Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Do You Trust Exxon To Extract Natural Gas in Sullivan County Using Hydraulic Fracturing?

Our politicians here in New York, here in Sullivan County seem bent on allowing Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) to begin in our state, and more specifically in our beautiful, scenic Hudson River Valley, natural gas wells and the ills they bring soon to become a COMMON SITE in our communities. One of the big players should this happen is Exxon (owns rights to 317,000 acres in Marcellus Shale) who has been blanketing the airwaves with commercials such as the one above wherein Exxon's geologist Eric Oswald tries to convince us that Exxon knows how important that they GET THIS RIGHT. (That line was borrowed or stolen from President Obama.)

Lets explore how Exxon DOES NOT GET IT RIGHT.

Let us start with the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In an excerpt from Wikipedia:

The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989, when the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, California, struck Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef and spilled 260,000 to 750,000 barrels (41,000 to 119,000 m3) of crude oil.[1][2] It is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters.[3] The Valdez spill was the largest ever in U.S. waters until the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in terms of volume released.[4] However, Prince William Sound's remote location, accessible only by helicopter, plane, and boat, made government and industry response efforts difficult and severely taxed existing plans for response.

The Exxon Valdez is perhaps the best known example of Exxon NOT GETTING IT RIGHT, but one does not have to look far to find example after example of them cutting corners, violating the laws, rules and regulations meant to protect the communities they do business and harm in. From Texas we find this excerpt:

Texas has fined Exxon Mobil $150,462 for violations of air pollution regulations at the company’s refinery in Beaumont, Texas.

A statement issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says the 15 violations include failure to limit emissions during refinery malfunctions, failure to repair and perform monitoring of equipment, recordkeeping failures and failure to install required equipment.

We can look at the state of Maryland, and find yet another example with this excerpt:

The State of Maryland has filed a suit seeking nearly $ 12 million in penalties from Exxon Mobil Corp and a local service station operator for a gasoline leak in Jacksonville area of Baltimore County. The suit accuses the giant corporation and the service station of violating state environmental regulations by allowing the leak and not detecting or reporting it promptly. State officials say that 62 residential wells are contaminated with methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE, a gasoline additive. In addition to the penalties, the state asks that Exxon and its operator clean up the gasoline that leaked.

In California, we find again that Exxon SKIRTS THE RULES, then simply pays the fines as a cost of doing business.

Exxon Mobil Corp. agreed to pay $400,000 in penalties to California for environmental violations at its Torrance refinery. Exxon Mobil also agreed to spend a maximum of $2 million on supplemental environmental projects intended to cut excessive emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants at the refinery. The company paid $250,000 for a March 22, 2007 incident that caused the release of nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and other substances. In addition, Exxon Mobil paid $150,000 to settle 23 air permit and air quality violations at the Torrance facility that occurred between October 2005 and October 2006.

If Exxon is doing business in your community, there is a very real likelihood that they are violating the environmental rules meant to protect your health, your water, your air. Yet, they are running commercials every day here in the Hudson River Valley trying to convince you that they and other companies like Chesapeake Energy (who has a very similar environmental record) know the importance of getting it right when it comes to FRACKING our neighborhoods, and they are spending MILLIONS lobbying here in New York, and in Washington DC to get access to the Natural Gas in the Marcellus Shale. Question is, when you look at the truth of these companies environmental records, can we really afford to let them bring FRACKING to our community?