Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fracking Finally Gets Mainstream Attention!

Would you like to see 50,000 of these along 
the Delaware, our drinking water source?

Posted by: Noel Jones

The natural gas drilling crisis is finally hitting mainstream awareness, and not a moment too soon. Today, Josh Fox, Director of GASLAND, was a guest on both the Dylan Ratigan Show and Countdown with Keith Obermann to discuss how dangerous fracking (hydraulic fracturing for natural gas) is with regards to contamination of our drinking water. I was glad to see that Oberman focused on the fact that Dick Cheney exempted Big Gas from the Safe Drinking Water Act as part of the Bush/Cheney Energy Bill in 2005, and that Josh Fox pointed out that President Obama has yet to order to EPA to provide oversight for natural gas drillers.

With 50,000 wells in our Delaware Watershed awaiting the signal to begin drilling--right next to the water source for 15 million people in NY/NJ/PA, we need to fight this hard and fast--please educate yourself on this issue and take action to save our clean drinking water!

Two films on fracking are available on Netflix now:

GASLAND Directed by Josh Fox (Netflix) (trailer)

Split Estate Directed by Debra Anderson (Netflix) (trailer)

Please watch these films, and pass these links on to your friends through facebook pages and any other forms of social networking! 

Then call, write or email our elected officials to tell them we want a moratorium until environmental studies can be completed and safety standards put in place.

If anyone sees fracking covered on Fox News or any other channel, please post to let readers know!


David Caines said...

This ios going to come in a little on the side, but it is an issue regarding this issue that has been horribly overlooked by both Dems and Republicans and that it the legal alien workforce that this company brings with it, and it's practice to not hire locals to do work for them. I was asked to look into this mostly from a domestic counter terror/ hate crime angle, but so far so good on that front. While most of the company's work force is reported to be of Hispanic descent, all are legal aliens. And that has created issues for growing area hate groups black and white.
An aside however is that (and believe me a practice no one is going to be happy for me to point out) is that the practice of hiring and using ex-nationals for workers or more generally security forces (though mostly in the third world) is an old tried and true corporate practice which tells me that they know just how horrible what they are doing is and tend to limit their work force's ability to "Tattle" on them by using a work force with almost no recourse to or understanding of the laws of the host nation. Generally we see this in the African Nations, International corps using Whites, Hispanics or Asians to not only create cultural and language barriers between workers and local, but also strong racial and ethnic ones. Added to the simple fact that humans as a species are less likely to care what they do when far from home (they don't see how it can impact them), I for one am completely convinced that the corps involved know exactly the devastation they intend to inflict and have braced against local activism within the work force by the simple and age old expedient of hiring from another nation. The practice has been around since Machiavelli, it seems odd to see it turned against a first world nation, but we are one in many ways with less regulation than many third world nations so perhaps it should not come as a surprise.
What I will ask us all to do is at least look at this element of the operation for what it most likely is, and to see past our own fears of being called "Racist" and such to address the issue color free, for if it weren't Latino's it would be Africans, Chinese, pick your ethnicity - the corps involved here are not being racist in the way that most use the word, but they are more than willing to hide behind our fear of the term.
Well, that's my two cents...

David Caines said...

Sorry- I meant to say Extra-nationals- "Foriegn labor" not ex-nationals in the top of my last reply- my keyboard is a bit off.

David Caines said...

Okay, so this will be a bit more on point-

Karl Rove: ‘Climate Is Gone’ Republican strategist Karl Rove, who helped organize the outside groups that spent millions to install Republicans in the midterm elections, spent election day celebrating with Pennsylvania’s growing drilling industry. Like other corporate sectors, the fossil industry is hoping that Republicans will be able to roll back regulations that limit their profit-seeking at the expense of people’s health and safety. Rove told the attendees of a shale-gas conference in Philadelphia that the incoming Republican House of Representatives “sure as heck” won’t pass legislation to limit greenhouse pollution from fossil fuels:
“Climate is gone,” said Rove, the keynote speaker on the opening day of a two-day shale-gas conference sponsored by Hart Energy Publishing L.L.P. And Rove told the trade show, “I don’t think you need to worry” the new Congress will consider proposed legislation to put the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing under federal rather than state regulation. The procedure, known as “fracking,” is responsible for the dramatic growth of shale-gas drilling in formations such as Pennsylvania’s vast Marcellus Shale.
Rove’s pronouncement that the “climate is gone” may be more accurate than he realizes. The Geological Society of London is warning that the planet will take 100,000 years to recover from man’s global warming pollution, the permanently warmer Arctic is altering weather patterns across the Northern Hemisphere, and scientists continue to warn that global policy ambitions — if the United States even acted — are likely too weak to avoid catastrophe.

noel jones said...

Thanks for posting, David--especially the link.

Do you have any links about the hiring of "extra-nationals"? I hadn't heard that, only that Pennsylvanians from the communities where drilling occurs have complained that at most drilling sites, the license plates are all from other states, mainly Texas.

What these companies do is promise to hire Pennsylvanians first, then when PA residents and contractors apply for the jobs, and are told they don't have the proper certification and training to do the job, so they hire outside workers.

Either way, what you're saying about people caring less about working on something that causes environmental damage and health risks that is far from home makes sense. Especially now, when people are so desperate for jobs and willing to travel to other states for them, people are more likely to rationalize and exercise denial about what they are taking part in--what it's doing to the water and health of the people who live near the drilling site.

David Caines said...

Sadly, there's almost no reporting on this issue and my sources wouldn't care to be be named. But it was this hiring of non-nationals that sent up a flag about possible hate crimes and the like against these employees. Due to the nature of our race relations in America at the moment I find it unlikely that this aspect of the issue will come to public light.
About all I can really say is that our govt is aware of the issue (as it was they who informed me of it) but only from the view of protecting the workers from other nations against acts by Americans. Doesn't sound like Uncle Sam does it?
I mostly get along with the guy...but he has his moments.
Maybe something in the area's local press, but again I doubt it.
Anywho, yeah I'm somewhat involved. I worry about the precedent this will set if successful. I'd love to see something of an American jobs protection act, or environmental safety concern mandating at least a 20% hiring of locals. But I can't see either party backing such an idea even considering the economy, which tells me more than I'd like to know about where our politicians loyalties actually lie.

Dennis R. Lieb said...

Divide and Conquer has always been the corporate state's MO for dealing with these issues. Promise your earliest and/or most naive supporters whatever serves their needs then start blaming the detractors for taking food out of the supporters' mouths - usually with the old "your stealing our jobs" rhetoric. This is how you pit neighbor against neighbor; by playing on greed and the fear of loss.

Economically, this is a dead-end endeavor. Do not mistake transfer payments or temporary living standard increases for permanent economic development. Gas drilling is by it's very nature an extractive industry and by definition can not be a long-term economy builder. That requires profits to be reinvested in new products, new businesses and innovative ways to do things better or differently.

Not coincidentally, innovation itself is a city and city-region based activity because cities bring together the dynamic players and skills that are required to drive the economic engines of this country.

First, placing these wells in rural areas without the infrastructure or social networks of cities dooms these regions to eventual collapse. Many examples of similar outcomes can be seen worldwide. Second, energy companies will not reinvest because they know they are in a sunset industry.

Focusing locally, once the resource is drained they have no reason to remain. Broadening the lense nationally reveals that this industry is not investing in new drilling or refining infrastructure because they know dwindling resources will prevent any return on that investment. Instead they use profits to pay stock dividends and buy back their own stock to prop up the price until an exit strategy for top execs and stockholders can be executed.

One thing I have been told by the people immersed in the research of this topic should be extremely scary to everyone. The emergency response teams for any major catastophe will not be stationed in Pa. They will come from Texas. The sites will go into lock down and no media or local emergency personnel will have access.

Once this happens we will be in a situation just like the Deepwater Horizon fiasco, except there will be no Gulf of Mexico to disperse the contamination. It will sit in the middle of the state, in the aquifers and surface water. As a Democrat I was appalled at the lack of leadership taken for managing BP's criminal bumbling.

If that was the response from a party of so-called environmental defenders, what do we have to look forward to under a pro-corporate/anti-regulation Republican Governor? If this sounds partisan, so be it, but I'm simply stating the expressed positions of those now taking power.

I have no faith (so far) that either party is serious about protecting my water supply - period.