Fracking Gas Shell Game

“Keep your eye on the pea. Follow every move, suckers. Our hands never leave our arms. Confused? That’s right. You can’t really know which shell hides the real gas pipeline route. ”

There’s been another feint in the direction of “not there after all” with regard to the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s actual path. The energy companies in all likelihood will yet again plot another zone of chaos, and in so doing, they keep the enemy off balance. Of so they presume.

I read this bit in the Roanoke Times, having had some advance word that this was in the offing. And since I’m working on this book that begins with the pipeline issue in SWVA, I created a line of loquacious dialogue in response to the wife reading the news clip to the husband at breakfast.

“Yep. Follow the bouncing pipeline” he said around a mouthful of toast. “and by fortuitous twist of fate and the folly of the game-playing shape-shifting bob-and-weave deceptions of the energy companies we play the find-the-real-pipeline game.” He tipped that last drop of coffee from the bottom of the cup.

“This is not all bad, actually. In the end, every time they move the route,  more residents of these mountain counties became threatened landowners. And there’s nothing makes a good activist like a threatened landowner.

The Energy Heavies thought in this public deception that they were putting the fear into the little people with tiny voices, but turns out,  they were just full of gas.”

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Kidding, no. Some hyperbole–but not sure how much. I suppose you are defending the energy folks from playing games with people on the ground? I dunno. But I do know that threatened landowners make the most fervent activists, and relocated along yet another line, while it might not have the intent to obfuscate, does have the consequence of raising up soldiers. Preston Forest, for instance. Or Floyd County. Or a hundred other communities along all of the proposed interstate pipelines in the east. Plenty of troops in battle gear.