Monday, May 20, 2013

Prologue: The Impending ShaleStürm

To set the stage, spend a few minutes reading this article.

Then, if you will, imagine this chimerical screenplay.

- Act I -

Sometime down the road, a well-dressed young man knocks on a door somewhere in a still-rural suburb of a major American city underlain by a largely untapped gas-bearing shale formation. After satisfactorily identifying himself as a landman and employee of a major gas drilling company, the elderly homeowner allows him in, takes him to the kitchen table, and deftly directs him to a specific chair. The recently-widowered and heirless gentleman seats himself at the far end.  

After a few polite exchanges, the landman launches into a lengthy and drone-like sales pitch about all the natural gas beneath this region waiting to be tapped, and how all of this will be good for the nation's economy, environmentally safe, facilitate America's energy independence for decades to follow, and insure the financial future of the homeowner's family. The landman then states that all of the homeowner's neighbors have committed to signing leases and bluntly closes with, parroting a quote from the article linked above -

 "Drilling here is a done deal. You can’t do anything about it."
For more than a few seconds, the homeowner stares dispassionately at the young man's face while slowly placing his hands out of view below the table. Then, as if he's rehearsed the words a thousand times, he slowly and deliberately says - "Son, you say I can't do anything about this. That I am not in a position to decide what happens to this property;  property that my family has owned and treasured and passed down through many generations. I disagree. Do you have your boss's phone number or your next of kin's phone number programmed into your cell phone?"
After a few uncomfortable seconds pass, the landman responds - "Yes. Why?"
"Because although I'd hoped today would never come, I've been preparing for this moment for years. I know you're just doing your job, but I think it's only fair that I allow you one phone call.  Someone needs to know that you've decided to stay with me for awhile. You and your industry need to better understand what this land means to people like me, and what we'll do to protect it." 

"Please give me your phone."
  - Intermission -
I'm sure you recall Kari Matsko's closing words in the article referenced at the launch of this little and fictional vignette, but on the outside chance you don't - 
“All it’s going to take is for the energy companies to pick on the wrong person.”
Her words, not mine.  Far-fetched, you say? 
Sometime, somewhere, someone. Everything meticulously orchestrated well in advance. In fact -  years.
 “Will you step into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly;"


No comments: