Bait You, Gut You, Eat You While You’re Still Alive: The Landmen Energy in Death Will Do Anything to Get To Your Farmhouse Door

What’s most striking about Energy in Death’s Joe Massaro’s latest hit-piece, Corbett’s Corner Hears From Local Natural Gas Fractivists | Energy In Depth – Northeast Marcellus Initiative is that he writes as if he’s all ready for the backlash his patently absurd essay would naturally receive—but he knows he’ll have to deal with no such thing.

That must be a hell of a confidence builder!

He’s got all the moxie of a guy who thinks he’s scored big. The problem is that he rigged the game.

Fact is, at EID-Marcellus it’s only the comments that make their field reporters look good that get posted. EID is kind of like the sycophant who surrounds himself with paid pattootee-smoochers to tell him how handsome he is even though he’s come to resemble a rotting rutabaga.

Of course, he knows that—so he rigs the jig.


The irony is just as over-ripe: Massaro claims that the anti-fracking activists are wrong wrong wrong when we point out that the proof we’re gaining traction against this genocidal industry is that propaganda outfits like EID keep coming after us.

But not only do the soldiers of fracking fortune keep coming after us, they fake-up their entire enterprise to insure that we can’t respond to them–but make it look as if we could. If they can’t  allow us to respond, and then beat us into silence through ridicule, name-calling, false accusation, and other assorted endeavors to discredit, they just put the shaft to free expression and cut us off their page—all the while pretending we’re still there!


Ergo, Joe Massaro responds to the anti-fracking respondents to the Steve Corbett radio show on WILK:

The first call came from a woman named Wendy from Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.  Listening to her speak for 10 minutes I could only imagine this must have been Wendy Lynn Lee, who we have featured on our blog for her strident anti-development views…Wendy always assumes we fear her, her friends and their activities, but it’s hard to fear a movie whose writers repeatedly show they know little about the science behind hydraulic fracturing…Wendy somehow believed our “fear” is portrayed through The Real Promised Land, but in reality the site  was created to provide factual information and to connect viewers with individuals who actually live in areas experiencing natural gas development. We thought, quite rightly, that anyone who didn’t like the way Matt Damon and John Krasinski presented the information in the movie might want to hear from real people living in the Marcellus Shale region.  We were correct and that’s why our Facebook page is gaining such traction.

Massaro does get one thing right: that’s me on WILK chatting with Corbett (though Massaro might try to spell my name right—he has issues here).

Let’s quickly dispel two things: first, “anti-development” is just code in BIG GAS world for “anti-fracking.”

But that’s just silly.

I’m quite for the development of alternatives, and I’m big on conservation.

What being pro-development really means is being on the side of, say, Massey Energy whose mine accident safety record includes 29 dead miners at Big Branch (For 29 Dead Miners, No Justice –


Or it means being on the side of Shell—and against hundreds of Nigerian farmers whose livelihoods were destroyed by the giant multinational (Farmers sue oil giant Shell over Niger Delta pollution –


Or how about being on the side of BP in the Gulf of Mexico. That certainly looks like “development.”


Or no doubt, and a little closer to home (and the smell of those rutabagas), sidling up to EXCO—a company that locates deep injection disposal wells in poor African American communities in places like Panola, Texas because they know they won’t get much resistance even though the drinking water is so polluted by gas drilling that folks there get their water delivered in five gallon jugs by the EPA (Texas Lawsuit Includes a Mix of Race and Water – New York Times).


If that’s your idea of development, well, thanks, but no thanks, Mr. Massaro.

Second, Promised Land isn’t about the science of hydraulic fracturing—that’s just a ruse to get us off the track. It’s about what landmen do—and how thoroughly dirty is the game they play to take grandma’s land right out from under grandpa’s feet.


That’s not “development” either, Mr. Massaro. That’s baiting, gutting, and eating while your prey is still alive.

Douglas MIller. CEO, EXCO

Douglas MIller. CEO, EXCO


What happens in Promised Land is  also not fiction—it’s standard “operating procedure,” hence the endeavor to red-herring us away from the plot.

Here’s a nice example: Fake “Community” Meeting: EXCO Lookin’ for Some Love-Money

On the other hand, The Real Promised Land  EID sponsored Facebook page is a propaganda machine that bans any and all postings that don’t tout its pro-gas line. That it has more hits that the Promised Land page is no doubt the product of a coordinated effort by EID-N-Fracker-Friends to insure hits. Fact is, The Real Promised Land is a commercial about an entirely fictional “community” pretty much like Peter Weir’s The Truman Show offers Truman Burbank a faked-up life.


Nice place to live if you can buy your way in.

But Frackland doesn’t really look like The Truman Show. Just ask the folks whose water has been permanently destroyed by the likes of, say, EXCO’s Mr. Miller:

04/12/2012: EXCO Resources to Pay Penalty for Safe Drinking Water Act Violations in Clearfield County, Pa.

And Mr. Massaro can’t be this dumb, so he’s just lying: the notion that “liking” a page means you likethe page is just plain daft. “Liking” a Facebook page means you want it to show up in your feed–and that might be for lots of reasons, say, monitoring its Bull-Pucky.

The only thing real about The Real Promised Land is that it’s intended as a prophylactic against the real damage the film could produce for the gas industry—and EID knows it, or its soldiers just wouldn’t go to the trouble of faking up a Facebook page.


Fact is, EID’s The Real Promised Land epitomizes precisely what Promised Land is about: the mercenary and greed-driven strategies of corporations who hold that they’re entitled to commodify anything they think they call sell: land, water, air, people.

It’s an unwitting self-satire of a transparent attempt to cipher attention away from what the landmen just like them really do.

It’s pretty simple, really: if EID had honest goods to sell, they’d be able to respond to criticism with the truth. They can’t, so they don’t. First they offer us all kinds of re-dunculous “schmarguments” about watering golf courses, and how fracking makes H2O, and how it’s been around since the Neanderthals.

And we shoot the “schmarguments” down one by one.

DEP Permit Hearing: Moxie Patriot Power Plant, Clinton Township, Lycoming County, PA,1.3.13

Now, they’re running out, and running scared—so they reconfigure their websites and Facebook pages to look as if anyone can comment—as if they cared about the first amendment—all the while making up bat-poo-crazy stories about their opponents in order to “schmustify” banning them.

Energy in Depth’s Soldiers of Fracking- Fortune: Why We Must Understand Who They Are and What They Do | Raging Chicken Press

If the natural gas industry had honest goods to sell, they wouldn’t need EID and its soldiers of fracking fortune to run interference for them.

Imagine the manufacturers of, say, all those landmines still blowing off kids’ legs in Cambodia running a website, let’s call it Energy in Depth. They “field directors” like Massaro to run interference and write hit-pieces on those pesky folks who insist that it’s somehow bad to have live landmines in your farm fields. For awhile they just run a big fat  propaganda line:

Landmines are good! Think of the jobs they bring getting them all planted, making sure they’ll explode only when they’re supposed to… Landmines are patriotic! We can become weapons independent! People who aren’t for landmines are Un-American!

But, gosh-darnit, some folks just don’t buy the punchline. They start to point out all of the really horrific consequences landmines come with—blown off limbs, blindness…They figure out that the landmines are being manufactured for anyone and everyone who’ll pony up the moola for them—including some pretty unsavory folks who will surely deploy them against us. They figure out that “Cheap, Abundant, American” is just a lot of hooey covering for the fact that a tiny handful of folks and their paid mercenaries are getting really rich off a venture that endangers all of the rest of us—and especially the poor farmer who’s kid in unlucky enough to step on a live one.


The only real difference between the manufacture of landmines and fracking is that fracking is part of an industry that has made it it’s business to make sure we’re dependent on fossil fuels—not because we’re addicts mind you, but because they are—to the money.

We’re out here ready and willing to make the leap to renewables and conservation, but we know thatthat’s not something most folks can do without the support of government and community.

And they know it too.

Indeed, the near-psychotic desperation of an industry willing to engage in something as blisteringly devastating as tar sands mining, mountain top removal, and fracking just to keep the fossil fuel train choking out the bucks for a few more years is reflected in the wholly sleezy rotting rutabaga tactics deployed by their soldiers of fracking fortune at EID.

rotten food

But the jig is up.

So what’s a propaganda machine like Energy in Death supposed to do?

Rig the jig.

That’s what the soldiers of fracking-fortune are paid to do. Might as well be landmines, or Thalidomide, or cigarettes. West Virginia, The Niger Delta, the Gulf, a Southern Texas town. It’s all the same: genocidal profiteering, and the smell of that makes rotting rutabagas smell like Riverdale roses.


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4 Comments on Bait You, Gut You, Eat You While You’re Still Alive: The Landmen Energy in Death Will Do Anything to Get To Your Farmhouse Door

  1. Posted at Politico:

    It has to be noted that Energy in Depth is not a “research and education program.” It’s not even merely a public relations firm for the gas industry. As is copiously well-documented EID is a propaganda and interference running assault machine whose purpose is to silence opponents of hydraulic fracturing. There are absolutely no reasons whatever to take this review seriously in that Mr. Everly is PAID to promote hydraulic fracturing as safe regardless the evidence; agents for EID are PAID to discredit their opposition.

    That Politico permits paid salesmen to pose as legitimate reviewers on its Op-Ed page is disappointing at best–misleading, in fact.

    Mr. Everly is not paid to offer objective assessments of films and the like–but to discredit any and all efforts to critique the claims of the natural gas extraction industry. His interest is in no way Promised Land as a film–but only as a potential problem for the industry.

    The fact is that Energy in Depth is so afraid of the potential for backlash against the industry that they have erected an entirely bogus “community” Facebook page, “The Real Promised Land” where they claim to permit anyone to post their experience in Pennsylvania with respect to fracking, but they ban and delete posts from opponents. This, needless to say, is not a “community,” it is a strategy to discredit the opponents of the gas industry.

    The Real Promised Land FB page is an excellent example of precisely the underhanded and truly sleazy tactics the industry is willing to deploy via its landmen to coerce, manipulate, guilt, and bribe people into leasing their land to the destruction of their property values, and potentially their water.

    For a more accurate assessment of what Energy in Depth is and does relevant to Promised Land, please see:

    Hopefully, Politico will do a better job of screening its submissions in the future. At the very least, Politico ought to disclose the fact that EID reviews are not informed by an interest in objective evaluation, but rather in paid compensation for selling a technology so controversial that its industry hires what are effectively soldiers of fortune to insure its continued profitability.

  2. There are no alternatives to fossil fuels. Not solar. Not wind. Nuclear comes close for electricity production, but politics stand in the way.

    It’s worth mentioning that Cuba can’t meet its energy needs. That’s remarkable considering Cuba is in the Gulf of Mexico, the source of a huge percentage of US oil and gas.

    Strangely, the Cubans can’t seem to extract any oil from the Gulf. Hence, their economy is at the edge of collapse. Given Cuba’s inability to produce enough energy for its own needs, you’d think Castro would look to alternatives.

    Like ethanol — from Cuba’s sugar crop. But noooo. Not happening. Consequently, many of Cuba’s 11 million citizens still depend on animals for pulling buses.

    And, despite sitting out there in the Gulf, Cuba has no fishing industry. That takes fuel for boats. Castro takes poverty over prosperity. Sad.

  3. Dear anonymous David–you are simply wrong. The unwarranted and un acknowledged presupposition in your set of claims is that the alternatives won’t include meaningful conservation, re-use, and a far better recycling.

    Here are our two choices: we can either go your course and be confronted with the crisis that our dependence WILL generate that, combined with the realities of anthropogenic climate change, will lead to wars on a scale of ferocity no one in their right mid will want to survive.

    Or we can begin collectively and democratically to make sane decisions now. The alternatives clearly exist–they won’t be enough without conservation. So we can be proactive, and start the conservation, etc, now–or we can continue to bury our heads in the tar sands, and wait for the water wars.

    As for Cuba–their experience is naught but a cautionary tale for us, and hopefully one that will drive them away from fossil fuels. Castro takes poverty over prosperity? What a silly claim. Perhaps you think companies that fly the American flag are interested in American prosperity? Only to whatever extent Americans will pay the most for their product–and be willing to permit the complete pollution of our air and water. The notion that a corporation has any sense of obligation or patriotism to its country of origin ended many decades ago.

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