by Max Brantley
We've been paying some attention to the mockumentary Chesapeake Energy has produced for showing multiple times on Arkansas TV stations. Done in news magazine style, it is presented as unscripted comments from real people about the glories of shale exploration -- beaucoup jobs and barrels of money and no harmful impact on the environment.
Chesapeake is doing this sort of thing everywhere, such as to build goodwill for its exploration of the Barnett shale in Texas. There, the drilling isn't restricted to remote, lightly populated rural areas, as is the general case in Arkansas. Check out this "investigative news reporting" from Chesapeake on its exploration in the Fort Worth area, where they want to explore residential neighborhoods. "It's no more hazardous than all the houses in Fort Worth that have gas as their principal utility," one man is quoted as saying. It is true that the film mentions potential concerns -- such as the noise of drilling in a neighborhood The concerns are, of course, swept away with testimonials to the gas company. "Small inconvenience for a big gain," is the theme.