Today, the front page of the Beaver County Times tells you all you need to know about where this paper is going. It is becoming a mouthpiece for the oil and gas industry. All articles were focused on gas. The rosy jobs it creates in a fluff piece. The burden the industry has maintaining infrastructure for customers even though rate hikes have been approved and we are all paying for pipelines but they would still like it if the customers would pay more. The survey that shows people favor not taxing the frackers because it is just bad politics and would hurt job creation.
This is yellow journalism at its worst. It made me so mad to see this shameless bending over for our new overlords. We are at a very important juncture in history where information needs to be exchanged and we have extremely bad examples of humanity in charge of our county government. Yet the Beaver County Times is just throwing out this crap as if William Randolph Hearst were running the paper himself. The public is being duped by the paper of note with industry garbage. I can take it if they don’t hold our leaders accountable or fail to do actual reporting. But to let the gas industry write the stories for them and try to influence the public with misleading, non fact based fleecing is a step too far.
I know some of the other readers on this site have had enough as well. But today was the final straw for me. I take exception with this rag of a paper and hope to see its reputation absolutely ruined. Oh wait, they already did that.
The BCT has become a joke. They used to be a reputable news source, but now, they just print the stories that they are paid to print. And forget about them doing any kind of “investigative reporting”…there closest they come to that is when they basically steal the articles from here.
Well written, and well said, Nikki. I have just started a series of comments here about the Beaver County Times, and I fully agree with you. As a local newspaper, the BCT has an obligation to the public, and that obligation to print relevant, original news is sorely lacking. It has become a vehicle to pad the pages with Associated Press and other wire services articles, and, content that will “sell”. Some people read it to scan sports, entertainment, check out garage sales or meetings, but the “core” of the paper, local, state and national news, is a fabrication, and that fabrication favors marketable, consumable, favorable stories. To get the really sensitive content, they rely upon others’ reporting, and then sanitize the content to make it palatable to readers, those reported upon and subscribers.
We are seeing the beginning of the gas industry influx — wells, pipelines, housing, land purchases, infrastructure changes, etc. When the cracker plant is in full swing, the quality of life as we know it in this valley will be gone. As the air downwind from it will be unfit to breathe, so too will the local governments be unable to handle the demands placed upon them. Can anyone imagine Ohioville or Aliquippa town councils dealing with problems created by it?! The imagined riches will be realized by very few, and local government dealing with the new bosses will make the Sheriff’s dealings with Chuckie Betters seem like child’s play.
jaacee on: Jun 24, 2014 at 4:22 pm #5956547
It’s too bad you younger folks don’t remember when this valley was booming. And it was booming because of the dirty, smelly, polluting steel mills that paid wages that kept the population solidly in the middle class. While I’m not suggesting that we once again breathe unhealthy air, I am suggesting that your generation is the one going without good jobs and money to spend, and that you condemn the only good job providers that have come to this county in the past 30 or more years. Perhaps you should get you heads out of the clouds and face the realities of the current economic situation. Do some unbiased research, and you will find the horror stories regarding fracking are isolated incidents and an abundance of hyperbole.
I don’t even know how to address this latest comment. What jobs? Have you been out to Darlington lately? There are trailers, tons of them. Who lives in them? I see nothing but Texas license plates. Is it a coincidence that Texas does not have an income tax and a lot of Mexicans?
I suppose I should get my head out of the clouds and face the realities of my current economic situation. Is the shale going to go somewhere else? Why not tax the industry or hold it accountable for it’s environmental damage? These guys keep piling it on that we are the big benefactors of gold beneath our feet. Well, if you care to study any geological surveys from years ago, it was widely reported that the Marcellus shale is highly radioactive. Now not a word about that issue now. In fact I have been to a fair amount of presentations regarding the issue of our own DEP only testing for Alpha radiation while the drillers test for Gamma. As far as our DEP is concerned, there is no need to test for Gamma but the drillers can’t seem to hit the shale play unless they have gamma ray detection in place on the drilling rigs.
I’ve also seen the maps and obtained certification for pipeline inspection safety. I was one of 11 people in the county to go through the course. Not one of those people were zoning code inspectors, municipal officials or elected to office of any kind. There will be 900 miles of pipeline throughout Beaver County. There are only 5 full time inspectors for the entire state. I have already seen numerous violations and illegal use of eminent domain. Guess what, if they want to build a pipeline on your land and you object, they come back with a court order. So let me be frank about this, you will have 900 miles of unregulated pipelines in your county that will be highly radioactive after 5 years in place. Is the money worth that? We are already seeing the rarest forms of cancer develop in clusters near drilling operations in Washington County since they started up operations in 2008. Eight residents in one area all have the same rare type of radiological caused brain tumors with one fatality and 7 more on deck.
I am doing the unbiased research and attending conferences. If you think that these incidents are isolated and fanciful delusions on my part, then perhaps you should not raise any concern about the amount of money flowing into our local municipalities, county and state coffers to silence any opposition or regulation of this activity. If they could do this safely and be transparent about it, I would be on board. But to co-opt our press and democracy and write their own regulations and laws regarding the industry is pretty horrific if you ask me.
I’d also like to point out that ACT 13 was written by the gas and oil industry and was largely deemed unconstitutional. The department of health has been silenced on the issue of drilling related cases of contamination. Two retired officials from the PA department of health have come forward explaining that residents reporting illnesses and adverse reactions to environmental poisoning from gas related operations nearby where never addressed or allowed to be investigated.
If you really want to study an unbiased look at this industry, I can recommend a few source materials and industry insiders that have analyzed the impacts of the shale boom. The book The Boom is a good place to start. Dr Anthony Ingraffia, one of the worlds top rock mechanics gives some interesting data on the subject of well failure rates. Arthur Berman discusses the financial side of this issue quite well.
What it all boils down to is hedge fund based activity with a zero percent interest rate. Who gets the money out of that? Wall street, socialized nations pension funds and our own government pension funds. Meanwhile, property values will decrease in the area. Already we are seeing mortgage companies backing out of leased properties or shale rich areas. If you try to get a mortgage and your area is slotted for drilling, good luck. The equity on your property is already leveraged. Real estate agents in the area are already being educated on the new property laws being written by the oil and gas industry.
It costs an estimated $7 dollars per CFM to get the gas out of the shale. Yet they sell it at a rate of $3.50 and then charge you double for transmission fees. Look at your bill. You are paying for pipelines and infrastructure upgrades. The PUC has openly admitted to as much. The next move will be to liquify the gas and ship it over seas to a market that pays more for it.
Last month, the Mark West plant in Chartiers Valley was hit by lightning and a fire resulted. The residents were evacuated, but not told what was released in the fire. There still is no public evacuation plan or safety contingency plan for the residents near that facility. That particular company, Williams, has had nothing but accidents all year. Fires all across the country at their plants keep happening.
Now Shell is going to move in with their state of the art Cracker Plant. Exempt from taxes for twenty years. Exempt from the clean air and clean water act. They do not have to adhere to any regulations whatsoever and will be right on the Ohio River stripping Ethylene. Do you know what Ethylene is? And what happens when you breathe it or drink it? We are talking about a company that makes 5 million dollars an hour but wont pay taxes for operating their business in our county. How many full time positions will be available once the plant is up and running? If you look at the other two cracker plants in the US, they are disasters to live near and employ not all that many people.
To call these people job creators is a joke. The propaganda spewed by our press was my main point of contention, but now you have my attention. I love it when industry shills step up and admonish anyone who dare question the impacts of an industry that is known to start wars over resources. Has a history of malfeasance and continues to get whatever it wants with literally no regard for the public.
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