— Fred Thompson (@fredthompson) November 16, 2012
Read the piece below:
Three hours west of Washington, D.C., U.S. Route 50 emerges from the West Virginia forest in a gentle curve. On the south side of the highway rises an enormous natural gas drilling rig. To its left and slightly behind it is a gas separation plant under construction. This is the “wet gas” portion of the Marcellus shale-gas play that underlies Appalachia. The separation plant will divide the wet gas into propane, pentane, butane and the like. In front of the rig and closest to the highway is a kind of filling station with color-coded fittings instead of hoses on the pumps. When it’s completed, 40 tanker trucks a day will pull up and load the various gases for delivery to plants up the chemistry food chain.
Watching over this process was a man about 50 years old in a new but dusty white pickup. He’s the site-preparation foreman, there to make certain everything is squared away properly. Natural gas drilling is a second career for him. He worked for many years in the aluminum plant in Ravenswood, W.V., until it closed. He’s visibly tired because he’s been working hard, probably with a lot of overtime, but for once in his life, he is making excellent wages and benefits. During the summer, he got a little time off and took his wife deep-sea fishing off Myrtle Beach, S.C.