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Anti-fracking viewers in Youngstown say lies fill ‘Truthland’

Published: Wed, August 15, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Burton Speakman



A mostly anti-fracking audience attended the first showing of “Truthland” in Youngstown on Tuesday at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor.

They laughed openly during the documentary and waved red flags when they believed panel members after the movie were lying. Later, they complained about the controlled nature of the event.

“Truthland” is a film made by Shelly DePue, a Pennsylvania farmer whose land was leased and fracked. Production of the film was paid for by Energy in Depth and the Independent Petroleum Association of America. The film attempts to refute the ideas presented in the film “Gasland,” which explores whether fracking is safe.

Fracking is a process in which sand, water and chemicals are pumped into shale at a high pressure to release the gas trapped within the rock thousands of feet underground.

Josh Fox produced “Gasland” after he was asked to lease his land for drilling.

DePue was part of Tuesday’s panel and answered a question about a well on her property that caused the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to investigate.

There was never any violation against the drilling company, DePue said.

“The company called the DEP when they found bubbling coming up from one of the wells,” she said. “The DEP said to drill an observation well next to the original well.”

The bubbling was caused by naturally occurring methane that exists, and has for centuries, all over Susquehanna County, Pa., DePue said. The drilling had never gotten deep enough to be at the Marcellus Shale when the bubbling was found.

Penny Seipel, vice president of community affairs for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, said more water from fracking is being recycled and reused, and chemicals are used in small amounts, but look like large amounts due to the size of the operation.

“I object to the idea that most of the chemicals used in fracking are something that most of us have in our homes, said Judy Vershum, one of those in the audience against fracking. It was just an example of the untruths that are shown in this film, she said.

Susie Biersdorfer, an activist for Frack Free Mahoning Valley, said the organization is calling for a televised open forum on fracking where both sides can speak and have a chance to answer questions.

“This was certainly not an open forum,” she said.

The "Truthland" panelists, however, did answer at least 22 questions from the mostly anti-fracking audience.

This is a economic opportunity for this community, said Tony Paglia, vice president of government and media affairs and a member of the panel.

“With any type of development there are risks. We feel that we can manage those risks,” he said.

The chamber estimates oil and gas development has brought between 1,500 and 2,000 direct or indirect jobs to the area and $1 billion in investment.


1ytownsteelman(659 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Greed is the driving force behind EVERY advancement in civilization since the invention of money. Greed is why we all get up to go to work in the morning (those of us who are pulling the wagon, not those of you who are being pulled, that is). Everyone wants to improve their situation in life and there is nothing wrong with that. Gas drilling is done with such a level of safety and respect for the environment that the risks are greatly outweighed by the gains. This is a chance for this city to once again share in prosperity, but some of you would rather see everyone here continue to wallow in despair. Go away! Get the hell out of our town!

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2bunkpatrol(191 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago


Money talks, that's for sure.

Ask the Natives on Alaska's coast about the promises from Exxon that started as court mandates and have been reduced to pennies on the dollar, with more money going toward attorneys than to culpability. Ask the fisherman in the Gulf how the shrimping is, what's that smell, or what chemicals are in my food. Oh sorry, BP says that's proprietary. Gotta protect company trade secrets.

THERE IS NO CULPABILITY. There is only PROPRIETARY. That's the word that allows them to legally usurp drinking water protection laws.

The building where I live felt like the third floor fell onto the second floor during the New Year's Eve earthquake. Who's gonna pay to bring me back to life when I'm crushed by your profit margin ?

How much can we pay you just to kill yourselves now ???

"Money doesn't talk, it swears." Bob Dylan

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324609(1 comment)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Point to an area of WV that has its environment 'improved' by coal mining. Have no objection to fracking, just buy what I have of value on the surface so I can leave....

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4BIGDRILL(36 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

The Beersdorfers and their supporters would have more credibility if they would resort to living like those in the pre-petroleum era.

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5chevelle64(11 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

just look at what happened at love canal near buffalo with the hooker chemical dumpsite, took so many years and cancer deaths to finally prove the site was leaking, dont ever trust your life to big money companies that tell you it is perfectly safe

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6ForJobs(3 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

I find it amazing that the Biersdorfers are railing against drilling in north east Ohio when the geology students at YSU are going to be counting on these jobs when they graduate. There is no industry that is regulated as heavily as oil and gas and if you have been reading the stories on this site, no scientific studies have shown that fracturing has contaminated anything.

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7southsidedave(5049 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

The mighty dollar and greed will prevail, unfortunately for the masses.

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8Coffeecupguy(5 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Frack baby Frack,, Im loving it. This is the Steelmills of my time,,,you old aholes had your time,,,,go protest the pollution the mills have done to this town. The Only people against Fracking are the ones to lazy to work they dont want this town to prosper,,,they wont be able to complain about the job situation anymore. Greddy? ya I want more! who doesnt?

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