Frackers in Our Midst

I was getting undressed for a nap at around six when someone knocked on the front door. I mentally thought to myself “You got to be fucking kidding me” because I knew it would be a pain in my ass because anyone I want to see will just knock and come in because that’s just how things happen here. At any rate, I got dressed, went downstairs, and it was someone I had never seen before holding a clipboard and as I opened the door she said “Hi” and started her spiel.

Apparently she did not notice the mat she was standing on, which is pretty clear:

I interrupted her and said “I don’t want any and how much is this going to cost me?” She just smiled and said “Well actually you might earn some money,” and it turns out SWN wants to buy my mineral rights. I said “No, thank you” but she was persistent and talked about how much they wanted to pay me (something like 700 bucks or something) and I again said no, but this time added for clarity, “I oppose fracking.

She seemed surprised, which makes no sense, because there are a lot of people in my little community who oppose the bastards. At any rate, to review, the reasons I oppose fracking are:

1.) The motherfuckers refuse to tell us what they are pumping into the ground.
2.) They refuse to do due diligence for all the externalities they are creating.
3.) They lobby our statehouse and our reps and continuously get their severance tax lowered when it should be increased, because they already have sunk costs with all their wells and aren’t going to abandon all the gas here.
4.) They have destroyed our roads and refuse to fix them
5.) There is a relationship between fracking and seismic events.
6.) Even when they sign a lease, they try to screw the people with whom they have signed the lease.
7.) i have probably lost 100 hours of my life sitting behind SWN flagmen who have stopped all road traffic while they do shit at their well sites and another 100 hours driving 12 miles an hour behind water trucks and other equipment.
8.) They lied about how many jobs would go to WV residents.
9.) They have fucked up rent prices for apartments because they bring in all these out of state workers who rent apartments, screwing poor people around here who have to basically live in shacks because rent is out of control now.

With that in mind, when she asked me “why do you oppose fracking,” I simply said “It’s probably for the best if we do not go into that.” And then I went inside and took a nap. I don’t know how long she stood there.

43 replies
  1. 1
    Ivan X says:

    I love Subarus. I miss my ’94 Legacy. Best car ever.

  2. 2
    Pogonip says:

    Cole, what finally happened to the Subaru? Did you sell it? Donate it? Bury it on the lone prairie?

  3. 3
    NotMax says:

    Trivia: Something which never arises in Hawaii, where all mineral rights belong to the state, by law.

  4. 4
    Eljai says:

    That is the clearest, detailed, most exquisitely succinct response. I am talking about both the list of reasons you gave us and the reply you gave to the person SWN sent to basically swindle the townsfolk.

  5. 5
    Aleta says:

    I don’t understand. They want to buy the mineral rights under your house? They want to lay horizontal pipe under and have the right to frack under the houses in town? Isn’t there a set back away from residential neighborhoods?

  6. 6
    Mary G says:

    I never answer my front doorbell. That porch is not wheelchair friendly, and anyone who knows me knows to come to the dining room door. The first time the hospice nurse came she got a face full of spiderwebs.

  7. 7
    NotMax says:

    Obviously she was confused by what the doormat meant. It’s West Virginia, “Git Out” might be more coherent.


  8. 8
    FlyingToaster says:

    @NotMax: She wasn’t confused. Her livelihood depends upon her acting like a oblivious twit.

  9. 9
    NotMax says:

    Had a sign posted from opening day until closing day 26 years later in my shop reading as follows:


  10. 10
    HumboldtBlue says:

    Brother, let’s share a bowl.

    It’s the new normal.

  11. 11
    guachi says:

    So… why is Hickenlooper going to run for President rather than the obviously smarter move of running for Senate?

  12. 12
    HumboldtBlue says:

    And who the fuck gets ready for “a nap at around six “?

    That’s weird, Cole, and really late in the day to call it a nap.

    I think you’re just old and trying to excuse bedtime.

  13. 13
    NotMax says:


    After the earliest round of primaries give an indication of which way the wind is blowing he can drop out and file papers for a Senate run? Meantime he gets on stage exposure at debates this year.

  14. 14
    debbie says:

    11) Fracking poisons the water supply.

  15. 15
    CatFacts says:

    You should have told her about the Subaru. At length. With appropriate curse words, and possibly with a coda involving the mustard. No one from her company would ever come back.

  16. 16
    Another Scott says:

    A good list.

    Lots of people downstream from you aren’t too happy either.

    The Virginia State Water Control Board is meeting this morning (see video, below), and as Laurence Hammock of the Roanoke Times reports, “may start the formal process of revoking a permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.”

    Clearly, this project can and should be stopped, for a whole host of environmental and economic reasons. For starters, as Wild Virginia pointed out yesterday, “the evidence shows a systematic and continual pattern of flouting the law and causing harm as a consequence.” Wild Virginia adds, correctly, that “The State Water Control Board (Board) has the authority to revoke the water quality certification for upland activities that it issued to Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC (MVP). The violations MVP has committed and the damage it has done easily meet and exceed the thresholds defined in Virginia law upon which revocation may be based.” I’d further note that this fracked-gas pipeline alone “would be responsible for close to 90 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, equivalent to 26 coal plants or 19 million vehicles on the road.” Can you even imagine the uproar if there was a proposal to build 26 new coal-fired power plants or add 19 million vehicles to the road in Virginia? People would rightly go nuts. Yet this pipeline is the greenhouse gas equivalent, and many people – including most Virginia elected officials – are either remaining silent or actively encouraging this project. Why?


    UPDATE 3:23 pm – Cries of “cowards” and “shame” as the Virginia State Water Control Board “reversed course Friday…withdrew its earlier decision to hold a hearing to consider revoking a water quality certification it issued for the controversial natural gas pipeline in December 2017.” Ugh.

    This is the water board that Gov. Northam stacked the members of when they started opposing the pipelines.

    The MVP runs from the panhandle of WV to central VA where it connects to a Transco pipeline that runs from NJ to TX.

    Note the estimates of greenhouse gases from the pipelines includes those from leakage. Methane is a potent GHG (but doesn’t live in the atmosphere as long as CO2).

    (See the original for embedded links.)

    TANSTAAFL. Natural gas has lots of problems, beyond fracking. And fracking has many, many issues.

    Keep fighting them, JC. Good luck.


  17. 17
    NotMax says:


    12) Responsible for some increase of earthquakes.

  18. 18
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    Almost poifick, Cole. I would have finished with something like “I am going to get my cell phone now, & if you’re not off my property by the time I get back, I am going to take your picture & call the city police to charge you with trespassing. Capeesh?”

  19. 19
    Ruckus says:

    Yes. They would come back. If they are coming around to buy the mineral rights rather than just drill under your house it’s pretty obvious that they have to do that. Because the money is not worth the trouble, so there must be more to it. And for every Cole who tells them to fuck off that’s one more place they theoretically can’t drill under. And it’s obviously not worth their time not to. And they must think that everyone around Cole’s little town must be thrilled about all the jobs, trucks, income they aren’t spreading around to local benefit. Because who wouldn’t want fracking going on next door?

  20. 20
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @NotMax: please see #5 supra

  21. 21
    FlyingToaster says:

    @CatFacts: Hint: The company wouldn’t tell the next doofus assigned to go solicit.

    Religious whackjobs from that church attempting to plant a “stake” for the past 10 years still ring at my side door and have to be told “This isn’t my front door: see the wall? And don’t come to my front door, either; you’re the wrong religion!” And next time I’ll call the cops because they’ve been told to stop it; the people going door-to-door need to have CORI and SORI checks and notify the PD so the dispatcher knows when old ladies call to complain.

  22. 22
    CatFacts says:

    Oh, I know they’d come back. I was just ragging Cole. Let’s face it, the Subaru story was gloriously epic.

  23. 23
    NotMax says:

    @ Steve in the ATL

    Nobody told me there would be reading. Will this be on the final?


  24. 24
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @NotMax: I think there might be extra credit if you do the reading without having to be reminded. I certainly hope so.

  25. 25
    chopper says:

    my first thought when i read the first bit was oh shit, they literally ran his car off the road into a farmer’s glade and he had to get a new goddamn fucking car, someone is gonna die here tonight.

  26. 26
    chopper says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    your toyota supra is…number 5?

  27. 27
    Bupalos says:

    That’s awesome. For folks not understanding the mineral rights issue, they drill down about a mile and then horizontally up to 2 miles. They need Cole’s rights because he’s on one of these planned laterals, the wellhead might be a long way off. One person saying no can hold up a whole project so Cole is a real hero here. Don’t know if wv has forced pooling which means if x number of neighbors say yes they can force the rest in as well. But regardless it throws a wrench right in their toxic evil greedy pie-holes. Not a bad idea to try and soak up the person’s time too asking them every question under the sun about the evil shit they do. It’s past time to play as nasty as possible with these fuckers.

  28. 28
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @chopper: it was actually just an ordinary Celica [hangs head in shame]

  29. 29
    chopper says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    you’re like ned flanders with his two-alarm chili. sad.

  30. 30
    Obvious Russian Troll says:

    First: good on you for saying no.

    Second: you get undressed for a nap? The whole point of a nap is that you can do it without getting undressed. If you have to get undressed, is it really a nap?

  31. 31
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Ahem. Extra credit for those who read carefully without a reminder?

  32. 32
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: yes—for the next week you can add a gold star to your nym!

    @chopper: lol

  33. 33
    Aleta says:

    @Bupalos: I’m surprised to learn they’re allowed to drill horizontally underneath a town, even if it’s deep down. And especially if they’re taking samples along the way to figure where bigger deposits are.

  34. 34
    NotMax says:

    @Steve in the ATL

    So long as it doesn’t leave behind a phallic shaped impression, it’s all good.


  35. 35
    sukabi says:

    @Obvious Russian Troll: maybe he forgot the air quotes where nap becomes “nap”😜

  36. 36
    sralloway says:

    @Obvious Russian Troll: Cole gets undressed to clean the house. Old story.

  37. 37
    HinTN says:

    @Another Scott:


    My favorite Heinleinism, and indubitably true.

  38. 38
    cynthia ackerman says:


    … 13). Before fracking, mustard reliably stayed put.

  39. 39
    Citizen Scientist says:

    Laughing my ass off. You’re the man jgc.

  40. 40
    raf says:

    Print out your list and keep it by the door. Someone will return to give you this golden opportunity.

  41. 41
    Miss Bianca says:

    Fight the power, JC! Fracking has been a big issue here in CO, and one of the reasons that a lot of lefties are feeling jaundiced about Hickenlooper – they think he’s soft on fracking, and seeing as he’s an ex-oil and gas man, they may be right.

  42. 42
    JustRuss says:

    @HumboldtBlue: Mostly people who have jobs. Admittedly 6 is not the best time for a nap, but some days it’s all I can do to get through work and drag my ass home.

  43. 43
    Sherparick says:

    @Aleta: No. Had a friend in Texas & when they started fracking in he neighborhood she got royalties because they had not bought up mineral rights.

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