hydraulic fracturing

Protection racket

Painting of Dryden, NY:

Well, some people consider Dryden the Garden of Eden.  This guest viewpoint appeared in the Ithaca Journal recently:

On a cold and sunny day, I enjoy the peace winter seems to bring. The glistening of sunlight on the new-fallen snow is a welcome sight. As I walk out to feed the goats, I chuckle at the cat as she backtracks to the barn in the same prints she left as she trotted out to meet me. I gaze around at the blue sky, breathe the clean air and exhale a sigh of relief.
 
My town is abundantly blessed and ever thankful for our ban on fracking. A ban means I will be able to keep good health, finish the home I began building and resume investing in my community. Without a ban, the effects of fracking would have forced me to move. My American dream will remain intact. I won’t be forced to give up my gas rights by compulsory integration, or forced out by eminent domain.
 
I conducted thousands of hours of independent study and traveled the country to investigate the far-reaching effects of fracking. A process of extreme extractive mining is eating up rural America’s food producing farmlands like Pac-Man. In New York, enormous scale is planned, conquering entire regions of peaceful rural neighborhoods filled with unsuspecting residents, unaware of industrial takeover. Knowing neighboring wells will likely ruin the farm I was raised on leaves me sleepless.
 
Each phase of extreme extraction brings a certainty of pollution, damage and a measure of high-risk chemical exposure.
 
I grew up in Greene, in the so-called “sacrifice zone.” Industry cannot restrain toxic air nor confine the damages to only the drill pad. Neighboring dairies and croplands will be exposed to lethal venting causing air pollution. My hometown remains a target without a protective ban and can suffer from drilling upstream, beyond its borders. My friend, biologist Sandra Steingraber, teaches that the known effects of environmental illnesses and cancers produced by fracking pads are unacceptable.
 
Cornell engineer Tony Ingraffea states that 6 percent of all horizontal gas wells leak initially; all eventually fail. Fracking produces billions of gallons of chemical and radioactive waste stored in injection wells. No monetary fine can cover the incalculable collective toll to health, air, water and farming that fracking produces.
 
The Marcellus shale is not a viable source of fuel according to the evidence provided by scientists to New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation detailing costs. The DEC’s mission is to ensure a healthy environment and also to exploit natural resources, an inherent conflict.
 
Americans from Wyoming, Texas, Colorado and Pennsylvania are sharing their experiences; New Yorkers are acting. A tenacious Ron Gulla shouted at EPA, “Is Pennsylvania worth fighting for? Yes! Worth dying for? Hell, yes! But not from a glass of water!”
 
The Community Environmental Defense Counsel of Ithaca helps towns protect their schools, parks and cemeteries from fracking. The people of Greene are unprotected. Coming together can save a town; silence results industry takeover. Action by a small group of residents to proclaim their community be protected by law from industrial takeover is now critical to keep Greene clean. The Trojans should mount up.

But not everyone wants another's world view imposed on them in the guise of protection from threat, real or imagined.  For Henry Kramer, freedom trumps "protection":
 
In her February 15 guest column, DRAC member Joanne Cipolla-Dennis recites the most extreme claims made by energy development opponents as facts, rather than opinions.  This is the “big lie technique,” if you repeat allegations often enough as fact people believe them.
 
Regarding the “big lie” see Mein Kampf, “In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily ….  They would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”
 
Cipolla-Dennis lauds the Town of Dryden for “protecting Dryden” and enforcing the type of town and life style Cipolla-Dennis loves.  But not all of us want or need to be “protected,” nor do we share Cipolla-Dennis’ pessimistic view of development and change.  We prefer to have freedom of choice of action on what we do and how we live, without being “protected” and stripped of our freedoms via Dryden enacting Cipolla-Dennis’ world view into law.
 
Cipolla-Dennis overlooks individual freedom and individual rights to choose how to live and how to husband one’s own property.  Anti-frackers say they favor “home rule,” yet stop the principle of home rule at the town board level.  Why should a town board make decisions for all residents and landowners?  What special expertise do town boards have?  Why shouldn’t each home owner be free to make individual decisions on issues on which the public in our state is about evenly divided?
 
Sadly, many of the people who would ban energy development, keep it out of their own back yard, and deplore everything about it, still use its products.  Until they abandon the use of all fossil fuels, including gasoline, and live off the grid, they are morally bound to bear their share of the risks of production.
 
The Dryden Safe Energy Coalition supports energy development with careful safeguards.  Development is not risk free.  But, development offers a chance for high paying jobs, capital for land rich but cash poor farmers, new tax base to support and improve our schools, and perhaps most critically energy independence for our nation, freeing us from potential wars and being beholden to other countries. Why is it that anti-frackers rarely consider or admit there can be any positives from development?  We at DSEC thinks risks can be safely managed, but DRAC seems to admit no positive values in development.  A sense of balance is needed.
 
It should not take five years to determine the safety of fracking.  Fracking at vertical wells has been done in NY for decades and at horizontal wells in other states for years.  It is not for more information we delay, but to kill development.  Meanwhile NY residents, among the highest taxed in the nation, lack new sources of revenue to pay for our safety nets.

Freedom is precious.  “Protecting Dryden” is a code phrase covering another transfer of power to government.  Choose freedom over “protection.”
 

Chutzpah

Gasland with all its errors and misrepresentations goes on and on, continuing to be screened before an adoring public, but what follows seldom sees the light of day. And I thought this kind of interference in matters beyond the scope of governing a small American city only happened in Ithaca. From NewsChannel 34:

The City of Binghamton is looking to help a group of residents in Dimock who say they've run out of clean water.
 
Wednesday was the last day that Cabot Oil and Gas was forced to deliver daily water supplies to some residents on Carter Road after a drilling operation contaminated their water several years ago. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection okayed the stoppage, agreeing that the water is safe. However, impacted residents say it's not safe to use. They did appeal the DEP's decision, but were denied.  As a result, an effort was spear-headed to get clean water delivered to the residents. Mayor Matt Ryan, who has been a vocal anti-fracking politician, says he is looking at helping the group down in Dimock. For at least one day, the city would provide a water truck to fill water buffaloes that people have near their homes. 
 
Julie Sautner says residents are willing to pay for the water from an account that has been set up at Montrose Lake. Sautner says the offer for assistance is a temporary relief. "At least we're going to have water. I keep going out there, saying oh my God, how low are we? Because nothing is coming today. We're used to having a delivery everyday. I tell my kids, take ten minute showers, instead of 20 minute showers or whatever."...
No wonder they're out of water.  Read the rest.


At EID Marcellus:

The mayor of a city so down and out it can’t keep its senior services going, fix its sewage treatment plant or collect its water bills is going to use Binghamton City taxpayer funds to serve the ideological desires of a distinct minority (mostly from far outside the City) who would bankrupt this entire State before allowing natural gas development!...

...And, by the way, does the Mayor know he needs a permit to haul water into Pennsylvania?  Has he received a request for Mutual Aid by Dimock Township? Does he know the EPA just found Dimock’s water to be safe?

Witness the unmitigated gall of "interloper" Mayor Ryan speaking to some riled-up Dimock residents:

As we had written in a previous post, the mere sight of NYS tags on a car in Susquehanna County can make some of the natives pretty ornery.  This was another instance of why that is.

Probably the same people shouting for "home rule" in NYS want to be able to tell the people of not only another town but another state what to do.

And Foxy Josh was in Dimock today and was greeted by this:

Energy development's own 99ers are mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore. It's about time.

 

I drink your milkshake

It's interesting how certain phrases stick in people's minds and enter the popular culture.  Stay with me here.

Five Feet of Fury proprietor, Canadian Kathy Shaidle, often has funny—but largely unprintable, at least by me—stuff on her blog. She recently linked to a site called (content warning) Better Book Titles. You'll get the idea by looking at this, which at least is not profane:

and which is a humorous reference to this far-from-humorous movie:

What has all this got to do with anything?  This, from earlier this year:

Opponents of forced pooling — and that would include [Pennsylvania] Gov. Tom Corbett — should watch the movie “There Will Be Blood,” according to the state’s leading Marcellus Shale geologist.
 
Terry Engelder explained that the concept — whereby drillers are allowed to remove natural gas from beneath properties of owners who refuse to lease their mineral rights — originated with Upton Sinclair's expose of the oil industry, "Oil!", which forms the basis of the 2007 Academy Award-winning film.
 
Speaking to the governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission on Friday, Engelder acknowledged up front that the concept bumps squarely up against traditional property rights.
But the benefits, he said, have been determined time and again to outweigh the risk of infringing on those rights...

...At the moment, Engelder said, the state has the worst of all worlds.
While drillers cannot lay pipe under a property that has not leased its mineral rights, they can drill immediately adjacent to it and legally fracture the shale under that property and drain gas from it — without compensating the owner.
 
That’s the rule of capture.
 
What’s more, hold-out owners can prevent drilling into areas where gas has been leased, thereby denying those lease holders the royalties that could be generated from their property.
 
Engelder showed an example from Lycoming County where he estimated 5 billion cubic feet of gas and $20 million in revenue had been stranded by one hold-out landowner.
 
“This is not what the oil and gas conservation law of 1961 intended as an outcome,” he said.
 
Engelder said pooling “maximizes the economic benefit, minimizes wasteful stranded gas, minimizes the environmental footprint and provides just and fair compensation” to all...
In fact, Sinclair's 1927 novel so outraged folks that it led to the formation in 1935 of the IOGCC, the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (one of the 2011 co-designers of FracFocus) and ultimately to forced pooling (or as we call it here, compulsory integration) laws across the country.
 
And who is this Terry Engelder?
Penn State University professor Terry Engelder, a tireless supporter and promoter of shale gas drilling—particularly in the Marcellus Shale—has just been named one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers” for 2011 for his research into recovering natural gas from shale using hydraulic fracturing.
 
Engelder, along with Gary Lash, professor of geoscience, State University of New York, Fredonia, with whom he collaborates, and George P. Mitchell, Texas oilman, were designated number 36 on the list "for upending the geopolitics of energy."...
 
As for the title of this post?  You'll just have to see There Will Be Blood.  Fair warning: it's intense.
 
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