A Hoot! for City Paper for Explaining the Significance of the Marcellus Shale.

The Philadelphia City Paper’s cover story this week has very much blown me away.  Although I am continually pleased by this weekly paper’s witty and familiar voice, it is the utter thoroughness of research behind their title article which inspires my hoot.

The piece managed to break down in a lucid and coherent fashion all the details regarding the extraction of natural gas from Pennsylvania’s sub sphere.

Now, that this reserve should be spared from impetuous exploitation for the sake of environmental integrity would be the plain choice for most of us who place ourselves against the illusive corporate rival, but ultimately, as history has told, collective idealism proves to be unrealistic.  Regardless of our impotence to deter the drilling of public forest-land, as our informed voice, it is the responsibility of the independent press to shed light upon the perils associated with how the current government and its leader Ed Rendell is going about doing so.  Isaiah Thompson has done a brilliant job of informing me of this.

Beginning with how he opens the article with DCNR secretary’s letter of alarm to Rendell, and his subsequent renunciation of office, which I found to be an absorbing way to immediately sculpt the tone of gravity in his article, and effectively place the reader in a position of active participation in the matter (as we are given a political, inside alley from the get-go). 

In this lengthy piece, he results neither as a sentimental green flag-bearer nor is his writing a juxtaposition of unfathomable numbers and equally unfathomable sums of public money (my usual sentiment toward political reportage of this nature), yet all the while he manages to gracefully encompass both these standpoints.  What I mean is that he leaves no knots untied, his sources span from the trout lady (Deborah Nardone of Trout Unlimited) to the gas industrialist (ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson), and in between these he throws in the numbers and sums where needed.  His facts are all backed up by past and present evidence, making us aware that he has pursued his subject at great length. 

He approaches a very analytical discourse in an almost figurative way that felt comfortable and helped me to keep up, introducing me to the players involved somewhat like characters; the forest and its history, the entities which represent it and the men behind such organizations, the Marcellus Shale as a geological phenomenon, and finally legislature and Rendel.  All along he manages to intertwine many other outside and supporting voices that lend depth and soundness to the construction of his point of view.  These secondary voices are selected from both extremities of viewpoints regarding extraction (both lobbyists and technicians, locals and city slickers).  After reading this article I am not simply swooned into disdain for Rendel’s politics, or coaxed into being against the use of this resource to enrich the state, the country, what be it.  I feel that I am up to par, and can therefore draw an informed conclusion: the precarious way in which this land is being prostituted for the extraction of natural gas, with little enfaces on the consequences of such, worries me deeply as a past inhabitant and devotee of Pennsylvania’s countryside. 

– Natalia Chiarelli


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