The drilling giant Ekson Gas is using science and sound evidence to pacify the people of Kempton, a small rural town in southwestern Pennsylvania near which it has been fracking, as well as those across the country who side with them.
There have been rumors and complaints, said the company’s spokesperson Linda Gloychich, that lubricating and other oil-based fluids used in hydraulic fracturing were leaking into the groundwater and that Ekson was secretly dumping toxic wastewater into the town’s streams and rivers.
Local sources confirmed that reasons for concern have been steadily growing more frequent and alarming. Iridescent oil film, for instance, was sighted on puddles and other bodies of water of various sizes, and local fishermen noticed fish and birds going extinct in several places.
While these reports may be true, Gloychich said, the inference the people drew by blaming fracking is totally false.
“We would never, for the meager promise of billions of dollars, endanger the health of ordinary citizens who don’t know much about fracking or have money for lawyers,” said Gloychich. “The real issue here is not negligence or malpractice on our part but ignorance on theirs.”
In response to the public concern, Ekson launched the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” educational campaign that aims at dispelling rumors and misconceptions. At its center is a panel of smiling, trustworthy-looking scientists hired by the company for undisclosed sums and perks who will give public lectures and distribute fancy pamphlets.
Paul Hiberman of the University of Madisonville, for example, is a city-renowned expert on rainbow water, a phenomenon he said is often mistaken for polluted water.
“When the rain passes through the part of the sky where the rainbow is forming, it dissolves some of that rainbow and carries it down to the ground, much like a stream of water dissolves a clump of salt away,” Hiberman explained. “Naturally, then, when that dissolved rainbow settles on the surface of the water it spreads out and we see a kind of a rainbow. No petroleum-based pollutants, folks. It’s rainbow water.”
The rainbow water phenomenon also helps explain the extinction of fish and other aquatic life, said freelance freshwater biologist Bob Dzork, a member of the panel, in a public lecture.
“When fish and other creatures drink enough rainbow water, rainbow fills their cells with happiness and promotes them to a higher plane of existence by altering their DNA,” Dzork said. “They ascend to rainbow-land to live with fairies and unicorns happily ever after.”
“The number of long technical terms and sophisticated charts and graphs the scientists use in their talks and lectures is simply too great for any intelligent, educated man like me to doubt their validity,” said Kempton resident Clayton Bornishek. “The fact that they pay us a pretty penny for using our land convinced me that they mean us well, and their desire to educate us only drives the point further home.”
Ekson is so concerned about public happiness, Gloychich said, that it urges people, especially the protesters in Kempton as well as the rest of the country, to follow the blissful way of the fish and drink the rainbow water. The “Touch the rainbow, drink the rainbow” drinking trips to rainbow streams are organized five times a day as part of the campaign, local sources confirmed. If it proves successful, Gloychich added, similar drinking trips will be organized near rainbow water sites across the U.S.
“There is no reason for worry over the fates of those in rainbow-land,” said Kempton’s public safety spokesperson Rita Melich, who was recently appointed the head of Ekson’s Pennsylvania division. “No fracking-related injuries or sicknesses have been reported, nor will there ever be, trust me.”