Wednesday is my music post day, and as I am gathering information on a post for tomorrow on critics of drilling, I thought it might be important to take some space to explain what I am up to, why, and what possible relevance this has to the title and subject-matter of this web log.
As someone who was born and raised and lived the first 25 years of his life in and around the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom, my interest is deeply personal. My elderly parents still live in the house in which I grew up; this September will mark the forty-first year in that house. My youngest sister and her husband live in the same town. I have deep family roots in neighboring Bradford County, PA, with an ancestor of my paternal grandmother settling just outside what is now Wysox, PA after the War for Independence.
After swinging between supporting, then opposing the development of natural gas resources in and around this gorgeous, rural landscape of my youth, I decided it was important to learn some facts. What I have found is a mountain of information, with blogging being a really poor medium for distilling all that information in to a usable shape. All the same, I am approaching the subject as someone who assumes, (a), I know absolutely nothing about the natural gas business or its practices; (b) I am not in a position to judge the actions of the actors involved; (c) the reality of an on-going need for natural gas, absent a comprehensive energy policy at a national level, necessitates using sources that require unconventional methods of extraction; (d) there are no good guys or bad guys in this on-going situation, just people and companies and institutions and interests acting in their own self-interest, to the best of their abilities.
I have no illusions about the gas companies. I also have no illusions about the local communities, their residents or local elected representatives. I am not, as a recent commenter claimed, under the sway of dishonest critics. My only concern is to find out, as best I can - and present as clearly as I am able - what is actually happening. These posts will continue until I have satisfied myself that I have some kind of grip on the matter. My guess is, then, it may last a while.
As to the relationship between these posts and this web log and its purpose, I can only wonder why some might think they bore no relationship to one another. Being a Christian includes finding out for oneself as much as possible about what is happening in the world, in order to live in it faithfully. Jesus Christ didn't die on the cross then rise on the third day so we could escape from the messiness around us. We have to immerse ourselves in it in order to get the message of Divine love and acceptance out to as many people as possible. I am writing all this, in short, precisely because my faith calls me to do so. How can anyone minister to people without understanding what is happening in their world?
As I say, this series of posts will continue for as long as it takes. I am writing them for myself as much as anything, as a way of figuring out what is happening, why, and what it might mean for all of us. The gas boom in PA, and a possible one in New York once the drilling moratorium is lifted, is, to me, the biggest story not too many people know about. I am doing my own tiny part to spread the word that something is going on.