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A Warning from the Fracked States of America

January 22, 2012
by Wanda

A blog all the way from America. Anti-fracking campaigners from the US give their own perspective, and warn the UK campaign about those who might pretend to be on our side.

Look out for certain politicians and environmentalists posing as our allies. The politicians may say that they find fracking unconscionable, abominable, crazy etc. but watch out! These very same might then introduce or sign on to legislation which regulate fracking or make it ‘safer’. They might ban it in some people’s watersheds but allow it in other people’s. And then these politicians who declare fracking horrendous will again show their true colors by not taking clear steps to ban it, i.e., by not educating their constituents about the threats it poses, by not rallying their colleagues to support ban legislation, by not speaking to the media to educate many others that ban legislation exists or should, by not introducing legislation and calling out all the shots to stop it. Some environmental organizations will also pose as our allies.

But beware! Some will call for industry to use only ‘best practices’, while promoting the fanciful concept of ‘safe’ fracking, and expressing their strong disappointment at how ‘bad actors’ in the industry are ruining it for the good frackers by not disclosing the list of poisons to which the public and nature are being exposed. These poseurs will collect a bunch of $ and new members by expressing outrage without calling out pro-fracking politicians, without educating or rallying members to demand that specific relevant politicians support bans etc. We, in the fight against fracking in North America, are sharing with you our experience with these pretenders and how much they have cost our movements to ban fracking. We must and we will win the fight against fracking. We know that the window of time during which effective action to counter climate catastrophe is rapidly closing and that we must get real on systemic remedies (not Obama’s source-switching). Here below is a response to the most recent masquerade of one of the corporate media’s darlings in the ‘environmental’ movement, Natural Resource Defense Council’s legal counsel and ‘safe’ fracking promoter, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr..

Notes on the [Wrong] Way or How to Derail a Ban on Fracking

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has finally acknowledged, in an opinion piece in the New York Times, some terrible things about the fracking-for-natural gas industry. This took the good work of a lot of activists outraged at his appearance in ads for the gas industry and his groups’ promotion of gas as a ‘transition’ fuel. Tragically for New York, however, by the middle of his column, it is clear that he hasn’t even convinced himself, and that he ignores the need to ban fracking and the widespread demand by engaged environmental activist that it be banned.

Mr. Kennedy is on New York Governor Cuomo’s Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel. Rather than listen to the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who in communities throughout the state have voted to ban fracking in their part of New York, Mr. Kennedy praises his buddy on the fracking panel, Mark Boling, from Southwestern Energy, a massive gas industry player.

Kennedy is Still a Booster of Safe Fracking, Despite all his Pained Reasons not to be. Why?

Because he is still a shill for the gas industry, who is proceeding with phase two of the Critical Path Energy Summit’s plans about fracking: “Make it Safe.”  Robert F. Kennedy’s recent, apparently purely theatrical, diatribe against the gas industry in the Huffington Post spills much ink repeating industry talking points and then concludes that fracking is safe and that environmentalists will support it if the promised jobs and royalties materialize and if it is ‘reasonably regulated’. What??

For someone claiming to speak the “truth” why no mention of the widespread popular movement to ban fracking?? ? In 2010,  regulator/politicians, gas industry CEOs (including Kennedy and Kennedy’s mentor on NY Governor Cuomo Fracking Advisory Panel Mark Boling) and fellow pro-’safe’ fracking NGO representatives concluded that the pro-gas p.r. strategy had failed and that the public was overwhelmingly against fracking. They decided they needed to reframe ‘gas’. They convened in Aspen, Colorado for the Critical Path Energy Summit to devise a new strategy.

Since their summit, Kennedy, Boling and others claim to have made the following progress!

Below is quote from Aspen Energy Summit site revealing collusion between Kennedy (of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Riverkeeper), Carl Pope and Michael Brune (Sierra Club), Aubrey McClendon and Boling (Chesapeake and Southwestern Energy respectively), and pro-fracking politicians:

“Our 2010 Natural Gas Solutions Summit 1.0 was convened to chart the critical paths that will enable natural gas to achieve its optimal potential as that source—environmentally, economically, politically and globally. A year later, that gathering of leaders can claim impressive results, in terms of new alliances, important ongoing initiatives, and fundamental changes in the US energy approach, among them:

•    Developing a system for 100%  transparency in the disclosure of chemical ingredients in hydraulic fracturing fluids that does NOT infringe on trade secrets
•    Developing a model regulatory framework designed to ensure well bore integrity throughout the full lifecycle of a hydraulically fractured well.
•    Forming a legal team and petitioning the EPA to enhance Natural Gas use: define and enforce Clean Air Act provisions, MACT Boiler Rule etc
•    Development and publishing of tabletop life-cycle analysis of carbon impact coal vs. natural gas
•    An alliance of NGOs, industry, government leaders committed to replacing coal with natural gas”

People who are against fracking aren’t just activists in the streets, but entire communities, regions, even states and countries. Fracking has been banned by elected officials representing hundreds of thousands of people in numerous cities and towns throughout the country–places like Dryden, NY (pop. 13,532), Ithaca, NY (pop. 18,198), (Morgantown, West Virginia (pop. 26,809), Baldwin, Pa (pop. 19,767), Buffalo, NY (pop. 292, 648), and Pittsburg, Pa. (pop. 305, 704).

This is Kennedy’s role: he pens this op ed pretending to make amends to the environmental community that has been outraged by his support for fracking (through the pro-’safe’ fracking NRDC and Riverkeeper and through his ads for the fracking industry). The Op Ed sidles up to the powerful NYTimes, gives a useful list of many of the egregious crimes of the industry, regulators and legislators revealed by the NYTimes, but pairs these outrages with the same old defense of fracking!

What a sleight of hand! Guess they don’t pay Kennedy the big bucks for nothing.

If only the gas industry were more honest and forthright and allowed “reasonable regulation”, we would all be happy and allow the country to be fracked because . . . (Kennedy implies) fracked gas is better for the climate than coal. That’s the industry lie he continues to repeat implicitly as he makes a false mea culpa about having colluded with them in Aspen, and appearingin gas industry propaganda!

The Cuomo ‘Fracking Advisory Panel is stacked with pro-’safe’ fracking advocates like Kennedy and his ‘bright light’ Mark Boling. Here’s the Gas Main report, entitled “A GRASSROOTS PERSPECTIVE: Is the DEC Spending Taxpayer Funds on Propaganda to Promote ‘Safe’ Fracking? A Look at New York Governor Cuomo’s Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel”: Gasmain Link

It may be true that the industry could have more easily continued to deceive and damage the communities of American people as it moved into the more densely populated Eastern states if it had pursued the p.r. strategy suggested by Kennedy here. But we’re not interested in being convinced by lies of ‘safe’ fracking.

Fracking is opposed by all real environmentalists. And Kennedy is not one of them.  Kennedy op-ed here:
The Fracking Industry’s War On The New York Times — And The Truth
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.President, Waterkeeper Alliance; Professor, Pace University Posted: 10/20/11 Huffingtonpost Link

Watch more Earth Focus at http://www.linktv.org/earthfocus

An original investigative report by Earth Focus and UK’s Ecologist Film Unit looks at the risks of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. From toxic chemicals in drinking water to unregulated interstate dumping of potentially radioactive waste that experts fear can contaminate water supplies in major population centers including New York City, are the health consequences worth the economic gains?

Marcellus Shale contains enough natural gas to supply all US gas needs for 14 years. But as gas drilling takes place, using a process called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” toxic chemicals and methane gas seep into drinking water. Now experts fear that unacceptable levels of radioactive Radium 226 in gas development waste.

Fracking chemicals are linked to bone, liver and breast cancers, gastrointestinal, circulatory, respiratory, developmental as well as brain and nervous system disorders. Such chemicals are present in frack waste and may find their way into drinking water and air.

Waste from Pennsylvania gas wells — waste that may also contain unacceptable levels of radium — is routinely dumped across state lines into landfills in New York, Ohio and West Virginia. New York does not require testing waste for radioactivity prior to dumping or treatment. So drill cuttings from Pennsylvania have been dumped in New York’s Chemung and other counties and liquid waste is shipped to treatment plants in Auburn and Watertown New York. How radioactive is this waste? Experts are calling are for testing to find out.

New York State may have been the first state in the nation to put a temporary hold on fracking pending a safety review, but it allows other states to dump toxic frack waste within its boundaries.

With a gas production boom underway in the Marcellus Shale and plans for some 400,000 wells in the coming decades, the cumulative impact of dumping potential lethal waste without adequate oversight is a catastrophe waiting to happen. And now U.S. companies are exporting fracking to Europe.

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