The Beginning

My memoir, Gas Drilling and the Fracking of a Marriage (Coffeetown Press, October 15, 2011), began as diary entries and e-mails, and as a way to learn the facts about gas drilling and untangle my feelings about the difficult ethical decision I was facing. I was offered a large sum of money that would be paid at the expense of the local environment and potentially by the health of the community, and while I initially refused to allow natural gas drilling on my land, I soon learned that my sacrifice might not protect either. As I researched the impacts and consulted other landowners, I discovered that they, too, had initially said no, but then ‘reconsidered, since all the neighbors were signing gas leases.’ It was a relief to learn that I was not alone in my dilemma.

But also, I simply felt compelled to write this story, and quickly, too, because it could be lost in light of new information that is now becoming  available. In hindsight, with facts spreading on a lighted table, decisions are easy and blame falls on those who don’t foresee outcomes. It’s not so easy to make wise choices when one is grappling with them.

I invite you to share your experiences about this issue and why you came to your own decisions, whatever they may be.

14 thoughts on “The Beginning

    • Sorry it has taken me so long to reply. I have been coping with some strenuous family health issues, since Sept.
      Thank you for replying and please feel free to contact me about the GDAC meetings.
      (I will be discussing my book at the Hoyt Library in late January.)

  1. I’m in upstate NY. Just over the border and just north of the southern tier. Chesapeake won’t leave me alone. First thing that went through my mind as I read the second paragraph (on Amazon) of this book description was ‘someone has written my story’. I can’t wait to read the rest. And I wonder what conclusions you finally came to. My family has lived here on this land for generations also. We love this way of life. I am completely emotionally attached to this place. (every time our governor repeats that “decisions will not be based on emotion”. it makes my stomach turn) And I wonder everyday if we should just sell it all while we still can and get the hell out of dodge. Of course it’s never that easy is it? I love too much to leave and I love it too much to watch it be ruined. It’s hard to believe the stress this has caused and how it starts to affect your thought process. As I said, I think you’ve written my story…only mine isn’t finished yet and I have no idea what the end will be.

    • Dear Tami,
      What a wonderful line you wrote, “I love too much to leave and I love it too much to watch it be ruined.” You summed it so well!

      What a consolation it is to learn that others are undergoing the same wrenching decision that I am. That first year, 2008, I believed myself to be alone, wrangling with these issues. It is an unenviable lot has befallen many of us, but, as I said in my book, I kept (and still keep) trying to be thankful that this is America, and I am/was given the option to choose. Go with your gut!

      Please keep me posted on what you are thinking! I would bet we have a lot in common!
      Best wishes,
      Stephanie

      .

    • Dear Paul,
      Thanks a bunch! I hope you and your wife have a wonderful new year which doesn’t involve a lot of clothes shopping! The book signing in Wellsboro went well; we sold 13 books, I think, and I spent the rest of the weekend happily shoveling horse manure onto my vegetable garden with my boys…..an unkind person might say that I shoveled manure ALL weekend, but both activities were fun! Stephanie

    • That was very sweet of you to say so! Thanks so much. I know how busy everyone is so I appreciate your taking time to write to me. Stephanie
      PS I apologize for the delay. We are coping with some family health issues, and that takes a lot of my time, these days….Plus, I am not too computer savvy.

  2. Loved your book. You point out the dilemmas everyone faces in this area. I, too don’t want to see our way of life changed. But when a farmer either leases or loses his land because of the poor return on farming, one can see why they choose leasing I, too, signed a lease so I could: purchase a pellet-burning stove so as not to buy so much fuel oil & also to help buy a new fuel efficient car. Keep up your good work & hope you are working on your next book. Diane

    • Thank you so very much for your comment! I know that confused feeling is prevalent and that is one reason why I persisted in writing the book. As we all are learning, there is NOT one right answer to this dilemma. Sounds like you are making some thoughtful choices. Best wishes, Stephanie
      PS I apologize for the delay. We have some family health issues with which to cope, and that slides into school issues, as well.

  3. Stephanie:

    Just finished your book. See you went to Grove City College. I was raised in Greenville, home of Thiel College and my wife teaches history at Slippery Rock University. I retired from the State Prison near Mercer, Pa.

    Our family getaway is within the confines of the Allegheny National Forest and I have long harbored many of the same thoughts you do about fossil fuels, drilling, etc. Go to: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09242/993974-109.stm

    I bought your book in the Wellsboro bookstore across from the Dinor. I was staying at the Penn Wells. I now do security work in the Marcellus gas fields. Yes, I am literally “in bed with the enemy” as you put it in your book. I am learning a lot about the processes used to extract the gas. There is a lot to learn.

    Would like to compare notes someday if you would want to do that. You have my email address from above I believe…..

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