Energy is a tricky thing. Our modern society creates a massive demand for it, and one of the driving forces of the modern era has been ever-increasing competition to find and utilize new sources of fuel. Global politics can be completely shifted by who control stores of materials such as oil and coal. Mining and drilling companies are constantly trying to get ahead of one another in the race to control these resources. They are always on the hunt, analyzing new data, buying up mining rights to various locations, and constantly fighting with the government to secure more freedom to operate. One titan of the energy world is Terry Pegula, who’s been engaged in natural gas drilling and fracking for the past four decades.
He started his business by examining old surveys of the Appalachian mountains in Pennsylvania. Using the knowledge gained from his degree in natural gas engineering, he was able to predict where gas could be found around the mountain and begin buying up mineral rights. From there, he was quickly able to amass a significant fortune and expand his business throughout the state.
Recently, he’s met with large amounts of opposition to his business. Fracking is an extremely controversial topic. Evidence has piled up over the years showing the damages it causes both to human and natural communities. It can spew large amounts of pollutants into the air, do irreversible damage to water and soil, and destroy other natural resources in the area. Especially as forms of alternative energy become more viable, the case fracking and relying on other resources such as coal and oil has steadily weakened. In 2014 the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, passed a statewide ban on the practice. Lobbyists in many other states have been trying pass similar legislation.
In addition to these damages, mining companies often take predatory approaches to obtaining the rights to work certain land. Many small towns across the country have found themselves engaged in struggles to keep control over their land as companies try to move in. According to this mineral rights auction company, companies will also often take advantage of civilians who don’t fully understand the value of their land or trick them into giving up mineral rights they may have been able to obtain much more money for. Drilling companies will come into a town, take whatever resources they can from out, and then leave without substantially improving the community.
There are many ways in which our relationship with energy needs to be improved. We must find methods to obtain it that are more sustainable, beneficial for the environment, and positive for local communities. The companies that engage in energy development must be monitored to ensure they are not taking advantage of those whose land they work. There are many questions about what the right direction for energy to take is. However, as long as we make sure to look at the larger picture and what is beneficial in the long term, we can find answers to them.Read More