Fracking Opposition Cracking Up

Fracking - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.


Opposition to fracking has peaked and the movement is cracking up.  Stars of the movement are turning angry and acting out in more and more bizarre fashion in desperate attempts to grab the attention that is their mother’s milk.  

There is, as we noted recently, plenty of evidence the fracking opposition is cracking up. Josh Fox is out there attacking all his natural allies for not being pure enough. Meanwhile, other fracking opponents are descending into absolute absurdity.

The latest example comes from Franklin Forks, Pennsylvania, where a “rally” of what appears to have been less than a dozen people took place at the home of the Manning family to protest the expected removal of water storage units placed there by WPX. The units no longer have a purpose because the Pennsylvania DEP has determined the methane problems in that vicinity relate not to the impact of gas drilling or fracking but, rather, natural conditions that have been on record for decades and a malfunctioning water well WPX offered to help repair despite its lack of responsibility. The Mannings refused the help, apparently because it might detract from their lawsuit; an altogether too familiar occurrence whenever potential plaintiffs see a deep-pockets defendant in front of them.  It’s sad but, unfortunately, a normal part of our litigious American life these days.

This Franklin Forks rally was the second in a week at the same location.  The first one brought out more pro-gas neighbors than protestants; neighbors who are fed up with the name of their community being dragged through the mud, fed up with trespassing activists and New Yorkers telling lies about their community and fed up with a woman named Vera Scroggins (pictured below) and her deception.  Scroggins is a rent-an-activist type at the service of any cause that will deliver her notoriety, an attention-starved leftover from my 1960’s generation who yet thrives on rebellion.

Fracking - Vera ScrogginsThe cause is immaterial but, for the moment, she’s on the fracking kick, and it’s working, but requiring ever zanier behavior to pull in those cameras.  Indeed, this latest fiasco was apparently captured only by her own camera, which is ever in the service of hyping her supposed role as the protesting granny, a story line some naive out-of-town media outlets still buy, but one to which local television stations are now wise.

This latest Vera venture brought out a handful of individuals, including the Mannings, some neighbors, serial protestor Alex Lotorto, and Isaac Silberman-Gorn, the New York doctor’s kid who is paid by the radical Democracy Alliance to do this sort of thing. A gentleman named Robert Lee McCaslin, who says he’s a native elder and/or faithkeeper with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, was also there to conduct a prayer service.

McCaslin is a fairly well-known fractivist, but his ostensible purpose this past Wednesday was to pray for healing. That suits most of us just fine, but one of the chief chanters at this ceremony, and obviously the organizer, was the one and only Vera Scroggins, who also claims to be a member of Atheists of Binghamton. How does one call for prayer, chant prayers and recommend prayers as an atheist?  Is it just me, or do we have a bit of chicanery here on her part?

Check out the video yourself, especially at 14:00 when Vera says “Let’s pray,” followed by “just make sounds” and at 26:35, when she leads some chants and prayers as the group walks down the street.  You might also want to contrast Tammy Manning’s remarks at 6:40, where she asks “why do we need all this energy, anyway” and suggests we should go back hundreds of years, with McCaslin’s excuse, at 23:20, for using a butane lighter to stoke his pipe, because “it’s the new way of life” provided by the Creator.

So, a serial protestor from Pike County (where there is no gas), a paid protestor from Binghamton and perhaps a half-dozen other people gather together to pray, the whole thing having been organized by a natural born protestor from Elizabeth, New Jersey (you’ll note Vera’s never lost the accent despite moving to Susquehanna County a while back) who is an atheist.  Get it?  If there was any further evidence the fracking protest movement is on its last legs, this is it.  They’re cracking up.

Vera, of course, is a crack-up magnet.  She thrives on the controversy, what a former associate of mine used to describe as “throwing a white rat on the evening dinner table” for the shock value.  She’s not only an atheist who prays when it’s convenient toward that end, but also a foul-mouthed instigator, as when she deliberately blocked at a fire entrance at the movie theater her daughter manages and where FrackNation was being shown.  Or, when she earlier made a spectacle of herself shouting obscenities and bigoted remarks at the producer of that film, Phelim McAleer.  Or, when she refused to honor protocol at a Susquehanna County Commissioners’ meeting.  And, then, there’s this.

She’s been on quite a ride but ordinary folks have had it with her and now show up to protest her, thank goodness.  Oh, there are still plenty of left-wing, activist types who will buy her schtick and there’ll always be some incredibly shallow New York legislator signing up for her tours, but the game is largely up.  The long slow crack-up began with Vera’s video of herself yelling obscenities at McAleer, but it took another nosedive when an alert Senator Perkins took note of her dissembling about an algae bloom in the creek that flows through Franklin Forks (as did WBRE television) and reached a new low with this latest stunt, which attracted no media attention.  As the WNEP headline said “Activists Wearing Out Welcome.

Yes, that’s the real story.  It’s over for Vera, it’s over for the angry Josh Faux and it’s over for the fracking protest movement. Time for another cause where you can all go and “just make sounds.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

22 thoughts on “Fracking Opposition Cracking Up

    • That really is it, isn’t it. At some point at some future time we should all quake in fear at something that might or might not happen. I wonder if that is what people were saying when the first passenger jet entered service in 1952, five years after the first well was hydraulically fractured?

      • Maybe I am misunderstanding you, but what is ignorant about questioning the chicken littles? There are younger technologies than HF that hundreds of millions of people trust with their lives every single day. But for some reason, they think we are supposed to be scared of HF over everything. It is as crazy as the video this commentary critiques.

  1. Industry getting desperate, I see.
    People are very aware by now, you will say absolutely anything in your -and their- desperate realization that this horror should never have been allowed,
    and must stop and be outlawed ASAP.

  2. I watched the video and was taken by the women who lives in a house that can explode at anytime…who died and saw a ray of women in feathers….a face on every blade of grass…. and I thought to myself “LSD” I listened on how she said she talked to the earth so I thought if the earth would talk to her …why not me…?

    I put on my boots and rain gear and walked up the 1 mile trail to the top of the mountain behind my home…
    When I got to the top I came upon a bench I made and sat down there and saw that the valley below me that was once all hay field and cattle pastures was now littered with module homes and trailers each having a sceptic system so II asked the earth… How do you feel about being scared with these dwellings and the people within defecating upon you and the earth answered me “I am here to sustain life and those people are life” So I said to the air above the earth as smoke bellowed from the wood stoves in theses new homes and asked ” How does it make you feel to see the people in these homes burn earth to keep warm and pollute you and the air said to me ” Have you never seen a volcano erupt…a forest fire caused by lightning… I am produced over and over again by the new vegetation that as been returned to the earth through forestry management you will be fine” I looked at a spring flowing out of the rocks nearby and I asked the water… “Are you not afraid of what man is doing to the earth and how it will effect you?” and the water said to me “fear not what you can do to me I am plentiful and thanks to natural gas I am cleaner now then twenty years ago as the mercury levels re dropping as is acid rain levels because you progressed from coal…thank you said the water”

    I left the top of the mountain and went to my garage and pulled out the lawn mower immediately cutting the grass…

  3. The only fear these people have anymore is the fear of the attention and sympathy money going away.
    They were used by those who saw great loss or opportunity.

    As people became more aware of the scams and misinformation another chapter in paid manipulation starts on its end.
    Time has not been kind to the on demand fear campaign capturing those that want and thrive for a crisis. The fantasy to become the next brown jug settlement for dreams of attention and short term gain in trade for a family heritage and name for many fell short.
    It must be hard for some to see their neighbors get reward for struggling and doing without to hold their land.
    Envy is expected. The characters in the cast from Sautners to Yoko Ono, Cuomo and all in between at times captured our attention and the world. It became intoxicating until they hit bottom.
    All of this cast have one thing in common: To capture something either they had at one time or saw opportunity to have, a spot light of attention.
    A childhood song comes to mind. A song that should be passed on to our children with the understanding, it is all a part of growing up. Wanting to be forever young and trying to recreate your fix for your better days is not always a positive thing..

    **A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
    Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys
    One gray night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
    And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

    **Puff, the Magic Dragon” is a song written by Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow, and made popular by Yarrow’s group Peter, Paul and Mary in a 1963 recording.

    And so goes the slow death of another chapter of fear.

  4. Please tell me again why did climate change alarmist “Vice President Al Gore” producer of “An Inconvieniant Truth” invest 200 million dollars into fracking?

    The answer my friend ….is not blowing in the wind….

    Global change is not caused by man but is caused by the earth itself…. Man contributes but it is the earth itself that cant be surpassed with its global change contribution

  5. Thank you again for an article very well and witty written. Love it!!! Also LOVE the comments from Scott, Vic and Bryant, they help restore my faith that America may indeed prosper and prevail. We so badly need gas drilling for our economy and in order to bring our soldiers home to defend our own land and freedom.

  6. Natural Gas is becoming a very big transportation fuel right now. Not to mention the thousands of products made from it. Too many of these enviro-nuts with the ban fossil fuels all together are only seeing it as a source of electricity. They believe wind and solar are the answer but fail to realize one fact and that is that it would take products made from fossil fuels to make that happen. Now even the scientists who are behind the global warming fear mongering are saying that wind and solar are not the answer to meet our energy needs and we should go with nuclear. In the meantime NG and coal are going to have to do it. There is no magic wand that I know of that can switch us off of fossil fuels anytime soon for energy. That still leaves behind the transportation issue that relies on fossil fuels and the thousands of products that we use everyday in our lives that are made from it. I haven’t seen a wind turbine or solar panel yet that can produce an aspirin when I get a pounding headache.

  7. Tom you’re dreaming if you think opposition is done .We just have learned a lot more and have many different approaches then in the past .Sorry ! I here there’s land for sale in Texas !

    • In carefully watching the antis in action over the past 6 years I’ve come to realize that the entire anti gas strategy is to tell the same lies over and over in hopes that enough people will believe them to lead to delays and bans. Even when the lies are proven to be such, the propagandists keep trotting them out. All supported by a less than transparent collusion of non-American energy interests, clean energy extremist interests, and climate change/anti fossil fuel interests. Funny how the rank and file anti seek transparency from industry and pro-gas leaders, but don’t question thier own movement.

      All that aside, the anti-gas crowd has nothing to offer but the same old BS over and over again. There is nothing new. So keep spewing it Bill et al, it will only make it more apparent to the less gullible members of the puiblic how misguided and misinformed you are.

  8. Tom, get a real job. Seriously, you are paid to spend your days trolling the internet for videos of people so you can make quips no more intelligible than a fourth grader’s. How do you put that on a resume? I spent that day and some hard-earned money delivering a five-gallon water cooler and four jugs to residents in Franklin Forks that have to vent methane from their water well. I was responding in mutual aid to the hardship of some fellow northeast Pennsylvanians who asked for help. No one advertised that day as a protest and that is not why I attended. There are kids in those homes and the water is not safe to drink or even plumb into the homes.

    • Get a real job? OK, do you have any openings in the tree sitting or gate-chaining business, Alex?

      By the way, if you really cared about the Mannings, you’d tell them to stop letting lawyers and professional activists use them as foils and take the help WPX has repeatedly offered to solve a problem that existed long before it came on the scene.

      Also, I didn’t invent the “serial protestor” quip applied to you, Alex. That was a Pocono Record reporter who knew your ways. I merely borrowed it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *