The sheer volume of development being done in the Pennsylvania Wilds just for the sake of fracking is absolutely astounding.
The hundreds of tanker trucks, all of the security kiosks constantly communicating via radio, the supervisor who threaten observers with guns – in comparison to many of the peaceful, pristine streams that still are found in Pennsylvania, all of this fracking development seems almost surreal.
But I suppose any kind of industrial development will always seem at odds with nature; those two things do not usually mix very well. It isn’t fracking development itself that necessarily bothers me – I’m not opposed to progress, especially when it is concerned with valuable resources that our society needs to function.
I’m more bothered by the manner in which the fracking industry is developing at an exponential rate in the Pennsylvania Wilds and across the country.
For example: are all of the security personnel and thinly veiled threats really necessary? I understand that these are multi-million dollar companies making humongous amounts of profit off of this method of natural gas extraction, so some manner of security is required, but I also find it somewhat unsettling to see these powerful companies doing all of this work without being absolutely certain of the environmental consequences.
In 1939 John Steinbeck published “The Grapes of Wrath,” a novel about the struggles of an agricultural family during the Dust Bowl and the height of the Great Depression.
The family is forced to close their farm and seek employment in California not only as a result of the economic depression but also because of changes in the agricultural industry, such as large companies stepping in and utilizing new methods to ensure efficient and profitable farming.
The title of the book comes from “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” a song written by abolitionist Julia Ward Howe during the Civil War, which calls for justice to be brought upon those who have brought destruction to the land. Read all about what Fracking actually is in this post.
The whole time I was doing research up in the Pennsylvania Wilds, I couldn’t help but be reminded about the events of “The Grapes of Wrath.” We don’t know for sure if fracking is having any kind of negative impact on the environment, and it could very well have no effect on anything at all. But regardless, when I look at the bigger picture (and as I experienced it myself), something just doesn’t seem quite right.