Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fracking...Why I Have Joined The Fight

It's Easter Saturday, I am up drinking coffee as I look out my window at a lush woodland view, can see in my mind the pristine stream and its waterfall that is just down the path about half a mile from my apartment.  I ponder what my old eyes (I am 55) have seen in five plus decades...memories take me back to my own youth when I lived in the small town of Jeffersonville, Indiana which is located just across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky. 

As a very young child I fell in love with nature, water, the proverbial Great Outdoors.  Imagine a young boy walking along the rivers edge looking for frogs, fishing with a string tied to a stick, the thought of needing a hook never crossing his mind.  Imagine if you will that same young boy looking down and across the river and seeing the Belle of Louisville paddle-wheeler coming into view, steam billowing from her stacks, the American Flag fluttering in the wind, calliope Music giving the moment a very festive feel.
That was me, the life I lived.  Other days found me out by the railroad tracks, putting pennies on the rail for the train to roll over, flattening them into medallions that my Dad would later drill a whole through so I could wear them on a piece of leather cord.  Times were different, the engineers waving too us as the Locomotive slowly chugged past heading for the factory just down the way where they would load up potato-chips that were destined to far off places.  Just across the tracks and through a small strip of trees was a field, the farmers cows content as they grazed upon fresh meadow grass, some lounging under a old willow tree that sat perched next to the stream from which they drank.
One summer we went to Mammoth Cave State Park, but along the way, my father insisted on taking us through COAL COUNTRY, down into some of the crooks and hollers where everything has a black dusty downtrodden feel to it.  He stopped along babbling brooks that just did not seem quite right, a dirty film upon the surface, the leaves on the trees withered and sparse.  He would be angry...not at us, at the damage being done to the earth, and the people...poverty was everywhere.  Another summer we traveled to West Virginia, and there way back some 40 plus years ago, he drove us through tens of thousands of acres of strip mined lands, the landscape taking on a eerie inhuman feel, almost nothing there but destruction.

Later on, a young man I found myself out in Utah where I saw up close and personal the ravages of Uranium Mining, the BOOM TIMES GONE, communities and lands left scarred pocked and UGLY.  I traveled through and lived in Ohio...again, tens of thousands of acres of strip mined land, some of it restored but NOT LOOKING RIGHT, and down outside of Portsmouth Ohio the unseen dirty underbelly of the Nuclear Industry reared its ugly head as I drove around the Gaseous Diffusion Plant with all of its rusting, earth contaminating barrels of Depleted Uranium sitting there behind a even rustier 12 all chain-link fence.  The government found a way to deal with that waste...they reclassified it as potential future use resources when it was learned it could be used to make armor piercing ammunition's.

Living outside of Cambridge Ohio, I uncovered a specialty steel alloy company that processed South African Ores...the naturally occurring radioactivity in these ores would re-concentrate into the slag that was being skimmed off during the process.  That slag was then dumped into a wetlands that drained into our community's drinking water supply, given away as road and construction fill, over 200 of our county's 1200 homes contaminated, in need of can read about this by doing a search for will find they did this at a site in Byesville Ohio, as well as another in New Jersey.

Until recently, lived in Peekskill, could look out my window and see the looming danger that was/is Indian Point perched there upon the Hudson River.  Studied that site, am familiar with the 300,000 plus gallon plume that IP 3 floats on top of, a radioactive concoction of the worst kind. I know that the Fuel transfer canal that goes from IP2 into the overly crowded spent fuel pool is leaking, though Entergy will deny it.  I could spend hours discussing Indian Point and why it should be closed down....could also tell you about DOE, NERAC and why it was decided to re-license EVERY REACTOR IN AMERICA in the name of National Security.  I could point to the 30 plus nuclear reactors now leaking tritium, and would suggest to you that the NRC is telling us not to worrying about that for very selfish reasons...Did you know that tritium is needed to recharge our NUCLEAR ARSENAL, and where do you think that tritium comes from?

Now, I find myself living atop of the Marcellus Shale formation, seeing the few Anti-Fracking signs popping up here and there, and I see the clouds darkening.  I know what is coming, and I know the lies.  I watch my TV, and see slick commercials promising the citizens CLEAN AIR, GREEN FUEL, and prosperity for one and all...and I know it is all a lie.  I watched Exxon-Mobil run a PRO-FRACKING commercial on Earth Day yesterday...watched the day before as the entire National Media simply choose to ignore the Chesapeake Energy well blow out that was unfolding on the one year anniversary of BP's accident that did critical harm to the Gulf...never mind the fact it was Chesapeake Energy's SECOND BLOW OUT IN AS MANY MONTHS IN Pennsylvania.

Do I think we can win this fight?  Probably not, we are simply out gunned and out financed at every step of the way, and desperate people want to believe in dreams.  Couple that with a national energy policy that holds communities like our own in little regard, a pentagon convinced that the Natural Gas fracking promises is far more important than any land or waters that might be destroyed, and I can only hope we can preserve small pieces of land, communities here and there as we preserve a patchwork quilt of the beauty that once is not much, it is not what I would wish for, but it is something I feel is worth the fight.  Hopefully more of you will as well, and over time, I pray that all of our small splintered local groups can join into one LARGE NATIONAL Anti FRACKING group, as that is OUR ONLY HOPE.