Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Gasland (151.6)

I don't like "soap box" updates, but I feel I need to share this today because it's taking up too much space in my brain and I need to purge it. If you don't read anymore, I understand. This isn't a happy, feel good update.

I watched Gasland 2 last night. It's a documentary about fracking. Natural gas is being sold to us as the solution to energy dependency. The oil companies and government say the process of extracting natural gas from shale oil deposits is safe. They say burning natural gas is better for the planet than coal or oil. They say it's going to be more affordable in the future as oil becomes more scarce. According to the documentary, we are being fed a pack of lies.

This is a relatively new industry. Most of us know nothing about it, other than what we're told by BP & other oil companies on TV commercials and by our government (as in the President's 2nd inaugural address, which praised natural gas as our energy savior).

I am sick this morning thinking about how devastating widespread fracking will be for the people living among the fracking wells and for the planet as a whole. People living among shale oil plains already have suffered health problems from the neurotoxins released into the air & water. A whole town in Pennsylvania has had no water for years because their entire aquifer is poisoned. The water that comes out of their faucets can be lit on fire because of the methane in the water.

Why is this allowed to happen? Because the natural gas industry is exempt from the clean water act. They don't have to report the chemicals they put in water to extract the gas. They take no responsibility, and no one, not even the EPA, can make them. (Several years ago the EPA had done research proving chemicals used in fracking were in drinking water, and they were trying to clean up the mess. But after the President was reelected, the EPA was made to toe the policy line and essentially became impotent. Soon after, the EPA director, who was making headway in doing her job and exposing the significant environmental risks, resigned.)

I would say that everyone should educate themselves so people can "say no" to natural gas, but people living on the shale plains have said no for years, and it makes no difference. Part of me wishes I'd never seen the damn documentary. Part of me feels it's my responsibility to share it with everyone I know, so that maybe, maybe, if enough people are aware of the dangers, fracking can be stopped. But mostly I feel disgusted and helpless and scared that we are witnessing the beginning of another Dust Bowl, but on a much grander scale--the greatest ecological disaster the world has ever seen.   *** Still busy. Totally fried. Taking tomorrow off work.


Vickie said...

My guess is this documentary could be done on most topics. Water contamination is all over the place. There are areas in southern ohio, on the river, where the cancer rates are carrying on, in families, even when the families moved out of the area. So children are still being born into these contaminated family trees even though they were born after their grandparents moved. Their parents were born after the move also. There is a neighborhood like this in my town, very high rates, city water, no one knows why that area is different. There are many towns like this, all over the country. Some of it is old damage, some of it is on going. The whole of West Virginia is tainted, as soon as you hit the state line, can't read the interstate signs clearly because of the air pollution.

In a backwards way, so much manufacturing going to China may be the best thing that ever happened. Their pollution has sky rocketed. Probably all of that would have hit our air and water, if production had stayed here.

Vickie said...

I went through a stage in my process where I ABSOLUTELY had to stay away from the news and exposing myself to anything like this. It lasted several years. It was more important that I be balanced and happy for my family, in my opinion, than be up on current events or invested in anything outside my priorities. With what you have written about literature impacting you, I suspect this might be true for you also. I removed myself from volunteering too. I had done enough to square me for a life time. Now I simply donate blood to Red Cross.