So I have learned a good deal about fracking. I knew some but the Snake OIl book is very informative. So my curiosity about fracking has been elevated.
I actually lived in Texas not far from one of the fracking hotspots centered on For Worth. All that was not happening at the time I lived in the Dallas Ft. Worth area. This past summer, I flew into DFW Regional Airport and coming in from the west and losing altitude, there were thousands of fracking pads on the ground below. I even read that fracking has invaded the nearby town where I went to university, Denton. Many of the locals are incensed and want to ban fracking in town.
I have read a number of newspaper articles about the North Dakota fracking boom so I looked up Williston Fracking. Williston being the town in northwest North Dakota that is located in the midst of the fracking zone.
There are a lot of short, self made videos made mostly by young men who have gone to Williston for the money to be made. Most of the self made videos are personal accounts describing what life is like in Williston.
It sound positively horrible. See for yourself - search "Williston Fracking." Most of the 5 to 15 minute videos are of the genre cautionary tale. Very informal, like a friend telling a story to a friend. More like a warning. Some of the videos have tens of thousands of hits.
Typically, the guy is driving in his car around town, its really spread out, and narrating what is in view and recouting personal experience. They all say, yes, there is a lot of work here. Help wanted signs everywhere. Money to be made.
They all talk about the traffic and its just about impossible to find a place to stay - whether in a motel, houise to rent, apartment. The vids I saw all said bring your own rig, be prepared to sleep in your vehicle unless you have a job lined up and your employer is providing a place for you.
They describe how everything takes more time - shopping, the bank, restaurants,,,, because its crowded everywhere. The urban and retail, service infrastructure is simply overwhelemed by so many people. Everything costs a lot more.
One guy was into the weather and showed what the season's first modest snow storm looked like near his trailer park. Stuck vehicles, 40 mile an hour wind with below zero chill factor. He kept his trailer warm using small camping stove gas canisters. He had cases of them. The same guy followed a new sidewalk to where it ended with a time and temp flashing behind him reading 13 degrees and a new sign next to where the side walk ended in front of big metal warehouse that said no camping.
Some articles I read described the torn up roads because of all the heavy trucks. The police can't keep up with the mostly minor assault infractions at the local bars. There are way more single guys than single gals. Many women do not feel safe in public places.
On and on. The sounds horrible. And thats just where people are tying to live and take care of daily needs. The acutal work of servicing the drilling rigs and driving the trucks on frigid wind swept prairie can't make being there any better. Why do people choose to live in a place like that? Most are there only for the money, and plan to leave when they have enough saved. No loyalty to the place. Only loyalty is to making money.
What kind of sense can we make about this phenomena?
The stories and videos make me think of a favorite Peter Sellers movie called the "Magic Christian." The movie is a comic farce that makes some serious "fun" of what people will do for money. I will save the Magic Christian comments for the next blog and somewhere beyond that, will draw meditation into this discussion.