by Deep Water Earth First!
Donald Swanson, pickle-patriarch of Ravenna MI, owner and decision maker of Swanson Trust, has unfortunately signed a lease with Rosetta Resources to allow a fracking well on his land. While it’s obvious that he is a lover of all things brined, fracking fluid isn’t the type of brine anyone should be allowing on the land. This lease is the first of its type in Muskegon County, MI.
Yesterday evening members of Deep Water Earth First! and other community members paid Swanson a small visit at his home at 12852 Harrisburg Rd, Ravenna MI. The goal of the evening was to give Mr. Swanson a chance to sign a contract terminating his lease with Rosetta and to be welcomed back into the community. The contract stated, in part, “For the wellness and safety of the community of Ravenna, and the residents of the unconfined aquifer that will be penetrated by Rosetta’s rig, I (decision maker of the Swanson Trust) hereby agree to terminate the Swanson Trust Lease Agreement with Rosetta Resources Michigan Limited Partnership…I will take into consideration the well-being of my children, the community, the wildlife, ecosystems, agricultural economy and future generations as I move forward resisting this well, and protecting the land.”
When it became clear that Swanson was unavailable, the contract was taped to his door, and a feather pen was left for his signing pleasure. We are all expecting the contract in the mail soon. Other tom-foolery then ensued. The stone lions that adorned the pillars at the end of his driveway were dressed in stylish t-shirts with the message “If you frack, We’ll be back”. And several signs expressing opposition to his decision making were staked all over his yard- “Don’t Sell Out Your Neighbors”, “Swanson’s Greed Got Us Into This Pickle”, and “Fracking Poisons Water” are just a few.
Because we were unable to speak with Swanson, a letter is in the mail assuring him that if he is “willing to make the right choice for [his] local community and ecosystem [he] will have community support in standing up to Rosetta.” Everyone understands that Swanson is in a dilly of a pickle, being faced with the reality that he made a choice to value money over the life of the planet, so the letter also includes contact information of a Michigan environmental lawyer who is willing to work with Mr. Swanson in the event he chooses to terminate the lease.
Area residents are excited at the possibility of welcoming Swanson back into the community after he makes the choice to cancel the contract and be accountable to his neighbors. If he does not choose this path- we will be back; ready to put our bodies on the line to make sure this first fracking lease is the last venture of poisoning the water in Muskegon County.