Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored." Usually we're just riotously funny here, and it's been a minor hit. But there's a new danger on the horizon, and it's not a Weeping Angel.
This danger is hydraulic fracturing. Better known as fracking.
Just when you would think that Appalachia has been f***** enough for centuries, there's a new kid on the block. Well, actually it's an old bully -- Big Energy, with a new agenda: fracking (yeah, I know, even Puck couldn't have picked a better name).
Fracking is the process of extracting natural gas from shale layers up to and exceeding a mile beneath the surface of Appalachia. And this time we're not talking about just West Virginia and Kentucky. This time we're including Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland.
The way fracking works is, they drill a hole into the shale layer, and then drill a horizontal hole along a part of the shale bed. Then they pump chemical-laden water into the drill hole. The water causes pressure that releases natural gas, which is captured and piped to ... oh hell, to wherever they make the power that's driving this computer.
I went to a lecture last month at Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences. One of the speakers said that there's a minimum of $1.3 trillion worth of natural gas just in the Marcellus Shale. Other shale layers beneath the Marcellus layer also have gas in them.
Well, I love sitting here using electricity to power my computer. So I'm not going to come down hard on fracking, even in the face of this early indication of what's to come:
Here's my take on it. We know the gas is there. Could we just possibly stop, take a cleansing breath, and create safe technology for extraction?
What's the frackin rush here? That gas has been in those rocks for eons and eons and eons! Could we be patient for 50 years and put our best minds to work on getting it out cleanly, and without so much disruption in the form of tanker trucks, refineries, and toxic waste?
Oh, of course not. It doesn't work that way. Big Energy wants to grab, grab, grab.
To which the bored gods say: "Frack you."
When the watershed that may be polluted is the Delaware River, rest assured that B.E. will have to move cautiously. What's in that fracking fluid? Are the citizens of Manhattan going to wake up one day, turn on the shower, and have flames (or radioactivity) come pouring out?
Patience is a virtue that is not often cultivated. Therefore, we at "The Gods Are Bored" inaugurate a new theme with a new slogan: "Don't pass gas fast."
It begs the question: What next for Appalachia? How many times can these mountains be raped, in how many ways? Oh, my dear friends! The mighty Appalachians are not "just asking for it." They are ancient and sacred ... and how we treat them will show just what we're made of.