Mike recently spoke with Engage Mountain Maryland about the fallacy of jobs creation with natural gas development in western Maryland. We believe that Garrett County’s precious and beautiful natural resources should be preserved and utilized for sustainable tourism.
The Savage River watershed and Savage River State Forest are endangered by fracking proposals, and so is our quiet oasis at SRL. The current statewide moratorium on drilling expires in October. We oppose hydraulic natural gas fracking in Maryland and encourage you to voice your opinion with your local representatives if you agree.
A transcript of Mike's interview appears below.
“When we moved here as a tourism-based business, the idea for us was to have really great natural resources. Probably about four to five years ago when the idea came up that they were going to look at fracking for natural gas in this region, I kind of scoffed at it because we’re such a small location that economically it’s really not going to be possible.
We absolutely are opposed to hydraulic fracking because what got us here 20 years ago, our deliberate move, is that we want to stay and be able to keep doing that.
We deliberately came to Garrett County because of a lot of things – four seasons and a great clean environment. We came here because of it being a destination. And we chose this area because of the ability to do a lot of outdoor tourism activities. A lot of our guests come because of the quietness and because of the ability to walk off the step of their cabin and go out and hike for six to eight hours, take the dog with them; that’s one of the big attractions.
I used to work as a labor mediator out west. And so I watched places in Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado pretty much get destroyed and then have to make a big shift. So they went away from tourism activities to industrial activity, and tourism began to lose a lot of clientele.
Those guys that travel from Oklahoma or Wyoming or Montana, they are a travelling road crew and they go from place to place to place. When they get here or someplace else, they work the job out, they leave, and what’s left is… well, good luck!
And if I sit here and look at the Four Mile Ridge wind turbine project – and I’m 100% pro-wind energy – in the initial pieces of that, they were very successful in creating hundreds of jobs. And those 14 wind turbines created a lot of tax base for the county. But now if you go look at the Four Mile wind turbine project – which, it’s very similar to the natural gas industry – so, once we got the turbines up and running and things are happening, there’s now only three people to support the whole project.
And I do know for a fact from when I worked in Colorado and Wyoming the travelling road crews would have their $125,000 RVs and they would go to job site to job site and they’d be there for six months and they’d move on to the next job site, but when they really left the area there were no jobs left over. And these guys weren’t working eight hour days, they were working 12 and 14 and 16-hour days. And they were making double-time and making lots of money, and it was going in the bank and it was going right back home to where they really live.
And for me, that’s my biggest complaint – is that they’re going to destroy the renewable businesses that we have in Garrett County for the “oh, we’ll have more jobs.” We’re not going to have more jobs. Why would you want to endanger the sustainable business of tourism with the hope of having a short-term business that might get you some natural gas?”
─ Mike Dreisbach, owner of Savage River Lodge