Natural Gas Industry Moves from the Absurd to the Profane

God opposes farming, supports fracking, says gas industry executive at FERC meeting

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.
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 Doddridge County Watershed Association.

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).

© Appalachian Preservation Project, LLC, 2015. The Appalachian Chronicle is a publication of the Appalachian Preservation Project. The Appalachian Preservation Project is a social enterprise committed to preserving and protecting Appalachia. If you wish to support our work, please consider becoming a member.

The Appalachian Preservation Project is also handling planning for the “Preserving Sacred Appalachia” Earth Day conference scheduled for April 20-21 in Charleston, W.Va. Learn about it here.

28 comments

  1. I witnessed these remarks by this arrogant man and was astounded that someone would actually think about & decide to use that ridiculous idea as their comment. Thank you for putting it out into the world that this actually happened!

    • Yes, he said it. Not only did he say it, but he actually prefaced it by saying, “What I’m about to say might sound crass.” In my opinion, anytime you have to qualify what you are about to say publicly with that, you shouldn’t say it. His poor decision-making skills and general creepiness were on display at that meeting.

  2. I’m not too surprised to hear this kind of comment from extractive industry types. They really seem to believe that they – and they alone – have dominion over the earth to do whatever profits them, and that all who would object can just go to hell. Then they proceed to make a “hell on earth” for them to live in. Remember, the Buffalo Creek Flood – caused by a poorly constructed coal slurry impoundment collapse – was called an “act of God”.

  3. It is written in the Bible, that God said to Adam and Eve: “be fruitful and multiply and replenish the Earth.” Fracking and further fossil fuel extraction is not contributing to the “replenishing of the Earth,” only the destruction of the planet.

  4. Well done Michael….Thank you. As bizarre as some of the other comments were, DeMarco’s was by far the most asinine… Mirijana

  5. Right! Because we read stores in the bible about fracking all the time. They weren’t farmers. Right. What a moron

  6. I’m almost speechless if not too furious to be speechless! It doesn’t take much guessing who is in the lobbyist line at WV legislature to get the 80-20 Pooling Bill passed. Not only blasphemous against our Creator but an affront to our WV ancestors who cleared this land for agriculture. I wonder what back room promises are made to glaze over our WV farmers’ eyes with get rich rich Ponzi schemes?!

    Wealth is produced by preservation of our Appalachian farmland, organic free-range non GMO land for livestock and produce, both wild and domestically grown.

  7. […] Here’s some of the news coverage of the Elkins and Bridgeport scoping meeting. Pipeline Impact: Officials receive comments on project FERC Hosts Second Atlantic Coast Pipeline Public Hearing in Bridgeport Area residents speak for, against pipelines at FERC meeting Job Creation Clashes with Environmental Risks at Pipeline Meeting U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Heard Concerns on Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project Natural Gas Industry Moves from the Absurd to the Profane […]

  8. Laughing too hard to articulate a sensible response. What an idiot is the best I can come up with right now.

  9. […] Evangelicals and fundamentalists generally hold a “dominion” theory of stewardship. It is not only reflected in sermons, but is referenced by energy industry officials as justification for their attacks upon public health and the environment. Indeed, a leading energy industry executive shared that view here in Bridgeport in March. Executive Director Corky DeMarco of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association said, “God didn’t want us to be farmers, or this place would look like Kansas. God put us here in these mountains that are 450 million years old with the best coal in the world and the most natural gas in the world. And we have a responsibility, and I think companies like Dominion and others have seized on the opportunities that these mountains have provided and will continue to do this.” (Read the full story here). […]

  10. […] Now, it might seem unfair to hold businessmen to a biblical standard. They’re not preachers after all. Yet, it is clear these industry officials believe in God – as Blankenship has proven. He is not alone. Gas companies blame cancer deaths and other health problems in the fracking fields on God. I have read such documents addressed to families where they refer to “Acts of God” as causing death and destruction for which the industry is clearly responsible. There is no question that the industry does not hesitate to use God to justify their greed. Last year, Executive Director Corky DeMarco of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association said, “God didn’t want us to be farmers, or this place would look like Kansas. God put us here in these mountains that are 450 million years old with the best coal in the world and the most natural gas in the world. And we have a responsibility, and I think companies like Dominion and others have seized on the opportunities that these mountains have provided and will continue to do this.” (Read the full story here). […]

  11. […] So, I think it appropriate to begin with the last FERC ACP meeting held in West Virginia just about a year ago in Bridgeport, W.Va. It was there that Executive Director Corky DeMarco of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVONGA) said 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. It doesn’t take much to realize that what DeMarco really meant is that gas and oil executives enjoy what is akin to “The Divine Right of Kings” and that farmers are just not that important, especially when they are in the way of profits. Read the full story: Natural Gas Industry Moves from the Absurd to the Profane. […]

  12. This type of jargon has been used by the gas industry for a couple of years in Northeast Pennsylvania. The reason they started this is because the “patriotic duty” for energy independence was no longer applicable. They also have done studies on all of the areas and the people in those areas where they are going to “explore”. That being said one of the things that they found in our area was that there were many landowners that were “religious” and if they could strike a chord with them that is how they will get them to comply. For the most part it works and there are more appalling aspects to this first the churches by in large in our area are also promoting compliance based on God’s will- because the churches of course stand to prosper in pledges or donations from their parishioners. Other appalling facts are representatives of Penn State University and local officials are also pushing the “God’s will” sell to the people in our area. They of all people are not supposed to show any religious bias. In fact in 4-H, a part of Penn State- you are no longer allowed to say prayers, yet they are allowed to preach God’s will- how is that appropriate? and our local officials like our County Commissioners- they are not supposed to be religiously biased either. There is such a double standard in everything that concerns the oil and gas industry- no rules apply.

  13. I should probably say first that I’m a nonbeliever. That said: to me the most absurd thing about this is that Corky or anyone else would stand up and purport to KNOW the will of a supreme being as it relates to something like this, as though he or she has some kind of special relationship with this being that others aren’t privy to.

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