The Good Ole’ Boy Extraction Club: The Women of Fracking – The Courageous, the Extorted, and the Excuseless (Part 2)

Anadarko fracking operations, Watson Township, Luzerne County, PennsylvaniaLong ago Karl Marx argued that one of the hallmark characteristics of the marketing required to support mass production was the creation of a kind of false consciousness, that is, a sense of needing things we once merely wanted (or didn’t know), creating acutely felt desires for things intended to be consumable and disposable. In the contemporary incarnation of the culture industry, corporations like Chesapeake or Anadarko work hard to create a similar kind of delusion, namely, that they offer a product that is clean, American, endless—something only the un-American Luddite would deny.

In a world where the purchase of appearances is the ticket to profit margins, even the sacrifice of life can become convenient fodder for good advertizing. Consider Chesapeake’s effort to greenwash and genderize itself by partnering up with the Susan G. Koman Foundation and Race For the Cure to sponsor a 2009 bicycle “race” called “Cruising for the Cure.” The article opens with the stark facts about breast cancer: “[o]ne in eight women in the U.S. is diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime; that’s an estimated 5 million Americans over the next 25 years.” Chesapeake then announces its “partnership” with both organizations “to provide financial support and participants for several local Race for the Cure events.” The message is clear. We can trust Chesapeake to tell us the truth about cancer, to help find a cure, and to identify with its victims: “I had a scare myself in college,” said Tiesa Leggett, Chesapeake Public Affairs Representative. “Luckily it did not turn out to be cancer, but it’s frightening to think that statistically, anyone of us could be diagnosed in the future.” The caption under a picture filled with smiling bicyclists reads: “Chesapeake is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for its employees and the residents in the communities where it operates. As a result, the company partners with a number of health organizations including the American Diabetes Association (ADA).”

It is at least disappointing that organizations like Susan B. Koman or Race for the Cure—organizations devoted to curing disease and improving human life—opt to partner with corporations directly implicated in creating the conditions of the very cancers they purport to want to cure. It’s more than disappointing; this public relations coup for Chesapeake is a disaster for women—and I think a serious moral lapse for such otherwise charitable organizations.  Chesapeake uses events like this bike race to promote itself as a compassionate enterprise interested in human welfare, women’s health and environmental integrity. But the truth is that its drilling process involves benzene and that its spokespersons actively lobby elected representatives to pass legislation to keep its chemical cocktails proprietary, its access to property—private and public—convenient, its reporting of accidents cursory, and its image shiny and fresh. The fact is that Chesapeake uses non-profits like Susan B. Koman to genderize and greenwash its image in the face of the fact that it contributes to breast cancer. What could be better than a foundation devoted to the cure of breast cancer to indemnify you against the accusation that you’re a cause of breast cancer? What better a cancer to pretend to care about than one that sickens and kills thousands of women?

Chesapeake’s partnering with non-profits aimed at women’s health epitomizes the masculinist worldview to which the Good Ole’ Boy Extraction Club thinks itself entitled. Rather like a relationship of domestic violence, Hubby- Chesapeake’s Charitable Foundation-Wife comes to the marriage economically vulnerable in virtue of a social structure which panders to Hubby’s buddies—Anadarko, Chief, Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Inergy, XTO, Shell, Aqua America/PVR, Williams Production, Stantec—and all of their “midstream” associates. Hubby poisons and rapes Wife in order to extract minerals from her womb—but then brings her flowers and promises fun things like bicycle events. Sadly, however, Wife is already sick, and unless she can break free of Hubby altogether, she will end up dead even while he ends up rich—while the rest of us stand about wondering why there’s so much damn cancer. How much charitable organizations ought to be faulted for taking frack-bucks is, of course, up for debate. But one thing’s clear—the money is as dirty as is the misogynist profiteering behind it. Indeed, the money is as dirty as is the cynical strategy of the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition soliciting Big Energy for donations.  As Green Generation reports in an article titled “Greenwash of the Month: Breast Cancer Prevention and Fracking Chemicals Don’t Mix”:

PPBC’s [Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition] website caters to this desire of companies to be seen as socially conscious in their blog article, “Can Your Business Help Take A Swing Against Breast Cancer?”  The article details the advantages of becoming a company sponsor of their Baseball Derby stating, “The promotional and marketing opportunities are well worth the cost!  Plus, your company will be seen in a positive light by linking with the PBCC, a non-profit breast cancer organization.” (Greenwash of the Month: Breast Cancer Prevention and Fracking Chemicals Don’t Mix | Generation Green – the consumer action wing of the Center for Environmental Health).

The purchase of appearance is the ticket to profit margins—and Chesapeake is not the only one who knows it. Just as many of the leader-activists in the anti-fracking movement are women, so too does the industry understand that its best marketing strategy is not just to put “the race for the cure” on its website home pages, but to employ women as the face of their public relations campaigns.

(Women of the anti-fracking movement, Cyndi, protest at Bowman Field, Range Resources sponsored Shale Day baseball game, Summer 2012, Williamsport, Pennsylvania; woman at protest at Schlumberger, Horseheads New York, Summer 2012; Sandra Steingraber, Protest at Schlumberger, Horseheads, New York, Summer, 2012)

Among the most visible of the fracking industry’s promotional agencies is Energy in Depth (EID) who along with the Marcellus Shale Coalition feature women both in youtube-style advertising for fracking, and as spokespersons or “reporters” for the natural gas industry. The aims, I suggest, are three-fold: first, to enlist women in the promotion of shale extraction despite the fact that fracking poses serious risks to women’s health, to exploit the iconic connection between women and “Mother Nature” as a strategy for green-washing the industry, and lastly, to genderize an industry controlled not only by men, but by interests which reinforce the patriarchal status quo. To take just four brief examples:

1. In a promotional video produced by EID titled “Women of the Marcellus” three women, a dairy farmer from Troy, a single-parent working for a local pharmacist, and a bed and breakfast owner from Towanda, each describe how the Marcellus shale industry has benefitted their families.

Energy In Depth- Women of Marcellus – YouTube

 A dairy farmer describes how in 2009 the recession nearly drove the family farm under—until the white trucks of the landmen appeared. A single parent describes how, in kindling a romance with a childhood friend who has retired and gone to work for the industry, she is able to put her kids through private school. She points out with great pride that her oldest son will likely go to work in the shale region. The Towanda owner of the Victorian Charm Inn caters to gas industry executives and representatives “who have become like family.” This latter vignette is particularly striking given that Towanda has experienced increased crime and blight due to the transient fracking industry workers who occupy its man camps.

2. Appointed by DEP, Kathryn Klaber is the president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), a group promoting itself as an advocate for “responsible development,” but that plays “a leading role in the gains made by a coalition of organizations and employers to improve tax competitiveness and the business climate in Pennsylvania” for the extraction industry (President). She also takes an active role in squashing bad press for corporations like Cabot, the star of Josh Fox’ Gasland (the documentary that exposed well-contamination in Dimock), and she defends the EPA report concluding Dimock’s water was clean despite evidence to the contrary: “we’re now able to close this chapter once and for all” (EPA: Water Safe to Drink in Fracking Region Town). Klaber provided damage control to the industry at this year’s incarnation of Shale Gas Outrage, an anti-fracking demonstration in Philadelphia, by promising a “campaign” to answer “the questions of residents of Southeastern Pennsylvania with facts, with sound science and with comprehensive research” (Marcellus drillers launch campaign to repair image in Philadelphia area – And she was instrumental in promoting Governor Corbett’s courtship of Shell with 1.7 billion in tax breaks to build an ethane cracker plant in Beaver County. It’s no accident that DEP appoints a woman as the president of a pro-industry group advocating for the promise of jobs. After all, she could be a mother, a daughter, a sister—certainly not someone who’d lie to us about the toxic agents used in fracking

Kathryn Klaber talks natural gas development, jobs with Steve Corbett – YouTube

3. Energy in Depth is a pro-industry group funded by the American Petroleum Institute as well as a number of extraction corporations (Anadarko, BP, Chevron, El Paso Corporation, EnCana, Halliburton, Marathon, Occidental Petroleum, Schlumberger, Shell API, Talisman and XTO Energy) (Connecting the Dots: The Marcellus Natural Gas Play Players – Part 3). EID employs a number of writers and “field reporters,” but two of these, Nicole Jacobs and Rachael Colley stand out in virtue of their sheer excitement about fracking. In her criticism of an anti-fracking student art contest in Vestal, New York, for example, Colley insisted that the event unfairly encouraged hostility to the industry—all the while ignoring the gender-freighted symbolism of a work depicting an infant suckling from a gas can ( State-Codified Avoidance of Accountability and Genocidal Profiteering: Gag Orders, Compressor Station Explosions, Children’s Art Projects, and Fracking | Raging Chicken Press).

Rachael Colley, filming for Energy in Depth, Schlumberger, Horseheads, New York, Summer 2012For her part, Jacobs attacks anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins for “crying wolf” when Scroggins insisted on a DEP investigation into “loud flaring” at a drill site near her home. Jacobs wonders “how much of our taxpayer money is spent needlessly investigating complaints such as the ones made by Scroggins” (Legitimate Concern Over Natural Gas or Wasting Taxpayer Money? | Energy In Depth – Northeast Marcellus Initiative), and yet she also acknowledges that the wells on land near her own home have been contaminated with brine, a byproduct of the drilling process.

My point here is not to suggest that women ought never to be critics of other women—of course we should

Protester, Schlumberger, Horseheads, New York, Summer 2012

and we must. Neither is my point that Jacobs and Colley are simply naïve dupes of the fracking industry. They are not. My point is that as long as women continue to identify their own advances on a scale determined by and for men, they will continue to contribute to the ongoing entitlement of men’s interests. And we cannot afford this in the era of hydraulic fracturing.  Whether what we’re talking about is exposure to carcinogens that cause breast cancer, or the dispossession of economically vulnerable women and their children, or the exploitation of cancer in the interest of propagandizing for fracking—or even if what we’re talking about are the reasons why intelligent educated women like Colley and Jacobs would throw their own lots in with “the gas”—we cannot afford another minute of dithering about what fracking means for women’s health or for the conditions of women’s lives. If the symbolism contained in images of “Mother Earth” have any meaning in the 21st century it is surely that none cleave more closely to the existential conditions of life than do real flesh and blood mothers for whom water represents not only the stuff of life but its tenuousness.

At the end of fossil fuel extraction is a “Mother Earth” despoiled and a choice: we can continue on the path of entitlement that will continue to reward the same players—mostly male, mostly white, mostly affluent—until the gas runs out, or we can start screaming.

Rachael Leone, at the end of the state police raid at the Occupation of Riverdale, June 12th, 2012

Just a few of the inspiring women of the Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio Anti-Fracking Movement:

Hilary Acton

Vera Scroggins

Leah Jacobs Schade

Sandra Steingraber

Dory Hippauf

Deirdre Lolley

Rachael Leone

Carol Culver

Krys Cail

Joanne Fiorito

Gloria Forouzan

Texas Sharon

Julie Ann Edgar

Judy Morrash Muskauski

Debbie Ziegler Lambert

Deb Eck

Barbara Jarmoska

Michelle Novak Thomas

Holly Hall- Stamper

Kristin Hayes

Jackie Wilson

Rebecca Roter

Ranjana Bhandari

Mary Ellen Persuit

Kelly Finan

Linde Van Groenigan

Vanessa Vine

Liz Rosenbaum

Tara Zrinski

Ann Pinca

Nancy Dolan

Diana Ludwig

LT Atkinson

Mandy Middaugh Mauer

Wendy Lynne Lee

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31 Comments on The Good Ole’ Boy Extraction Club: The Women of Fracking – The Courageous, the Extorted, and the Excuseless (Part 2)

  1. And some more of these awesome women:

    Susie Beiersdorfer
    Patti Gorcheff
    Donna Carver
    Lynn Anderson
    Monica Beasley-Martin
    Christine Moore
    Elaine Baer
    Elisa Young
    Chris Khumprakob
    Kari Matsko
    Vanessa Turi Pesec
    Teresa Bumi Mills


  3. When EID made fun of Wendy Lynne Lee I comment this..”Hey don’t forget my rant at
    There are a number of us out there who will use unconventional methods to educate or convert others of the horrors of unconventional methane extraction ….now please try to discredit this information cause it is in the news today with the LA TIMES and Australia’s fracking leakage rate and here is my comment you can try to discredit too. “The state of Texas TCEQ does NOT test for methane on their suma canisters or their permanent air monitors….they refuse to accept that the feds want GHG’s tracked and reported. The Ft Worth one million dollar air study had ERG present their findings at a public meeting the evening of 7/19/11. The notes I took when I attended was that “we (Ft Worth) are at 5-10 ppm of methane in ambient air…2ppm is the average worldwide background, that the air becomes toxic if methane is at 50,000 ppm”. So if Ft Worth has 2-5 times more methane in our air, that is saying alot since we have been urban drilling for ten years now. Our Railroad Commission, who regulates our state’s natural resources/minerals, needs to be fired, and our governor needs to direct the TCEQ to start screening, and reporting methane losses.” PS kudos if you post this…I have a snap shot that I submitted this if U don’t post this comment.”

  4. Wendy,

    Thank you for starting this list and for adding to it. There are so many women who play important roles in frack fight. When I look around at organizing meetings, rallies, council hearings, I see a preponderance of women. We are definitely doing much of the heavy lifting and I realize that many of these women don’t want/don’t care about acknowledgement, they just want to get the work done. There are many who choose to remain behind the scenes, but work like hell to make things happen.

    Because they care.

    Here are a few more PA women that I suggest for addition:

    Iris Bloom, Debbie Borowiec, Vanessa Coptis, Dana Dolney, Karen Feridun, Carol French, Wanda Guthrie, Carolyn Knapp, Jenny Lisak, Maria Payan, Julie Sautner, Briget Shields, Diane Sipe, Loretta Weir

  5. Iris Bloom
    Debbie Borowiec
    Vanessa Coptis
    Dana Dolney
    Karen Feridun
    Carol French
    Wanda Guthrie
    Carolyn Knapp
    Jenny Lisak
    Maria Payan
    Julie Sautner
    Briget Shields
    Diane Sipe
    Loretta Weir

  6. Dear Jane,

    Please except my heartfelt apologies for failing to include your name–this was in no way intentional–just an oversight. The moment it was brought to my attention, I rectified the error. I DID say that the list was incomplete–so I am very grateful for all of the additions.

    Please keep them coming. There were also a number of women at Riverdale whose last names I did not know–and I am MORE than happy to include them as well. Some of these brave women I think would actually not want their names to be mentioned–and I have tried to respect that as well.


  7. Dear Wendy and others,
    I am very sorry I snapped…I have alot of personal issues going on right health problems..which have effected work..home..feeling very over whelmed..and I over reacted. My sister, Joyce, put it best, It wasn’t that I wanted recognition, I just felt left out..this may sound stupid..but when you are in a place..that I am sure Julie and Debbie..Vera.. Joanne…just to name a few..who have been personally effected..understand the hurt we feel from the outside..the friends we lost..the harassment we get…so when we come to all of these fracking sites..they are our only share with and fight with others who understand the fight..but if you don’t live don’t understand much more. How many people, who you thought were your friends…turn their backs on you. I just feel like we get it all from all ends from the outside world..from people who either don’t care, don’t get it, think your lying, or worse yet..believes energy Independence comes with it’s cost…not caring if it is lives…as long as it’s not theirs…it is just a constant battle for us..from one end to the next with this industry… dividing people…. and at those times..coming to those sites…you all are my only…being left out…. just hurt…especially today..when my mood had already started out weepy….sorry i snapped..

  8. HI Jane–no apology necessary–I truly meant no offense to anyone. Much less hurt.

    My aim was simply to offer a sample, and I (I suppose like most folks) went with folks I have had the awesome opportunity to meet in person or talk to more often. I would be delighted to meet you at some point as well, and I hope I’m that fortunate.
    I am thrilled to see this list growing!

    I recognize how difficult your circumstances are–and I know that because I am not as close, that my understanding is limited. I do listen to my fellow’s experiences–and I very much appreciate your sharing yours. Thank you.

    In solidarity,

    Wendy 🙂

  9. I know you didn’t mean to I was an emotional outburst….my emotions are a little out of sorts these days..I should NOT have snapped..and btw..your aticle was VERY good..thank you for taking the time you do…and to care…! I wrote this as my status..and i’d like to share with you…
    …..I will be taking the advise of my dear friend Michell’e Boice, who always seems to catch me before I reallllly go off the deep end…haha…it is time for a break from fracking stuff…i need to regroup…I have fought very hard along side of some AMAZING PEOPLE…, to ALL of the group from GDAC…who have been there since day one, THANK YOU! You, (GDAC, my friends) all saved family and my property…I could have NEVEr done it without you…or learn as much as I did..from you… All the rest of you…I am so appreciative for all that you do!!!…
    *********THIS PART IS FOR YOU WENDY!!!…
    To all those who are personally all who just do what they do because THEY CARE!..That is BIG… do something..for no other reason except your compassion for others..your respect to our environment, for future generations…and you do it all…just because you know it is the right thing to do…….Kuddos to all of the above….and ALL who fight OUR fight…as our army continues to grow….I will be back..just need a little time out…thank you all so much..for all of your love, support , kindness…and most of all..friendship!!!

    • And we will all be here–excited for your return, and very glad that you saw the need to take a bit of a breather.

      I hope I have that wisdom, Jane.

      This movement can be crushing in the immensity of the need to keep screaming. But as there are more and more voices, the opportunities to regroup become a little more realistic.

      Here we all are fighting for our humanity, for the futures of our children’s humanity–and what we risk more than anything is its loss to the stress this fight engenders and the urgency that encourages us to ignore our own health and lives.

      Let us decide NOT to give our health and lives to the frackers. They surely don’t deserve that.


  10. I know you didn’t mean to I was TRULY was an emotional outburst..(not all related to this…i am sorry i took it out on you..) emotions are a little out of sorts these days..I should NOT have snapped..and btw..your aticle was VERY good..thank you for taking the time you do what you do…and to care…! I wrote this as my status..and i’d like to share with you…
    …..I will be taking the advise of my dear friend Michell’e Boice, who always seems to catch me before I reallllly go off the deep end…haha…it is time for a break from fracking stuff…i need to regroup…I have fought very hard along side of some AMAZING PEOPLE…, to ALL of the group from GDAC…who have been there since day one, THANK YOU! You, (GDAC, my friends) all saved family and my property…I could have NEVEr done it without you…or learn as much as I did..from you… All the rest of you…I am so appreciative for all that you do!!!…
    *********THIS PART IS FOR YOU WENDY!!!…
    To all those who are personally all who just do what they do because THEY CARE!..That is BIG… do something..for no other reason except your compassion for others..your respect to our environment, for future generations…and you do it all…just because you know it is the right thing to do…….Kuddos to all of the above….and ALL who fight OUR fight…as our army continues to grow….I will be back..just need a little time out…thank you all so much..for all of your love, support , kindness…and most of all..friendship!!!

  11. Ultimately, the truly grand aspect of this is that there are now MANY of us ~ so many that we don’t all “know” one another. That certainly wasn’t the case 2-3 years ago, when it was a cakewalk to formulate a thorough and complete listing.

    Our numbers are growing at a rate that can only be construed as very encouraging, indeed! 🙂

    We’re all pulling in the same direction ~ FIGHT ON, SISTERS! ♥

  12. haha..Yes LT…you are so right!..I remember those days..haha..(our late night crew..;))but the fact our numbers keep growing..IS certainly I a GREAT thing!!!!!..thank God our army keeps on growing..and…also yes..we have to take breaks every now and again..or we will then let the frackers break us…and I won’t let that happen…! I will be back…thank you all for your understanding and your never ending support..solidarity my friends. <3



    One example of precisely the topic I am trying to speak to in this particular piece–the complicity of some women in the promotion of the extraction industry, the exchange between Nicole Jacobs, Rachael Colley, and myself. The exchange is interesting because it highlights the extent to which women who might in some ways identify with the goals of the feminist movement–that is, that they can participate as equal players in the institutions and organizations men have constructed–nonetheless act in ways that undermine the lives and aspirations of other women–especially poor and/or minority women.

    Ms. Jacobs and Ms. Colley both function under the illusion that their positions at Energy in Depth are testimonial to the equality of women in a man’s field–they site equal pay as the measure of this equality. But what neither see is that this is a bribe for a service they provide to the fracking industry that their male counterparts cannot, namely gender-sanitized window-dressing for an industry that contributes to the production of conditions associated with cancers that target women. If anything, Jacobs and Colley should be paid more for their particular effort at shilling. They can’t perpetrate a deception that, say, Joe Massaro and Tom Shepstone just aren’t going to be as good at–the myth that fracking is safe with respect to carcinogen exposure.

    Indeed, Mr. Shepstone in and EID post 11.19.12 tries to argue the simply ludicrous claim that we have nothing to worry about with respect to the chemicals protected by proprietary rights laws because they are so benign! He fails, however, to ask why–if so benign–such chemicals, their mixes, quantities, and compound reactions NEED such protection. No doubt, he’d respond that the need derives from competition–if the competitor knew THAT mix, etc., it would give them the fracking-advantage. But this response fails as abysmally as his original argument since it’s the TOXICITY of that mix that leverages the advantage. hence it’s the TOXICITY that must be protected by proprietary rights laws. Moreover, this is precisely what is recognized in Pennsylvania’s ACT 13’s physician gag order clause that permits a doctor to tell her patient that she has been exposed to frack fluids–but not the QUANTITY OR THE MIX because THESE are precisely what is protected as “PROPRIETARY.”

    About as straight-forward a violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution as we could imagine–and almost surely to be struck down as such. Hence, we can only interpret Mr. Shepstone’s defense as a rearguard maneuver to ally this decision, for as he just as surely knows, if the public actually knew what proprietary rights laws protect, they’d be outrages. They’d see plainly that it is no exaggeration to call this industry genocidal profiteering.

    As for my exchange with Ms. Jacobs and Ms. Colley, in the end it just leaves me cold and sad when educated, bright, and capable women so identify their own emancipation with the money-soaked standard of value bequeathed to them by what remains a demonstrably patriarchal culture that they cannot see that there is far more to justice than narrow self-interest.

    The exchange in toto:

    NIcole Jacobs: “Actually Wendy, we don’t look at Joe as our “knight in shining armor,” although he is a pretty nice guy. Realistically, he’s the person who attended your event, so he wrote the post. Rachael and I are just as capable and would have written one had we attended. He calls Rachael by her first name because they’re friends, not as a sign of disrespect. Had he called her Colley or Miss Colley she might well have taken offense.
    I also read your paper and, quite frankly, find your view of women who have become successful in “male dominated positions” demeaning and hypocritical. First, those women who fought for our rights and continue to work to break the glass ceiling didn’t fight so we could sit back smug because we can have those jobs–they did it so we’d take them if we wanted them. I participate in a group of hundreds of women, from this region alone, working in this industry; from general laborers to management and educators and each and every woman is proud of the work they do, me included.
    Lastly, professor roles are historically male as well, so by your definition are you not doing the exact thing you claim we are? Your argument collapses on itself for if we are to not take historically male positions because they perpetuate a male dominated society, then what would you have us do? Sit at home like good little women raising babies (not that there is anything wrong with a woman choosing to do so–it is her choice afterall.)?
    I am proud of my PASSHE earned degree, proud I am putting it to use, and proud to be a part of the many women of the natural gas industry helping to secure a better future for generations to come in our region. You take issue with not what we do, but who we do it for, and the effort put into your paper to stretch a solid, successful career into something of which to be ashamed, simply because you disagree with us, is inexcusable for a tenured professor.”

    My response:

    “Nicole Jacobs: “I also read your paper and, quite frankly, find your view of women who have become successful in “male dominated positions” demeaning and hypocritical. First, those women who fought for our rights and continue to work to break the glass ceiling didn’t fight so we could sit back smug because we can have those jobs–they did it so we’d take them if we wanted them. I participate in a group of hundreds of women, from this region alone, working in this industry; from general laborers to management and educators and each and every woman is proud of the work they do, me included.”
    Response: No Ms. Jacobs, your view of women is mercenary and self-defeating. By participating for pay in an industry whose environmental and human consequences include breast cancer, and because you cannot fail to know this, YOU are actively undermining the capacity of many women to achieve their own dreams. Indeed, you are clearly willing to sacrifice not only women but life in general to make the money EID pays you. Your motto is clearly “Success! At any cost!” Just because it pays well, Ms. Jacobs, and just because you have allies doesn’t mean it is morally acceptable to do it. You have bought into an overwhelmingly male-dominated industry, and if you think it will ever see you as anything other than “a woman in a man’s field,” you are sadly mistaken. After all, your actions strengthen the stranglehold the men who are pulling ALL of the strings here have over ALL of the rest of us–including you.
    Ms. Jacobs: “…professor roles are historically male as well, so by your definition are you not doing the exact thing you claim we are? Your argument collapses on itself for if we are to not take historically male positions because they perpetuate a male dominated society, then what would you have us do?” No, Ms Jacobs, you are wrong again. I AM a professor, and I have made it my career to interrogate the meaning of that from within the professoriate. Google me and see for yourself. I challenge the image of what a professor ought to be and do every day. YOU simply repeat the same male-privileging pro-extraction line of your male colleagues. I reflect an academic profession that is sexist and has much to change–especially in philosophy. I take risks to make out these arguments. You reflect only the party line of an industry that is poisoning the very women you claim to emulate. You risk nothing. Well, there’s your health–but that’s the risk to which your money-making venture exposes all of us.
    I don’t disagree with you, Ms. Jacobs. I expose you. I have shown that you are both deeply wrong in your assessment of the facts, and that you–for the sake of making money and getting to pretend you have a secure place with “the boys”–are deluded.”

    Nicole Jacobs:

    “Well Wendy, I had to stop laughing long enough to be able to respond. What’s funny is it’s not what you say about me that upsets me, it’s what you represent for the educational system and the ever existing debate on whether student tuition is being spent appropriately. It’s evident just from the responses you post to us that you are the type of professor who does not seek to educate students on how to think rationally, as is the purpose of philosophy, but rather the type that condescends, preaches to, and leaves no room for argument. I truly feel sorry for any males in your classroom and any females who do not buy into the notion that anything we do will not be good enough because there will always be a man doing better.
    Now onto your actual argument. You dislike what we do because you claim we are selling out and helping spread cancer. You say I am “reflect[ing] only the party line of an industry that is poisoning the very women you claim to emulate.” But isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black? Wendy you sound like a parrot spewing Josh Fox nonsense. Even Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which you condescend upon in your paper, says cancer rates are not on the rise in areas of development.
    Opponents of fracking say breast cancer rates have spiked exactly where intensive drilling is taking place — and nowhere else in the state. The claim is used in a letter that was sent to New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo by environmental groups and by Josh Fox, the Oscar-nominated director of “Gasland,” a film that criticizes the industry. Fox, who lives in Brooklyn, has a new short film called “The Sky is Pink.”
    But researchers haven’t seen a spike in breast cancer rates in the area, said David Lee, a professor of medical anthropology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
    David Risser, an epidemiologist with the Texas Cancer Registry, said in an email that researchers checked state health data and found no evidence of an increase in the counties where the spike supposedly occurred.
    And Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a major cancer advocacy group based in Dallas, said it sees no evidence of a spike, either.
    I for one believe those trained in the medical profession and those who make it their daily purpose to find a cure for a disease that has touched each and every one of us far more than a professor of philosophy that seems to still be stuck in the cave studying shadows. Come up with another party line to spew, Wendy. That one’s getting old.
    As for not taking risks. I’m not worried when I go on a well site quite frankly, but I take risks every day as a result of proudly giving my opinion and sharing facts on this website. Ask some of your fellow Josh Fox followers about the threats they send us for speaking up. Ask them about those they send the landowners and elected officials who speak up. And yet we continue on because we believe in this industry and what it means for our communities.
    I’ll say it again, I am proud of the degree I earned from the very state system you disgrace, my professors are proud of what I have done with my degree since graduation and even ask me to come speak/have their students send me questions, I am proud to have a job in an economy where far too many are so not so fortunate and I am proud of the work I do every day. If I wasn’t I wouldn’t work here. I don’t look to a man to justify my standing, although their criticisms are just as welcome as my female colleagues. When my partner and I decide to have children and decide whether he or I will stay home with them or both of us will continue to work, I’ll be proud of that decision as well. You see, I don’t look at my relationships whether professional or personal to see what male is holding me back, I view my male counterparts as equals and my work ethic and drive has led them to view me the same. I don’t play the victim card because I’m a female, I strive to overcome that historical stigma and prove my worth the same as any male is required to do. Your ideology is flawed at best and whether you respond or not, I am done with this conversation. The circles, the misinformation, the fear you spread may work on students still figuring out who they are in this world, but quite frankly I find them lacking in intellectual stimulation, nonsensical, and not worth my time. I will end with a quote of a rather angry follower of ours:
    “You know you’ve got them worried when they can’t stop talking about you.””

    My response:

    “Unable or, more likely, unwilling to comprehend the difference between politics and pedagogy, Ms. Jacobs makes the wildly unsubstantiated claim that because I have taken the time to patiently and thoroughly laid out the abysmal failures of Mr. Massaro’s argument, Ms. Jacob’s and Ms. Colley’s defense of their complicity in fracking, Mr. Shepstone’s lackluster response menu, etc., that I must be a dictatorial professor, and a “disgrace” to my university.
    One response: COME AND SEE. Sign up for a class. Or even just show up for a class. Any class. Any time. No need to give me heads up. Happy to have you participate. More than happy to post you the course syllabi. I’ll make it even easier for you:
    Spring, 2013:
    Introduction to Philosophy: T/R 9:30-10:45, 11-12:15
    Philosophy of Ecology: T/R 2-3:15.
    Contemporary Moral Problems: W, 5-8.
    And if you’d like to see my student evaluations, my peer reviews, my curriculum vitae, my professional publication record, you let me know.
    The gauntlet is down, Ms. Jacobs. Don’t bother with excuses to wriggle out. We both know your bosses at EID would be thrilled for you to come.
    As for breast cancer and fracking, let’s review:
    “Hydraulic Fracturing (fracking): Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, is a process used to increase production in oil and natural gas wells. More recently, fracking has been used in combination with horizontal drilling through shale layers to reach natural gas reserves that were previously not easily accessed. Large quantities of water and other fluids are pumped into the ground at high pressure, which causes rock to break and allows gas to be extracted. Fracking fluids can contain chemicals linked to breast cancer, including known and suspected carcinogens such as benzene and toluene, and endocrine-disrupting compounds such as the phthalate DEHP. Evidence is beginning to emerge that these chemicals may contaminate underground water sources. In addition, waste water containing fracking fluids, bromine salts (which interfere with wastewater treatment), minerals and radioactivity from deep in the earth flows back out of wells and must be stored and disposed of safely. There have been a number of spills of fracking waste water, and underground storage of this waste has been implicated in the increased incidence of earthquakes around some storage wells. A summary of the chemicals used in fracking can be found here.”
    From the CDC:
    “The Centers for Disease Control has recently reported that while breast cancer rates have been slowly falling in recent years, they are on the rise in several natural gas production counties in Texas. The counties, including Denton County and five surrounding counties, has been the home to the largest concentration of natural gas production, according to a 2010 Texas Commission on Environmental Quality report, which inventoried natural gas production emission sources in 24 counties among the Barnett Shale.
    It just so happened that the cancer hike was exclusive to the same counties that had the highest concentration of natural gas production equipment and emissions – which are known to utilize a number of toxic solvents and other chemicals for their natural gas ‘fracking’ production according to some scientists.
    It also so happens that while the rest of Texas and the U.S. on average is experiencing lower cancer rates, rates are up in these six counties: Denton, Hood, Johnson, Parker, Tarrant and Wise counties. These six counties contain about 3 million people within a 5,000 square mile area.
    Breast cancer rates have been falling nationally over the last few years according to the National Cancer Institute. Between 1975 to 1999, breast cancers rose from 103 per 100,000 people to 141 per 100,000. Then the rates dropped since 1999, to 127 per 100,000 in 2008 – the last yearly data published by the Institute.
    Meanwhile, according to the Texas Cancer Registry, breast cancer rates among these six counties in Texas has risen by nearly 20% from 2005 to 2008.
    Research has increasingly found that breast cancer is linked to toxins. These have included smoking, synthetic hormones and other toxins according to the American Cancer Society. Most experts also agree that poor diet and lack of antioxidants also significantly relate to breast cancer. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Cancer Institute have been funding the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program, which studies causitive elements at laboratories on the east coast and west coast.
    “Finding cancer clusters has a very limited application in understanding environmental exposure, since statistical research methods work better when studying things that are big,” Julia Brody, executive director of the Silent Spring Institute, told a Denton Record-Chronicle reporter. The Silent Spring Institute is a research group that studies breast cancer risk. The group has found a number of associations between toxins such as solvents and fuel compounds and breast cancer.
    Natural gas production has been under fire for their use of potentially toxic chemicals, which they use during the process of drilling through shale using a process called “fracking.” Many states, such as New York, are seeking to limit the amount of potential exposure to these toxins during the production of natural gas. Robert F. Kennedy has reported recently on these efforts.
    Medical researchers are currently trying to nail down the precise causes for the uptick in breast cancer rates among these counties – and are closely looking at natural gas production chemical exposure.”
    You claim to be interested in the science–but you’ll now deny the Center for Disease Control. Hypocrisy. Bought and paid for.”

    Rachael Colley:

    “Just who gave you the right to decide who can call me by my first name or not, Ms. Lee? And, by the way, you calling him Mr. Massaro is exactly what you are preaching against isn’t it? Isn’t calling him by a formal name showing you feel inferior? “Yes mister,” “okay sir.” Do your friends call you by their last name? Do you refer to your friends as Mr. and Mrs.?
    Let me also point out to you my education is in economics. I have taken several classes discussing the glass ceiling and the traditional roles of men and women in the workplace. I chose not to be a nurse or kindergarten teacher, as have you, which, again, demonstrates the tradition roles are changing. I am also not a self-proclaimed feminist. I currently hold a position where I make the same amount of money as my male coworker and I am extremely proud of that. Joe (and, yes, I can and do refer to him as “Joe”) is not a knight in shining armor; rather, he is my coworker and my equal. He and I work hand in hand together on projects, something perhaps you’ve not experienced, by the sound of it. I am not inferior to Joe, nor is he to me. We don’t refer to each other as mister and miss, because, quite simply we are friends and equals. It’s as simple as that and the fact you can’t understand that says more about you than me or Joe.
    You say the following in your comment:
    “Marxist, Atheist, feminist, vegetarian, union activist, queer, animal welfare theorist – and one of the most reliable, hard-working, publishing professors BU has. Want to discuss my commitment to my university with my university president? Call him: 570-389-4674.” That’s exactly right, Mr. Massaro–and unless you’re a homophobic, misogynist, anti-collective bargaining bigot, you’ll find everything in that list is something to be proud of–indeed to celebrate as excellent avenues of intellectual investigation and opportunities for freedom of expression in a democracy.”
    Nowhere do I read where he degrades you for any of that. If you take this reiteration of your own comment personally, you are the one making the argument it is something to be ashamed of, not Joe. If you aren’t, there would be no point in bringing it up at all. Why do you feel you need to defend it, if you are so “proud,” when Joe expresess no opinion on it?
    You then say “By Mr. Massaro’s reasoning, we’d still be living under Jim Crow segregation and women (say, “Rachael”) would still be in the kitchen making his dinner and pumping out “his” babies. I have no reason to think that he’d have thought these movements just as “childish” as he thinks the anti-fracking movement.”
    Again, this is another example of you making assumptions, thinking people will fall for every word. Please, Ms. Lee, tell us where in any blog post, or anywhere else, where you have read Joe discuss Rachael in the kitchen making dinner and pumping out babies (which is such a classy way to say bearing children by the way)? You can’t find it anywhere? Well, surprise, surprise, surprise! You’ll have to do a lot better than that if you want to put words or thoughts into people’s head.
    You also say “But the notion that because there as a smoker at this protest means that it is somehow morally unobjectionable that benzene is used in a process that could expose women UNKNOWINGLY to a carcinogen identified in breast cancer is absurd. That second hand smoke is a source of benzene exposure has led to the regulation of cigarette smoking in closed spaces. GOOD. Now why doesn’t Mr. Massaro apply that same reasoning to fracking?”
    Regardless where people are smoking, they are preaching against the things they are doing themselves. Why doesn’t the same reasoning apply? Natural gas is explored outside, not inside, so, there, problem solved, correct? Well, according to the argument you just made my statement would be.
    You are clearly a feminist who feels she is right in every aspect of everything and determined to impose her views on everyone else. I know you are digging for a “thank you for protecting my feminism, because Joe is so degrading” but I am not going to feed obsession. You try to turn women against men in nearly every comment you make. Unfortunately for you, you wouldn’t be where you are without men. You have had male teachers, professors, and family members, maybe you should thank them instead of degrading them as you claim they do us.”

    My response:

    “Ms. Colley, you are ranting.
    1. Mr. Massaro would not have printed any of the list about my commitments did he not know his audience could be manipulated via their own conservative ideologies. You know that. I know that–so let’s stop playing that game, shall we?
    2. Please read my post to Ms. Jacobs. It applies to you just as well.
    3. Mr. Massaro provides no reason whatever for his reader to think he’d not have rejected the civil rights movement as childish. And if there’s any difference, it’s not one he can defend. maybe he likes civil rights and hated fracking, but of you think THESE are reasons, your education has failed you.
    4. I don’t make assumptions, Ms. Colley. I offer arguments. And my arguments decimate Mr. Massaro’s piece. You also seem not to get irony. “Pumping out babies” is a way of referring to the patriarchal institutions and ideologies that entitle Mr. Massaro–and in fact demean YOU—whether you get that or not. Why? Because you are contributing to an industry that strengthens the entitlements of all the men in power over it–and they are virtually ALL men. If you think you can rise to the position of an Aubry McClendon under the current conditions, you are sadly mistaken. And if you think that THAT is a worthy aspiration given the cancered bodies of women you’ll have to trample to get there–you are deluded.
    5. Colley’s reasoning about smoking: “Smoking is bad. Some of the people who protest fracking smoke. Both fracking and smoking involve benzene. Benzene is a carcinogen. So since both involve benzene, and we do one we should do both.” How ridiculous! We should do NEITHER MS. Colley. And this is true by your own admission that smoking is bad. You’re just so apparently blinded by your monied devotion to EID, you refuse to see this.
    6. Fallacy of ridicule and dismissal: Ms. Colley, “You are clearly a feminist who feels she is right in every aspect of everything and determined to impose her views on everyone else.” This amounts to the claim that you, Ms. Colley, don’t like what I have to say so you, Ms. Colley, are going to claim I’m stinky.” No one believes this nonsense about themselves. And even were it true, it’s irrelevant. The facts speak for themselves. Fracking causes cancer–and especially cancer that could affect women YOU know and love. But YOU have chosen to disregard this and promote an industry whose actions are not only implicated in this cancer–but use YOU as their front to gender-sanitize the fact that their poisoning us.
    As for looking for a “thank you,” don’t be daft.”

    And I am done with these threads. To the possible criticism that I have been rough on Ms. Jacobs and Ms. Colley–no. I HAVE treated them as the equals of their male counter parts. Equally deluded. Equally bought off. Equally (if not more) dangerous.

    Wendy Lynne Lee

  14. I am more than happy to include Victoria Switzer, as well as her substantial contribution to the cause of anti-fracking

    I assure you, Mr. Frost, Ms Switzer’s omission was in no way intentional. I have rectified the omission–and I would point out that I was VERY clear that my original list was far from complete–as you can see it has grown considerably on the RCP site.

    I have no idea what you’re driving at with respect to the rest of your claim above–but I hope you will clarify.

    What I DO know is that infighting in the movement against fracking–even the APPEARANCE of it–does us no good as a movement. both because it divides us from each other and because it give weapons to the enemy. If we are divided from each other this easily–if this is all it takes, the omission of a name–we will doom ourselves.

    With respect,


  15. I know it wasn’t intentional, by you nor the commenters. It’s just that the more voluminous an article and comment thread is, the more conspicuous a significant omission like that becomes and the less relevent it becomes that the list doesn’t claim to be complete.

    More generally on the “infighting in the movement against fracking” part, what I’m “in” is not as simple nor as sexy as “the movement against fracking”.

  16. OK–but what you’re asking for was also never realistic. I could not have possibly come up with a list that was (a) going to highlight and satisfy everyone, and (b) it’s not entirely fair that I can be expected to know every name that should be on it. Moreover, the list–while certainly very important–is not the only or primary focus of the article.

    As for what you’re “in,” also fine–but unless you’re willing to spell that out, I have no way of understanding what you mean by your original comment–perhaps it’s just about the omission, but “unprintable” implies more, doesn’t it?

  17. It’s never realistic to have a list of anything without having somebody notice an inconsistency or something, but more power to you for trying. I thought that the inconsistency that I happened to notice was a significant one, hence my use of colorful terminology to propose the addition.

  18. How about this: we consider this list a work-in-progress & encourage people to post additional names here. Honestly I do not believe any ill will was intended,nor were any women purposefully ‘omitted’. Wendy Lee started this list & for that I thank her. It’s up to the rest of us to add women who’ve been in the trenches alongside of us & who aren’t yet on the list.

    A work in progress,ok? Fracktivist women both those on/off this list are not my enemies. The list creator, Wendy Lee, is not my enemy.
    I know who my enemies are: Cabot, Chesapeake, Halliburton, Range… just too many to name. My energy goes towards fighting them, not towards bickering with the women & men who are fighting alongside me. We seem so fired up about not letting the frackers divide & conquer us. Tragic if we do it to ourselves.

  19. Thanks Gloria. Had I known before the creation of this “jut a few” list that it would create angst like this, I wouldn’t have put it up at all. But I can’t help but wonder if THAT would have really been in our interest. But of COURSE there are no deliberate omissions. This piece was a criticism of the opposition–and a CELEBRATION of the women of the anti-fracking movement. I expected it to be understood just as I meant it. I have not made any practice of cherry-picking my allies here. WE don’t have time for that. If the world burns while we haggle about who gets credit–the world WiLL burn. None here are my enemy–not even Colley and Jacobs. They too are women, and they too are vulnerable to cancer just like we all are. If anything, I am trying to reason with Colley and Jacobs for their own sakes.

  20. I was curious if you ever considered changing the structure of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or two pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

2 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Response to Joe Massaro, Energy in Depth, 11.18.12
  2. The Good Ole’ Boy Extraction Club: The Pseudo-Patriotic and Pervasively Patriarchal Culture of Hydraulic Fracturing (Part 3) | Raging Chicken Press


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