January 5, 2012; Source: NorthcentralPA.com (Gas Industry) | It is important to look behind the news to determine whose presentation of it one is getting—in this case, a story about the efforts of Pennsylvania’s shale gas industry providing charitable contributions in North and Central Pennsylvania in response to the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Lee last September. This article touts the achievements of the members of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a variety of natural gas developers and producers, responding to the flooding. MSC President and executive director Kathryn Klaber described the coalition’s member companies as “some of the most dedicated, compassionate, and energetic contributors to the well-being of Pennsylvanians, especially during this time of hardship for many residents.”

Encomiums to these natural gas producers came from the heads of the Williamsport Chamber of Commerce and the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, and the article noted contributions of $50,000 from the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, $200,000 from Chief Oil & Gas, $15,000 from Alberts Spray Solutions LLC, $100,000 from EXCO Resources Pennsylvania, pledges of money and in-kind contributions from other firms, and stories of individual charitable acts by the Range, Chief, and Susquehanna Gas Field Services employees (described as “heroic” for “single-handedly clean[ing] up” Meshoppen, Pennsylvania).

After inventorying stories from the multiple shale gas companies, the article concludes with a pretty obvious giveaway:

As this collection of stories demonstrates, Industry representatives have acted like good neighbors. In the days following Lee’s wrath, producers, developers and service companies alike worked with Pennsylvanians to assist residents, preserve the land, protect the waterways and rebuild the roads. Their aid was not requested. The law did not require it. There were no regulations in place mandating financial contributions or restoration efforts. Like politics and gun control, whether or not development by the Shale Gas Industry benefits the Marcellus region is a topic often hotly debated among Pennsylvanians. Stories like these should be considered in the debate.

So ask yourself: Who wrote this, and why? The article was written by Laurie Alberts Salita, a partner in the Blank Rome LLP law firm, a very well-known lobbying firm. Salita works in the Blank Rome’s Shale Oil and Gas practice. NorthcentralPA.com uses content generated by volunteer “correspondents”, but it is important to remember that in citizen-journalism news sites like this one, sometimes the citizen journalists aren’t just your neighbors and friends but also special interest lobbyists pushing the political agendas of corporations.—Rick Cohen