Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chesapeake Energy: "Good" Neighbors

The Big Check from Chesapeake Energy
Photo: The Rocket-Courier

Chesapeake Energy spends a fair amount of time coming up with ways to endear themselves to the local residents of Bradford County (PA).  They have given money to schools, given an old vehicle to a charitable organization, and even replaced the roof on the local Elks Club.  Now they have given a little money ($25,000 chump change to them) to the Hometown Heroes street banner program which was started two years ago by Kelly Bradley.  The money is enough to cover the cost of 193 banners which feature pictures of veterans from the county, both young and old, dating from the civil war to the present.  If you drive down Main Street in Towanda, you will see them mounted on lamp posts.  There is going to be a dedication ceremony today, June 4th, for these banners.  I am almost certain that Chesapeake Energy will be represented at this ceremony and that Chesapeake will be thanked profusely for its donation. There will be entertainment, singing of the National Anthem and patriotic songs, even an invocation by the pastor of the Wyalusing Presbyterian Church.  Local dignitaries will speak, including congressional leaders.  Refreshments will follow. 

Why does this interest me?  On the surface it seems like a very nice gesture to give money for a project honoring the U. S. military.  People will drive by these banners daily and see the faces of these men and women who have served our country.  The problem is this: The money is dirty money.  It comes from an industry which is slowly but surely destroying the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, one well, one compressor station, one flare, one accidental spill at a time.  Despite claims that this natural gas industry is an economic boon to the community, and there is some truth to that,  I ask, At what price?  Is this a safe industry?  What about the many water wells in the county which have been ruined for good?  What about the people who have become seriously ill?  What about the air pollution which is unavoidable in a gas field like this?  What about habitat destruction which disrupts the ecology of this beautiful area?  What about the long term effects of a boomtown?  Where will we be in 40 years?  Some of us will be dead, but hopefully not all of us.  Who will be taking the helm from us, and what will they have to work with?  Our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  What will they face because of our misuse of the environment?  What will be our answer when they ask, "Mom and Dad, did you do all you could to preserve the Earth for us? 

It will take more than a little money thrown our way to make up for the damage being done every single day by the natural gas industry.  And just in case you are wondering what the CEO of Chesapeake Energy, billionaire Aubrey McClendon, gets paid, he got $21 million in 2010, $2 million of which was a bonus!   McLendon earned more than the CEOs of Chevron, GE, and Conoco Phillips which are much bigger corporations.  His 6-year average compensation package is $51.65 million.  So while PA is being destroyed, he is raking in the dough.  Read more here.

The next time you read in the newspaper about the generosity of Chesapeake Energy, Cabot Oil, or any other gas drilling company, just remember the reason behind the seemingly nice donation.  In my opinion it is an attempt, and a successful one at that, to keep us quiet and cooperative and supportive of what they are doing.  It is nothing more than a tactic.  I don't think there is much heart behind it.

This is my humble opinion.

Read the article published in Wyalusing's Rocket-Courier here.  LINK


TXsharon said...

In Fort Worth they gave $25,000 for a park's play equipment. The air is so bad from all the drilling, children should not be allowed to play in that park.

It's so pathetic that people are so easily swindled.

Ward in the Woods said...

In our little town Gasers donate to
Relay for Life, buy animals from
4H-er's and into Sports. I don't
deny these are charitable groups,
only that it's implication can be
seen as a way to require loyalty,
silence,and denial.
Many here FEAR the loss of income,
or family disputes,if they should speak up. Of course, we are deep in the heart of Texas.

Breathing said...

When we did the Light Up The Delaware River Party and asked communities to join the party, some refused because they'd already received gas money to fund community programs and were afraid to rock the boat. None of our fact offerings changed their minds, sorry to say and that was 3(?) years ago.

smurfette said...

Unless the gas companies are just gaily polluting on purpose, I believe that there IS NO SAFE WAY of FRACKING.They have had SO many incidents of spillage, contamination of water, illnesses of people who live near wells, explosions, and blowouts. We already know that the scientists working for ten years have come up with no safe way to store the wastewater in PA (ironically, because it's SHALE, they can't just dig miles down and pump it into the Earth like they do in the western states) and no way to make that wastewater usable for ANYTHING- let alone drinking. I still wish that the CEOs of the gas companies and their families would have to live in Dimock in one of the affected areas for TWO WEEKS. Maybe they should try drinking that water and trying to shower and do laundry in it. Or maybe they should go to a laundromat in Towanda and use the washers there, which get yucky sludge from the workers' uniforms.Allow them the pleasure of living next to a compressor station, with the noise pollution 24/7. Let them breathe the wonderful air right next to a flaring well or sludge pit.Have them plant a beautiful garden, which gets destroyed in two seconds by a gas truck. It would either open their eyes or we would be forced to realize that they are merciless, cruel people.