Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Renewable Path at the NY Crossroads is the correct path

June 17 is extremely important for getting the message out that an immediate path to renewable energy is absolutely necessary, and that high volume horizontal and vertical fracking, pipelines, compressors and LNG stations are inexcusable, false bridges to a renewable future. Many New Yorkers concerned with our energy future are meeting up on the Albany East Capital Lawn, on Monday June 17 from noon to 3 pm, and sending out the message that attention must be paid to this urgent NY Crossroads.

The influence of the gas industry is endemic in the New York government and media. NY Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested to the gas industry that they deliver nice messaging about how safe and good fracking is to New Yorkers.

Empire Energy Forum, in cahoots with the Independent Petroleum Association of America, are blanketing New York's Southern Tier (the front line fighting fracking in the state) with robo-calls and flyers. Here is a sample of what Big Gas is sending out.

A resident of  Madison County has received  flyers from Empire Energy, each different.  One represents a purported toxicologist and mother of 5 from Maryland, NY (Otsego County).  "She claims there is no documented incident of groundwater contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing in NY or anywhere else…  Inside is a diagram of drilling and the “precautions” taken by the gas industry to ensure safety.  (It is entitled “Shielding ensures safety”).  It lists 3 “facts” – (1) NY already has strict oil and gas regs which are being strengthened and that there is community input, (2) the casing and cementing precautions and (3) drilling wastes will be captured in tanks (never being put in ponds and never touching the ground).  Reuse and recycling of wastewaters and solid wastes.  On the back 50,000 new, good paying jobs, $6M to over $2B in new revenue, reduction in utility bills, vital local support for schools, police and fire protection and public services through oil and gas production revenues.  Then it lists NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation, SGEIS and then Empire’s web page." 

A quick fact check makes it easy to learn of the blatant lies in this mailer. The regulations, which have not been approved, are not strict and use arbitrary setback distances and amounts of dangerous substances allowed. Citizen input is gathered with reluctance and obstruction to ability to report concerns. There are no good safety measures regarding casings; for that fact there are no good safety measures, period. Dumping of vertical fracking waste is done openly by gas companies. Fracking contaminates the water used and there would be little safe reuse of this water.

Occupy the Pipeline is calling for a BAN on HVHF as opposed to accepting a moratorium. A statewide moratorium would leave the matter open. In the US the fossil fuel industry appears to have a free hand in building the infrastructure of their drilling and pipelines and compression and LNG apparatus, even without final approval. An outright ban would prevent this. A moratorium would allow extension of a number of land leases which would soon expire. Some environmental groups are advocating collaboration with the gas industry to have "strong" regulations that would only allow "safe" fracking.

Please be clear. There is no such thing as safe fracking. There are no safe pipelines or compressors. There will be no safe LNG terminals.

Beside explosions, harm from high volume horizontal fracking includes:

  Contamination of ground and other water.

  Millions of gallon of fresh water used and poisoned by each drilling of a well.

  Atmospheric leaks of greenhouse gas methane (much more potent than carbon dioxide) and radioactive
  Marcellus Shale radon.

  Devastation of land and land value, along with the possibility of a gas company deserting a well and leaving 
  the land owner and holder of the land lease liable for liens on the gas company.

  Destruction of public recreation areas by allowance of HVHF on this land set aside for the use of citizens.3

  Exacerbation of  climate change and corresponding erratic weather patterns.

The The New York State Assembly passed a two year HVHF moratorium in early March this year. Thanks to fossil fuel lover Senator Tom Libous and his ilk, the NY Senate has stalled the bill in its chamber. The gas industry insists that local town/village fracking bans and moratoriums are illegal because a few of them have been successfully overturned. Remember that these are local initiatives and can't be judged as a group.The gas industry is backing pro-fracking members of the New York State government to push for an easy in for HVHF.

All this while Mark Jacobson and Mark Delucchi of Stanford University have given us a plan for all of New York State to run on renewable energy by 2030. And this sustainable plan would be at a lower cost for the entire state than the $20 billion dollar climate change disaster relief plan (while still retaining addiction to fossil fuels and making worse the climate change disasters the plan is relieving) NYC Mayor Bloomberg just released. Indeed in 2010 Stanford drew up a plan for the entire world to go renewable in 30 years. The cost of renewable energy has decreased over the last decade.

The time is NOW. Please meet with fellow concerned citizens, business leaders, faith leaders, health professionals, students, farmers and more and let New York know - we want renewable energy, not more fossil fuels. Say No to fracking in Albany on June 17.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Poland Farmers Stand Up Against Chevron to Fight Fracking

At times one's own local attempts to stop the use of fossil fuels and move to renewables may overwhelm. Taking a look out, we see friends all over the state, nation and world standing up to big fossil fuel corporations.  In Zurawlow, a small rural community in Poland, a group of approximately 150 farmers has been standing their ground for the last week against multinational Chevron. People are sleeping in fields overnight and blocking areas with cars and trucks. Some farmers are reported injured. Of major concern is the potential contamination and loss of water in this farming area, as well as contamination of the farmland.

Chevron fenced off an area for which they hold a lease for drilling. Some media reports say Chevron owns the land. According to the farmers the right to drill was reversed and further regulations considered two years ago, due in part to protests by the citizens of this and three other areas in Poland where Chevron has leases. The Polish Ministry of the Environment had granted Chevron the right to perform seismic studies on leased land as tests before the actual hydrofracturing took place, but there is no right to fence the land.  The link below are from a French news and a French Environmental website.

Farmers fear that Chevron will start fracking operations although that is not allowed without civil hearing and granting of local permission.  They state that all activity must be declared and approved; Chevron has not completed this process per the farmers.  The lease contract is subject to ongoing legislation regarding regulations of public work. Local government appears to be leaning to Chevron's side. The farmers have been entertaining themselves with music and plan to write and record an anti-fracking song. they have also been watching Lech Kowalski's film "Drill Baby Drill."

Poland's government has been very fracking friendly to various gas companies, in an attempt to become "energy independent" from Russian imports. Hmm, sound familiar? There are plans to limit fracking protests to groups that are at least a year old, limiting the legal reach of groups in newly endangered areas.

Poland's fracking enterprises are troubled in that wells already fracked have not produced according to expectation of this being a particularly rich deposit area. The government is contemplating increased taxes on profits and the severity of regulation appears that it will be greater than expected. Several gas companies have already given up and left Poland, including ExxonMobil, Marathon and Talisman.

Gas corporations are not happy that Poland plans to have a state owned company involved in the gas drilling mix. How dare the country have anything to do with its own natural "resource."

Sadly, the media is not all over this. The farmers are protesting against Chevron's attempted drilling for everyone in Poland. French media seem to have more interest than Polish. Of course, we are familiar with this problem. Occupy Chevron says No Fracking in Poland. Ban Fracking Now in Poland and Everywhere! Let's stand in solidarity with Poland!

Monday, June 3, 2013


Gas. Oil. Pipelines. We keep hearing the pipelines, the fossil fuels are inevitable. Gas and oil are not the only choice. Renewables will sustain us. The fossil fuel industry has been lying to us for years. It is time to stop believing the hype. It is time to tell our representatives that this outdated rush to poison the world must stop. It is time to heed actual science.  Mark Jacobson and Mark Delucchi of Stanford provided a plan to move the world to renewables in 2009 and in 2013 have provided a New York plan. The European Union has legislated renewable energy goals which have been a success. The US should drive its energy policy to sustainable energy sources instead of damaging fossil fuels.

President Obama was elected in 2008 and reelected in 2012 as environmentally friendly. His track record on reducing fossil fuel use is not good. Consider Keystone XL, which is urgently important. If Obama ok’s this pipeline, the game is as well as over.  Canadians don’t want these tar sands piped through their country; why should we have to accept this tar sands bitumen pipeline?

Obama’s new Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz has close ties with the fossil fuel industry. He touts natural gas as a bridge fuel and does not exhibit any concern over the harmful effects of High Volume Horizontal Fracking. Under Moniz there is no doubt the billions of dollars of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry will continue, and there is no sign he will make a push for total renewable, sustainable energy.

The Keystone XL is only the steroidally largest pipeline in the works here. There is a massive network of pipelines moving natural gas and oil.  We know of the big spills but there are many smaller spills and explosions. The industry is jonesing to extend this further, “expand(ing) US supply glut” of natural gas, as Bloomberg puts it. There is also the push to start processing Liquified Natural Gas for export. Government representatives are lobbied like mad to continue legislation in favor of the fossil fuel industry pipeline population growth.

We don’t need more fossil fuels. We need to totally concentrate on renewable energy now. Our government representatives are not going to be the leaders in moving us to renewables. We have to spread the word - Renewable, sustainable energy is so right and fossil fuel pipelines are so wrong.