Caption: "Steve Beck is the third generation of his family to operate a small farm in Pulaski, Pa. He expresses his concerns about fracking." From April 1, 2012 story: New drilling law deepens discord
Also see related: RISKS AND RICHES IN THE FRACKING ERA Videographer & interviewer: William D. Lewis
If video doesn't play yet, here is the link: http://www.vindy.com/videos/2012/mar/31/1878/
Letter To The Editor published Sun, March 25, 2012 in Youngstown Vindicator, by Pennsylvania resident and frackfree ally who has laboured hard many months going door to door to educate the farmers around him.
Selling true farmers short
A shale industry spokesman at a recent event at Wilmington Area High School was asked what effect shale gas well drilling will have on our local agriculture. His response: “All I can say about that is that we’re going to make a lot of farmers around here rich” as he leaned into the microphone and boldly delivered his clever, smug statement, I sat in the audience and realized that this man did not understand real farmers at all. To a real farmer, farming is not just an occupation or a hobby, it is much more. To some true farmers, it is a way of life — a total life-style. To other authentic farmers, farming is an inspired passion, and to some others, it is almost a religion that shapes their moral code.
There is a level of awareness and joy attained by the farmer who is appreciative of, and who understands, the beauty he perceives in what he is doing. Every true farmer can vividly describe some personal aesthetic experiences that have occurred to him on his farm at one time or another. These are gentle, joyful memories that visit and comfort him on his death bed and ease his departure from this life.
I know a farmer who signed a gas lease a few years ago without being made aware of the risks, consequences, and sacrifices that he would have to face and endure. When the heavy equipment that the lease permitted on his land arrived and began to knock down many of his large oak trees, which he had often climbed as a boy, he immediately felt the loss of the goodness that those beautiful trees had generously provided him throughout his life. When he watched the simple, single-file cow path being replaced by a wide, permanent, industrial road across his wild-flowered meadow, his sense of loss was magnified. When the slow seepage entered the aquifer and finally contaminated his and his neighbors’ water wells forever, he was overcome with deep regret for signing that complicated, deceptive gas lease; but it was too late.
We are conditioned by our greedy, competitive society to try to get as much money as we can get. People who read their Bibles are warned over and over again in the pages of this Good Book to resist this temptation. Yet in our local communities, thousands of hypocrites willingly signed leases in order to become rich despite all the warnings about the serious consequences of signing.
In the solitude of his fields, the sensitive farmer concludes that happiness dwells in the beauty of true virtue. Gratitude, simplicity and humility make up the content of his character, and he clearly realizes that he doesn’t need to be given a lot of money to be rich.
-- Steven J. Beck, West Middlesex
Read at: http://www.vindy.com/news/2012/mar/25/stop-strippers-at-the-scrap-yards/