BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – Executive Director Corky DeMarco of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVONGA) said here last evening that it is not God’s will that West Virginians be farmers. Instead, he said, it is God’s will that the natural gas industry extract all it can out of the Marcellus shale.
This spill on Buckeye Creek in Doddridge County, W.Va. in 2009 is an example of how the natural gas industry cares for creation.
Photo by Ed Wade Jr.
He said this at the last of several public scoping meetings being held by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to consider the environmental impact of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). Those who find it hard to believe that he would make such a statement need only wait for the transcript of the meeting to be published by FERC. Or, you can ask any one of the number of audience members – many of them farmers.
The meeting was held at Bridgeport High School. Citizens have until April 28th to send FERC comments regarding the environmental impact of the proposed ACP.
With his remarks, DeMarco has managed to move the natural gas industry’s position on fracking and related pipeline development from the absurd to the profane. Indeed, Webster’s Universal College Dictionary defines profane as “showing irreverence towards God or sacred things.”
Virtually every faith tradition on earth holds that the planet and its ecosystems which support life are sacred. Below are a few statements as to why people of faith believe that the earth is sacred.
The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” states, “The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity. Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man’s dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.”
Additionally, the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church state, “All creation is the Lord’s, and we are responsible for the ways in which we use and abuse it. Water, air, soil, minerals, energy resources, plants, animal life, and space are to be valued and conserved because they are God’s creation and not solely because they are useful to human beings. God has granted us stewardship of creation. We should meet these stewardship duties through acts of loving care and respect. … Therefore, let us recognize the responsibility of the church and its members to place a high priority on changes in economic, political, social, and technological lifestyles to support a more ecologically equitable and sustainable world leading to a higher quality of life for all of God’s creation.”
It continues, “The whole earth is God’s good creation and as such has inherent value. We are aware that the current utilization of energy resources threatens this creation at its very foundation. As members of The United Methodist Church we are committed to approaching creation, energy production, and especially creation’s resources in a responsible, careful and economic way.”
DeMarco’s remarks are flippant – and insulting to people of faith who take seriously the stewardship of creation. But they are more. His comments are the sign of a desperate person and an industry surprised that so many people are voicing opposition to the ACP and not laying down for it. So, the industry has apparently decided it is time to invoke the name of God. It seems that Dominion Energy – one of the four corporations seeking to receive FERC approval for the ACP so that it can use eminent domain to seize private land to enrich its shareholders – has convinced DeMarco that it not only has dominion over your land, it has dominion over the entire planet. I suspect, sadly, that Dominion and its partners, as well as DeMarco and the organization he represents, believe they do.
They are that arrogant.
What to say to that? How about, “Pride goes before disaster, and a haughty spirit before the fall” (Proverbs 16:18).