Play about hydraulic fracturing presented for high school students, residents

Play about hydraulic fracturing presented for high school students, residents by Jeremy Fugleberg, March 17, 2012, Capser Star-Tribune
It’s a dramatic retake on a 130-year-old play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen called “Enemy of the People,” which centers on a scientist’s discovery that tanneries are poisoning the hot springs on which his town’s economy depends. The updated version was written by Deanna Neil. It examines how the use of fracking by a company to break open trapped gas underground also fractures a family and a small town in New York when a local scientist discovers a water well polluted by natural gas…. In Neil’s version, a scientist named Thomasin Stockmann is employed by the reservoir board. She finds out that laboratory tests have discovered methane and “toxic fracking chemicals” in an abandoned water well. Thomasin tells her brother, Peter, who is also the town’s mayor. While Peter urges caution and a methodical, public relations-friendly approach to examining the well-testing results, Thomasin spreads the news and hands off the investigation results to the local paper, believing local residents will be happy she discovered the pollution before anyone got hurt. The following, almost inevitable, chain of events rallies the town and local media against Thomasin and the report, which are attacked for putting local jobs and economic development at risk and requiring what would probably be an expensive fix….Encana Corp., which has taken fire for its natural gas development in a field near Pavillion and elsewhere in Wyoming, was invited to attend the reading but instead submitted a comment about the importance of safe natural gas development and good water. … “Does the money that fracking makes outweigh the problems?” asked the student…. “At what point does the affected water affect us?” “Why is panic never an initial reaction to problems such as this?”

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