Fractured Sanctuary


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about the book

This book is dedicated to those in the paths of the fracking pipelines in West Virginia, Virginia and elsewhere around the world. This intrusion upon the peaceful lives and sacred homes has led to a large and determined force of grassroots activists determined to stand up for their rights, their land, their livelihoods, their neighbors and the environment. It is, unfortunately, necessary. Citizens have said enough to the crony capitalism that allows the fossil-fuel corporations to claim land, history and culture as their own. The movement is also an inspiration to every person willing to seek positive change by putting themselves on the front lines of justice. Soft cover 8.5″ x 11″ Coffee Table book, 106 pages.

‘From Almost Heaven to Almost Hell’

Containing articles written between 2014 and 2022, it is an account of reluctant, citizen activists who rose up organically in grassroots resistance to the natural gas industry as it has attempted to complete two, 42” pipelines carrying natural gas hundreds of miles through the Appalachian Mountains from the fracking fields of northern West Virginia, southwest Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. It is a first draft of a chapter in a history that is old. The fossil fuel industry has siphoned off billions of dollars of wealth – timber, oil, coal, gas – from Appalachia for well over a century, benefiting corporations, but devastating people and the earth.

Indeed, the experience of dealing with the gas companies and dangers of the pipelines led one longtime resident of Lewis County, West Virginia to leave the state. When doing so, she said the state had gone “from Almost Heaven to Almost Hell.”

Thousands of people agree with her. This books captures just a few of their stories. Their fight is not over. The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) intends to complete construction by the second half of this year. Powerful interests and people have invested far too much on the project to surrender just yet. The same is true with the activists; they have lost far too much to the MVP to surrender now.

So, these accounts, taken together, can be used as a playbook for citizens wishing to ally themselves with MVP opponents and other grassroots activists working to mitigate the effects of the climate emergency in Appalachia – while there is still time.

Maury Johnson Interview

In Chapter 37 of the book, (p. 88), we reference an interview of Maury Johnson on YouTube. Here is the link to that interview, Maury Johnson: Fierce Friend of Mother Earth. Thanks to Paula Mann for the video production.

Pipeline construction zone in northern West Virginia

Previous books by Michael Barrick

The Hillbilly Highway (1997)

Seven Days in Haiti (2007)

Exceptional Care, a Century Strong: The History of Frye Regional Medical Center (2010)