MDN Weekly Update – Jul 31, 2011: Boycotting Cities and Towns that Ban Drilling

Poll resultsFirst, the results of last week’s poll, which asked:

If anti-drillers engage in civil disobedience to prevent drilling, should those who support drilling retaliate and engage in civil disobedience too?

No (63%, 143 Votes)
Yes (33%, 76 Votes)
Not sure (4%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 227

Current Poll – No Stomach for Civil Disobedience, but How About a Boycott?

Two weeks ago MDN wrote about a civil disobedience training meeting on the shores of Keuka Lake, NY and mused what if the shoe was on the other foot. Would those who support drilling be willing to engage in civil disobedience against those who civil disobediently try to obstruct legal and lawful drilling? It seems the answer, at least from the MDN audience, is a resounding “no”. Breaking laws, even if it’s in response to those already breaking them, is not in the DNA of most who support drilling.

So this week MDN further muses, what about a boycott instead? On Friday, MDN covered a story about drillers in West Virginia who are growing weary of municipalities in that state enacting Marcellus Shale drilling bans, citing concerns over water supplies (see this MDN article). The West Virginia Independent Oil & Gas Association said they’re not interested in doing business with the businesses of municipalities that ban drilling. A boycott breaks no laws and only changes purchasing behavior. It puts pressure on businesses who in turn fund the political campaigns of local politicians who are enacting the bans. That is, it hits them where it hurts—in the pocketbook.

So what if not only drillers, but landowners and those who support drilling, were to join in and stop doing business (as much as possible) with businesses in municipalities that ban drilling? That’s the question MDN asks in this week’s poll:

Should those who support drilling boycott businesses in municipalities that ban drilling until the ban is lifted?

Register your vote along the right side of any page on the site.

Below are the most recent “top 5” lists and the calendar of Marcellus related events for the next few weeks.

Happy reading!
Jim Willis, Editor

Five Most Viewed Stories This Past Week (Jul 24 – Jul 30)

  1. Major Discovery – Chesapeake Energy Strikes Oil (and Gas) in Ohio’s Utica Shale (7/29/11)
  2. How Much Should Landowners be Paid for Marcellus Pipelines on Their Property? (7/28/11)
  3. Norse Energy Eyes the Utica Shale in New York, Says the Utica May Outperform the Marcellus in Much of NY (7/26/11)
  4. Some Drillers Using Questionable Tactics to Hold Land Under Lease Beyond Original Term (7/25/11)
  5. Chesapeake, 14 Other Energy Companies Have Drilling Permits for Utica Shale in Ohio (4/18/11)

Five Most Viewed Stories Last 30 Days (Jun 30 – Jul 30)

  1. Chesapeake, 14 Other Energy Companies Have Drilling Permits for Utica Shale in Ohio (4/18/11)
  2. Major Discovery – Chesapeake Energy Strikes Oil (and Gas) in Ohio’s Utica Shale (7/29/11)
  3. Shell’s Marcellus Shale Exploration & Drilling Strategy in PA – Drill the Edges First (7/12/11)
  4. NY Local Governments Not Allowed to Ban Marcellus Drilling by State Law (7/4/11)
  5. PA’s Leading Marcellus Expert Makes Prediction on Where Drilling Will Start in NY (7/7/11)

MDN Calendar (Jul 31 – Aug 13)

New York


  • SideShowBob

    Jim…..regarding your latest poll, I voted “NO” because I do not believe it’s proper or productive to punish businesses that may have not been a party in any fashion to a local ordinance banning drilling. Any punitive action should be targeted specifically at those responsible. I can’t support a blanket action which would amount to a reprisal against an innocent party. 

  • Anonymous

    I’m not in favor of boycotting all businesses of one town because they may not necessarily agree with their town bans.  This would be punishing businesses for something they did not vote for.  I am in favor of boycotting ANY businesses which are not drilling friendly, purposely rips of those who work in the field, or whose owners are against drilling. 

  • Anonymous

    Just because community leaders believe it is in their community’s best interests to disallow drilling you think they should be boycotted? RIDICULOUS! If anything the leaders should be commended for having the courage to stand up for what they believe. If landowners and other residents feel their leaders are making a bad decision, then they should get politically involved and make their views known. Unless we live in the community, it is not the business of you or me or any outsider what they decide. 

    I am a landowner with a contract, but I am also a citizen of Pennsylvania who is concerned about the environment. Perhaps communities who have, for now, banned drilling are wise to wait and see the environmental record of the drillers first. The gas is not going away – it will still be there 5, 10 or 25 years from now if the environmental concerns are addressed.

  • Jim Willis

    Thanks Bob. Certainly a sentiment shared by many as you’ll see in the comments. Appreciate you taking time to comment.

  • Jim Willis

    Thanks Sherry.

  • Jim Willis

    If it’s OK for the leaders of that community to deny some landowners their rights to allow drilling, and for them to deny jobs to people who would be employed by the industry, why isn’t it right to “fight back” and deny the people in that community your business? They are the ones who elected the dunces who are denying others their rights. Yeah, not very fair. But then, these elected leaders are not being fair either. That’s my point.

  • Anonymous

    How about throwing all of our support behind town/municipalities and businesses who have the courage to stand up and support drilling.  Everyone has a choice.

    In New York you can’t help, but reading an article a day in any newspaper supporting banning drilling. The newspapers are so one sided that you rarely read any pro banning articles or opinions.

    Write to your local newspapers and tell them to publish articles from both sides.  How about the anti fracking signs that have the head and crossbones on them.  What kind of message is that to be sending to everyone.

  • Anonymous

    First, Jim, I must commend you for being willing to display (and hopefully thoughtfully consider) dissenting opinions. That speaks well of you.

    But responding to your comments just above… You may disagree with their interpretation of the facts, but to call community leaders “unfair” and “dunces” because they disagree with you says more about your shortcomings than theirs.

    If you have not already done so, watch the Gasland documentary (
    ). You cannot watch it with an open mind and then state with any certainty that drilling a well on one property will have no effect on adjacent properties. And if the possibility is there, then it is the responsibility of our elected community leaders to determine and enforce policies for the greater good.

    When a sufficient regulation, track record and evidence exist to prove the long-term safety of drilling, then I expect that those same community leaders will change their opinions. But when no industry rebuttal or answers to documentaries like Gasland exist, there is still plenty of room for differing opinions.

  • Jim Willis

    Good suggestion!

  • Jim Willis

    Thanks for commenting. I have watched Gasland. I disagree with many assertions and conclusions, but will give Josh Fox credit for producing a polished documentary. There have been a number of critiques of his film. You can Google and find them.

    I’m not saying that there is never a case for regulating or restricting drilling in a particular area and that governmental leaders should never do it. I am saying large area-wide bans are the equivalent to using a sledgehammer to swat a fly. And I am saying perhaps people should simply vote with their wallets who they support (and don’t).

    You have a point in that sometimes the industry does themselves a disservice–like forced pooled and using eminent domain to force landowners to allow pipelines. It smacks of bullying. But I find the sentiment of “ban all fracking, it’s going to poison everyone and everything” to be uniformed of reality–some 25,000 fracked wells a year says it’s not the environmental catastrophe it’s made out to be. Problems here and there? Sure–as with 25K of anything. But the benefits far outweigh a small number of problems.

    Thanks again for commenting–I appreciate those who disagree with me agreeably and respectfully as you have done.

  • Anonymous

    I voted for boycotting, with my vote being strongly influenced by Morganown’s ban on Marcellus drilling.
    Sadly, we can’t be sure if the Council and WVU Faculty Senate votes actually reflect the will of the city residents and WVU faculty members, even though they elected these folks.  The next municipal election may clarify the situation!
    My family has owned mineral land for three generations, and I cannot imagine spending money or supporting institutions where my business and my way of life are not welcome.

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