A personal story: John Fenton, Pavillion, Wyoming (audio and video)

“We have really no power, no control of them coming or over what they do, where they do it or when they do it so you know it was a pretty rude awakening for us.”

-John Fenton, Pavillion, Wyoming

Telling personal stories
The oil and gas boom has been underway for a number of years in many locations across North America, and there are now a lot of stories about individuals and families whose lives have been personally affected. This post is part of a regular series of those stories on this blog to help you envision what could happen if drilling expands along the Beartooth Front. Look for these once a week.

Today’s story centers on one of the most troubled spots in the history of fracking: Pavillion, Wyoming. It’s the story of John Fenton, whose life was completely disrupted by gas drilling on his farm. He’s dedicated his life to telling his story, which he has done all over the world. It’s always best to hear directly from the storytellers themselves, and today we’ve got a multimedia version, with audio and video interviews with John.

We’ll tell the story of Pavillion in another post later this week.

Previous posts in this series:
Tim and Christine Ruggiero, Wise County, Texas
Laura Amos, Encana, Colorado
Helen Ricker, Poplar, Montana
Diana Daunheimer, Didsbury, Alberta

John Fenton, Pavillion Wyoming

John Fenton, Pavillion, WY

John Fenton, Pavillion, Wyoming
John Fenton is a farmer from Pavillion Wyoming who has been living with the effects of the gas industry for many years: ground, water, and air pollution; surface degradation, property devaluation and other significant impacts. John and his wife Catherine have 24 gas wells on their farm.

In 2008 the US Environmental Protection Agency investigated discolored ground water in Pavillion. In 2010, after it found the water contaminated with dangerous chemicals and methane caused by fracking,  the EPA warned Pavillion residents not to drink the water and use a fan when bathing or washing clothes to avoid the risk of explosion. Later the EPA was pressured to end their investigation.

The gas company now trucks in drinking water for local farmers. Some eat from paper plates because they cannot wash dishes without contamination, and they must open their windows when they have a shower.  The water flowing out of the bores and taps smells like diesel and can be lit if contained in a jar. Several people in the district have developed neuropathy or other health ailments.  Animals have also become sick.

John Fenton has a gas well situated only 100 yards from his house and the snow melt irrigation district has 200 gas wells dotted over the farm land.

Other local farmers in the Pavillion area also suffer from industrial land use clashing with agriculture with well pads, access roads, pipelines, truck visits and compressor stations all affecting farm operations.

John has become a leading spokesperson for the effects of unconventional gas.  He has a great story to tell and is an effective and authentic communicator.

Audio and video interviews
Here is an interview John did with a radio station in Australia. It describes in his own words the devastating effects of gas exploration in Pavillion (12 minutes).

And a video interview:

About davidjkatz

The Moses family has lived on the Stillwater River since 1974, when George and Lucile Moses retired and moved to the Beehive from the Twin Cities. They’re gone now, but their four daughters (pictured at left, on the Beehive) and their families continue to spend time there, and have grown to love the area. This blog started as an email chain to keep the family informed about the threat of increased fracking activity in the area, but the desire to inform and get involved led to the creation of this blog.
This entry was posted in Personal stories and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to A personal story: John Fenton, Pavillion, Wyoming (audio and video)

  1. Pingback: More on federal loopholes: how the Clean Air Act enables polluters in Wyoming (audio) | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  2. Pingback: Pavillion, Wyoming: politics trumps science, citizens suffer | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  3. Pingback: A personal story: Linda Monson, Yellowstone River southwest of Williston, North Dakota | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  4. Pingback: A Personal Story: Bob Deering, Pennsylvania. “Our Dream Has Become a Nightmare” | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  5. Pingback: A personal story: Christine Pepper, Bradford County, Pennsylvania (with Daily Show clip) | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  6. Pingback: A personal story: Marilyn Hunt, Wetzel County, West Virginia | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  7. Pingback: A safer approach to drilling? Not for us. | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  8. Pingback: Baker Hughes to disclose all fracking chemicals. Don’t get too excited. | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  9. Pingback: What’s wrong with the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  10. Pingback: Study complete; Wyoming officials to meet with Pavillion residents on Thursday, June 12 | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  11. Pingback: Article in The Local Rag uses half-truths, lies and plain stupidity to promote oil drilling | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  12. Pingback: More new evidence of public health risk at drilling sites all over the United States (with awesome diagram of chemical health effects) | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  13. Pingback: Tuesday, January 20 in Red Lodge: screening of Backyard, plus panel of well-known environmental activists from Wyoming and Montana | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  14. Pingback: Milestone: Preserve the Beartooth Front passes 100,000 hits | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  15. Pingback: Interview: The Gas Patch with John Fenton | Preserve the Beartooth Front

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s