The Impact of Fracking on Daily Lives

For the last couple of months, SWN energy has been developing a new pad about a mile away from town as the bird flies, but about 3-4 miles by road. The pad is at a high point on what is known as Marlborough spur, and basically overlooks the town of Bethany. The sound from the pad rolls down the valley and bombards the town:

The sound has been absolutely out of control, and goes on all day and all night. Here are two videos showing what it is like, but they really do not do it justice because you also get the vibrations and grinding sound. If I put my hand against the wall of my house, I can feel it. The only way I can really describe it is that when I am not able to block it out, I feel like I am living through the seen in the Lord of the Rings when the Orcs are tearing down Fangorn Forest. Here is a video at 1 am:

And here it is at 9 am in the morning:

And it goes on like this all night. Some days it stops. And then it just starts right back up again. None of us know what the sound is- whether it is drilling, sandblasting, compressors, some combination of the above. But it is soul-crushing and keeping people up all night long. You have to sometimes shout to people outside to be heard. I know one person who took her hearing aids out and was still kept up to 3 am.

Before I go on, let me state that ALL of this could be mitigated. They could spend a little bit of money and erect a sound barrier. But they won’t, because they claim they did sound studies and it was not a problem. Were they to erect a barrier, it would stop all that from rolling down the valley and blasting the town.

Yesterday morning, immediately after recording that video, I got in the family truckster and drove up to the pad. Once there, I recorded the sound from the pad. Now to understand where I was when I recorded this, I was on the OTHER side of the pad, with the pad between me and Bethany.

Here is the sound from the pad on that side:

As you can see, less of the grinding and more of a white noise.

Sidebar- Apparently on top of the noise pollution, pumping toxic chemicals into the earth, destroying the roads, and running everyone off the road, SWN also seems to run unsecure drilling operations, because I was able to just drive right on up to the pad. There was a little shack at the fork, but no gate, no one told me to stop (there was a guy there and we just waved at each other as I drove on in), and no signage or anything to tell me to not enter or hardhat area or anything. Awesome.

At any rate, after weeks of complaints, they decided they would grace us with another sound study to see if they needed to do anything. They placed sound meters in a neighbors yard, and would monitor it for 72 hours, then run the data. You all know what happens next, right?


The sound meters were put in Friday afternoon, and there was not a peep all weekend. Monday night at 6, the meters came out, and by 7 pm they were drilling again. The report will come back showing no sound issues, because of course it will.

Finally, the town had enough and it was announced that SWN reps would be coming to town council last night. This was arranged at around noon yesterday. The drilling sounds I recorded yesterday morning? They stopped at noon.

So they know what they are doing, and they just don’t give a shit. I did not go to the town council meeting because I did not trust myself around them and the local tv station was there filming, and I did not want to become a viral sensation. I had already had a run-in with one of the SWN reps, this crapweasel who is doing their bidding. I’ll share that with you:

You see what he is doing there, right? It’s the equivalent of a gun humper saying “HA IT’S A MAGAZINE NOT A CLIP MY HUNTING RIFLE IS A SEMI-AUTO.” We don’t know what the actual source of the noise is at the pad. Like I said, it may be fracking, it may be sandblasting, it may be compressors and a whole bunch of other stuff. But he’s claiming that the place wasn’t shut down, which means it might have been passively collecting natural gas, and hence technically still running.

But since I swore at him, he had his out. Like everyone in the media and political establishment who thinks swearing while protesting something is worse than the actual violence you are swearing about, he tried to take his ball and go home:

And then I let him know I knew exactly what they were up to:

And then I hit him in the masculinity (all these roughneck pricks get off on thinking they are badass- they run around in large trucks with “pipeline trash” decals), calling him out for being a delicate flower:

At any rate, I did not go because I have anger issues, but my friends did, and here is the write-up in the local media:

A community is outraged with the effects they say fracking is having in Bethany, WV.

“This is absurd. This is the United States, but no, it’s still West Virginia, so we’re the lowest of the low and our voice is never heard,” said one community member.

“When’s it going to end? When is there going to be the next pad? Are you just going to destroy all the hilltops?”

While the room packed with citizens presented many concerns and questions, one reoccurring theme was the noise that the community members call unbearable to live with.

“I kept thinking to myself, ‘Is this anything close to freeway noise I had to deal with in LA?’ And, I’m here to tell you there is no comparison. This is worse than anything I’ve experienced,” said another community member.

And the impact it is having on their physical and mental health: “The first days we were doing outside activities and I couldn’t hear them because of the drill, and I am like; when are they all going to all start going crazy?”

We’ll see what happens. My guess is nothing.

Oh, and btw, SWN CEO William Way made $8 million dollars last year ruining our lives.

99 replies
  1. 1
    West of the Cascades says:

    It sounds to me like a public nuisance lawsuit waiting to happen – have you talked to any local lawyers? I haven’t googled it but I would be that there are some who have handled similar issues in PA and southern NY.

  2. 2
    NCSteve says:

    So, basically treating West Virginians the way coal companies do?

  3. 3
    rikyrah says:


    is that YOUR phone number in the tweets? You wanna black that out?

  4. 4
    rikyrah says:

    There is nothing good from fracking. Nothing good at all.

  5. 5
    The Dangerman says:


    is that YOUR phone number in the tweets? You wanna black that out?

    Sharpie time!

    ETA: “I wish Donald had a Sharpie, if you know what I mean” – Melania

  6. 6
  7. 7
    Betty Cracker says:

    Good God, what a nightmare. That would drive me absolutely batshit.

  8. 8
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @John Cole: Oh, that’s all right, then.


  9. 9
    pinacacci says:

    I feel for you, I do. Months of constant pounding when they put a new bridge in, had to drive the supports down deep…Some years ago but I can still feel it in my head, in my bones. I hope you can rally your community, I hope your government will be responsive. Keep on ’em.

  10. 10
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    That is ridiculously fucked up. How horrible for the people who live in Bethany, the college kids who are trying to study through that noise, and the animals, too.

    But your “apology” for swearing made me laugh.

  11. 11
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @John Cole:

    Nope. His.

    Ooh! Ooh! Let’s all call him up and say fuck to him. Repeatedly.

  12. 12
    The Moar You Know says:

    Nope. His.

    @John Cole: Definitely leave that up.

  13. 13
    MattF says:

    It’s the ‘make them stop me’ strategy. There’s also follow-on tactics— ‘make them look crazy’, ‘make them pay’, and ‘make them break a law’.

  14. 14
    rikyrah says:

    Isn’t it upsetting the menagerie too, Cole?

  15. 15
    Sebastian says:

    You commission your own study. With those results you go get a temporary court order.

    Then you start blocking the road “by accident”. And all other sorts of subversive activities with plausible deniability.

    Oh, gosh darnit! My old car LEAKED OIL all over the only access road. Terrible terrible. We’ll have to close this road for environmental remediation. Why no, you are not allowed to remove it Mr SWN maintenance guy, this has to be done by the Fire Department. Unfortunately, they are dealing with scared cats in tree tops so they’ll get around to it next week. We’ll call you when it’s done.

    Two can play their stupid game.

  16. 16
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Good God, what a nightmare. That would drive me absolutely batshit.

    Much worse than the midnight mating call of a bull alligator!

  17. 17
    Leto says:

    @Sebastian: Oh gosh, it looks like the “hurricane” chainsawed down a forest to block the road! I guess God, or someone, is trying to tell you something…

    What the world, and Balloon Juice, is missing is a good Cole viral story. Honestly since the mop and mustard, it’s been downhill ever since. We all know and love the righteous Cole, in full fire and fury mode. Everyone else needs to see the blog master we all love and adore. Nothing but good can come from it 😀

  18. 18
    Leto says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’d also be down for a coordinated messaging campaign that we could all text to the fuck weasel. If any of our former computer personnel know of an automated texting bot app that we could use to ensure maximum delivery of said message, now would be a good time to chime in 😀

  19. 19
    DoYabba says:

    I grew up across the street (literally, across the street) from the Garden Grove Fwy in Orange County before the days of sound barriers and your sound is worse.

    I can’t see a reason the fracking companies would change a thing. I’m sure they’ve been told by the “regulators” that WV is a PRO-BUSINESS STATE by gum, and don’t worry about those few leftist agitator snowflakes who complain. The Real Americans (TM) in WV only care about the jobs.

  20. 20
    hueyplong says:

    What little I know about the history of my birth state tells me that extraction industry management in WV rarely feels shackled by the bonds of middle class morality.

  21. 21
    Old Dan and Little Ann says:

    My old friend from way way back just posted this on the book of faces. We agree on some things but this ain’t one.
    “Right now u need your SDA (pistol) permit to carry, open or concealed, in Oklahoma. Nov 1st we become a Constitutional Carry state so you will not need a permit. The Constitution serves as your permit. That’s the way it was intended.”
    I told him it was the dumbest thing I’ve read today and it is only noon. Ugh.

  22. 22
    Hoodie says:

    Sounds like they’re drilling, which is the noisiest part of the operation and goes on pretty much continuously unit they’re done with that phase. Then they’ll fracture, and that will be pretty noisy for the few days it takes. They’re probably too cheap to put up a sound wall, particularly because they will be done drilling relatively soon (obviously not soon enough). They’ll probably just stall until the drilling is over and then see if you give up and put up with a lower noise level.

  23. 23
    kindness says:

    John we love you but we who don’t live in W. Virginia don’t always understand what drives the good people of W. Virginia when they vote. It sure seems that the locals there are more afraid of hippie/commie lib Democrats than they are of their own ability to continue to live there. How does that happen anyhow?

  24. 24
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    SWN also seems to run unsecure drilling operations, because I was able to just drive right on up to the pad. There was a little shack at the fork, but no gate, no one told me to stop (there was a guy there and we just waved at each other as I drove on in), and no signage or anything to tell me to not enter or hardhat area or anything. Awesome.

    Boy howdy, now there’s a disaster just waiting to happen. Not everyone shares John Cole’s benevolent motives.

  25. 25
    Leto says:

    @Old Dan and Little Ann: State sanctioned terror? That’s pretty much what it sounds like to me. Of course they’ll keep prattling on about mental health, gangs, “bad guys with guns”, all the while making it basically impossible to stop people who should never own/have one from getting a firearm.

    Or maybe it’s the last dying gasps of the gun industry doing everything they can to prop up their wares of death? Of course they’re going to take as many of us with them as they can. As long as they get that cold hard $$$/share holder profit, it’s all worth it!

  26. 26

    @SiubhanDuinne: Nice little drilling rig ya got here. Be a shame if anything happened to it.

  27. 27
    Kay says:

    They’re not going to have to worry about immigration if they keep destroying quality of life. No one will want to live here.

    Everything, everything, comes second to a few people making a ton of money. Burn it down, use it up, destroy it and just make damn sure you make enough not to have to actually live in any of the affected places.

  28. 28
    gvg says:

    Does your area get any money from hunting or anything which would be impacted by the noise in the wallet? If I was a wild animal in the vicinity of all that noise, I would migrate somewhere else. Hunters who don’t find any game, go elsewhere. Not to mention I would think it’s less fun to hunt near that.
    Your inn keeper friends should be able to show loss of revenue. What else? Money makes it easier to show courts harm. It’s not the only way. You also want to hit them in the wallet. Liens of the property of the rich top bosses somehow.
    You may want to make an sound insulated box to sleep in. Do you have a cellar?

  29. 29
    WhatsMyNym says:

    OT but still ” Free Markets Solve Everything”:

    WeWork owner The We Company is considering slashing the valuation it will seek in an initial public offering (IPO) at a little over $20 billion, less than half the $47 billion valuation it achieved in a private fundraising round in January, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

  30. 30
    Sandia Blanca says:

    Does this guy realize he’s dealing with The Blogmaster? There’s an army of cranky old people behind him.

  31. 31
    different-church-lady says:

    Apparently that fracking company employs sea lions.

  32. 32
    Another Scott says:

    I’m sorry you and your town are going through all of that. (from January 2017):

    “Oil and gas operations produce a complex symphony of noise types, including intermittent and continuous sounds and varying intensities,” said study author Seth Shonkoff, a visiting scholar in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, an affiliate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and executive director of PSE Healthy Energy. For example, compressor stations produce a low rumble; drilling a horizontal well is a loud process that can take four to five weeks 24 hours per day to complete; and using large volumes of water at high pressure results in pump- and fluid-handling noise.

    The study was published in December in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

    To understand whether noise from fracking might impact the health of surrounding communities, researchers gathered all available data and measurements of noise levels at oil and gas operations and compared the information to established health-based standards from the World Health Organization and other groups. They found that noise from fracking operations may contribute to adverse health outcomes in three categories, including anxiety, sleep disturbance and cardiovascular disease or other conditions that are negatively impacted by stress.

    Maybe try to find a pro-bono lawyer and file a class-action suit? Does the ACLU handle things like this?

    Good luck.


  33. 33
    different-church-lady says:

    @Sandia Blanca: WHO ARE YOU CALLIN’ OLD??2?

  34. 34
    Kay says:

    @West of the Cascades:

    It sounds to me like a public nuisance lawsuit waiting to happen

    Nuisance has been gutted in a lot of states. They trumped the common law lineage with statutes. Ohio’s is just gone.

    We looked into it once to try to regulate a huge egg farm. They just gutted the whole cause of action. Made it impossible to pursue. I imagine WV thought of the same tactic.

  35. 35
    trollhattan says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    Fracking equipment/gators humping, potato/potahto.

    This stuff enrages me and these bastards win 98% of the time. Interior Department is printing leases as fast as their laser printers can operate and with lease in hand, the next administration will be helpless to stop the pillage.

    My home is hemmed in today by contractors replacing the water mains, so I can relate a bit in real time. My solace is eventually they’ll be gone, leaving the merest of traces–the destroyed streets–as a reminder. Hopefully they’ll avoid the damn gas lines.

  36. 36
    Just Chuck says:

    Its an unsecured site. Just saying, in case you and a dozen friends had any ideas.

  37. 37
    Ohio Mom says:

    Sometimes I think that West Virginia is less like a state and more like some sort of internal colony: someplace we can extract all the value from and otherwise ignore. A pace we feel no obligation to the inhabitants of.

  38. 38
    trollhattan says:

    @Old Dan and Little Ann:
    “Let freedom rain (lead).” Sounds like paradise.

  39. 39
    ratlemullet says:

    Mr Cole,

    Not add insult to injury but….You may already know all this but in case you do not it has a lot to say about WV.

    Thanks you for all you do for pets!

  40. 40
    George Herscher says:

    It’s ironic that the gas produced from this fracking operation will put some WV coal miners out of work.
    As a born and bred West Virginian I can only say t’was ever thus.
    Screwed over.
    Left my home there long ago, and now am not too far from Betty C.

  41. 41
  42. 42
    Leto says:

    @Kay: That’s why so many of them are fleeing to New Zealand. They’re shat up this country, and they’re going to run off and try to do it there. Of course the squatter in chief, along with many other agents, might make a trip to Mother Russia for a more permanent “vacation” after 2020. Fingers crossed and all.

  43. 43
    PJ says:

    @WhatsMyNym: I guess the free market is helping WeWork set an appropriate value to the business of sub-leasing office space, which, from my limited understanding, is an industry that has few barriers to entry.

  44. 44
    Aleta says:

    Read your twitter last night. Admire your vocals and yr courage.
    The counter-complaint from the SWN rep about being ‘treated disrespectfully despite treating you with utmost professionalism’ must be in the manual, Guide for Representatives of Big Companies Lying to People in Small Towns. I heard it first in the 90s. Their fucking job description is to stick to an untruthful script, shake hands politely and smile professionally at people angry their lives are being smashed. Such scum to pull that.

  45. 45
    low-tech cyclist says:

    I’m rooting for a mob of townspeople with torches and pitchforks* to go up there and have a little chat with them one evening.

    *Yeah, AR-15s might be more the thing these days, but call me a traditionalist.

  46. 46
    MattF says:

    OT. For the record, Boris Johnson’s brother— who is an MP and is (um, was) in the cabinet– has resigned, left his cabinet post and left Parliament.

  47. 47
    Gravenstone says:

    @Sister Golden Bear: Thermite. Have fun reassembling things once large sections have been rendered unto molten iron.

  48. 48
    Elizabelle says:

    John, why don’t you write an article, even made up of journal entries re living with SWN Energy in town, for one of the leading WV newspapers?

    Why does this complete disregard for the community have to be the cost of doing business?


  49. 49
    LeftCoastYankee says:

    The company’s website says the wells have an average horizontal range is 5200 feet or so, ie a mile.

    Noise or vibrations from the ground below your house won’t be blocked by a sound barrier at the pad.

    I’m guessing there’s no compensation to the individuals or town for the oil removed from under your lands.

    This shit should be illegal, full stop. State-sanctioned theft and violence for profit.

  50. 50
    TenguPhule says:

    So they know what they are doing, and they just don’t give a shit.

    With all the guns available in WV, I’m surprised the frackers are still alive. Any judge would accept a plea of temporary insanity from that ordeal you described.

  51. 51
    Nicole says:

    You can get decibel readers on your phone; I recommend getting one and seeing what the noise level is at various times of day and keeping a record. I doubt WV has much in the way of noise ordinances, but if it’s an unhealthy level, it helps to have records of it. Likewise, you can hire someone to come in and measure the noise (as lower pitched noises have their own scale). Recording the noise directly on the phone isn’t really effective as A) there’s a volume dial on the phone and B) it doesn’t really give a sense of the decibel level.

    A restaurant went into our building’s retail space some years back and made life a living hell for 13 months as they drilled and drilled and drilled, M-F, 9-6. It was unbearable; you couldn’t be in the apartment. I didn’t know what to do so I ended up suffering (and lost a freelance job over it) when I could have done something (the decibel reader would have been helpful).

    I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this.

  52. 52
    TenguPhule says:


    Interior Department is printing leases as fast as their laser printers can operate and with lease in hand, the next administration will be helpless to stop the pillage.

    Republicans look the other way while Nazis beat the streets.

    Perhaps the Democrats should do the same and let ELF have free reign on public lands.

  53. 53
    Betty says:

    @LeftCoastYankee: Very few people understand the extent of these horizontal tunnels and the potential damage they can cause.

  54. 54
    germy says:

    “You’re fucking with me intentionally aren’t you” is my motto. Even when I don’t say it, I often think it.

  55. 55
    germy says:


    is that YOUR phone number in the tweets? You wanna black that out?

    Let’s all call Cole and ask him how the redesign is going.

    EDIT: kidding, of course.

  56. 56
    Steeplejack says:


    Great comeback on the swearing! I’m going to remember that. Those A-holes always harrumph into criticism about phrasing or “tone” when they think it helps them take the high ground.

  57. 57
    Leto says:

    @Elizabelle: That could be particularly effective. He does have a distinctive voice which resonates with most readers.

  58. 58
    scott (the other one) says:

    @TenguPhule: That’s what this non-gun-owner living in a famously liberal city in a blue state keeps thinking too.

  59. 59
    rikyrah says:

    Top Asylum Official Who Was Critical Of Trump Administration Has Been Reassigned
    John Lafferty, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services asylum division chief, has reportedly been “pushed out” by Ken Cuccinelli, the agency’s hard-line acting director.
    By Dominique Mosbergen

    The top asylum official at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has reportedly been reassigned to a service center in Virginia — an apparent demotion lambasted by some immigration officials as “just another attack” by the Trump administration on the asylum system.

    John Lafferty, who led the USCIS asylum division for six years, was “pushed out” this week by Ken Cuccinelli, the agency’s hard-line acting director, according to BuzzFeed, which first reported the news.

    The asylum division under Lafferty had long been a “source of frustration” to the Trump administration, particularly senior White House adviser Stephen Miller, according to The Washington Post.


    Lafferty is a “pro-asylum” official who was well-liked in his division, a USCIS officer told the Post. “He clearly respected their work, and you could tell he wasn’t too enthused about the various new policies under the Trump administration.”

    In July, BuzzFeed reported that Lafferty had penned a memo to staffers critical of a fast-tracked Trump administration policy that ended asylum protections for migrants who transited through another country before arriving in the U.S.

    “We are once again being asked to adapt and to do so with very little time to train and prepare,” Lafferty wrote at the time. “If I didn’t know that we have some of the most dedicated, most adaptable and most talented public servants presently serving in the federal government I would be concerned about being able to implement these changes on such short notice.”

  60. 60
    Martin says:

    Reminder that CA eliminated the need for any of this by cutting our per capita power usage by 50% relative to the rest of the nation. I know that LEDs are communism, but my solar panels make no noise, produce no emissions, and basically cost me nothing to operate.

  61. 61
    catclub says:


    Jacob Wohl!

    Before he was a well-known right-wing goofball, Jacob Wohl was a teen hedge-fund goofball, and now I sometimes think of him fondly as a person from the financial subculture who broke out into the mainstream. I mean “fondly” is not really the word, but he once belonged to us and now he belongs to the universe. Also his finance stuff was very funny. But now it seems to be catching up to him:

    California authorities issued an arrest warrant for blundering conservative operative Jacob Wohl, who is now due to be arraigned on a felony charge next month, court records show.

    time for a Nelson Muntz ha-ha.

  62. 62
    germy says:

    @catclub: His father is just pretending it never happened:

    Crazy @CoryBooker: I'll save the Amazon jungle by planting "billions and billions of trees!!!!"
    Uh. Ok? 😝🤣😂— David Wohl (@DavidWohl) September 5, 2019

  63. 63
    Martin says:


    Interior Department is printing leases as fast as their laser printers can operate and with lease in hand, the next administration will be helpless to stop the pillage.

    The economics of this doesn’t care about those leases. They’ll sit idle as renewables crush them on cost. We’re building solar+battery at less than $0.02/kWh. They can’t get remotely close to that price.

  64. 64
    TenguPhule says:


    Reminder that CA eliminated the need for any of this by cutting our per capita power usage by 50% relative to the rest of the nation.

    Frackers will simply sell the oil and gas overseas.

    Profit uber humanity.

  65. 65
    TenguPhule says:


    The economics of this doesn’t care about those leases. They’ll sit idle as renewables crush them on cost.

    China and India say hi.

  66. 66
    TenguPhule says:

    I see Pompeo has been selected to deliver the “Mission Accomplished” speech on Afghanistan.

  67. 67
    TenguPhule says:

    Boris Johnson says he would rather ‘be dead in a ditch’ than delay Brexit

    The offer is acceptable.

  68. 68
    Martin says:

    @TenguPhule: China is grabbing renewables faster than CA is. Why would India buy from the US when there will be cheaper supplies closer to them? Once global demand tails off, the floor will drop out.

  69. 69
    LeftCoastYankee says:


    Yeah, and the companies and their politicians definitely don’t want folks to know. And underground makes it easier to obscure.

    Here in the NW, the blight of clearcutting was (mostly) overcome by it being easily visible. Also an influx of population who didn’t grow up fetishizing the Timber industry, who were able to see the madness clearer and say WTF.

    Maybe the Appalachian region needs some new residents who didn’t grow up in the bubble of the dying energy industries.

  70. 70
    lee says:

    I’m pretty sure that an unsecure worksite is a OSHA violation.

    Give them a call.

    I’m also pretty sure that worksite noise over a certain level requires hearing protection.

  71. 71
    catclub says:

    @TenguPhule: I agree, but the UK parliament looks like it might run up against things that were not planned on.
    For instance: What happens if the Parliament passes a bill, and the ‘Government’ – which is the party of the PM, is against it – and is against being told what to do by the Parliament?

    Usually that does not happen, because the only bills that (usually) pass the parliament are those that the government approves of.
    So when the rest of Parliament directs the PM to do something, it is not clear what will happen.
    Kind of like: what if the President refuses to divest his business interests while he is President? What happens?

  72. 72
    JustRuss says:

    I used to live in an apartment overlooking the Santa Monica freeway, after the first week I didn’t even notice the noise. But this is a very different sound, you feel it in your bones. And the freeway noise is easy to get away from, so I didn’t have to listen to it 24/7.

  73. 73
    catclub says:


    They’ll sit idle as renewables crush them on cost.

    But the motivation for the frackers is: “get it while you can”, and the IT is cheap financing. As long as that comes in they can keep going.
    There may be reckoning coming for them, but it is not being driven ( yet) by the cost of the competition. But by the investors who have already shown themselves to be suckers for investing in ‘drillin’.

  74. 74

    @Ohio Mom:

    Sometimes I think that West Virginia is less like a state and more like some sort of internal colony: someplace we can extract all the value from and otherwise ignore.

    I think that’s a feature it has in common with many of the Red states in the inland west, like Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. Colorado used to be a lot more that way, but the state’s politics are increasingly driven by city dwellers in the Front Range corridor rather than by extractive industry interests. The key is that the residents in those places are so dependent on the extractive industries that they wind up supporting the people who are destroying the place they live.

  75. 75
    mrmoshpotato says:


    Fracking equipment/gators humping, potato/potahto.

    Gators get it on ’round the clock for days at a time?

  76. 76
    terraformer says:

    As a human factors engineer and previous student (and then Manager) of the auditory systems laboratory at a nearby (to WV) higher education institution, I can tell you that what I heard in the videos would most likely exceed any existing noise ordinance. But that’s the rub – is there a noise ordinance applicable to Bethany? Sound barriers would do little to nothing for (what sounds to me like) primarily low frequency energy, which happily passes around and through solid objects.

    There are some things you can do to mitigate noise, but this is a very intense, low-frequency dominant noise that can travel long distances. I’d suggest first checking into any noise ordinances; assuming there aren’t any (or they are weak), Bethany can hire auditory systems experts to capture noise data and compare them to similar noises that have been successfully litigated in the past. Given what I can hear on the videos, this is a clear-cut intrusion on quality of life/enjoyment, and a competent attorney versed in human audition and noise (e.g., with the advise and expertise of a human audition and noise engineer) can likely help out greatly.

  77. 77
    trollhattan says:

    Mining permits go far beyond mere url and gas, unfortunately.

  78. 78
    trollhattan says:

    Gators gotta gator.

  79. 79
    Kay says:

    Deadline Hollywood
    Netflix Nabs Julie Plec & Greg Berlanti Drama Series ‘The Girls On the Bus’ Inspired By Amy Chozick’s Hillary Clinton Campaign Memoir

    The twitter comments on this are an absolute Hillary Clinton bash-fest. Just vicious. The NYTimes must be so proud. Still making bank on their shitty Clinton coverage, for a full twenty years now. They have second generation Clinton-bashers!
    One more opportunity to bash Clinton. Yipee! Because the only thing better than living thru their 2016 coverage is paying to live thru it again.
    You know- it doesn’t matter. She’s not running for anything ever again, but maybe that newspaper’s employees should find a new punching bag.

    Who won the 2016 election? Media people. Everyone else lost.

  80. 80
    Elizabelle says:

    @Kay: It’s sickening, Kay. Just sickening.

  81. 81
    rikyrah says:

    I find it interesting that she couldn’t find a network to take it. I know that I had already decided never to watch. I think it’s ridiculous that this project is being made, under any circumstances.

  82. 82
    Kay says:

    I get the commercial decision to make the Hillary Clinton campaign “memoir” series supposedly not about Hillary Clinton. I mean, anyone who lived thru 16 months of email coverage wouldn’t willingly subject themselves to it again, but can these people get any more cynical? I mean, Jesus Christ. They sold the fucking book ON Hillary Clinton’s name and now that the tide has turned and The Douchebag President they promoted is wildly loathed they just excise Clinton from her own fucking campaign? Pick. Choose. Decide whether you’re covering these candidates or launching a Netflix career. Because we’re wondering whether the “reporting” is influenced by future book/movie deals.

  83. 83
    Kay says:


    Trumpsters are thrilled. They’re re-running all the witch pictures they ran in 2016. She’s fat! She’s evil! Burn the witch!
    Meanwhile, I’m looking at Mitt Romney and John Kerry and wondering why they don’t get this treatment.
    Just to add insult to injury they’re selling it as some kind of feminist triumph. I’m boycotting.

  84. 84
    Chetan Murthy says:


    Bethany is a small town. Doesn’t anybody in town know a policeman, whom them could invite over for dinner (or lunch, or whatever) and have him experience the noise himself, then go up there and serve out a warrant or whatever-it-is they do to stop noise? I mean, this is supposed to be one of the big things you get by living in small towns, right? Everybody knows everybody else? The po-po write speeding tickets to out-of-towners, etc, etc?

    No, it shouldn’t work like that. But geez, it seems like this is one of the few times when it might help?

  85. 85
    Elizabelle says:

    @Kay: I think a lot of us could boycott.

    Interested in what Rebecca Traister has to say on this.

    Kay, I wish you wrote essays — even very short ones — for larger publications. Under a pseudonym, if you liked. You get to the point in your writing, and think it through to get to the point in the first place. We actually don’t have a lot of that out there.

  86. 86
    Redshift says:

    @Roger Moore: And of course, in states as well as in nations, having an economy heavily based on extraction industries tends almost inevitably to massive corruption and a government that responds only to the people with money.

    (Yeah, I know what you’ll say, but while we all decry the influence of money in politics, states with more diverse economies are not in the same league.)

  87. 87
    rikyrah says:


    Meanwhile, I’m looking at Mitt Romney and John Kerry and wondering why they don’t get this treatment.
    Just to add insult to injury they’re selling it as some kind of feminist triumph. I’m boycotting.

    Why they never told loser Mitt to ‘ go knit’.


  88. 88
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mrmoshpotato: It’s like the Piers Gaveston Summer Ball.

  89. 89

    I think a big part of it is that an economy that’s dependent on a single sector tends to give the people who control that sector excessive control over the whole government. It doesn’t matter if that sector is an extractive industry, finance, agriculture, or what have you; it’s dominance by a single industry that’s the problem. More diverse economies avoid that by not having a single sector that dominates the economy to the same extent. Even if the individual business owners in the diverse economy are rich enough to have excessive power, they have competing interests that make them less effective at controlling the government.

    I would also point out that for a segment of the economy to be dominant, it matters most that the segment produces a lot of trade with the outside, not that it necessarily dominates the economy in an absolute sense. That’s because external trade has more to do with the overall wealth of the economy than producing goods and services entirely for internal consumption.

  90. 90
    Kelly says:

    We have a plywood mill about a mile away. It’s quite a racket when they are moving logs. Roaring diesel engine, backup alarms beeping, and the deep booming and banging of logs dropped onto steel conveyors. Fortunately it usually only goes on for less than an hour several times a day. The short duration of the racket also fits in a noise law loop hole. The mill provides about 25% of the diminishing steady jobs here in the Cascade Foothills and the locals regard it with reverence. The timber baron family that owns the mill donates $200k to $500k per election cycle to wingnut politicians and causes.

  91. 91
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Roger Moore:

    That’s because external trade has more to do with the overall wealth of the economy

    I understood (and FWIW vehemently agreed with) your comment; but this last bit puzzled me. By “wealth” did you mean to say “amount of money sloshing around”? That is, a big export sector that dominates economic activity necessarily means that its cash overwhelms everything else (and nobody else need have any cash, b/c they’re not buying what that sector is selling) and [of course] that’s bad for governance, b/c concentrated cash corrupts.

  92. 92
    Felanius Kootea says:

    Cole @ top

    The noise is just the beginning. Wait until the earthquakes start.

  93. 93
    worn says:

    @low-tech cyclist: Ha, ha, that was exactly my reaction: “What, y’all ain’t got any pitchforks in that valley?”

    That said, I feel for you John. They have been building a 7 story apartment building 100 ft from my house for 14 months now (2 more to go!) here in Portland. The unrelenting din is just misery personified. And they have recently started another, 3-story one, kitty-corner from me, across the street from the behemoth.


  94. 94
    Shalimar says:

    CEO has a house too. If you were to get nearby, broadcast a tape of the fracking noise directed at his house, and say it is a duck call if questioned by police, is anyone going to interfere with your god-given right to hunt?

  95. 95
    m.j. says:

    Maybe you could issue a challenge and ask them to stay a week in Bethany and you’ll play host.
    You are a gracious host.

  96. 96
    Vhh says:

    @Ohio Mom: Coventry.Or the Gulag (see Norilsk).

  97. 97
    J R in WV says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Sometimes I think that West Virginia is less like a state and more like some sort of internal colony: someplace we can extract all the value from and otherwise ignore. A pace we feel no obligation to the inhabitants of.

    Not only is West Virginia controlled by wealthy out-of-state corporations owning the legislature, the actual land in WV is mostly owned by out-of-state corporations. In some counties O-O-S ownership hits 90% of the surface, and over of the minerals. We own a little more than 200 acres of surface, and ZERO of what’s under the ground. They do allow us to drill water wells, and if mining ruins that water, they have to provide us with a new water supply.

    We own 9.99 acres of land in AZ, and also zero of the underground, with permission to drill water wells. Nothing we can do if the aquifer is drained by an irrigated farm pumping a million gallons of water a day to grow cotton, though! My cousin had great water from her well for years. But she lives across the road from a farm that grows corn for livestock. They have 18 inch bore water wells, each center pivot system draws a million gallons a day when running. Her water well went dry and pumped her home plumbing full of mud and stones at the end.

    Now she had a 600 gallon tank and gets water delivered each week, as long as her community wells still deliver water. What happens when those wells go dry? People will have to just leave for country where drinking water is still available. Those farmers are strip mining the aquifers. No limits on how much water they strip mine, either.

    I spent quite a bit of money and time connecting to “city water” some years ago when the Public Service District brought water lines to the next door farm in case our aquifer is destroyed by the O&G industry. Ran 700 feet of 2″ water line, dug the trench from where our well head is down the hollow to where the end of the City water line is, pay monthly water bill just to have the tap and meter installed. Because you never know what’s in the underground aquifer in the Oil Patch. And if it is contaminated, no one is responsible. They’ve been drilling and pumping oil and gas here since 1919, about 100 years. Who did what back then is a dark mystery.


    ETA: When the big farms in the mid-west run their aquifers dry, our breadbasket is over with, and we will all starve. I’ll be dead, and I’m glad we don’t have kids to worry about. But I still manage to worry about cousins, nephews, etc and everyone else out there.

  98. 98
    Erwin Bronx says:

    This is a travesty. Here are these energy companies touting their “affordable, abundant, clean-burning” natural gas, yet they somehow leave out the fact that they are devastating people’s lives in it’s pursuit. I work in the industry as an analyst, and I honestly feel sorry for the folks who happened to be positioned atop the most prolific shale resources on the planet. These companies act like they’re good stewards, because they can crap all over coal because it’s dirty, but they’re even more pervasive because they go on people’s property, they build pipelines across landslide zones, they do all these things that wouldn’t even be imaginable 10 years ago. But because it’s “clean” and “abundant” and domestically produced, it means they get carte blanche to fuck over people’s livelihoods and put innocent people in danger of explosions, emissions, leaks, and toxic chemicals so they can unlock this bounty. It’s shameful. It really is.

  99. 99
    TriassicSands says:

    Jeez John, lighten up. They are fracking for stuff we don’t need and shouldn’t use. Surely, with that high a priority wrecking the lives of a few Americans is a small price to pay on Donald Trump’s path to destroy the environment entirely.

    A true American would either ignore the noise or have a doctor perform surgery to render her or him deaf. End of problem.

    But clearly you don’t want to make America great again.

    On a more serious note, you should appear in person and control yourself so that you don’t damage your own just cause. The number of people who show up for events really can make a difference. So, take a Xanax (or nine*) and make your presence known. And if you’re a drooling mess, you can claim it’s from noise-induced insomnia. Screw them — they need to see you and everyone you can talk into going or drag there (if they are reluctant). Not showing up for meetings that consider the issue is similar to not voting on election day. Your cause is too important for you to stay home.

    *Better not take nine — they’re dangerous.

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