On last night’s episode of the Daily Show, correspondent Aasif Mandvi tackled the issues surrounding hydrofracking for natural gases in Pennsylvania.
Mandvi sat down with a room full of Bradford County residents who listed their grievances with large natural gas companies.
“Fracking has ruined our quality of life,” said a young female resident. The interviewees discussed the rampant water pollution and the degradation of once arable land.
To get another perspective, Mandvi also talked with Marita Noon, executive director of Energy Makes America Great. Noon told him that environmentalists were using scare tactics as a way to shift the opinions of Pennsylvania residents, who are ill-informed about the process and complexities of fracking.
Noon also praised the oil and gas companies for being responsible, saying they “are quite good at self-regulating and self-policing.”
But the Bradford residents were not convinced, and they also were not interested in Mandvi’s satirical comedy style. When one of the guests discussed how her cows were experiencing nose bleeds, Mandvi suggested that perhaps her cows were doing cocaine. The guest was not amused.
Neither was another woman who Mandvi insisted was hitting on him. The anger and discontent was hard to mask even with humor.
The segment then touched on the Marcellus Shale well that recently exploded in Greene County, Pennsylvania. The incident left one man dead, and for reparation, Chevron, the owner of the well, decided to buy lunch for the town.
“Chevron bought a hundred gift certificates good for one pizza with one topping — which expire May 1, 2014,” said Mandvi, pausing occasionally for humorous effect. “I couldn’t wait to deliver this disaster contingency plan to the residents of Bradford County.”
The Bradford County residents, still unamused, insisted that they wanted an investigation into the drilling practices of the oil and natural gas companies.
“Look: regulatory reform is going to take forever,” Mandvi said. “Pizza [takes] 30 minutes or less.”
The only laugh that Mandvi was able to get out of his interviewees was when he shoved a slice of pizza into the older man’s mouth. “It’s not too bad,” he said with a laugh.
Mark Smith, Bradford County Commissioner and candidate for Lieutenant Governor, commented on the issue.
“I’ve spent my time as a county commissioner fighting for strong oversight of the natural gas industry,” Smith stated. “We need an experienced voice from the shale gas region and I’m proud of my strong public record on natural gas drilling.
“I’ve stood up to the Corbett Administration when no one from our county was appointed to the Governor’s Marcellus Shale Commission, and as Lt. Governor I will continue to fight to ensure natural gas companies pay their fair share, treat landowners fairly, and above all protect and respect our environment.”