|By Thorn Roberts|
No one seems to have raised the issue of the drive against the "legacy"
producers with shut-ins, artificially depressed prices and excessive, fraudulent
"transportation" and other charges connecting with the general drive to use
the Marcellus-Utica play by major corporations, intimately tied in with some
of the most important banks in the world, to simply take over the State and
the Appalachian area generally.
I want to play tribute to my friend, the late
Howard Quinn, for raising this issue in connection with the forced pooling
issue. I agree with this. But there is also the issue of utilities acting as a
cartel deliberately orchestrating the economic ruin of the "legacy producers"
and related entities in order to benefit by buying in the properties at bankruptcy
prices; knowing that the underlying mineral assets are now extremely valuable.
If something isn't done, we are simply going to repeat with the Marcellus-
Utica boom here what was experienced with coal in Appalachia in the late l9th
This is right out of the John D. Rockefeller playbook. This also involves
the corruption of justice issue in West Virginia in that involves the role of lawyers
who cover for it. There are criminal issues involved here, but no prosecutor will
touch this; everyone insists that all this is a "civil litigation" matter.
I respect the
lawyers such as Marvin Masters and others who have fought the good fight
on the litigation front and put up with a lot of trouble to do it.
But it's time
for someone to be more direct about what is really going on.
If we are not careful,
all the money will leave West Virginia, and what we will have is simply an
environmental dump where all the younger and more ambitious people are
gone. We are already heading toward this situation already, but what is going
on in the oil and gas business now will accelerate it.
By the way, I am going to raise another nasty issue. Regarding the drug
addiction problem, people here need to re-read their history about the Boxer
Rebellion in China in around l900. There are strong motives in the Appalachian
situation for powerful people to covertly encourage widespread drug use
in economically depressed areas- dope keeps people quiet and prevents
them from rocking the boat.
This, too, is part of the problem we need to
face in trying to prevent the next big ripoff of an energy-rich state.