Published on June 13th, 2013 | by Andrew Meggison
Fracking The Amish
Jesus said, “Turn the other cheek”. So if you are of the Amish faith you prefer to settle legal disputes within your own community, without litigation. In other words the Amish will not sue, and if you’re a natural gas company, that’s very good news. Turns out that whole “Amish Mafia” thing might be blown out of proportion.
To say that many natural gas companies are taking advantage of people of the Amish faith would be an understatement. In an article written for the New Republic, Molly Redden shares a story where an Amish couple was paid $10 an acre to have a natural gas company come in and start fracking. The couple was told that that was the best offer the company could make. Turns out neighboring farm were receiving upwards of $1,000 an acre. Rather than take legal action, because by their faith they cannot, the Amish couple admits they made a mistake and have to live with it.
This is just one of many similar instances. Not only did the Amish family lose out on a ton of cash, but they also put their farm, crops, and livestock in danger, and unknowingly jeopardized their livelihood due to the chemicals used in the fracking process. Check out the documentary Gas Land for a good idea of this.
The Amish couple did indeed make a colossal mistake, and should have done some investigating on their own. But they were also intentionally misled and outright lied to by a billion-dollar company that can afford to be honest. With the advent of hydraulic fracturing or fracking, this is the process of fracturing rock layers using a pressurized chemical mixture to release natural gas, natural gas companies are tapping into natural gas holds that were once unobtainable. This has created a massive boom in the natural gas industry and has taken the natural companies to Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, places with large Amish populations .
With the knowledge that the Amish will not sue, this really opens the door for gas companies to do whatever they want without the risk of legal action. The impact of this is enormous. Other than outright lying about land value, let’s say a lease ends and the company just keeps on fracking; the Amish can do nothing legally. It is easy to see how this can get really bad and fast.
The Amish do have certain options though. For example, one Amish family that was a victim of an undervalued lease took the gas company to court to simply void the lease. What makes this acceptable for the Amish couple is that there is no money involved – they just want the gas company to leave.
This isn’t capitalism; this is wrong. From causing earthquakes to lighting water on fire, fracking has serious health and environmental complications not entirely understood yet. People But if people are willing to take these enormous risks with their land, they should at the very least be paid well for it. Those who constantly step up to defend the actions of oil companies should ask themselves; if gas companies willing to mislead, ripoff, and outright break contracts with the Amish, is there anything these scumbags won’t do?
Source: New Republic
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison