Activists and concerned landowners are gathered in Greentree today and Saturday to talk about Shale and tight-gas sand extraction. The first session of the day set the tone for the conference by exploring the negative health impacts that many are associating with the hydraulic fracturing (fracing) process. John Fenton runs a ranch in Wyoming. Gas wells surround his home and work shop. He told the gathering that he and others in his small town have chronic pain and a host of other illnesses. He says the promise of taxes and jobs do not outweigh the negatives. “This might be industry’s pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but to us it’s a pot of poison,” says Fenton. Fenton says even the employees of the company are not safe. He says employees live and work under the same conditions, “they are sacrificing those men as much as they are sacrificing us.” Fenton says, “The only way that we can change this is what we are doing here today. You gotta have the courage to stand up and to stick together and you gotta tell the truth and let these people know that they are not going to run over the top of us.”
Activist and environmental scientist Wilma Subra shared the stage with Fenton. She says regulators need to launch long-term studies that layer dates of medical complaints on top of dates of drilling spills, gas releases, and permit violations. However EPA whistleblower Weston Wilson says even that may not be enough to point out the true impact of fracing. “In many cases people do not see their doctors for these [chronic] problems, and thus they become anecdotal and not of import except to those who are suffering.