The drill of Damocles

Oil and gas magnates are convening in Pittsburgh this week for the Marcellus-Utica Midstream Conference, hosted annually by Hart Energy. In 2015, my colleague Sam Allard and I traveled to the vortex and learned just how wide the gulf is between the people fighting for basic human rights and the people thrusting elbow-deep into your wallets for unfettered profits and a few trillion cubic feet of natural gas straight outta Ohio.

Here’s what we wrote then, and that divide is only getting more pronounced. This is maybe why it matters that news organizations send reporters to both the centers of power and the dirt-road communities of Appalachia. This is maybe why, for years, we’ve been talking about this and working day and night to flesh out narratives that will properly convey just how thoroughly fucked this nexus of greed and obfuscation has become.

Read the book!

What’s happening in Washington (and Columbus) is not some vacuum-sealed entertainment package being sold to your Facebook friends. Policy decisions have very real impacts — just ask the millions of women and men who marched on public centers this past weekend, because they seem to understand that President Donald Trump isn’t fucking around with his newfound power. (I’m preaching to the choir, sure.)

When faceless land surveyors come calling with their checkbooks — like they’re doing in Summit County, Medina County, Lorain County, et al., *literally right now today* — watch out. Our pals who decided not to vote last fall, opting instead to repeat “email” memes and feign fright over the implications of using their right to vote in any capacity, well, they really fucked you good on this one.

You might have read, too, that the president spent time yesterday signing executive orders advancing the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines (to what end, who knows). Note that one of the foreign investors of DAPL just acquired the owner of Nexus, the pipeline which will run across Northeast Ohio — the counties I mentioned above, the properties of your neighbors in many cases. The drill of Damocles swings and swings and swings.

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