Sylva Herald: Fake fracking supporters attended Western Carolina University forum

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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shale_yes_2014The Sylva Herald is reporting that last week’s big public hearing to gather public hearing on proposed hydraulic fracturing regulations in North Carolina apparently included a group of questionable fracking supporters. In her story posted online following Friday’s hearing, reporter Quintin Ellison wrote that 18 men in turquoise “Shale Yes” attended, with some of them saying they were bused in from a homeless shelter in Winston-Salem.

From Ellison’s story posted on The Sylva Herald’s page on Facebook:

Few pro-fracking supporters made themselves visible. People favoring the drilling technology were booed and hissed at during previous fracking hearings. There were some, however. Three or four from America’s Energy Forum and N.C. Energy Forum, groups that receive financial support from American Petroleum Institute. And there was Winston-Salem resident Christian Bradshaw, who said he made the three-hour trip to support “energy-creating jobs” for North Carolina.

Another 18 or so men sported turquoise-colored “Shale Yes” T-shirts. Some of them expressed confusion about why they were in Cullowhee. A handful removed their shirts or turned them inside out after anti-fracking supporters quizzed them about their knowledge of fracking. One of the men told The Herald he stays in a Winston-Salem homeless shelter and came because he had been told it would help the environment. He said he felt misled. The man, an Army veteran receiving mental-health care, refused to provide his name or additional details, saying he didn’t want any trouble. To prove his story, he fished in his pocket and produced a Bethesda Center For The Homeless business card.

The men who would talk – none were willing to provide their names — seemed nervous. They asked reporters to close their notebooks when other people approached. One warned another to be quiet. They denied receiving money to attend the hearing.

Fracking protesters cried foul.

“The energy industry keeps claiming that there is support for fracking in WNC. What they fail to mention is that they have to bus the clueless ‘supporters’ in,” said Betsy Ashby, who helped organize Jackson County Coalition Against Fracking.

Here’s a YouTube video showing some of those men. Check it out.

I haven’t seen any other news outlets reporting this, but it sure appears to be shady. Stay tuned.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. VVS September 19, 2014

    Let’s talk about the real issue here: Vertical Video Syndrome.

  2. RedHotPoker September 16, 2014
  3. Matt Christie September 15, 2014

    Name one time the left has paid kids from a homeless shelter to attend a public hearing and heckle/wear shirts.

    1. theOtherBarry September 16, 2014

      Hey, the liberal-progressives have used the ‘accuse your opponent of whatever dirty trick you just got caught doing’ shtick for years…

      At least I think they have, or at least I just heard myself say that they did, and so that’s enough for me.


  4. Mike M September 15, 2014

    The Left and unions have used the fake supporter tactic for years. They are almost never called out on it by the media covering the event.
    I don’t like the tactic being used by either side but I would appreciate the press being equally quick to call out the Left when they bus in homeless people to protest for immigration, Walmart, etc.
    Why can’t we just have an honest fact-based debate?

    1. Santa September 15, 2014

      Is this the same Mike M (Michael Muller, Tim Moffett’s paid operative) that paid 15 homeless people in cigarettes to wear sashes to a downtown Asheville public input session?

      (Referring to paragraph 17)

    2. Darth September 15, 2014

      What is your evidence of this? Busing in actual union members or supporters is completely different than paying homeless people who have no idea what the issue is. That’s exploitation. These are big oil companies with billions in tax free profits – are you really taking their side?

    3. smytty September 16, 2014

      That’s a pretty crap argument – “Lefties do it to, you just never hear about it?”

  5. FDR September 15, 2014

    Anybody with knowledge of NC geology will tell you it’s a waste of money to drill/frack in WNC. The oil companies know that, but the GOP politicians are betting their pro-fracking voters do not. Further west of Charlotte might yield a different story but the contaminants that will run into the ocean won’t be allowed.

    1. Tim Peck September 15, 2014

      1. Not only will there be no fracking in WNC, they’re not even going to test the soil and mineral deposits.

      2. This is where fracking will take place in NC.

      3. Contaminants don’t run into the ocean. The chemicals used, and found in common household products, make up .05% of fracking fluid and the flowback is mostly treated and reused on another job. The rest is treated and returned to the water supply, much like sewage is now.

      1. ashevillain September 16, 2014

        LOL. So now you’re a geologist huh?

        Have another Anchor Steam and keep fantasizing.

        1. Tim Peck September 16, 2014

          I don’t mind if you’d like to change the subject to me, but I’d be more interested in knowing if there is something in my comment you’d like to refute using a valid argument.

          1. theOtherBarry September 16, 2014

            Yeah, don’t go all ad hominem on Mr. Peck. He’s the only one who can do that and claim victory.

            “Not only will there be no fracking in WNC, they’re not even going to test the soil and mineral deposits.”

            You make a declarative statement like that which you can’t back up, and which is fundamentally misleading, and you wonder why people want to make it about you?

            They’ve only said that they won’t do any WNC testing this fiscal year.

            And they conveniently announced this postponement just before a contentious hearing on fracking in WNC, weeks before the election, with a couple of local pro-fracking GOP legislators (Moffitt, Presnell) getting hammered for it…

            Smell test: FAIL.

          2. ashevillain September 16, 2014

            You never use valid arguments. All you do is copy/paste.

      2. Rip September 16, 2014

        If an average fracking well takes around 5 million gallons of water then that means if *only* 0.05 % is made up of chemicals (and these “household products* are a closely guarded secret) then 2500 gallons of the “household products” are needed per well?

        That’s a lot of Clorox, Drano and Scrubbing Bubbles isn’t it?

  6. theOtherBarry September 15, 2014

    Katie Hicks of Clean Water for North Carolina was there, and she’ll talk about these American Petroleum Institute frauds, and other aspects of the Cullowhee hearing on todays Making Progress: News for a Change at 6 pm. Listen live, or download later: (drag & drop)


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