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“The Daily Show” Takes on Fracking in PA

Bradford County residents interviewed by The Daily Show

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.”

9 Responses

  1. Other states have done studies and found that fracking is dangerous on many levels so they banned it. But not in Pennsylvania. The corruption here is beyond belief. Check out the bank balances for our policy makers, governors and Katie McGinty. SHAME SHAME SHAME for what they are doing to our Pennsylvania.

  2. There are hundreds of (not a dozen or so as suggested by TheProspector) reported cases of water contamination, explosions, and other incidents at well sites, compressor stations, and pipelines necessary to release and move shale gas. What do leaders in Pennsylvania do? They propose to tax it. Despite known health detriments in places where this development is already a decade old, Pennsylvania officials still say no word about health – no statewide or even countywide health surveys, no public health studies…As a women of child-bearing age aware of the endocrine disruptors emitted by this industrial development, and aware of studies linking low-birth weight babies to frack sites – I’m embarrassed by the leaders in this state. Embarrassed and appalled. This is what leadership looks like:

    “The City Council voted unanimously Friday to start drafting rules that would bar such practices until city politicians are sure Angelenos and their water are safe.

    Recently in L.A.:

  3. I cannot convince anyone of the tragedies I regularly bear witness to in communities impacted by natural gas industrialization. I will say that any attempt to victim blame is pathetic, and the blind eye turned is one of ignorance and short-sightedness.

  4. Correction! Mark Smith did not “fight for strong oversight of NatGas.” In fact, he did quite the opposite. Mr. Smith was Chair of Bradford County Commissioners when I and several other residents begged him for help as the numbers of people being harmed here was rising. We were told by our commissioners that oversight and advocacy was “not their job,” that people here with water problems were simply “crying wolf!” Mr. Smith’s leadership has been part of the problem — not the solution! Sadly, we have been ignored and discredited by Mr. Smith.

  5. A gas well is less than 1000ft from the home used in for the interview: it had a blowout in 2012. Read the legal doc at the end of the article where the shoot for this segment is being held (also the report that inspired The Daily Show to come to Bradford County): On another note, almost no one with proven contamination was willing to be interviewed because they already signed an NDA, we’re in litigation with the industry or were fearful of how The Daily Show would portray them. These brave sources sacrificed their time and more to make this happen; something I wish more people could do.

  6. If Mark Smith has done such a great job protecting Bradford County’s environment, why are so many wells contaminated? Why is methane wafting out of the ground and wells all along Rte. 414. The last place we need him is in Harrisburg.

  7. I know that you can round up half a dozen people in the any county who have real or imagined problems with gas drilling. It makes good theater and fits into the NYC glitterati’s ideas of bumpkins and gas (as they continue to make money off both), but the situation is far more complicated.

  8. Mark Smith and the other Bradford County Commissioners are part of the problem, not the solution.

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