By Teresa Mills
I dreamed that just as I entered a Halloween haunted house the first monster I ran into was Frackenstine. Just like the book Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley about a creature produced by an unorthodox scientific experiment, I noticed that the Frackenstine that stood before me was also made up by combining many parts. Frackenstines legs turned out to be the Ohio legislature that gave the monster his legs to make his way around Ohio, his torso was made of the Ohio oil and gas industry, his arms were the different state agencies that gave the monster the strength to strong-arm Ohio communities by not allowing citizens or local government to have any say into whether or not they wanted this massive industrial process to destroy their community. The Frackenstine monster was so big I was having a hard time seeing who or what made up the head but as I moved farther away from the monster I could see that the monsters head was Ohio’s own governor, Governor John Kasich who has become the mouthpiece and cheerleader for the industry.
Down a long dark hallway, I came to a closed door, as I opened the door I saw a room full of bubbling cauldrons. As I looked around the room, I saw thousands of Material Safety Data Sheets with all of the toxic chemicals blacked out. There was also a flashing sign that warned of radiation. While trying to read all of the Material Safety Data Sheets suddenly, I was approached by someone dressing in a hazardous materials moon suit telling me that the bubbling brew was safe and not to worry. Even though he was dressed in protective garb, he informed me that I was not allowed to know what was in the bubbling toxic brew and the door was quickly closed in my face. As the door closed, I could hear the sinister laugh of a crazy person who had spent too much time inhaling the toxic vapors from the bubbling cauldrons full of fracking fluid.
As I continued down the dark hallway, I turned a corner and was face to face with a Vampire with blood dripping from his fangs. NO, wait, it wasn’t blood dripping, I realized his fangs are drilling rigs that were dripping oil, and he is hungry for more and more. He can’t get enough; he is sinking his rigs into hundreds of thousands of acres of Mother Earth just to see if he can find more oil or gas to feed his needs. I thought if I can just hold out until dawn the sun will destroy this vampire, but I was so wrong.
As I was about to exit the haunted house I heard the screams of the banshee foretelling the death of life as we know it. No longer will we have local communities where we can cross the street without worrying about being hit by one of the thousands of trucks or being harassed by out of state workers that have no sense of pride for the community. We face industrial facilities in places where they have no business being.
But wait, I suddenly realized I was not asleep; I was not having a nightmare. What I had thought was a horrible dream was indeed a reality for many communities in Ohio and across the nation that are faced with the nightmare known as fracking.
After leaving the haunted house I went home and tried to sleep, but sleep would not come. Every time I closed my eye I could see the blacked out Material Safety Data Sheets and the flashing sign warning of radiation. Just as I was about to drop off to sleep, I would hear the screaming banshee and would be wide awake once again.
The following day I decided that I just had to go back to the haunted house to make sure I saw what I thought I had seen. As I went in, I saw the same hideous things I had seen the day before. The same bubbling cauldrons, the same flashing signs, the same vampire with oil dripping from its rigs. But wait more rooms have been added to the house. The first room I entered housed hundreds and hundreds of brain dead zombies who in real life were the poor folks who had been promised many riches, riches that never came. But now these people have lost control of their land.
The next room is full of pipes running every which way. So many pipes, where could they all go. This does not make sense to me. Why did they put all these pipes so close to each other? I hear the pipes begin to shake and rattle, I must get out of here, I run, but I can still hear what I take to be one or more pipes exploding. I get out of the room just in time. I pray other escaped as well, but I fear not.
On the door of the last room I enter, it says enter at your own risk. As soon as I entered, I understood why this haunted house is so scary. It is a room with desks but no chairs for someone to sit and look at all the documents on the tables. I see that the documents are something called regulations, but wait all of these documents are incomplete. It appears that someone has taken a dagger and cut holes in all the so call rules. On many of the pages, you can see the oily fingerprints of the industry, and as I look around the room, I become dizzy because the names of all the legislators that have abandoned the citizens of their communities’ swirl around the room. I must leave this room before I lose control.
As I exit the haunted house, I realize that it will not be easy to stop this madness, but I must try, I must do it for the future of humanity.
By Stephen Lester. Nearly 10 months ago, a Norfolk Southern train with more than 150 cars, many of which contained toxic chemicals, derailed in East