Here's What I Think
Oil and gas industry representatives held a public meeting in Marlinton Monday night, sharing a wealth of information about leasing definitions and good practices in both the leasing and drilling processes.
I've been largely silent on the topic of gas leasing in this county-mostly because I'm unsure of whether or not to lease our family farm and partly because in an economy floundering with the extra burden of high fuel costs, an influx of natural gas could ease the national plight as well as boost the local economy.
I was hoping to hear something Monday that made me think leasing and drilling would be a good proposition for landwoners and the economy. But I didn't hear that. Not at all.
What I heard was the textbook guide to gas drilling. The company has never hit a cave. Never contaminated or affected a water well. Never has a bad day on the drilling rig, apparently.
The other thing I heard was an indictment of the work of this newspaper to inform our readership of the potential problems associated with gas drilling. I believe the gentleman called it a "great disservice."
And that begs the question for me: Why would a gas driller come to an area where he says he's not going to drill to "defend the industry" from a newspaper with our circulation?
Our motives were and are to educate our readers to the best of our ability about a topic unfamiliar to our area. Brynn Kusic has spent hours doing research, asking questions, finding out problems in other states because, frankly, drilling in the Marcellus shale is new here. We've spent more time reading her work, asking more questions and double checking facts and sources.
Kusic told our detractor she stood behind her research.
And I stand behind her.
I can do no other.
I still haven't decided about leasing our farm, or even a portion of it. I still need more information, more assurances that the land I love will be protected, the water we all need will be safe.
Again, I can do no other.