Monday, September 20, 2010

Watch The Trailer! You Decide: Do You Want Your Water To Look Like This?

If you don't want  your kids drinking this, then it's time to do something.

Posted by: Noel Jones

Want to see Pennsylvania drinking water light on fire?

For those of you who have been requesting a trailer for the film GASLAND by Josh Fox of Milanville, PA who won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival this year for document the destruction of our land and clean drinking water in PA by Big Gas, here you go: Watch the Trailer.

After you've watched it, you tell me--with this being debated in our state house and senate RIGHT NOW, is this something worth a call or letter to your reps, senators and local papers? All links are in the right side bar of this blog. We may not live on top of the Marcellus Shale, but the Delaware Watershed is where we get our drinking water
from, and we are only two hours downstream from where this is all happening.

Big Gas companies are trying to push through "forced pooling" so that even if a property owner doesn't want to lease their land to drillers, if enough other neighbors sign on, they will be able to force you to sign on to. This is destroying land, water and property values of residents in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and now PA. New Yorkers fought and won a moratorium, but our PA Senators seem to be representing the gas companies--and who can be surprised when Big Gas has spent $5 million on lobbyists in Harrisburg?

This is not a fight of the right or the left--this is the fight of ALL Pennsylvania families, who want to protect their land, property values and drinking water, and we have to fight NOW.

Oh, and let's not forget the best part: According to Director Josh Fox during a Q&A after the film screening at the Bethlehem Film Festival, over 52% of natural gas drilling is not for energy independence from imported oil as Big Gas would have us believe, but to make more new plastic. That's right--because most Americans are too lazy to recycle all the plastic we have already made, we need to destroy our land and poison our water to make more plastic to use and throw away into landfills.

To gain an understanding of just how blinded people are by the money that natural gas drilling could pump into our economy, listen to this NPR broadcast, lauding the benefits and giving only a brief nod to the environmental dangers at the end.

Please watch the trailer, decide for yourself whether the money is worth it, spread the word--and post your comments here!


peterkc said...

This is a very serious issue that could wind up poisoning water supplies, as it has in other states. We need much stricter regulation of gas drilling and 'fracking' and strong action to protect water supplies and health. What are the chances our legislators will take such action unless we demand it!?

There's a Lehigh Valley group called Gas Truth working on this, and I believe their next meeting is in Easton -- check with Cathy Frankenberg at Clean Water Action for details! [610 691-7395 or]


noel jones said...

House Representative Phyllis Mundy has a bill (HB 2609) on the floor asking for a state-wide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas for one year while environmental studies are done, so that safety standards can be put in place. This is critical since Dick Cheney instigated legislation in 2005 exempting Big Gas from the both the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. They currently have no EPA oversight at all, and are destroying our land and drinking water and aiming to force Pennsylvanians to lease their land under "forced pooling" whether they we want to lease it or not.

Thousands of new permits in the Delaware and Lehigh Watersheds are waiting for the green light from Harrisburg as we speak--those watersheds provide drinking water for 15 million of us, and our filtration systems are not able to filter out the carcinogenic chemicals and neurotoxins in the hydrofracking fluid that has been leaking into Pennsylvanian's drinking water.

Please use the tabs on the right side bar of this blog and either write or call your House Representatives and Senators, and/or write a Letter to the Editor of one of our local papers asking our elected officials to support HB 2609!

Here is a link that describes the bill:

New Yorkers got their moratorium and so can we but this is an election year and our elected officials need to hear from us!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the link which says it all without me having to have HBO or hire a baby sitter to go out at night somewhere to see a movie at a strangers house. Satan's hell fire is what this is and Dick Cheney and all who enabled him are the devils walking this earth. Wake up Tea Party! Its not Government its Corporations that have stolen our country.

noel jones said...

Anon 5:52--you are right, this is an issue that should be right up the Tea Party's alley, as well as the environmentalist alley, and alleys out there (except the Big Gas alley).

This is not a right against left issue, this is an AMERICAN CITIZEN issue and anyone who considers themselves a true patriot--a true lover of the United States of America--will get out from behind their TVs and computers and FIGHT having our land and property values destroyed by destroying our clean drinking water. People in Dimock, PA cannot even BATHE in their tap water any more.

Are Americans ready for a whole new expense to add to the bills? How about having to buy $2 bottles of water--or gallons of it--to wash clothes with, bathe with, cook with and drink? Sound good? That will amount to hundreds of dollars in additional expense per household. Wait--no--I'm wrong--in the movie, Big Gas is kind enough to deliver big tanks of water for you to ration for free, once they've destroyed your drinking water, but only after you've gotten sick, sued them, and then signed a confidentiality agreement. And if you want to leave? Too bad. Who is going to buy your property when you can't even drink your water?

This is David vs. Goliath, Big Gas vs. the American Citizen. This is a unifying issue and a fight for ALL patriotic Americans, I don't care if you're a Rep, a Dem, a Tea-Partier or a Green Partier--we've got to pull together to STOP this before it's too late.

noel jones said...

I received disturbing news last night that at a neighborhood leadership training workshop for West Ward residents, led by the Penn State Extension, the "trainer" ended up being a personal supporter of the natural gas industry, who lectured residents on how being a leader is about knowing when to accept "change" and how to convince others to accept "change" like all the great things that drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale is going to do for PA. When a resident asked why he was presenting one side of a political topic that had nothing to do with leadership training, he condescended to her and went on to expound on the benefits of natural gas drilling as a job creator. When the resident raised concerns about the health risks, he dismissed her comments on went on to a team-building exercise that involved smashing a ceramic pot inside a canvas bag (that the team is then supposed to put together), but not before smiling and pointing to the Fortuna Energy logo on the bag, like it was a great thing.

Well I Googled Fortuna Energy, and they have changed their name to Talisman Energy U.S.A., and they are natural gas drillers.

This is an outrage. Spying on activists (see my earlier post about Rendell's contractor) opposed to hydrofracking as if environmentalists are terrorists is not enough--the tentacles of Big Gas run so deep that they reach even into our communities and neighborhoods, into grant-funded LEADERSHIP TRAINING workshops for pete's sake.

We cannot afford to underestimate the gas industry's determination to avoid safety regulations, and destroy our land to make a profit--spying a brainwashing are apparently par for the course now. We have to FIGHT. Please click on the links on the side bar of this screen and either write a letter to the editor of a local paper, or write or call our state representatives and senators to let them know we want a state-wide moratorium until environmental studies to determine safety standards can be established.

Please also call our congress to support John Kerry's FRAC Act, designed to bring Big Gas back under the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act--Cheney helped get his gas buddies exempted from all EPA oversight back in 2005, and they've been getting rich, destroying land and clean drinking water and making people deathly ill ever since. They do NOT care about us. This is not about job creation or energy independence--most of the jobs go to Texans anyway--52% of natural gas production is for the production of PLASTIC to sell Americans who would rather consume than recycle.

Won't it be ironic, when we have to BUY all our water in those shiny new plastic bottles, because our free drinking water was destroyed by the process that MADE those bottles? It makes you wonder about ties between the gas and bottled water industries...

Anonymous said...

The persons who were at the leadership training should document what they observed in some form with a date and the name of the presenter. It could be that PA STATE EXT who promotes this program is unaware that their presenters are inappropriately committing political advocacy/or worse (being paid spies for the gas company.) We can't do much with second hand recitation of what happened. With a first hand account the program or presenter can be evaluated and, if necessary, stopped. That would be ideal not to spread it into other communities where training participants may be less sharp then our ones here in Easton.

noel jones said...

Anon 3:06--good points! Good points--I know the WWNP is looking into it and at least one resident is willing to document the incident.

Nikkita said...

Yeah, it was really sad. The whole night was basically a waste of time. All he kept saying was he shouldn't be bringing up this "controversial topic" right before he went on his rampage about how great it was for their community. it was so sickening that i felt like I was there for a profracking ralley instead of learning my leadership skills.

And he drove 3 hours to "help" us teach others about change

noel jones said...

Nikkita--please email me backchannel

Anonymous said...

Leading participants in the smashing of a ceramic pot (clay?) in a bag with a gas company logo and then having the "team" put the pieces together seems to be a metaphor - a ritualistically embodied metaphor intended to support participants transition from a whole earth to one that has been hydro fracked.

noel jones said...

Anon 8:32--you are a poet!

Cathy said...

It is wrong for any individual or entity to exploit or take risks with the life or property of others to make a profit for themselves. Does anyone disagree? The debate around hydro fracking and corporate behavior at large needs to address this morally wrong behavior which has become embedded and is a danger to democracy.

Hydro Fracking as an action may hold promise there is no proof that the action is harmful itself and it may be a way for the future. What is dangerous is that it is being offered up as potential source of profit for corporations who have already demonstrated that that they do not understand or will not operate in a fashion that respects the rights of others. What is harmful in hydro fracking is the chemicals they pump in afterwards - gas companies don't have to tell us what chemicals they are putting in the earth because it is "proprietary information." Also the gas companies are no longer regulated. What we have seen in the last two years is that captitalism doesn't work in a democracy when the ownership of the source of profit extends beyond those taking the risk and enjoying the profit. One should not be allowed to sell their land to a gas company if the gas company is going after substances that run under the property of neighbors. Corporations should not be allowed to exert a profit motive using the land of the commonwealth and causing others to be unknowingly at risk.

Capitalism works for sole proprietors, some corporations and people who choose to go to Las Vegas. When capitalism imperils democracy which would you choose?

noel jones said...

Proponents of hydrofracking regularly claim that there is "No proof that hydraulic fracturing has contaminated drinking water," or that, "Hydraulic fracturing leaves a smaller carbon footprint than coal." These are key messaging tag lines that are repeated over and over. The tricks to it are "proof" meaning a victim with enough money to win a legal case against Big Gas whose settlement doesn't involve the victim signing a confidentiality agreement, and "hydraulic fracturing" which they define specifically as only the four hours in which the water/sand/salt/chemical mix is blown down the pipe. They do not count anything that happens before or after in the process, i.e., they do not count the methane that escapes through the ground into the drinking water, the toxic sludge that stays underground, or the toxic waste water that comes up and is dumped into open pits to evaporate into the air.

You will not see the same claims made using the term "natural gas drilling" as that covers the entire process from beginning to end, which starts with the 5-7million gallons of water drained from local rivers and streams for each "frack." Each well can be fracked up to 12 times, and there are thousands of permits waiting for permission from Harrisburg to get going without any environmental study. There is noise and air pollution from the big rigs that drive back and forth to the wells with this water, and spills and explosions have occurred. Farm animals are walking around with big patches of hair falling out--that doesn't count either--and you can't help but wonder if these animals will still go to market, when a struggling farmers needs to keep bringing in income.

Part of the absence of "proof" is that because Cheney exempted Big Gas from the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act in 2005, there has been no EPA oversight and no environmental studies done. People getting sick don't count. Big Gas delivering water tanks to people's homes in Dimock, PA two hours north of us don't count. Water that looks like the bottle in the photo on this post doesn't count as "proof" either--neither does being able to set your tap water on fire, as you can see if you click on the trailer for GASLAND that is linked in this post. GASLAND interviews physicists, victims, and representatives from the EPA and the DEP--the documentary won Special Jury Prize at the Sundance film festival in the documentary category--non of this counts as "proof."

Big Gas is hoping that if they repeat these tag lines often enough, that we'll swallow the pill, and go to sleep again.

noel jones said...

As an example, the Surgeon General Warning on cigarettes until 1970 had to read, "may be hazardous to your health" because the tobacco industry claimed that there was no "proof" that cigarettes caused cancer even though smokers were dying of lung cancer at disproportionate percentages for decades. The Surgeon General Warning now reads, "Smoking CAUSES lung cancer..." but how many people had to die long terrible deaths until 1970 before anyone admitted their deaths were "proof?"

Now, some people would say that it's a matter of personal responsibility--that smokers choose to smoke and land owners choose to lease their land to drillers. But much as the "Marlboro Man" ads on TV touted the benefits of smoking, the friends of Big Gas are coming deep into communities, into grant-funded leadership workshops, to tout the benefits of fracking for natural gas, and spreading propaganda all over the web about how there is no "proof" that drinking water is being contaminated or that people are getting seriously ill from the process, and are frightened because they can light their tap water on fire and get dizzy from fumes when they take showers.

There comes a point where citizens have to realize that the corporate control of our government and our legal system is rigged against us--so many people in power have been BOUGHT, and we are being presented with a scenario where our choice is either to FIGHT or to BUY IN. If everyone is ready to start BUYING ALL WATER for drinking, cooking and bathing (with a small bottle of water in the store costing $2, just think of how expensive that would be per family) then by all means, relax, sit back and don't worry.

Our biggest danger is denial, and it is so horrible to think the Big Gas corporations would want to get rich off our land without caring whether or not it kills us or forces lower-middle class families below the poverty line because they have to add a bottled water bill of hundreds of dollars a month to their monthly expenses. We would rather believe that it is not happening at all.

But it is happening--and a lot of people ARE fighting it, and that is why Big Gas has to send it's tentacles so deeply into our communities to try to brainwash residents into thinking it's all good. Why shouldn't they be subject to the Clean Air and Clear Water Acts? Why shouldn't THEY have the burden of "proof" to prove to residents that the process is safe? Why is the onus on CITIZENS to prove to THEM that residents are getting sick and that the process stands to contaminate the drinking water of 15 million people if these permits are allowed to go through without a moratorium and environmental study?

cathy said...

Noel, you describe catastrophic events resulting from fluid injection, a mix of dangerous chemicals, after the act of hydro fracking. The hydro frack and the fluid injection are two different processes. Some claim that hydro fracking has been used in places where pure water was injected creating wells and beneficial bacteria was injected to clean up waste. Has it been established that these claims are industry tags? Maybe it has. But if it has not, advocacy against can be discounted due to its lack of preciseness and the industry claim that hydro fracking is not harmful may be true.

I do feel certain that gas companies operating for profit have injected dangerous chemicals into the ground following the process of hydro fracking in the State of PA and as a result have ruined lives and land. This activity on the part of gas companies is not subject to regulation, so they continue to do it. Gas companies do not have to reveal to anyone what chemicals they have used or are using. The State of Pa is now described as a cautionary example to other states that are taking steps to protect themselves from this activity. Representatives in PA have no plan to protect its citizens. The government of PA has acknowledged that is has hired a (possibly foreign) company to spy on its own citizens for the purpose of making an easy way for gas companies to continue to inject dangerous chemicals into the ground of the Commonwealth of PA.

noel jones said...

Another great article by biologist and author, Sandra Steingraber on the dangers of hydrofracking:

Cathy said...

Thank you Dennis and Noel re: the Orion articles. "World Gone Mad" decribes sociopathic behavior (as per FBI) and points out that it isnt the monster we have not yet met it is the monster that could be living next door etc. and that many CEOs and politicians manifest clinical sociopathic behavior and it is evident in this headlong push for hydrofracking for natural gas. What the article doesnt address is what is enabling this behavior: the laws the define and protect corporations create a legal shield for the individuals that work on behalf of corporation. There is no one to hold personally accountable for damaging actions. And yet the law gives Corporations personal rights - the Supreme Court has established that Corporations are equal to human people even though, unlike human people, corporations were not endowed by the creator, do not have a capacity to be physically injured, and have no feelings that would give them a moral sense. The effect of these laws on our society is corrupting as many of us work for corporations - take the paycheck, facilitate the company's goals and yet don't feel responsible or connected to the outcomes?

Its not enough to say "no way stop" as long as its legal to do it. There are groups that have been working to change these laws - a good strategy for fighting the hydrofracking for natural gas might be to join and unit across fronts to change these laws. Instead what is happening is that corporations are funding the Teaparty and what is being targeted is the government and regulatory laws that are the only things that can protect us. Guns are not going stop corporations from treading on me - there is no body to shoot.

noel jones said...

Check out my latest post on how Gov. Rendell has failed to fire the members of his staff that hired spies with our tax dollars to spy on activists against hydrofracking as "potential terrorists."