Tom Ridge Joins the Marcellus Shale Coalition's Natural Gas Gold Rush

Tom Ridge's bookFormer Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has, for the most part, been out of the spotlight for the past year since he wrote his book titled The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege...And How We Can Be Safe Again, which came out in September of 2009. In that book, Ridge confessed that, although unsurprising to anyone who understood the rampant fear-mongering and propaganda that took place in the post-9/11 Bush era, he was pressured by others in the Bush Administration to purposely manipulate the infamous color-coded National Security Alerts for political reasons, and in particular, during the run-up to former President George W. Bush's re-election in 2004.

The tell-all was most likely intended to cleanse his hands of the countless deaths and woundings suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Patriot Act that was rushed into place and which usurped Americans' civil liberties, the opening of the illegal Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, torture at the Abu Ghraib Detention Center in Iraq, among other crimes that took place under Bush's regime. Yet, after Bush's former Press Secretary Scott McClellan attempted to pull off the same kind of confession in his book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception, few were willing to forgive and forget, as the United States has been forever stained by Bush's nest of criminals. It was too little too late to play "Monday Morning Quarterback" for both McClellan and Ridge and their time in the limelight.

Just when we thought Ridge was on the up and out, the smell of a fat wad of cash was too much for him to pass up, it appears.

Ridge Appointed as an "Adviser" for the Marcellus Shale Coalition

On July 30, 2010, Ridge was named as an "adviser" to the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), and offered $900,000 per year to him and his consulting groups, Ridge Global and Ridge Policy Group in compensation for their "services." Ridge Global will earn $50,000 a month and the Ridge Policy Group will get $25,000 a month, each for 12 months. It is certain that these services will include helping the MSC in its public relations disinformation campaign in the push to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale region, located in the Northeastern corridor of the U.S.

It is worth a quick review of what natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale is all about and what it entails.

To be brief, the Marcellus Shale is an extensive formation of shale (a type of sedimentary rock that is high in carbon) in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and other states in the region that underlies about 18,700 square miles in southern New York, including New York City's entire 1,585-square-mile watershed west of the Hudson River. This shale has received renewed attention both because of new estimates of the quantity of methane gas believed to be under these rocks, and because of the significant environmental concerns that have been raised about the method of extracting the gas from the shale, through a process called "fracking."

Fracking is a process in which a fluid is injected at high pressure into oil or methane gas deposits to fracture the rock above and release the liquid or gas below. In this process, a fluid is injected into the rock which then releases the gas along with dumping radioactive toxins and other hazardous substances into the shale. ProPublica has created two very helpful charts depicting how the fracking process works: "What is Hydraulic Fracturing?" and "Anatomy of a Gas Well".

In short, during the fracking process, the hazardous chemicals shot into the ground eventually end up in peoples' well water, which in turn enables citizens to ignite flames in their tap water. Furthermore, one of the toxins is benzene, a well-known carcinogen.

The Nexus

Ridge has, as per usual in his career, decided to work for the Devil. In this case, it's the extractive energy lobbying industry. In the past, it has been the Bush Administration. Now he will use his masterful deception skills to tout for drilling in the Marcellus Shale, which will lead countless innocent American civilians who live in this region to be exposed to toxic chemicals. Ridge was complicit in the march to perpetual war, humiliating torture, warrantless wiretapping, among other travesties, so, if the MSC has it their way, he will have matching success in this arena, too.

Before it's too late, citizens must stand up against the lies and deception of the oil industry. The stakes and the consequences for the environment of not doing so are dire.


The coal and Oil industry has been pushing this fracting disinformation campaign because natural gas is their competitor. Fracting is nothing new and has been going on for decades with very few accidents. Certainly it should be carefully regulated to prevent future disasters but coal power should be replaced by natural gas as quickly as possible because it is much cleaner and way less environmentally destructive than coal or oil. Remember that coal is now mined by raping the land and blowing the tops off of mountains. Coal emissions have terrible health consequences which can be eliminated by simply converting coal power plants to gas. Gas is an excellent temporary solution while we develop renewables. If we stifle it's development, coal will be the only alternative.

HII -Read some of your comments - many are comments with only conjecture, not fact, or are very erroneous ! ! ! Frack water virtually never ends up in fresh water wells, 50 years & 8000 old wells should prove it to you. DO you understand the natural liquid contained in the Marcellus Shale layers - THERE FOR OVER 400,000,000 YEARS - I'LL CALL IT -- UNDER-ground water contains a variety of dissolved minerals varying at each location & is just as poisonous to above ground flora & fauna as some of the frack fluid ingredients. IT HASN't MIGRATED TO FRESH WATER LEVELS IN 400,000,000, SO WHY WOULD THE RESIDUAL FRACKING WATER MIGRATE ? If you want energy costs to double (as in Portugal) and shut down all industrial growth - go for immediatally changing to re-newables and see what un-intended hazards, accidents, and consequences develop from that - will you denounce those effects as ardently as you do the current - SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN , BUT HAVEN'T THAT YOU CITE WITH THE MARCELLUS ? ? ? Please re-examine your emotional reaction and look up more factual onfo ! Girdon

Interesting that you should mention Portugal. It appears the reason that energy costs have "doubled" in Portugal is that the Portuguese have started doing what we should -- counting more of the true costs of energy use: As Cole notes, "It will be a decade before even a third of [Portugal's] over-all energy comes from alternative sources." But...time flies when you're having fun, right? Seems to me that the decade 2000–2010 went by almost before I knew it! :-)

My name is Justin DeVos I work for a fracturing company in the shale region of pa and I must clear up a few things that were published in the article. The "Fluid" as said is Water taken from rivers and streams a limit of one million gallons per day is allowed to be moved. The explanation of what fracturing is in the article is also a little misinformed fracing is not how the gas is taken out of the ground it is a way of increasing the output of gas that already flows from the drilled well. 90 percent of what flows down hole is water and sand. To be honest I have no idea what the other chemicals do and for that matter I really dont think anyone does, but the ratio of water to chemicals is so emense that i bet the chemicals are nearly undetectable. Im not a sciencetist I mearly use common sence I really wish people would stop "Jumping on the band wagon" about how bad fracing is and realize what it can bring to pennsylvania's economy. Its articles like this i read and realize the writer has writen only what he or she has herd from someone else. If any one has any questions please feel free to email me i will answer to the best of my knowledge. Thank you

I live in southern WV, rumor has it that drilling is to start here this fall. My area is covered in Karst topography, and all residents obtain water from wells or springs on their property. There is no infrastructure for municipal water to rural areas; even if there were it would still be pulled from underground source. Our area is full of caves with interconnecting fractures and channels that cover many miles. I’m very worried that in the case of an accident, whole communities would quickly be impacted with nowhere to turn. Can you provide any info that may ease my mind? Or documentation of drilling in known Karst areas. Also I still don’t understand if this type of drilling is safe, why was there a successful effort to excuse them from regulations?

You should have stayed in school. Command of the English language would at least make your ignorance more enjoyable to read.

Fracking *is* dangerous. The truth is that the natural gas companies have not been honest about the risks. Yes, the percentage of water to chemicals is small. But 1% of 1 million is still 100,000 gallons of chemicals. The NRDC is keeping a list of reports here: Also - for New Yorkers - here's your future under a Republican governor. PA governor is considering allowing Eminent Domain over land for drilling. Check this out: