Sunday, August 24, 2008

Seismic What?

First we saw cables strung alongside the road (Rte 33, between Ripley WV and Spencer WV). What on earth? The cables hooked to power boxes with outlets, and new cables plugged into the boxes picked up the line. The power boxes seemed to be about 100 feet apart.

Theory 1: Spencer had a serious power outage and the whole town was running on this extension cord that ran from the Ohio River to Spencer.

Theory 2: My son who returned recently from Iraq saw the power boxes and immediately thought: IEDs! (individual explosive devices, i.e. roadside bombs)

Theory 3: The aliens are coming.

Then a few days later we saw this sign. Seismic? Here? In Jackson County?

I scoured the local newspaper for an explanation. Although there is great coverage of local high school football and assorted wedding announcements, there is nothing about seismic activity in the county. Maybe no one noticed any tremors, or the miles of cable stretched through town, across major intersections and along the highway for about 40 miles?


Next we saw this--a truck on top of a hill with a big antenna sticking up. Signaling Mars? Seismic cosmic activity, perhaps? We were still clueless.





The bizarre posed willingly with the rural--a tractor and hay rake with a sign that says...


Monster trucks along the road, with big flat platforms under them seemed to be vibrating to some beat all their own.


Okay.

I haven't heard about any earthquakes around here lately. So what the???
I saw the name of the company on the side of the trucks and looked them up online. Dawson Geophysical. According to their website, they test under the surface for the likelihood of oil and gas.


Duh. Drilling has been frantic in this area for the past two years. So why are they testing now? Who is paying for this extensive test? Why should we, the taxpayers who must travel this road every day, have to deal with these crews blocking traffic for a profit-making endeavor that will undoubtedly lead to more inconvenience, destroyed land and probably people being ripped off for their mineral rights? Who authorizes/approves such things?

The Dawson website shows these imaging trucks in action at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport--did you know they're drilling for oil and gas on the airport grounds? That made me wonder--does the governor of West Virginia plan to drill for natural gas below the highway? He is, after all, all about big business and bringing business to WV.

I have to say the crews doing this work did a good job of placing warning signs, directing traffic and keeping the operation as smooth as possible. I think there was at least one accident due to the stopped traffic, if I interpreted the skidmarks, scattered gravel and oil stain in the highway in a bad curve correctly.

I would like to think these trucks are here to find out why the road is falling apart so badly--even though all of us who travel Rte 33 know that the reason for its terrible condition is the hundreds of gas drilling trucks, logging trucks that travel the road weekly, and general lack of maintenance under the current governor.

But I think the real reason for the "seismic crews" is even more extensive exploration of the natural gas and oil fields that lay beneath this part of West Virginia, and I wonder if we're in for even more disruption in the months to come as drilling activity rises to a fever pitch.

Or maybe they found nothing except a few buried junk cars, a Big Foot skeleton and the missing White House emails.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

They covered the entire mountain up in MT Storm with this seismic stuff. Miles and miles of copper wire.



Now I have the White House emails. Yup, safe and sound in my USB jump drive. And if you want to see BigFoot's skeleton, you are going to have to pay...

Aaron

Anonymous said...

Would't have a close up of that tractor, would ya?

Had to ask,

Aaron

Bubbasgotgas said...

Aunt Susie they are drilling everywhere in Fort Worth for gas. Beside schools, roads, my house. If there is a chance of gas they are putting a hole in the ground. I'm not complaining though, they buy chemicals from us.

Granny Sue said...

I suppose it's one more boom in WV natural resource extraction.People out of state will get richer and as usual WV will be left with a mess to clean up. Not that I'm pessimistic or anything. The lessons of the past don't seem to lead to improvements in the future; just more lessons repeated.

I understand what you're saying, Chris. I benefit too because of my gas well. But somehow there needs to be some better protection for the people who live in areas being explored, more control over environmental impact, and more return to the local community. In this state, our history has been that wealthy out-of-state companies come in and extract our mineral wealth, export it to other places, and what we get are a few temporary jobs, health problems and environmental damage. Nothing is ever learned from this repeated cycle.

Even now, as the giant windmills go up, that power is being sent OUT of WV to other states (like Virginia and the DC area). They get the benefit of our energy resources, while our landowners are losing prime real estate, dealing with the noise pollution, and paying high electricity bills. It seems wrong to me.

Anonymous said...

And we get NYC trash!
tm

Matthew Burns said...

I love your cynical side! Maybe the seismic test will even find the Tin Man's heart and Gov. Manchin's brain?

Granny Sue said...

Ha! you guys are funny! aaron, i'll send you a close-up of the tractor--should have realized you'd want one :-)

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