Brainwashing At The Clay Center

Brainwashing At The Clay Center, The Charleston Gazette, July 30, 2015 by Julian Martin

It is hard to imagine that anyone falls for Clay Center Chairman and Natural Gas driller Lloyd Jackson’s praise for his fellow business associates.   In gas-man Jackson’s June 15, 2015 Gazette Op-ed he wrote that “For companies like Energy Corporation of America and EQT to underwrite the cost of Power Your Future exhibit speaks volumes about the level of commitment these two corporations have for our communities, our state and the betterment of our children.”

When the 1% invokes the “betterment of our children”, grab your wallet. Such fluff ranks with the idea that outfits like the Koch brothers don’t have selfish motives in giving millions to political campaigns and public television. They all do it for “our children.”

And why would we feel confident when Jackson tries to reassure us that “The Clay Center educational staff developed the curriculum and the exhibit”.

With the boss at the Clay Center, himself a gas-man, being the head cheerleader for his natural gas industry, imagine how willing Clay Center educational staff are going to be to point out the incredible damage that is being done by fracking.

There would be more confidence in Clay Center’s “fact based” efforts if included in that effort were the citizen’s groups that are fighting against the destruction of the thousands of acres, the pollution of streams, the fowling of dream home properties, the damage to roads leading to those homes and the gouging of huge deep and wide ditches for pipelines to carry fracked gas out of state across our most beautiful mountains. Why weren’t the citizen’s groups asked to contribute to a better understanding of fracking? I bet you know why—they really do care about their children.

Jackson cleverly tries to pave the way for acceptance of brainwashing our students about fracking by changing the subject to STEM. We are to believe that the gas industry is actually trying to make our children smarter by promoting STEM. STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics and is what industries promote. They want “trained” employees, not necessarily educated employees. They want those trained employees to be trained at taxpayers’ expense. They don’t say much about the humanities. I am guessing they want robot workers rather than deep thinkers.

Perry Mann, the sage of Hinton, wrote about his struggle with math (the M in STEM) in his essay Math is a Mystery—“Every child is not born with the inbred intellect to cope with math but may have the inborn intellect to succeed with languages. There is an equal need in the world for those who can figure and for those who can write. For curriculum makers to require that all students take and pass four years of math, including algebra and its sisters, is to assure that many students will fail, dropout, and forever feel inadequate.”

Last December Public Radio reported that “After Living Next to Drilling Activity, 100 W.Va Residents Sue Companies.” Among those sued was the Pennsylvania-based EQT, one of the “generous” gas companies that Jackson claims have a “committment to our communities, our state and the betterment of our children.”

If the gas industry really is benevolent and caring for our communities, state and children, why do their lobbyists oppose regulations and taxes? And why does Jackson’s industry bring in so many workers from out of state? I once talked with two gas well workers in Kanawha State Forest. They were from Texas—one said he didn’t like all those trees because they got in his way of seeing where the gas wells were located.

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (, and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation ( I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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