Location: Elk Grove Road, Davidson Township, Sullivan County, PA. Pennsylvania State Game Lands.
Location: EXCO frack drill pad staging area.
Please follow these pictures from beginning to end for the story of this particular day in the effort to document the industrialization and destruction of Pennsylvania at the hands of the extraction corporations–in this case EXCO: (3) It is war in the once beautiful forests of frackland
The pictures begin with the drive up Elk Grove Road–into Pennsylvania State game lands–pristine forest, spectacular mountain vistas, beautiful wildlife.
The road is muddy and slippery and being prepared for the legions of rigs that will scale up this mountain. One of the most important themes in these is the destruction of the soil–mud and soil that, eroded, churned over, heaped up on the side of a creek embankment will spill right down into the creek–and along with it diesel, and tire pieces, and other refuse from the rush to get this site into production. There was nothing at all to prevent this seeping into the creek. No hay bales no “socks.” Nothing all the way up or down the road.
But you get to the top of the mountain–beyond the destruction of road and forest, and this immense vista opens up.
The thing that’s so jarring is that you’re supposed to reach this beautiful scene after an equally beautiful drive up to the crest–but instead it’s as if you are expelled from a nightmare.
It’s like waking up back to a world that is sane–and as lovely as it is supposed to be.
Look at these pictures–could serenity be captured any more poignantly? Not because the pictures are all that great–but could anyone even take a poor photograph of something so marvelous?
And then we descended back into the nightmare called EXCO–back through the failure to prevent erosion, back through the machinery.
I was taking a zillion pictures of the muddied pile high embankment. A man drove up going the opposite direction in a white truck. He pulled up next to us and stopped, rolled down his window. He began to screech at us:
YOU MOTHER FUCKERS!
Over and over.
I climbed out on the window of the truck to get better shots. He just kept screaming at us.
Then he followed us.
Here’s why this matters: I have no idea who this man was. He was angry. He did not want us to be there. He did not want us to see what was going on on these once pristine state game lands.
He did not want us to take pictures.
And this is the kind of behavior EXCO encourages in its money-makers–entitled, ugly.
Indeed, given the pressure EXCO CEO Douglas MIller is under to turn a profit against falling stock values, one might wonder if this kind of anger is standard worldview in EXCO’s Fracklands.
Mr. MIller wants very much to buy EXCO–and he hasn’t been able to get up the money to do it. This clock is ticking–and he is heavily leveraged. Mr. Miller’s is one hell of a hurry I would imagine to get these wells producing.
So, I don’t imagine his people want our people in their way.
Some light reading: