The gas well drilling that is a constant clang in my (mental and physical) environment these days –and will continue clanging for the next 20 years until they finish sucking all the natural gas out from under us– is kicking up a lot of dust for me. (no pun intended).
I have wanted to write about it here but have thusfar resisted, telling myself I will do so only when I can write without ranting, raving, or crying. I am still working on this “re-frame.”
If I could make it go away, poof! like that, I would. But it’s not going away. It’s a done deal. All the meetings and citizen action groups and letters to representatives in the world won’t stop it now. It’s a runaway train.
Now I am going to put on my Pollyanna Hat and describe what I wish would happen or what would have happened. What I wish is not so much an action as an attitude, a way of working, a way of being.
So here’s my fantasy. In a bullet list (I know, I know, a bullet-listed fantasy, Kath?? It’s my anal Capricorn side coming out. Humor me.)
- I wish that the gas companies would have trained LOCAL PEOPLE to do all this drilling. There are so many people around here who have no jobs, and would have loved to have been trained to drive big rigs around, and do this kind of work and GET PAID GOOD MONEY FOR IT.
- These local people would have been STAKE HOLDERS in this operation. It would have been their wells that would have been contaminated if things didn’t go right. It would have been their fishing streams, their hunting grounds disrupted, their families kept up at night by the incessant clanging.
- The locals love this area. That’s why they’ve stuck it out here so long even when there have been few, and mostly poorly-paid jobs. These local people might have approached drilling a gas well on a luscious piece of Pennsylvania farm land the way the Amish approach building a barn for a neighbor.
- Fantasy Scenario: Hey guys, today we are going to drill on the Stolzfus land. They need this income, as we all do, but they also need safe, clean drinking water and that little stream that runs behind the house is where their kids play and fish. So let’s be careful out here today, ok? The workers nod, set themselves to work with care and mindfulness. When night falls, they quit and begin the next day, so the Stolztfus family can sleep.
“You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one…” is going through my head right now.
But you know, I would, and could, feel so much better about the roar and the clang and the suck of this if I knew that the people doing the work were stakeholders in this land and not just hired guns who can hit and run if a mistake is made.