To the Editor:
Something has been taken from Carroll County. Land, water, air, peace of mind, and even silence are being torn up and carried away on a daily basis. Our roads are full of trucks and even the views are filled with the looming form of the gas drilling rig.
I was born and raised in Carroll County on a dairy farm. I went to school for natural resources and have since moved away for work related reasons (there isn’t much for a wildlife biologist to do in Ohio, let alone the county). I had not visited the county in only 7 short months and in that time a transformation took place. Upon a visit last week I was, to put it bluntly, appalled as to what I found.
The family farm had been defaced, covered in a well pad, compressor station, and pipeline. I had grown up hunting and hiking these hills and to see the silence disturbed and the land trodden over was very disturbing to me. Land has a very high value to me because it gives life to everything. Every plant and animal, including people, are given life in some respect by the land. It gives us clean air, clean water, a place to get away from the meaningless trivialities of human society and back to the way things should be; a tree over your head, grass under your feet, and a cold stream to cool your tongue. However, the real value of land has seemingly disappeared as the smell of money (something that only holds perceived value to humans; see how well $100 helps you in the woods) has wafted into Carroll County.
The land that has already been taken cannot be replaced; no dollar amount can undo the damage that has been done. For me, the land has lost the luster that it has had for me over all these years. I can no longer sit in wonderment of what is around me; rather I sit and ponder the future of the place that was once my home. How can people sit idly on the sidelines as this atrocity marches its way through the community? There are few local jobs in the industry and of the billions of dollars that will be made if this drilling proceeds, only a very miniscule amount will actually see its way into the hands of the county. You received $4000 an acre for your lease? Well, Chesapeake Energy had $9.366 billion in revenues last year. Do you really think they care what happens in Carroll County? Who would be willing to sacrifice their land just to make themselves a little money and to pad the pockets of an already extremely wealthy company? I believe, unfortunately, that question has already been answered.
People should stand up for their land, not line up to sign it away. Your land is yours. It is your place to call home, your place to breathe in a breath of fresh air. How can no one see the value in this? Someone needs to stand up for this land. It cannot speak for itself, for it has no voice. If it could, it would cry out to stop the abuse and to be saved. It has been sacrificed in some places, such as my parent’s farm, to show the rest of the public to not let this happen where they live. Not just to their own land, but to the county itself. The first wells were drilled because of a lack of knowledge; not knowing the full ramifications of what would happen. Now that it is clear as to the scope of the matter and it’s true form being laid forth to the community, the remainder must ask themselves; do I value money more than my air, water, soil, crops, cattle, deer, quiet, and peace of mind?
You must know that although what is happening here truly is despicable, if it was not here it would be somewhere else. Be it mountaintop mining in West Virginia, processing tar sands in Alberta, or gas drilling in Carroll County, Ohio the energy to power our consumer society must come from somewhere. Maybe the underlying theme here is that we should all stop being consumers and just try to slow down a little. Maybe buy eggs down the road and not at the grocery store, maybe make your own loaf of bread instead of buying one. Trading with your neighbor, building a community, planting a tree, turning off the lights. All possible solutions to the problem. Because someday that disastrous resource extraction may not be in someone else’s backyard anymore, it may be in yours.
John M. Neider
New Bedford, MA
Once upon a time from: