Craig Stevens is a used car salesman adept at pitching quip to get others to buy what he’s selling on behalf of his benefactors. Marylanders, beware.
“Buyer beware” is a phrase that lives in infamy. Like it or not, it is true and we all have our horror stories of being a potential victim of a sleazy salesman. Some such “used car salesmen” simply scream sleaze, in fact. Not to throw stink on honest used car salesmen, but it is an industry where the buyer must see through the pitch to understand what they are really getting.
A simple Google image search confirms this notion. Slick back hair, gold chains and plaid sports coats that made for the not-so-humble appearance of Roy Munson in the movie Kingpin seem to be the standard uniform. Interestingly, though, If you swap out the chains and hair for a jug of brown water and the plaid jacket for an inherited civil air patrol jacket, but keep in place the rest, you have Craig Stevens, the roaming “have mouth, will travel” fractivist who’s taken used car selling to a new plane.
Craig Stevens is an audacious professional protestor who bounces around from city to city, whenever natural gas is a ticket item, sporting a bottle of brown water. He totes this bottle of water around as if it were a chalice blessed to him from some higher deity. If you thought Craig Sautner, the original brown jugger, was good (as many fractivists did), you probably think Craig Stevens is the improved reincarnation, the former have along ago disappeared. The jug of brown water is Craig’s meal ticket, a gift that never stops giving. He is never seen in public without it – except when he was barred from bringing it into the courthouse during the Ely Trial.
Stevens, who bases himself in Susquehanna County, claims to be a fifth generation local but spent most of his life in California. Coming back east he became a mouthpiece of the fractivist movement. Claiming his supposed conservatism as a point of credibility, as if that was relevant, he and his bestie, Vera Scroggins, who needs no further introduction than this, have been guiding tours across the region, sometimes illegally.
They have hustled New York State Senators around Susquehanna County, pulling at heart strings, as they delivered water to homes supposedly “affected” by methane leaks, though this has been debunked. It’s been one false narrative after another as Stevens has attached himself to pig-farm suing trial lawyers hoping to cash in on anti-fracking lawsuits. Read about it and weep.
Although it was certainly strong already, the snake oil market peaked in Maryland when Stevens arrived to spew his schtick here. It’s hard to know what’s worse, him in my state or the propaganda piece Len Shindel of the Baltimore Post-Examiner wrote about his “hero’s journey.”
Shindel wasted no time comparing the fractivist movement to the Civil Rights Movement, admitting he was an [uninformed] participant in the fight against hydraulic fracturing in Maryland, as if we couldn’t tell from the praise he heaped on Stevens. According to the article, Stevens:
“outlined how “landmen” for the natural gas companies had visited his 95-year-old grandmother in a nursing home and convinced her to sign an agreement, without the knowledge or permission of her family, to lease her property to drillers as only a life tenant.”
This sob story hook has the same phony ring to it, of course, as Gasland where Josh Fox was presented with a draft lease and received $4,750 per acre lease bonus payment that never occurred…
“The House Environment and Transportation Committee only allotted two minutes for testimony. But Stevens, in a seemingly well-practiced staccato delivery, outlined how scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had originally minimized the risks of fracking to public and private water supplies but were persuaded to heighten their estimation of risk after Stevens and some of his neighbors outlined their water problems and the Ely’s struggle to win a $4.23 million settlement against Cabot Oil & Gas in a March 2016 federal court jury award for nuisance and negligence and damage to their wells.”
It was “seemingly well-practiced,” indeed, as is everything Stevens utters, but, of course, it wasn’t true. Hydraulic fracturing wasn’t even at issue in the Ely case, which is yet to be finally resolved.
Shindel is a loon. His article, which I suggest you read for the sake of story, is useful idiot prototype. Stevens is no warrior. He’s an ordinary run-of-the-mill hustler with a jug of dirty water. He has found his meal ticket but Marylanders shouldn’t have to buy it for him.