic away from that gate. And this DID cost them money. How do I know? Because they were continuing to load sand trucks in another part of the compound–but they were avoiding the use of roads near the gates: How do I know this cost them money? Because they wouldn’t have gone to such lengths to hide the fact that Because when I drove back on public access roads to survey activity on the sprawling Schlumberger compound, I was followed by a company representative who was simply furious that I had discovered the sand trucks idling. He threatened to call the police back to the location where I was taking pictures (pretty silly–the police were already on the compound), and he demanded that I leave. I did. But the pictures speak for themselves. I only wish I could have taken more.

    (c) It doesn’t really matter where we had staged the action. The gates, the road, Schlumberger’s corporate offices. We are exposing this corporation for the environmental polluter whose profits are not–contrary to Mr. Maine’s assumptions–destined for “cheap, natural, and abundant,” but in fact for the global market and China, and THAT is the point: “Oilfield services players are actively looking to export the shale gas revolution in the U.S. to foreign markets in Asia and in Latin America. The Chinese government has made shale exploration one of its priority items in its latest five year plans. Shale exploration in the country could boost the rig count in the region as well as the average service intensity at each rig, boosting revenues for companies like Schlumberger” (

    4. While C&M accuse Sandra Steingraber of hyperbole and exaggeration with respect to Steingraber’s comparison of the anti-fracking movement to the Revolution for Independence, they don’t bother to spell out why the comparison is ill-conceived. Again–begging the question–they simply assume that we’ll get the hyperbole. Let me help: Steingraber’s point is that members of the anti-fracking movement are like these brave predecessors in that we are willing to lay down our bodies (not to mention our time, money, and labor) to protect our water, air, and soil from the well-established consequences of an industry whose commitment is not to the improvement of the human condition but to maximizing profits. In short: we are at war against what can only be called genocidal profiteering–genocidal because the industry KNOWS the consequences of the fracking process and all of its attendant infrastructure; profiteering because corporations like Schlumberger are willing to go to any lengths (including, it must be noted, unvarnished bribery to lull us into complacency about their real objectives and generate good–contract generating–PR: to acheive this goal–just like their predecessor in a long and hoary history of extraction. To point out that Steingraber uses natural gas is, of course, just more personal attack (ad hominem) which completely ignore the substantial differences between vertical wells and fracking–but I’ll leave this to another day.

    5. I was at the Bloomsburg University action where Tom Shepstone made the argument that fracking was good for water because baseline testing exposed problems that might have otherwise gone undetected. Indeed, I helped organize that action for the last night of the Green Campus Initiative’s week of panels and discussion opportunities on fracking. Shepstone’s argument is absurd:

    (a) THAT heretofore undetected pollutants might be revealed through baseline testing only verifies a history of egregious dumping into our rivers and streams from the same industries who’d bamboozle us now via the very same rhetoric we heard from their predecessors in the extraction rackets. Such arguments aim at nothing more than the same manipulations and extortions of that ugly coal-burning, petro-polluting legacy.

    (b) Of what benefit is it to us that a problem with a well might be exposed if its integrity will NOW be jeopardized by fracking? here’s what Shepstone is REALLY saying: Hey! let’s find out if your well (creek, tributary, stream, river) has any pollutant problems. Then, Hey! Why don’t YOU pay to fix that, and then Hey! Let’s frack, say 300 ft. over there, and see what happens? We know what happens, Tom. Here’s just a tiny-tiny sample:

    6. As for C&M’s personal attack on me: HAHAHAHAHA! I’d rather be riding on the back of a high-horse raging chicken than in an emergency room or cancer ward diagnosed with a fracking-chemical-exposure disease treatment for which I can give no informed consent because my state’s (Pennsylvania, INC) Act 13 prevents my doctor from revealing to me the chemical cocktail to which I was exposed: All mirth aside, however, you know you’re accomplishing something when your opponent has to go after you by name. Sorry, C&M, for the giggling.

    7. Lastly, about Schlumberger’s public statement:

    (a) the appeal to a worry about the safety of their employees is poppycock. If Schlumberger were concerned for the employee’s health and safety, they wouldn’t be involved in the fracking industry at all. Indeed, if Schlumberger were concerned with anything other than their profit margins and their new spiffy deal with China, they’d do a 180 degree turn and aim to restructure their entire enterprise around renewables. They have the ability and the resources to do exactly that. But they won’t. Not while they can fool a public into thinking that poisoning them is good for them because it keeps mom and dad working–at least until they get that diagnosis of, say, pancreatic cancer or, say, something neurologically nasty caused by the constant exposure to chemical-laced dust. Or their kid gets asthma.

    (b) Schlumberger didn’t engage with the protesters because it makes them look precisely like the genocidal profiteers they are. They can’t win on any honest scientific assessment of the facts, so they evade any possibility that they might be made to face them. We’re bad advertising–it’s just that simple.

    (c) Schlumberger is lying about the effects on its work detail that Saturday. See #3.

    So there you have it. It must be hard to be Colley, Massaro, and Shepstone. Thank the gods their making good money. These are the paid shills who you can imagine defending, say, Union Carbide, after the horrific Bhopal disaster that took the lives of 3,787 human beings (not to mention countless nonhuman animal lives)

    Colley: Those Indian families that lost their little ones to this unfortunate “incident” should just be glad they had jobs!

    Massaro: Yes! Think of the jobs!

    Shepstone: Yes! Think of the jobs! AND had it not been for the “incident” the residents of Bhopal might not have known about how pesticides can hurt you! Now they know! They should be thanking Union Carbide!

    Colley: Yes!

    Massaro: Yes! AND look at how much Union Carbide cares about the safety of their workers!

    No doubt, C&M (and Shepstone) would be horrified by this comparison–not to mention my little satire here. But they’ve no right to be. They propagandize for an industry that has the potential to cause the next Bhopal. They earn a living propagandizing for an industry that–behind the cloak of jobs–is poisoning our water and air. How–other than that with EID’s help the frackers can do a better job of concealing this slow-burning catastrophe– is it different? Is it unfair to compare Schlumberger (et. al.) to Union Carbide? Nope:

    And that’s just a taste of what’s coming. Multiply Schulberger with Chesapeake, Cabot, Aqua America, Chief, Halliburton, Exxon, BP…..

    Back to the Future? Not if we don’t act to save ourselves and our children in the present.

    Wendy Lynne Lee, Professor
    Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
    Bloomsburg, PA 17815
    [email protected]

    • Tom Shepstone says:

      So, this is what education at Bloomsburg looks like?

      • Brett says:

        A well thought out response? I would hope that that’s what education looks like. Not just industry shilling

        Brett, Pennsylvania college graduate.

        • Tom Shepstone says:

          I’m not sure many folks will share your opinion after reading that diatribe, Brett, but you’re entitled to it.

      • Larry Johnson says:

        This lady is a crazy feminist! I looked her up and she is a philosopher. Good luck debating facts with her because the only facts she believes are those she philosophizes.

        Here is a philosophy for her – If you believe in something, even if it is factually wrong, is it right?

        • Wendy Lynne Lee says:

          Greetings Mr. Johnson! And thanks so much for your clear and concise demonstration that when you’ve got absolutely nothing in your tool box to argue with, you head right for ridicule and personal attack!

          And what breathtaking intellect! I would LOVE to know precisely what a “crazy feminist” is–and I’ll bet you’re just the scholar to spell THAT out. Tell me, Mr. Johnson, what exactly ARE your credentials? What exactly do you know about feminist philosophy?

          Here’s some clarity for you: what I care about greatly are the facts, and the facts are stand in plain contradiction to the claims of the natural gas industry whose representatives here are compromised because they are being PAID to promote the industry. They won’t be employed very long if they don’t follow lock and step with the EID party line.

          But tell me, about precisely WHAT am I mistaken. Tell me the facts, Mr. Johnson–that is, not the hype you obviously want to believe, but the facts that support your claims. And while you’re at it, why don’t you tell me what a philosopher is–THAT ought to be enlightening.

          • Tom Shepstone says:

            The facts are nicely set out in our library, Wendy. Check it out here.

          • Been there, Mr. Shepstone. facts? Really–you CAN’T believe that. Industry funded pseudo-science that’s made to look scholarly in the same way that you can dress up astrology or Big-Foot-Ology is still astrology and Big-Foot-Ology…that is, is still nonsense on stilts.

          • Tom Shepstone says:

            I can’t make enough sense out of this comment to really reply, Wendy. I will say, however, no one on our side can hold a candle to the pseudo-science coming from Howarth, Oswald, Bamberger, Steingraber, et al.

          • justintempler says:


            Re: Industry funded

            “Ad hominem circumstantial points out that someone is in circumstances such that they are disposed to take a particular position. Ad hominem circumstantial constitutes an attack on the bias of a source. This is fallacious because a disposition to make a certain argument does not make the argument false; this overlaps with the genetic fallacy (an argument that a claim is incorrect due to its source)”

            “The genetic fallacy is a fallacy of irrelevance where a conclusion is suggested based solely on something or someone’s origin rather than its current meaning or context. This overlooks any difference to be found in the present situation, typically transferring the positive or negative esteem from the earlier context.”

            Labeling industry funded science as pseudo-science without evidence to refute it IS an Ad hominem. Do all philosophy professors @Bloomsburg exhibit your level of dishonesty and/or incompetence?

          • Tom Shepstone says:


          • Wendy Lynne Lee says:

            Natural Gas Fracking Industry May Be Paying Off Scientists:

            Last week the University of Texas provost announced he would re-examine a report by a UT professor that said fracking was safe for groundwater after the revelation that the professor pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Texas natural gas developer. It’s the latest fusillade in the ongoing battle over the basic facts of fracking in America.

            Texans aren’t the only ones having their fracking conversations shaped by industry-funded research. Ohioans got their first taste last week of the latest public-relations campaign by the energy policy wing of the US Chamber of Commerce. It’s called “Shale Works for US,” and it aims to spend millions on advertising and public events to sell Ohioans on the idea that fracking is a surefire way to yank the state out of recession.

            The campaign is loaded with rosy employment statistics, which trace to an April report authored by professors at three major Ohio universities and funded by, you guessed it, the natural gas industry. The report paints a bright future for fracking in Ohio as a job-creator.

            One co-author of the study, Robert Chase, is poised at such a high-traffic crossroads of that state’s natural gas universe that his case was recently taken up by the Ohio Ethics Commission, whose chairman called him “more than a passing participant in the operations of the Ohio oil and gas industry,” and questioned his potential conflicts of interest. As landowners in a suite of natural gas-rich states like Texas and Ohio struggle to to decipher conflicting reports about the safety of fracking, Chase is a piece in what environmental and academic watchdogs call a growing puzzle of industry-funded fracking research with poor disclosure and dubious objectivity.

            “It’s hard to find someone who’s truly independant and doesn’t have at least one iron in the fire,” said Ohio oil and gas lease attorney Mark F. Okey. “It’s a good ol’ boys network and they like to take care of their own.”

            Chase got his petroleum engineering PhD from Penn State. In 2009, long after Chase left the university, it came under fire for a fracking report, widely cited by state politicians as evidence for opening up the fracking market, which an in-house investigator said “crossed the line between policy analysis and policy advocacy.” Early in his career, Chase worked as a consultant for many of the nation’s biggest oil and gas developers, including Halliburton, Cabot, and EQT. In 1978 he began teaching petroleum engineering at Marietta College, the small Ohio liberal arts school where he remains on faculty today. In 2008, Ohio’s then-governor Ted Strickland appointed him to the Ohio Oil & Gas Commission, an independant judiciary board that hears complaints from landowners and developers against the state’s Division of Mineral Resources Management. And last year, he founded his own consultancy, Chaseland LLC, that helps connect landowners with gas companies seeking drilling rights, for which Chase collects a commission.

            In February, Chase gave glowing testimony to Congress on the benefits of fracking, and included a swipe at anti-fracking advocates by citing the very same study now being investigated at the University of Texas. In recent years, Chase has taken his pro-fracking stance to the pages of Ohio newspapers to call for increased fracking and to assure locals of its safety; his latest column was soundly rebutted by a pair of Cincinnati geologists, who wrote that Chase had made “several misleading assertions.” State officials tightened fracking regulations after a series of earthquakes in northeastern Ohio, including a 4.0 quake in Youngstown on New Year’s Eve.

            The founding of Chaseland was a bit too much for Oil & Gas Commission director Linda Osterman, who in February asked the state ethics board to investigate Chase; they ruled that he would have to recuse himself from any Commission hearings involving companies or people he had worked with at Chaseland. Chase has only had to sit out once, Osterman told Climate Desk, on the Commission’s most recent hearing, in which a local cattle farm disputed a permit given to Chesapeake Energy to drill on the farm’s land, because he had consulted with Chesapeake. Otherwise, Osterman said, “I’ve never had any concerns about his ability to be impartial.” Still, Osterman was concerned enough to initiate the ethics inquiry.

            In an interview, Chase said his wide network made him uniquely suited to put the pieces together for his most recent economic impact study. “It’s very cut and dry,” he said. “If you don’t have someone who really has the experience, then it doesn’t make sense to do the study.” The study’s other authors were economists and business professors.

            David Brown, a member of Marietta’s Faculty Council, defended his colleague, saying that the fracking study’s funding source “should not by itself call into question his research,” and that Chase letting his varied roles compromise his academic research “is not something I would expect from him.”

            But Jack Shaner of the Ohio Environmental Council expressed a different take.

            “There’s a clear and present danger of industry and university being way too cozy. [Chase] is cleary a poster child for the need for a clear bright line between industry and academia.” A staff attorney for OEC called for Chase to step down from his seat on the Commission.

            Indeed, Chase isn’t the only professor who has come under fire for not disclosing proximity to the natural gas industry. Two more recent examples:

            Timothy Considine, another Penn State grad who’s now an economist at the University of Wyoming, was the lead author on a SUNY-Buffalo report in May that claimed state regulation had made fracking safe in Pennsylvania. Within days, a top Pennsylvania environmental official quoted the Buffalo study in testimony to Congress about the effectiveness of fracking regulations. But both the official and the study itself declined to mention that Considine’s close ties to the industry—and that his department had received nearly $6 million in donations from the oil and gas industry last year. Considine—whom one Pennsylvania newspaper called “the shale gas industry’s go-to professor”—also helped write the controversial 2009 Penn State study and a 2010 expansion of it that was funded by the American Petroleum Institute.
            In February a University of Texas professor and former head of the US Geological Survey, Charles G. Groat, penned a study that found no evidence of groundwater contamination from fracking; the study didn’t disclose Groat’s seat on the board of major Texas fracker Plains Exploration & Production Company, for which he was reportedly paid $400,000 in 2011—more than double his university salary. The director of Groat’s UT program told Bloomberg News he had “no idea” of Groat’s connection to Plains, but last Tuesday the University of Texas provost said in response to mounting concern that he would convene a panel to re-examine Groat’s findings.
            Of course, industry funding of research has been commonplace since at least the heyday of Big Tobacco, and is still de rigueur for pharmaceuticals, among others. But Thomas McGarity, a UT-Austin law professor whose research on industry money in university research led him to write the book Bending Science: How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research, said it’s almost impossible to imagine a bias-free study with industry cash behind it.

            “They’re trying to buy the prestige of the university,” he said. “And the universities are happy to sell their prestige, I suppose.”


            And then there’s:


            Let me know if you’d like to see more.

          • Tom Shepstone says:

            You don’t seem to care a wit about the Park Foundation funding Duke’s studies, do you? I’d say that tells us all we need to know.

          • Dean Marshall says:

            So Tom…you equate the Park Foundation’s Non-Profit work to preserve and protect the very essentials of our life on this planet with Industry funded Propaganda designed to enable the wholesale systematic destruction of those very items, Clean water,air, and a safe food supply?

          • Tom Shepstone says:

            Frankly, I don’t think the Park Foundation gives a whit about any of that, Dean. They’re just NIMBYs with buckets of money behind them.

          • ralphey says:

            NIMBYS = NO morals = NO Frack

            Fracking pales to the threats to our environment that are already occurring . Right now there are gas stations which at any moment could leak thousands of gallons of gas into our ground water. We need to eliminate ALL gas stations immediately – no questions asked . An even greater threat are farmers who are placing fertilizers and pesticides on soil that immediately leaches into ground water. This includes resident who put fertilizers etc on their grass. We need to eliminate farming and all fertilizers etc that home owners use immediately so that our drinking water will be safe. Home owners have oil tanks in their backyards for heating – these could leak at any moment – pouring hundreds of gallons of oil into our ground water – all such oil tanks need to be outlawed to protect CNY . There are trucks transporting gas that go through our community. – at any time one of these could careen off the road and spill thousands of gallons of gas right into our water supply. We need to eliminate all such truck traffic immediately. CNY should set up inspections posts for trucks entering and leaving this area . Its the only way we can be safe. Also water from other communities within 250 miles of the corridor between Binghamton Syracuse Ithaca and Elmira may make it into our watershed – therefore any gas station , home oil tank, gas truck or farm within 250 miles of these communities needs to be eliminated – once we do that then we can talk about the risk of fracking.

            welcome to the stone age people – the goal of most environmentalists – odd thing is they will be the first to whine when there computers are shut down

            have you noticed that none of them have gone Amish – too much work
            Have you noticed that they all drive cars
            Have you noticed that many take vacations all around the world consuming immense amounts of fossil fuels to visit environmentally sensitive places
            Have you noticed most have AC
            Have you noticed that their actions of consuming fossil fuels but absolutely preventing development locally means that they believe its ok to risk someone else’s backyard but not their own – that would be the zenith of immorality – we will allow the poor and disenfranchised to suffer so that we can maintain our comfortable lifestyles very noble indeed

          • ralphey says:

            Yea how did we ever survive before this organization came into existence lmao talk about hubris

          • justintempler says:


            So after having your logical fallacies pointed out, (you being the educated philosopher that you are), double down and prove you don’t give a damn about being a dishonest hypocrite, willing to use logical fallacies as the basis for your arguments.

            You’re a philosopher what knows she is doing is dishonest and decides to do it anyway.

            That’s what I call an ethics problem.

          • justintempler says:


            I have a suggestion. I consider people that cut and paste full length articles from elsewhere on the web spammers who aren’t interested in an actual debate. It’s a strategy akin to throwing a shovel of manure on the wall and hoping some of it will stick and before you can finish debating points in the article they throw some more on the wall with the next article that they didn’t write.

            I moderated on a WordPress blog with Wendy’s type before and when I ran across someone cutting and pasting full articles, when a simple link to that article would suffice, I edited the post so only a link to the original article exists.

            Another very good reason to disallow cut and paste articles is that it may be a copyright violation where the website or original author considers the crossposting of their copyrighted material grounds for legal action.

          • Tom Shepstone says:

            You are absolutely correct and henceforth that will be our policy except for short excerpts (as we do in our own posts). Thanks!

          • Edward Balsly says:

            I wonder how many well sites Windy has been on..

          • justintempler says:


            Your response to Larry Johnson, by invoking the logical fallacies of an appeal to authority and an appeal to motive, shows your toolbox is a sophist’s toolbox .

            I agree with Larry, debating someone whose worldview includes writing an ecofeminist interpretation of Karl Marx and likes to use her sophist toolbox would result in an exercise on who can create the best word salad and a waste of time.

          • Dear Justintempler,

            Here’s a fact: Until you know what an ecofeminist interpretation of Karl marx consists in, you have no authority whatever to comment on it’s merits. It is, indeed, YOU who makes a fallacious appeal to authority–your own! here’s the difference between you and I on this point: I KNOW what such an interpretation consists in; you don’t. I can defend it. You can’t defend any criticism of it. Let me know when you have undertaken the necessary study, analytical research, and writing to rise to this bar. THEN you may criticize all you wish. Otherwise yours in naught other than an attack on the person in order to dismiss a position you don’t like: AD HOMINEM. Look it up. And if your response is that you don’t have to do this work because you just know that Marxist ecological feminism just is stupid, please make sure to inform me HOW you know this other than, say, by way of some revelation of a god.


          • Tom Shepstone says:

            So, you are an advocate of “Marxist ecological feminism” then?

          • justintempler says:


            What’s to know? It’s just Karl Marx class struggle and instead of just the
            bourgeoisie and proletariat it creates new class struggles for women, nature and animals.

            The line “But you know when you put lipstick on a pig, at the end of the day, it’s still a pig.” comes to mind. I don’t have to be an expert to reject your starting premise. No Ad hominem needed.

          • Eric Adams says:

            justintempler wow and you use the logical fallacy of an Ad Hominem attack

          • Tom Shepstone says:

            All I see from the anti side these days is a combination of ad hominem attacks combined with complaints that we engage in ad hominem attacks, often in the same sentence.

          • justintempler says:


            I hope you’re not Senator Eric Adams who endorsed Senator Tony Avella’s letter to Gov. Cuomo to ban fracking. I would hate to think that an American elected official would be influenced by a Marxist ecofeminist’s worldview in his decision to call for a ban on frac’ing.

            The Constitutional Law of our land is based on the principle of “all men are created equal” it doesn’t say anything about the distribution of rights between man, animals and Mother Nature. If Wendy is in disagreement with how those rights are defined under objective law then there is no basis to have a logical argument, which would be a requirement in order to have an ad hominen logical fallacy.

    • Shannon says:

      Wendy, just so you know, Schlumberger’s statement that their business was not impacted was 100% true. There is NO sand at the Horseheads facility. My husband is a sand truck driver for Schlumberger and the only time he is ever at that facility is to pick up his truck at the beginning of his shift and drop it off at the end. Their trucks have sleeper berths so they don’t even always come home at the end of their shift so they spend even less time at the Horseheads facility. The rail yard that keeps the sand isn’t anywhere in the town of Horseheads. Another reason the protest wouldn’t have hurt business anyway is because even if someone would have needed to pick up their truck at the yard to head to a pad, there isn’t a shift that starts or ends in the hours you were there. By the time the group got there, the day shift had already gotten their trucks and left and the protest was over a couple hours before the night shift started. Yet another reason it wouldn’t have made a difference is that once a pad is started, they only need sand and water trucks. All the water trucks are ran by 3rd party companie and over 50% of the sand trucks are ran by 3rd parties. Those 3rd parties are never at the Schlumberger facility so even if the group had gotten there to block a shift from starting, and even if Schlumberger hadn’t known they were coming, the 3rd parties would have kept the process going.

      • Hi Shannon–and thanks. But if that’s not sand their loading in these pictures, I don’t know what else it could be. And THAT’S even more frightening. The fact is, it IS sand, it IS being loaded into trucks. I DID photograph trucks coming into the facility while the protesters were there, and that is precisely what “Red-Truck-Guy” did NOT want me to see–much less photograph.

        For the evidence, please see:

          • Shannon says:

            The photo is amusing. Schlumberger didn’t even have their own sand trucks until September of 2011. Even now, my fiance is one of only 8 Schlumberger sand truck drivers. Before then, it was 100% third parties that once again, have their own facilities and don’t enter Schlumberger, so that photo is definitely not from the Horseheads facility. The sand they use comes right from train rail cars. Not even in a warehouse. If you believe things like that photo and don’t even bother to check the sources, it’s just sad.

        • Shannon says:

          The holding point in Horseheads has a few different gas companies based there. Considering the only hard hats that Schlumberger has are green hats for newer people and then white hats for more experienced workers, the “red hat man” would not have been associated with Schlumberger. Also, the only Schlumberger trucks are the blue and white trucks that have their name on the side. As I said, they have third party groups that mainly handle the sand but all of third party groups load their sand at one of three facilities and the closest is at least 10 miles from where the protest was. I think what you may have seen was another company and then decided to blame it on Schlumberger because you were unaware. They are definitely not the only fracturing company in this area. I know your main problem is sand being loaded at all and you my think it’s just a technicality that it wasn’t associated with Schlumberger, but to me it’s an important detail. I think this because when a group targets the company that was great enough to give my fiancé a chance when things started shutting down and they trained him to be a great CDL driver and he now has job security for the rest of his working career because unless teleportation miraculously appears in the next few decades, even precious solar panels and wind turbines need to driven around, there should have been more research put into what actually happens at the facility. Just observing for a couple days would have allowed the group to see who was and who wasn’t associated with Schlumberger.
          I respect people standing up for their beliefs, even when I disagree, I just get frustrated when assumptions are made.

        • justintempler says:


          You don’t even have a clue what you are taking pictures of. The building your sand trucks are being loaded at are clearly marked Building J.

          There was a USDOT grant for highway, bridge and rail improvements/expansions to serve the Center at Horsehead Industrial Park. The details are found here:

          Building J is a 100,000 sq. ft much older building and is clearly not connected to Schlumberger’s separate 400,000 sq ft facility (which they didn’t even start building until July 2010.)

          Whoever you were taking pictures of it wasn’t Schlumberger.

          • Tom Shepstone says:

            Great research, Justin!

  2. chmesineger says:

    EID saying things are hyperbole WOW that is the pot calling the kettle black!

    • Tom Shepstone says:

      Why don’t you cite some examples so we can debate them?

      • chmesineger says:

        just look at the post above to see the hyperbole . “So, this is what education at Bloomsburg looks like?

        Typical of the unethical PR firm which is Energy In depth!

        • Tom Shepstone says:

          That’s not hyperbole – it’s an observation. It also seems to have been quite accurate based on the reaction I’m getting.

          • So, reaction on a website devoted to the propagandizing for fracking and its associated industries counts as objectively verifiable evidence? HAHAHA. And even more HAHAHA since none of your representatives, Mr. Shepstone, have responded to a single specific claim, argument, or offered evidence in my piece. The entirely of the response has been (hyperbolic) dismissal, personal attack, ridicule–in other words–absolutely not one iota of the response has even been relevant to ANYTHING I have said.

            You might well all have just stood up and belched.

          • Tom Shepstone says:

            If you offered any we would respond, Wendy. Instead, you speculate and call it fact and then you dismiss all facts to the contrary of your pre-formed opinion. How about this? Give me one cold hard fact supporting your hypothesis, just one simple fact, not a diatribe, and We’ll deal with it.

          • Eric Adams says:

            Notice that Tom doesn’t agree that EID is not ethical, why won’t you follow the ethics guidance of PRSA?

          • Tom Shepstone says:

            Oh, we certainly do meet those standards, Eric. We are simply helping facilitate the free flow of truth information.

  3. Wendy Lynne Lee says:

    And your point, Mr. Shepstone? An argument, perhaps?

    • Tom Shepstone says:

      Your post speak for itself as to what’s going at Bloomsburg, Wendy.

      • Eric Adams says:

        Another Ad Hominem attack by Tom, only this time to the entire Bloomsburg University staff, students and alumni. Why don’t you keep going maybe you can attack the entire town next, why stop there and you might as well attack all them there higher learnin places.

        • Tom Shepstone says:

          Bloomsburg University is a fine institution but there’s something wrong when a professor at this public funded entity uses its moniker (her university title and e-mail address) to engage in private special interest advocacy having nothing to do even with her area of expertise. Do you think that’s right, Eric?

          • Wendy Lynne Lee says:

            Mr. Shepstone,

            Truly, you have no idea what is academic freedom. But if this is keeping you up at night, please call my university president. Really, David Soltz. Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. A university whose faculty rival any, and whose geosciences are not, unlike Penn States, owned by the extraction industry.

  4. Liz R. says:

    EID, this is getting ridiculous. Yawn. Get real and we’ll have a real debate. And puh-leeze retire your hired online goons. Shepstone’s hateful schtick isn’t helping your cause. Liz R.,

  5. Dave M says:

    now I know how you guys are “creating jobs” harassing and interfering with people exorcising their first amendment rights.

    • Tom Shepstone says:

      If you wish to exorcise your First Amendment rights, have at it. We prefer to exercise ours and part of that is commenting on what you do, which seems to rattle you to no end. Please tell me how this interferes with anything you do. You simply don’t like criticism of the type you make of others.

  6. MIKE says:

    OMG ! I dont think I laughed so hard all week Reminds me of the Occupy wallstreet crowd

    Grab that protest sign and then drive your corporate car – whcih burs a fossil fuel to the protest where you will eat corporate food sleep in your corporate house play on your corporate computer text people on your corporate phone about how evil corporations are while in the rest of the world where there are no corporations people live in huts and eat worms –


    FRACK A LIB – that’s why God made em !

  7. Edward Balsly says:

    Really ?? once again..discussing facts regarding the fracking process..seems like the topic is now political. It is important to know what’s happening is our environment..please let’s focus ! We did have the same concerns in Tarrant County..and sometimes had “heated” discussions..but we listened and learned..made educated policy decisions..and most people were satisfied with the results. Sounds like a Democracy !

  8. Lori Lee says:

    Now that Nationwide Insurance has announced it won’t be insuring any homeowners who have sold their mineral rights to a corporation or providing insuance for any damage caused by fracking; your time on this blog may be limited.

    How many of you actually reside in Horseheads? I am a life long resident. It doesn’t take a degree to figure out they are doing something dangerous at the Holding Point. I talked my children in to moving back here from Florida. I thought this would be a safer environment for my grandchildren. Schlumberger arrived shortly after they did and the kids are irate with me that they moved back here just in time for Schlumberger to ruin the town they once loved.

    I couldn’t leave my windows open at night all summer for all the noise, all night, coming in and out of the Holding Point. I couldn’t take my grandchild over to the BMX park for a picnic and a bike ride because the noise coming out of Scumbergers was deafening. I have to run a fan to cover up the noise even when the windows are closed. And lets talk about the prostitutes. Horseheads is not a city, so we notice those things. Lets talk about my daily commute becoming a death ride with all the trucks and their STUPID drivers. Everytime I see a white truck with the word “energy” on it, I want to ram into them. Lets talk about my parents being robbed in their own neighborhood by the transient kids of transient gas workers. Let’s talk about the home I used to own being trashed by gas workers when the new owner rented it out, and how renting homes in a nice neighborhood will turn it into a trash neighborhood.

    We want you to go home, go back to where you came from, get out of Horseheads and don’t ever look back, you won’t be missed, it will be a party when you leave. I’d rather walk or ride a mule then allow you to drill in my back yard and I’m pretty sure neighbors will be shooting their neighbors if fracking ever starts here, so please go away.

  9. Tom Shepstone says:

    Actually, it’s all true and you and I both know that protest was a pathetic failure.

  10. Tom Frost says:

    But they’re BECOMING a success, thanks in large part to your write-ups of them which are inspiring me to consider re-escalating my hobby of showing up at more of them so that I can get an ad hominem piece written about me too.

  11. A pathetic failure? I understand that you guys HAVE to say this–over and over–hoping to make it true, but wishes are not causes. THAT you keep having to repeat this claim only demonstrates that You KNOW precisely the opposite is the case. Want to see just how successful his was, go to:

    And, just for Tom:

  12. Tom Shepstone says:

    Tom, don’t hold your breath waiting for a story on yourself. You tell it too well. We could never compete.

  13. Nicole Jacobs says:

    I was going to respond, but I think Shannon has more than made the point.


  1. […] Rachael Colley and Joe Massaro really only have one teeny-tiny problem with respect to their reporting at the Schlumberger Direct Action, 8.11.12: only the most trivial aspects of their report are actually true. True! There was a protest which […]

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