When I started working on this project I knew very little about the extraction and handling of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale deposited about a mile below the house I live in, across western PA and beyond. One of my approaches was to follow a family similar to mine that had their lives torn apart emotionally and physically by water and air contamination from the gas companies.
I made many attempts to show the gorgeous landscape of western Pennsylvania and how the gas companies are slowly fragmenting forests, chopping up farmland for drilling rigs and ultimately contaminating air, land and water supplies for animals and humans.
The saddest part of this dilemma is that the US has an over abundance of natural gas. The gas companies are shipping the gas overseas for increased profit and our dependence on foreign oil will not cease until we utilize renewable energy like many of our European brothers and sisters. Several cities and towns in Europe obtain over 60% of their energy from renewable sources.
The road to altering the minds and practices of the drilling companies is a tough one. A spokesperson for Range Resources was recorded in a private meeting saying “We use military style psych operations with the media”. Billboards and TV ads proclaim natural gas to be the energy panacea for the world, but when you follow the money with natural gas, the truth is unveiled.
Scott Goldsmith has photographed feature stories for a wide variety of magazines including: The National Geographic, Life, Time, Fortune, Business Week, Sports Illustrated and People. His work has taken him to the jungles of Costa Rica, the swamps of Jamaica, the slums of Haiti, caves, deserts, and several rides on Air Force One with the President of the United States. He has worked in 49 of the 50 US states and 10 foreign countries. Scott has won over 100 awards for his work including the 2007, 2008, 2009 editions of Communication Arts and the 2011 Black & White International Spider Awards. In October of 2011 he was honored by the National Academy of Science for work published by the National Geographic.