Still Being the Clampetts

clampettsWhen drillers came to Pennsylvania, many people went blind by the shiney, money that is, wealth and riches.

Landmen said “You are going to be a shaleonnaire! Buy yourself two new cars and a truck! Build an in-ground pool”

So they signed leases. Agreements that is, contracts, legal documents.

Well, now is the time for drillers to say good-bye to leasers, and drillers would like to thank the leasers for the profits and letting them leave drill waste and devastation behind.

The 1 in 175,223,510 odds of hitting the Powerball Jackpot haven’t discouraged people from plunking $2 for a ticket. Perhaps we’ve even had dinner table discussions about what we would do IF we won.

Although a $2 bet is a far cry from signing a drill lease or a pipeline easement, the money dream is the same.   Hitting it big and living easy.

It’s the money dream that many people stay fixed on, that one day, maybe, they can set a spell on their porch and not worry about bills, or how they will pay for their kid’s college.

For many, it is still a dream that they cling to despite being cheated out of royalties, despite losing their water, despite developing health problems, despite their land being contaminated and despite news and reports that landowners are not getting rich.

The clinging stubbornness to the money dream can be best seen on the Go Marcellus Shale forum (GMS). GMS is a discussion forum for landowners for “All things pertaining to the Marcellus & Utica Shale

One post to GMS was brought to Frackorporation’s attention. The poster stated he was employed by the gas & oil industry and is now leaving.

 “Ladies and gentlemen, you are now witnessing the other side of the shale mirage.  When October hits and the revolver raid happens look for a few of these shale players to get wiped out entirely.  Look for consolidation.  Look for blood in the streets.  And then, when the dust settles and the bodies are strewn about, please remember that you were warned that nothing lasts forever.  Remember that some of us truly wanted to help you even though we came from the big, bad, evil industry.

I left the oil and gas industry because there’s nothing left for me to do.  I have a family to feed and I can’t do it by making $0/month.  Everything you think you know about how the oil and gas industry operates is a myth.  Unless you’ve lived it then you’re just relying on whispers that come and go with the wind.  When commodity prices were high everyone made money.  Even an idiot can make money at $100 oil.  But now that the tide has rolled out you get to see who’s swimming naked.  And guess what?  It’s all of them.  They’re all still breathing because of junk bonds and gullible investors who were so desperate for yield that they were willing to lend money to anyone who offered them a halfway decent coupon.  If you haven’t been drilled yet here’s my advice: go back to your life.  Hug your kids.  Kiss your wife or husband.  Forget all about the notions of Jed Clampett wealth that were promised to you by hucksters in cowboy boots or anonymous commentaries on this blog.  Focus on what matters in life.  We are barely into a cycle that will be long, hard, and will crush the fortunes of a lot of oilmen who thought they were smarter than everyone else.”

Despite his calling the shale drilling a mirage and telling people to forget becoming Clampett, those who responded to the post are still dreaming of being the Clampetts.


…It may take quite a bit longer to get drilled or get a lease and the money offered may never reach the previous highs but $1000 per acre lease and 15% royalty is still better then nothing.

…Plus the middle east is always one spark away from turning into a complete fire storm and with that we will see oil prices rise again. Then the junk bonds will return and the cycle will start to spin the in the other direction.

…Yes there will be casualties, but it will survive to bloom another day.

…Natural Gas conversion on a grand scale in our country (the USA) and NOT throwing money at Intermittent Renewable Resource development (which BTW will ALWAYS be Intermittent) and / or investors assisting non-allied OPEC / SA by buying into SA (JUNK) bonds.

…Time to extract heads from buts and elect leadership who are on the side of OUR industries and population (which of course includes the O & G industry and general population right here in our domestic USA).

… I bet you end up back in the Oil & Gas biz, make a bunch of money and help many people. Don’t despair, the next stage is coming soon, The new players will need people to figure out what went wrong and help cleaning it up.

…As for me, there’s the old joke about the kid who starts digging into the manure pile because “there has to be a pony in here somewhere”. I don’t mind digging to find it, though I bet Dexter would tell me to just walk into the barn and look. Some people just have a better grasp of things. At any rate, a little more work, and however it is found, I bet my kids at least will get to enjoy the heck out of that pony.

The manure being left behind for over 16,000 families involves no access to clean water, health problems, explosions, leaks, spills, and air and soil contamination. Their dreams are to have water they can drink, less doctor and hospital visits, the ability to sleep without worrying if they will have to evacuate in the middle of the night because of a leak or explosion.

These families know that when digging through manure you only find more manure.


© 2015 by Dory Hippauf



  1. What is left of my home…it won’t qualify for bank financing because of the damage to the foundation and drywall from 77 ( yes, that is seventy seven ) earthquakes caused by Hilcorp Energy fracking the Utica shale 2 miles from my farm in Poland Township, Ohio. Ohio gave them a cease order so they stepped across the border and continued fracking in Pulaski, Pa. Hilcorp and Nisource built a cryogenics plant (world’s largest, if you can believe the industry hype) 20 feet from the Pa border in Springfield township,Ohio. Blowing all that contamination VOC’s, BETX gases, formaldehyde, PM and God only knows what else, on my organic farm and the little town of Bessemer, Pa. Who is protecting us? What of the lifetime of investment in our farm…? Almost 100 years if you count all 4 the generations before us. No one and no amount of money could possibly compensate the physical damage, and emotional turmoil of the last 6 years since fracking entered my vocabulary. Where are the riches? I never believed any of it, ever. When does the pain stop? We buried Terry Greenwood over a year ago, it was his voice that alerted me to the devastation Dominion wrought on his farm. Last month Joe G., the stone mason from Ground Swell Rising who tried to escape the toxins rained down on the beautiful home he built with his father by cementing his windows shut died of the same thing that killed Terry Greenwood, a “rare” form of brain cancer. How many Pennsylvanians have to succumb to the fracking boom before they stop killing us?

  2. But, you can still enjoy the simple things in life… a picnic out back by the plastic bottom pond when the wind’s not blowin’ the wrong way, a fireworks display shot right out of your garden hose, a game of cows-dropping-dead bovine bingo. And who needs water. It’s way more fun drinking beer, and healthier. So come on in, take your gas-mask off, set a spell. There’s still a few possum in the chest freezer. Future’s bright. Jethro’s goin’ off to college in Scranton to learn how to operate a drill pad. The glass ain’t just half full, it’s filled to the brim. We’re just not sure with what…?

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