A Triadelphia, West Virginia family is claiming that recent changes to the local water supply brought on by the hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’ as it is commonly known in the media, have been anything but harmful to their 10-year-old son Dale. Beverly and Dale Cochran Sr. say that since they began noticing a different taste to their tap water, they have seen a dramatic improvement in test scores for their son Dale Jr. Dale Sr. believes this coincides with the beginning of the Marcellus Shale gas exploration projects in the area.
“People are all up in arms about fracking, but I am all for it. Not only has it brought jobs to the area allowing my tackle and bait store to become quite successful, but Jr. has done so much better in school since the fracking,” said Dale Sr. “And it’s not just us that are seeing differences. A handful of other parents we know have made similar claims about their kids.”
“Dale Jr. went from a weak, C+ average student, to a very impressive B- student,” said school principal Monica Spooner. “I hear he even got an A on an English test last week. That sort of thing just doesn’t happen often here at Westdale High School. We quite honestly thought the kid was a dullard, but he showed everyone on test day, that’s for sure. Fracking may have saved this kid’s future.”
Others are skeptical, including Dr. Catherine Thomasson of the Physicians for Social Responsibility. “There is absolutely no proof that any aspect of hydraulic fracturing could result in increased performance from students in the area. It is far more likely that now that the families in the area have seen improved financial situations, they are able to afford amenities that improve the mental well-being of their children, resulting in slight improvements in their scholastic achievements.”
Locals that are on the fence about fracking in the area also don’t seem convinced that the Cocharan’s theory holds water. Local Triadelphia physicians refused comment on the Cochran’s claims.
“Many of these folks around here ain’t going to talk to you,” said BJ Steiner, a barber in nearby Moundsville. “They don’t want those guys to come knocking on their door after they speak up. Personally, I think that Dale just wants those workers to buy his custom-made flies to take up in the hills when they go trout fishing in their time off, like they tend to do.”
Empire News reached out to representatives at Range Resources Appalachia LLC, one of the primary companies involved in the industry in the West Virgina panhandle area, and they told us “While we appreciate the support the Cochrans are giving us, there are still no conclusive tests that prove our process has any effect on the local waterways or water supply,” stated Range Resources Public Relations Manager Ronald Figgins.
“They can say what they want, I know that when my child started showering more regularly and drinking a glass full of tap water every day instead of Mountain Dew like all his other classmates drink, He got smarter. Period,” Dale Sr. said. “And if anyone doesn’t believe me, they can come talk to me in person at my shop, Cochran’s Camp and Fish Gear, located on Halifax St. I’ll be there Monday through Saturday from 9am til’ close.”