Thursday, December 13, 2012

Beat Beat Back the Frack Attack! - Don Ogden

Most of us already know about fracking for gas (oil too!) done by the fossil fuel corporados and the damage that drilling process does to the air and water. The film "Gasland" by Josh Fox a few years back helped to raise awareness of the issues. In the movie a resident of Pennsylvania, where a lot of fracking takes place, actually lights his tap water on fire. It seems the largely undisclosed list of chemicals used in the drilling process are flammable as well as toxic. Not surprisingly the public is not privy to information about those chemicals. As noted on the Gasland site: "In 2005, the Bush/ Cheney Energy Bill exempted natural gas drilling from the Safe Drinking Water Act. It exempts companies from disclosing the chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing. Essentially, the provision took the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) off the job. It is now commonly referred to as the Halliburton Loophole."  As you may know, Dick Cheney and Halliburton are joined at the hip. Like so much of what goes on in Corporate America, industry and government have merged. However, on the state and local level daylight can still be found showing through here and there between those two entities. This means we, the people, still have a chance to protect our families and the environment from this particular assault.

Apparently, fracking has another drawback that fewer people know about. There have been reports over the past few years of Earth tremors associated with fracking. Recently a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) team presented a paper that made this astonishing claim about the Raton Basin of Southern Colorado/Northern New Mexico: "the majority, if not all of the earthquakes since August 2001 have been triggered by the deep injection of wastewater related to the production of natural gas from the coal-bed methane field here.”  Similar discoveries came from Ohio as well as questions about large sinkholes opening up in populated areas. It will be interesting to read what comes out of the USGS conference taking place as we speak.

Fracking is also a big issue in our neighboring state of New York where the Marcellus Shale deposit extends northward from PA. Presently, there's a big drive to get Gov. Cuomo to ban fracking. Occupy Wall Street has taken up that cause in a big way.  All of this might lead you to believe that we here in Massachusetts will not have to endure this particular disaster-in-the-making. I wish that were true........but it's not. Just recently we've learned from The Valley Advocate that another gas deposit called the Hartford Basin that extends deep into our Valley may be on the industry's hit list. The Advocate article notes: "On December 13, a conference organized by a group of engineers and industrialists calling itself the American Groundwater Trust (GT) will be held at UMass to provide a venue for discussion of what may happen when natural gas companies begin extracting gas from sites in this area."  We went to the Groundwater Trust website and frankly, we don't trust the Groundwater Trust. Remember Halliburton? One of their representatives sits on the GT Board  and presenters at the conference represent Cabot Oil & Gas, some of the worst frackers in NE Pennsylvania. In other words, the $100 a pop conference at UMass is most likely a greenwashing dog & pony show. The Groundwater Trust wants all "stake holders" to attend. Given that we're talking about the air you breath and the water you drink (and perhaps the ground you walk upon) that means YOU. Grab your stakes and head over to UMass, Amherst and join with students, Pioneer Valley Green-Rainbow Party activists, the Western Massachusetts chapter of Progressive Democrats of America and others this Thursday December 13 in the basement of the Campus Center at 1pm. There's no need to bring $100 (even if you had it!) because there will be plenty of free opportunities to let your voices be heard.

More information on Facebook here:!/events/473791522664454/

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