Saturday, August 13, 2011

Do Not Buy Into The Natural Gas Propaganda Campaign

If you watch television in the Sullivan County area, you see commercials, and lately a whole lot of those commercials are trying to sell our community on the virtues of Clean, Green Natural Gas. The problem is, we are being targeted by those who wish to use Hydraulic Fracturing to tap into the natural gas resources that are trapped in the Marcellus Shale which runs underneath most of our county, are waging a propaganda campaign to convince us that Natural Gas, and the dangerous act of accessing it using Hydraulic Fracturing is something we should not oppose, but instead embrace as patriotic Americans, and environmentally conscious citizens.

"Extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale could do more to aggravate global warming than mining coal, according to a Cornell study published in the May issue of Climatic Change Letters"

More than almost any other county, Sullivan County must decide for ourselves if we can afford the environmental and health costs associated with drilling for Natural Gas using Hydraulic Fracturing or Fracking, and to do this fairly, we must first dispel some of the myths being perpetrated in the Natural Gas industry commercial that our homes are being bombarded with on a daily basis as they try to get us to embrace this proposed transition from one fossil fuel to another, as they try to sell us on the concept that Natural Gas is the perfect transition fuel as we move from a oil based economy to one based upon some other alternative fuel.

"the average methane concentration to be 17 times higher in water wells located within a kilometer of active drilling sites."

Myth One...America has a natural gas supply that will last us over 100 years. Fact is, most of the big players in the industry, such as Chesapeake Energy have already sold off large chunks of this natural resources to allow them to secure more contracts to drill on every increasing swaths of land in the Marcellus, even if America does have 100 years of Natural Gas underneath our lands, a huge amount of said gas has already been sold off to foreign lands and their governments, with the biggest buyer of these resources China...yes, that is right, China now owns a HUGE PERCENTAGE of America's natural gas resources. Question, are we as a county willing to risk serious damage to our environment to supply China natural gas? Are we willing to risk our most valuable resource (WATER) in the name of China Natural Gas, should we see Hydraulic Fracturing contaminating our fresh water supplies so that our state's natural resources can be shipped off to China?

Myth Two...Natural Gas is affordable. First, what they are hiding from you is the huge amounts of our tax dollars being given to the industry in helping them reach and economy of scale. As example, the state of Pennsylvania has given the industry 50 million dollars directly and indirectly. These tax dollars are available to build Natural Gas stations for the industry along interstate highways (they cannot build their own?), and are available for municipalities to convert their own vehicles to natural gas. Secondly, Natural Gas is only cheap right now because supply is outpacing the demand for Natural Gas increases and these supplies are more in line with the demand, you will see the price of natural gas raise dramatically, the so called bargain pricing GONE, and already too late, all of us sucked into having no choice but to pay a kings ransom to fuel our vehicles.

Myth Three...Natural Gas is a clean, green alternative natural resources. Not exactly, and if you look at the nuclear industry, you see the natural gas industry playing the same shell game with the facts when it comes to Natural Gas. The mining and processing of uranium into fuel rods is the dirtiest industrial process known to mankind, it's contribution to the world's pollution staggering. In 50 years, the nuclear industry has never properly and permanently dealt with so much as one ounce of their spent fuel wastes...but they don't tell you these facts, instead only wanting you to focus in on the fuel in their reactors and the electricity those reactors provide. They also know that their reactors cause a certain number of cancers per 100,000 people in the communities forced to host these facilities, but work very hard to hide statistical data from the public, the NRC cooperating in this ruse, writing these cancers off as acceptable risks based upon the larger benefit to mankind.

The natural gas industry is attempting to hoodwink us with the same kinds of tricks, focusing in on the benefits, while failing to provide full disclosure, failing to inform community where their wells will be drilled of the risks and health problems that ARE ASSOCIATED WITH HYDRAULIC FRACTURING. Citizens living near any natural gas well can have additional health problems, such as increased pollutants contributing to increased numbers of people having breathing issues. Our pure, clean, safe drinking waters will be negatively impacted, and in some cases permanently ruined...this is not an opinion, but rather a simple fact that can be easily verified with a Google search of the word FRACKING. Are scenic rural beauty and the tourism it creates will also be negatively impacted...did you know that in both Ohio and Pennsylvania the state governments are letting the Natural Gas industry drill INSIDE STATE PARK LANDS? Do you really want to go for a nature walk and see dozens of gas drilling rigs scarring this majestic beauty? Do you want to be walking along a stream once pristine that REEKS of the pollutants making their way into our tributaries from these drilling sites? Again, do a Google search, this is not hyperbole, but fact...Hydraulic Fracturing will contaminate our waters, it is not a matter of is, but when this damage occurs, and how often it occurs.

The industry would also have us believe that Hydraulic Fracturing, drilling for Natural Gas in our communities is good for the local is not. Sure, some landowners will benefit from selling their rights, others though will be forced into allowing drilling on their lands, even if they oppose the practice. More importantly, there are an ever mounting number of examples of property values being destroyed as a result of having Natural Gas Drilling Rigs as your neighbor. Are you prepared and willing to lose as much as EIGHTY PERCENT of your homes value in the name of cheap, affordable Natural Gas? Trust me, the natural gas industry is not going to come in after the fact and make you whole again...instead, they will spend millions of dollars in attorneys fees fighting any such claims, knowing full well that small rural communities to not have the cash reserves necessary to prove various and assorted acts of pollution are the fault of the industry...just like the nuclear industry has done now for some 50 years.

Sullivan County sits square in the middle of the Marcellus Shale debate, and we as citizens need to start talking among ourselves, need to make intelligent decisions on the topic of allowing drilling using Hydraulic Fracturing in our pristine county. Can we afford to risk losing our biggest tourism draw card in the name of providing China, and even other states within the United States so called cheap energy? Look at the environmental and health costs states like Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania paid in the name of clean cheap coal...are we willing to pay those same steep health and environmental costs so that companies like Chesepeake Energy can sell our natural gas to China?

Get involved in the FRACKING BATTLE, plug in, put signs in your yards, make phone calls and write letters to your elected officials. We need to stand up to both big government, and big Natural Gas companies, and "Just say no!"