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Coffeetown Releases Gas Drilling and the Fracking of a Marriage by Stephanie Hamel
Gas Drilling and the Fracking of a Marriage, by Stephanie C. Hamel, is a memoir about an environmental scientist who is tempted to betray her ideals by the promise of extravagant royalties., 10/17/2011 - Seattle, WA.—Coffeetown Press is proud to announce the release of Gas Drilling and the Fracking of a Marriage ($13.95, 230 pp., ISBN: 978-1-60381-114-9), by Stephanie C. Hamel, a memoir about an environmental scientist who is tempted to betray her ideals by the promise of extravagant royalties.

After receiving an offer to lease the farmland of her idyllic childhood summers for natural gas exploration, Stephanie Hamel saw her hitherto strong convictions rattled by dreams of royalties and signing bonuses. With a PhD in environmental health sciences, she could not ignore the possible ill effects of gas drilling and fracturing (“fracking”) of the shale beneath the surface. Her decision was complicated further by Pennsylvania’s Law of Capture, which would allow energy companies to collect gas from her property via the neighbor’s well without paying her a dime.

Dr. Hamel’s search for answers turned into an in-depth examination of her responsibility to the earth, her spouse, her neighbors and her children. As she consulted friends, colleagues, officials, and online sources and recalled stories from childhood vacations, she faced hard truths about the inconsistencies of her beliefs. She also tested the patience of her husband, who had no qualms about signing the lease.

A poetic, heartfelt, honest yet light-hearted memoir, Gas Drilling and the Fracking of a Marriage will strike a vein for anyone who has played weekend farmer or agonized over their role as steward to the earth’s resources. How much sacrifice is required of us? What if our sacrifice means little in the general scheme of things? Dr. Hamel may not have the answers, but she poses the right questions.

“The book began as diary entries and e-mails,” says Dr. Hamel, “and as a way to learn the facts about gas drilling and untangle my feelings about the difficult ethical decision I was facing. I was offered a large sum of money that would be paid at the expense of the local environment and potentially by the health of the community, and while I initially refused to allow natural gas drilling on my land, I soon learned that my sacrifice might not protect either. As I researched the impacts and consulted other landowners, I discovered that they, too, had initially said no, but then ‘reconsidered, since all the neighbors were signing gas leases.’ It was a relief to learn that I was not alone in my dilemma.

“But also, I simply felt compelled to write this story, and quickly, too, because it could be lost in light of new information that is now becoming available. In hindsight, with facts spreading on a lighted table, decisions are easy and blame falls on those who don’t foresee outcomes. It’s not so easy to make wise choices when one is grappling with them.”

Stephanie Hamel, PhD resides in northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, Tom, and their two sons. This is her first book. You can find Dr. Hamel on the Web at

Gas Drilling and the Fracking of a Marriage is available in 5x8 trade paperback and Kindle on and the European Amazons. Other eBook ($5.95) editions can be purchased on Smashwords and most major eBook retailers. Wholesale orders can be placed through and Ingram. Libraries can also purchase books through Follett Library Resources or Midwest Library Services.

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