Washington County, PA Resident
Washington County, Pennsylvania resident Janice Gibbs tells how her State Representative, Jesse White, has frustrated natural gas development and energy independence in her home community.
My name is Janice Gibbs I live in Cecil Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania. There are five generations of my family who have resided in Cecil Township. They have been farmers and landowners; people who love the land and all its beauty. I like to think of myself as an pro-drilling environmentalist who realizes we can capture our resources and still maintain the land we love.
This article is a two-part one. The first part addresses why we need to become energy independent and the second deals with the question of why our community is not progressing like our surrounding townships. I should say the majority of the townships in my area (Washington County, Pennsylvania) are progressing and the only real question is why two in particular are at a standstill.
Why We Must Become Energy Independent
I recently attended an energy symposium where Washington County was labelled the Energy Capitol of the East. Attending were many speakers, energy companies, an industry analyst, a company that is improving how waste water from fracking is handled, the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and several elected officials. All the people who spoke had a common theme; that we needed to become energy independent but not at the cost of destroying our water and air. All acknowledged the need for regulations of the type that will protect our environment without making it impossible to lift us out of dependence on foreign oil and gas.
The final speaker, from the Institute for 21st Century Energy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was most interesting. Their platform is simply this; rather than continuing to send billions of dollars and million of jobs overseas, the United States should become more self-reliant and take advantage of all our natural resources including oil, natural gas and coal, as well as invest in nuclear and renewable energy. Some of the statistics made me realize the future of my children and grandchild is in the hands of people who I hope are thinking long term and getting the message out there. I’m praying that they succeed.
The everyday person needs to also take a long hard look at our future and where our country is headed. The large part of Pennsylvania that include my township not only has the Marcellus Shale but also Utica Shale which is deeper and older then the Marcellus. We are told fossil fuels will still account for 80% of the world’s energy in 2035, so natural gas is not going away. We need to embrace it and use all our expertise to ensure drilling is responsible as well as safe and stop wasting our time trying to stop it.
Third world countries are starting to demand more and more energy as there are an estimated 1.3 billion people worldwide without electricity. So many of these countries don’t have the opportunity that we have with what lies under our feet. We have it all and can provide all that we need and still have a surplus. These third world countries will start to demand more and more oil and gas from countries that for many decades have provided for our needs. Ask yourself this question; are we willing to stand in line and wait for handouts from countries who hate us or work to be responsible users of our own resources? The answer should be obvious and, in fact, is to most people.
Why Our Community Is Not Progressing
Why are Cecil and Robinson Township at a standstill while other surrounding townships are part of the movement to become energy independent? Well, I found out the hard way that one of our biggest problems is our local State Representative, Jesse White.
I used to debate Rep. White in our local internet paper, the Canon McMillan Patch. My posting title was “Proud American” and I noticed he kept stating he was for drilling but never posted anything positive about it. Having researched many articles on the subject, I realized there are occasional problems with gas drilling just as there with any industry and there are bad players as well as accidents, but anyone with any common sense knows you have to look at the whole picture, which White didn’t seem to be doing.
When I debated Rep. White I always looked for facts to back my statements. I also challenged him to provide proof when he made statements. This seemed to upset him and he decided to post my legal name as if this was some great revelation. Things got worse after I posted an article with Energy In Depth in February. I subsequently found places where my full legal name had been used to open accounts and take-offs on my name (e.g., “Janice Gibson” and “Prouder American”) had been used used in many places to bash me as well as the gas industry.
It was State Representative Jesse White doing all this. He referred to me as an uneducated “yinzer” (see definition here and pay close attention to No. 5). When Representative White was put on the hot seat and asked for facts to prove what he was saying, several different aliases used by him, including “Frank Reynolds,” “Victoria Adams,” “Ashley Jackson” and who knows how many more, came to light.
Then, on June 1, 2013, this article came out, which provides further details.
There are countless additional articles documenting the same thing; just google “Jesse White” and look for articles around the time he finally admitted what he had done. It sure makes for interesting reading! You would think a lawyer elected to be a state representative should be able to handle criticism without resorting to tactics a teenager might use. He not only attacked those of us who are pro-drilling people, but also went after his fellow politicians as noted in this article.
How do we know Jesse White is anti-drilling and not just a tough skeptic who wants it done correctly? Well, he even created an anti-drilling site called GasRootsPA.com so he could praise himself on the site with one of his made up names and attack anyone who was pro-drilling. If it walks like an anti-driller and talks like an anti-driller it’s an anti-driller. This is why I say he is one of the bigger reasons these two townships he represents are at a standstill.
One of Jesse White’s more disturbing actions was using a twitter handle of @notTimSolobay. Tim Solabay just so happens to be a local senator of the same political party as White but, unlike him, is pro-drilling. White went after Solabay using this account to make sexual comments to a WDVE radio producer which they played on the air after the story broke.
White made a poor attempt, after he was caught lying, to say he was sorry. Before that, however, he used his own Facebook account to blame the gas industry, saying they had attacked him. His apology, if you can call it that was to say ” I have exercised my First Amendment rights and responded in kind, which was an error in judgement that I regret. To be clear, I did not use government resources while posting comments on these site.” If he did it because of the gas industry, then why did he attack me? I never attacked him or called him names. I merely challenged him to provide proof of what he stated. Maybe, in his eyes, anyone who disagrees with his agenda against the industry is attacking him.
Whatever the case may be, he used this “apology” to say he wanted to meet in private. Then, I got a postcard in the mail from him asking to meet me in private to discuss the “unfortunate events.” To that I say, Representative White, if you are truly sorry, then meet with me in front of a reporter of my choice and you answer my questions and that way no conversations behind closed doors can be misquoted.
I haven’t debated or posted anything since I found out what type of person my local representative is, a person for whom I actually voted. It has made me afraid, not knowing how far he is willing to go. I choose to write now because no one seems to want to punish him for his actions and I feel it is essential voters have the truth and understand why our communities, two of them anyway, are not progressing toward the same energy independence as so many others.