Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why Citizens/Communities Are Losing Battle To Stop Fracking...See 2009 DOE Shale Gas Primer

Some have privately suggested that this blog, and thus this person tone down the rhetoric a bit, try to play a bit nicer in the "Frack Issue" sandbox as it were.  Problem is, this dance has been danced before with many of the same players on the "Pro Energy" side, and in our own government.  Fact is, the deck was deliberately stacked in favor of the (un)Natural Gas industry long before many of us were even made aware of it.  When the real decisions were being made, WE HAD NO SEAT AT THE TABLE...but big (un)Natural Gas interests did. I draw your attention now to the DOE document published in 2009 titled, "Modern Shale Gas Development in the United States, A Primer" and specifically to page four, the paragraph wherein, "The authors wish to specifically acknowledge the help and support of the following entities:"

Just who are those can skip down toward the end of the paragraph for the MOST NOTABLE villains in the Shale Gas Industry to appear.  

BP America Production Co., Chesapeake Energy Corp.,Devon Energy Corp., East Resources, Inc., Fortuna Energy Inc., Independent Petroleum Association of America, Schlumberger Ltd., Universal Well Services Inc., and Weatherford International Ltd.

I can save you not bother looking for any citizen stakeholder groups, or for that matter, any of our Grassroots Environmental Groups like NRDC, Greenpeace and others...none of them/us had a seat at the table when this document was being researched/designed and written...our voices did not matter then, and do not matter now.  Simple fact is, the mere existence of this document tells us that the DOE and the DOD and other power players inside Washington DC have decided it is in our nation's stategic and/or military interests to let Shale Gas Drilling go on unabated, and nothing we can do will stop them.  So, lets see who got to have a seat at the table from the oil and gas industry while our voices went unheard, our input deemed un-necessary since the decision to move full steam ahead had already been decided.

BP (America Production Co.)-BP is one of the world’s largest energy companies, with interests in more than 100 countries and over 96,000 employees. 

53 Listed Violations Total Misconduct dollar amount: $1607.7m (as in fines)

  • The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality fined BP Products North America, Inc. a total of $130,625 for three violations of TCEQ rules and state laws at its Texas City refinery.
  • BP Products North America Inc. agreed to pay a $420,662 civil penalty and spend $365,000 on supplemental environmental projects to resolve Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) violations at its Texas City, Texas, refinery. 
  • An explosion and fire occurring on March 23, 2005 at BP Products’ Texas City refinery killed 15 and injured hundreds. The incident led to more than 3,000 lawsuits. BP, which has settled approximately half of those claims, agreed in September 2007 to settle the claims of four victims that were the first to go to trial. The terms were not disclosed. BP has not disclosed the settlement terms of any of the Texas City cases other than a $38 million donation to schools and hospitals in a case involving a plaintiff whose parents died in the explosion.
  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) assessed a $7 million civil penalty on BP Energy Company for violations of FERC’s capacity release policies.  

The list of violations from this one player goes on and on (we all know about the BP Gulf Oil Disaster), and yet this is the caliber of person that the DOE (Department of Energy) gave a seat at the table to, the professional ethical company they went to when designing a Shale Gas Development Primer.

Chesapeake Energy is no better, a similar litany of violations and even corruption could be shared here.  Instead, shall simply leave you with one quote from one article recently written:

March 25, 2011
Advisor Takes A Stand
An advisory firm has divested its entire holding in a leading natural gas producer because of the company’s “poor environmental record and its lack of accountability to shareholders.”

Harrington Investments Inc., a long-time socially responsible investment advisor based in Napa, Calif., divested its entire holding in Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK), according to Harrington portfolio manager Dale Wannen, in a blog posted on March 23.

According to Wannen’s blog, Chesapeake is the leader in environmental health and safety violations from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection resulting from the company’s hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale rock formation. 

Chesapeake Energy is the SECOND LARGEST player in the US Shale Play, and therefore has a very VESTED INTEREST in putting together a Shale Gas Primer stacked in their favor, just as BP does.  Furthermore, this company has a putrid record when it comes to OBEYING LAWS and REGULATIONS meant to protect human health and our environment...but again, DOE rushed to give them input into the Primer, and singles them out for ACCOLADES!  

What too say about the Devon Energy Corp?  How about sharing one fact...they testified before the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works...what about you ask?  Seems they were not happy with the fact that "The Endangered Species Act"as it was/is being enforced was playing HAVOC with some of their land leases...oh boo hoo, boo hoo.

Sure it makes us all sleep better at night knowing that the DOE sought advice for their "Shale Gas Drilling Primer" from a company that wanted "Endangered Species Act" enforcement changed in a way that would stop interfering with their ability to drill.

People may not like my tactics, but here is a FACT...being nice, holding hands and speaking to politicians in state capitals, in Washington is not going to work.  We need those in the FRACT movement to realize we need to mobilize an army of activists, and we need a MILLION ACTIVISTS MARCH on Washington DC.  Anything else, and the (un)Natural Gas Industry, their lobbyist and already owned politicians at every level of government are going to sell us down the river, and it will be our children and our grand children that pay the ultimate price for our own apathy and naivete.