Antero Resources is trying to quash the public outcry over the frack dump they want to force on folks here in Ritchie and Doddridge counties in West Virginia.
Lobbyists released this propaganda piece, published in the Daily Mail. In it, they assert…
“Protecting our environment is a top priority for the tens of thousands of hardworking West Virginians who work across the oil and natural gas industry”
Well, that’s TRUE, for what it’s worth. Regular folks who work in the oil and gas industry care deeply about their communities, just like miners care deeply about coal communities. Workers live in these communities, as do their families and friends.
But it’s Antero’s Colorado Frack Barons we’re worried about—not our hardworking neighbors and friends. Read their statement again. Funny how they avoid saying certain things.
It’s what they conveniently “forget” to mention that’s the problem…
In their scramble to fight the appeals filed to save our community from the dump, Antero apologists are asserting that any local opposition to having a frack dump put in our community must be based in lies.
Think how crazy that is on its face: that opposition to their dangerous dump is somehow not reasonable by definition! How would YOU like a toxic dump installed next door? They want to sow doubt, but fail to identify anything we’ve gotten wrong.
Poisoning the Well: Literally and Figuratively
Understand, correcting misconceptions is not their aim. What they’re trying to use on you is a rhetorical device–a logical fallacy called “poisoning the well.“ They call our objections “lies,” and want you to submit to the poison they’re pouring into your ear. And into your water.
Well, here are the facts they don’t want us talking about.
Antero’s record speaks for itself.
Antero’s record shows they don’t have a history or company culture that seeks to protect the people who live in the communities they invade.
- Antero has already ruined water wells in Doddridge County.
- They are one of the top five spillers in West Virginia.
- They’ve illegally dumped radioactive waste in Kentucky.
- In Colorado, it took nearly a month for Antero to let regulators know there’d been a wastewater spill that threatened the City of Rifle’s Public Water Supply.
- Similarly, in WV investigations of spills simply reveal other spills and violations they haven’t reported—and violations for the repeated problems and missed deadlines are laughably low.
- More than 200 lawsuits have been filed against Antero by the people who live here who are trying to protect their property rights
- They’ve caused injury to people and property over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over…
I could go on. Suffice it to say, we know what they’re like—and they know we know.
“We are not saying that they can’t drill,” said Anthony Majestro, lead lawyer for about 200 residents who filed the suits. “There are ways to do this without causing these conditions.”
The people opposed to this invasion are not all activists who want to ban oil and gas. No, we’re a mix of people. But we’re all citizens who simply want to protect ourselves and our families.
Here are more facts…
- Our community will be invaded by 600 exhaust-spewing tank trucks a day– one truck every two and a half minutes. That is according to their own estimates. (Bonus: we’ve already had two tank truck crashes and a crane crash, bad enough to close Route 50!)
- The vast majority of the jobs are temporary. And since we care about our community, the workers who are doing the worst damage are usually imported from other states. (Heck, if you don’t want to read the studies, just take a look at the license plates in the dump’s parking lot.)
- Even Antero claims the dump will only add 21 permanent jobs. Of course, we also don’t know how much those dump jobs pay, or even if the permanent jobs would go to people who live here
- Other industries suffer when resource extraction goes in. It’s as if people are less interested in fishing or boating in frack-waste polluted water, and less interested in staying in an area where the water may poison them—go figure!
Thank you, sir! May I have another?
These Antero-apologists claim the frack dump will “reduce truck traffic and water sourcing demands.” They explain that “Fewer trucks — hundreds of thousands each year — on the road increases safety and air quality.”
Right. They’re reducing their environmental footprint by concentrating their impact squarely on top of our community. When the community they’re harming has the audacity to complain, out comes the spin machine.
Shut-up and take it
Here’s what they’re telling us: “All that truck traffic and pollution will be a disaster for you guys in Ritchie County, but you have to admit it’ll be fantastic for our bottom line!”
Antero is The Big Bad in this scenario… and looking at their record above, in many scenarios.
These Frack Barons don’t care if what they’re doing is ethical; it just has to sound temporarily plausible. Don’t stop the train just yet! Because, damn, if they can run this con for just a little longer, they’ll save a TON of cash by literally and figuratively dumping on us.
It’ll be a few years before we start seeing the cancer, and by then retired corporate execs will have already made their millions. What happens to us, what happens to our kids, to our grandkids… to our property values and health and life savings is just not their problem.
When money is speech
The CEO of Antero Resources has spent more than $200,000 to buy politicians in the last few years. His wife has spent more than $100,000. And keep in mind, those are NATIONAL donations only. They don’t include all the donations they’ve made to state politicians like Tomblin.
(To see the list of national donations, go here, and type in “Paul Rady” or “Katy Rady” and Colorado.)
The thing is, we can’t afford to buy politicians like they do.
The real deceivers
Among the most breathtaking misrepresentations in that article by their lobbyists is the suggestion that Antero must abide by all Federal environmental regulations.
Well, that’s an interesting assertion. A bit truthy. But keep in mind that their lobbyists make sure there are as few regulations as possible… and they’ve had great success! That’s why these paid industry spokespeople are deliberately omitting the fact that frack waste is exempt from many environmental rules, including protections like
- Safe Drinking Water Act
- Clean Water Act
- Clean Air Act
- The Superfund Act
- Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
- West Virginia Hazardous Waste Management Act; (Ch 22-18-6(a)(12)(D))
In addition, Antero is a notorious violator as I outlined above. So even were they well regulated, in practice, they just don’t do jack.
Until we make it more expensive for them to violate than not violate, they’ll continue to violate. Because why wouldn’t they?
On top of everything, Antero’s permit allows them to request permission to change what they dump on us. They can ask to put anything they want in the dump, later, if they’re allowed to go forward. They just need approval from the DEP.
And on that subject, Governor Justice has stated that he expects the WV DEP to “stop saying ‘no’ to industry.”
Lawsie, the joke is already that they’re the Department of Everything Permitted.
And it’s a very old joke.
Charlatans, Gamblers, and Con-Artists
Antero took it on faith that they’d finagle the needed permits, despite what they’d be doing to our community. They weren’t stopped by conscience, of course, but you’d think that maybe they should have been stopped by financial prudence. But hey, they thought they were gambling with our lives—not with their money.
So instead, they made the unconscionable decision to spend more than a quarter of a billion dollars building the dump in a particularly dangerous location for us. And now they want to argue that their financial interests outweigh the interests of public health and welfare.
“Our profit is more important than your lives.”
That seems to be their chief argument. And you know what? So far, our government’s been on board.
Making a risky financial decision to build a factory to distill and stockpile frack poisons without having the permits… well, that is NOT an argument the DEP should even consider for letting them actually use the damn thing.
“I spent 275 million dollars rigging the top of the capitol dome with a vat of acid to dump on everyone and everything below! What do you mean I can’t use it? I spent money, and employed people! Dumping the acid will create 21 jobs…”
Holler from the Hollers
I get a lot of love for my campaign slogan… but here’s what it’s all about. Here’s where it matters. Because I want you to hear the people who live here.
I want you to hear the folks that don’t get paid to write propaganda pieces, people who are dedicating their own time to try to save their community from a fate like Minden’s. I want you to hear the people—not Antero’s high paid lawyers. Not wealthy lobbyists. Not the politicians who are working for industry by spouting their talking points, rather than working for the people they’re meant to represent.
These lobbyists get paid to promote Antero’s spin. Well paid, I’m sure.
But the people who live here, those who’ll have their water polluted? No. We’re just trying to get by.
So I’ll leave you with a very small selection of the things that those here who are just “collateral damage” are saying. These comments were collected as a part of our appeal of the stormwater permit, and I suspect that being presented with so much opposition is why Antero is now working on these propaganda pieces.
Want your voice heard, too? SIGN THE PETITION.
Outrage at Antero from Ritchie County:
Keep in mind that this is a small selection of the comments.
- PLEASE DO NOT POISON OUR WATER. Our kids play in those creeks, our horses, cattle and dogs drink from those creeks, and WE DRINK THAT WATER!
- If I wanted poisoned drinking water I’d live in New Jersey
- Clean water is a necessity, not an option in order to sustain a healthy life, although for some reason some think it’s a playing card to gamble with. That’s something I will never be able to understand. Not everything should be controlled by government. We the people should be heard and taken into account, if not for ourselves then for the generations after us who will never survive without clean water. Money is nice , but a healthy life is more important.
- Take this sh*t back to Denver, you slimy a**holes.
- CH 22 of WV Code provides for hearings as a way provide affected people with a way to influence policy. Our demands as citizens are far more important than the demands of industry for profits. We’re fighting for our families. That shouldn’t be taken for the profit of someone else. The public should not merely be able to “participate” in hearings; we should be able to influence the outcome. We aren’t there wasting our time only so we can receive an answer that was predetermined before the hearing ever occurred. That construction was nearly complete by the time they even applied for the permit. How in the world is that right?!
Outrage at Antero from Wood County:
- I drink water that has Hughes River contributions in it. I don’t want my drinking or bathing water polluted with fracking run-off. Although the fracking company keeps most of the chemicals used in the fracking process confidential, some of the known ones have been shown to be carcinogens.
- If you are ok with them dumping their waste in YOUR backyard, then you can support this with no shame. If you support this but wouldn’t want them dumping in your back yard, God will ask you about it if you don’t deal with the compromise before you meet up. Can’t say you didn’t know now! I just told ya.
- Considering frack wastewater the same as storm runoff is criminal. Why are you sacrificing environmental health for a corporate profit?
- Haven’t government officials learned about the costs of allowing water to be polluted. We have had the C8 pollution along the Ohio and the pollution from the leaky tank on the Kanawha. Both were expensive cleanups. We don’t need more.
- Having clean water to drink, cook with and bathe in is essential to sustain life. Not just human life is at stake, either. Our plants, fish, trees, birds, plus both domesticated and wild animals depend upon having clean water to survive. By allowing our water to be poisoned, you essentially are saying that our lives don’t mean a thing to you. Our existence is merely at your whim, and you can dispose of us as you see fit, when you see fit, and there’s not a damned thing anyone can do about it. I am here to tell you: there is something we can do. And you will be held accountable.
- I fail to understand the aversion to any and all regulation by bodies elected by the people to protect them.
Outrage at Antero from Other WV Counties:
- Protect our environment from these freeloader companies!
- It is despicable that our government would allow our waters to be poisoned. Shame on you!
- We have to stop this before our state turns into Love Canal.
- Radioactive wastewater poured into the river. What could go wrong? This level of irresponsibility verges on criminality.
- It’s time to stop exploiting WV . Our environment is our best asset. Polluting our waters is bad business and immoral.
- People before profits. It is unacceptable in 2017 for any US citizen to go with out clean drinking water. We must think in generations not days. The people of West Virginia have suffered enough and WE DESERVE BETTER!
Outrage at Antero from Outside WV:
- Just stop poisoning these poor people, stop destroying the land because you are filth and you wish to pollute with your filth and your disregard for any life, human and animal..