Some high-profile stars paid a visit to Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania this week. The Associated Press reports that celebrity activists Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and Susan Sarandon toured a few of the northeastern county’s natural gas wells, meeting with residents who have been affected by fracking, a controversial method used for natural gas extraction.
Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon recently formed “Artists Against Fracking,” a group that, as you could probably guess, vehemently opposes natural gas drilling by working to “expose and stop the harmful and contaminating practice of fracking for natural gas and oil through mass awareness and peaceful democratic action.”
Tom Shepstone, of Energy In Depth, apparently trailed the stars’ tour bus the entire time, reinterpreting whatever PR damage they left in their wake. (Note: SourceWatch.org describes Energy in Depth as a “pro-oil-and-gas drilling industry front group formed by the American Petroleum Institute, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and dozens of additional industry organizations for the purpose of criticizing the documentary ‘Gasland…’)
As expected, Shepstone took issue with the celebs’ visit, stating “They don’t pay mortgages here, they don’t have to get jobs here, they don’t have to pay taxes here, they don’t have to support their families here. They just come up here to pick on this area and use it as part of their trendy cause.”
Guided by local activists, the group met with Matthew and Tammy Manning, who claim the presence of methane in their water is due to nearby fracking by WPX Energy. According to the AP report, the company is currently paying for outside water to be brought to the Mannings, though industry officials allege that the presence of methane is due to “naturally occurring shallow gas” and “not production gas from the Marcellus formation.”
Source: Associated Press | Photo: Richard Drew/Associated Press