Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Dredging Up The Past

January 11, 2017

The Delaware River Basin didn’t suffer terribly during the Obama administration, but it didn’t exactly thrive, either. Thanks, Obama?

President Barrack Obama always seemed to understand that water is life, yet freshwater protection has not always been the divining rod in his decisions. If that were so, he would have banned fracking in the Delaware River Basin when he had the chance.

Donald Trump is a threat to every last watershed in the country, as he and his shale-happy appointees have promised to extract every last penny from an expensive and grossly overestimated supply. They honestly don’t care if you can set your water on fire. And if the result should be more costly access to a diminishing supply of safe, clean drinking water, then they’ll probably try to profit off that, too.

So, while the mainstream media is having its long overdue existential crisis, ordinary bloggers are left to chronicle Obama’s legacy and its impact on our drinking water supply, and to find new ways to help protect our precious fresh water. Me, I like lists.

Seven Things Obama Did – And Didn’t Do – For The Delaware River Basin …

# 7   He Left It At Moratorium

Obama could have banned fracking in the Delaware River Basin in 2011, but he didn’t.

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Saving Science

December 17, 2016

Suddenly, it’s a thing.

Perhaps climate science advocates are operating under an abundance of caution, but they’re willing to take that chance. Their goal is to protect painstakingly collected data and safeguard their work as they prepare to operate under an administration that is demonstrably hostile towards climate research.

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Cartoon by Sidney Harris

“It’s truly remarkable the quick attention that it’s received and the number of people that are volunteering to help,” says meteorologist Eric Holthaus, host of the @ourwarmregards podcast, in a December 14 interview with Audie Cornish on NPR.  

(more…)

World Of Thanks

November 24, 2016

It’s not easy being green! I’m grateful for all the fractivists in the world, and to everyone who’s fighting to protect our planet and prevent climate disruption.

Future generations will be thankful, too. Peace and smiles!

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Cartoon by Dan Wasserman, The Boston Globe

182092_600Monte Wolverton, The Cagle Post

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Will Governor Wolf listen to the science about fracking?

January 20, 2015

Dear Governor Wolf,

Montgomery and Bucks are the only counties in Pennsylvania where there’s a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. We don’t see rigs from our front porches, or continuous flares. We don’t get headaches from strange odors, or drive on crumbling roads clogged by endless truck traffic. In the Philadelphia suburbs, it’s easy to ignore the health and environmental impacts of Marcellus shale gas drilling.

When the shale gas industry arrived nearly a decade ago, it was still somewhat plausible to insist that there’s “no proof” gas drilling has ever polluted water supplies. Today, there’s plenty of proof. In 2014, The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection reported 248 cases of water supply contamination since 2007. Nationwide, there are more. (more…)

Exercise Your Franchise!

October 28, 2014

Voting Is Good For You images-1

Politically, Pennsylvania is in a race to the bottom.

On one hand, we have incumbent Governor Tom Corbett [R], the devious idiot who has been giving away the farm, both literally and figuratively, to Marcellus shale drilling special interests, to whom he is totally beholden.

Corbett is not only the most reviled governor in the nation, he’s also the highest paid. And that’s on top of all that gas funding. Little wonder democratic challenger Tom Wolf is trouncing “One Term Tommy” in the polls, yet it’s been decades since anyone has unseated an incumbent Republican governor in Pennsylvania, and no one is willing to call this race just yet. In the end, it could all come down to voter turnout. (more…)

Former PA DEP Secretary Krancer Wants Sunoco To Condemn Your Property

May 7, 2014

What’s the fastest way to get approval to build a hotly contested, demonstrably volatile 299-mile gas liquids pipeline through numerous densely populated suburban Pennsylvania municipalities?

First, elevate your corporate status to Public Utility. Then, claim the right of Eminent Domain to bulldoze over local zoning restrictions and the objections of local residents. At least that’s how former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Michael L. Krancer, would like to see construction of Sunoco Logistics Mariner East Pipeline proceed. In fact, he’s leading the charge.

Litigate, Baby, Litigate

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Who’s Gonna Show #OneTermTommy The Door?

May 1, 2014

Good Governors Don’t Frack People

Most Pennsylvania primary elections are sleepy business. Not this one.

On May 20, 2014, an all-important primary election will be held, and it will probably determine the state’s next governor.

A whopping 55-34% of Pennsylvania voters feel that Tom Corbett does not deserve reelection, according to a recent Quinnipiac University pollPolitico Magazine has captioned Corbett “arguably the most vulnerable incumbent governor in 2014.” And, per Stephen Calabria in The Huffington Post on February 26, 2014, GOP Governor Tom Corbett Trails Each of His Democratic ChallengersIt’s one of the few causes for optimism in an otherwise fracked up commonwealth.   (more…)

Fracked In The Head

March 24, 2014

Funny how Exxon owns half the world but they still can’t control the conversation about fracking. Shale gas producers leave themselves wide open. They persist in underestimating the intelligence of average consumers, and we can’t help but ridicule them in return. Of course, there was Chevron’s infamous pizza party after a fatal well explosion in Pennsylvania, and last week the fracking industry attempted to throw itself a 65th birthday party. Never mind that it was low volume, vertical fracking which was invented decades ago, and that high-volume horizontal hydraulic slickwater fracturing wasn’t developed until 2003. “Happy 11th!” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Here’s another history of fracking, one this behemoth industry doesn’t particularly want told, let alone illustrated by some of the country’s wildest minds. The pen is mightier still, thank heaven, and naturally the ink is fossil free. cartoon-by-ron-tandberg (more…)

A Ban In The Basin

November 23, 2013

Take Note: DRBC Wants To Vote On Shale Gas Drilling Regulations

It’s time once again to save the Delaware River basin from the toxic impacts of shale gas drilling.

At the next public hearing of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), on Tuesday, December 3, 2013, a coalition of concerned advocacy groups will present a scrapbook entitled The Delaware Is Me.

The idea is to celebrate the Delaware River and commemorate another year without fracking. The point is to show the commission why this high-value, highly productive watershed ought to be spared from the ravages of industrial shale gas drilling.

The magnificent, historic Delaware River touches 15.6 million lives, and extraordinary photographs has been literally flowing in. As you may have guessed, no two images – or reasons – are alike. You can glimpse some of the photos and join the event on Facebook at The Delaware Is Me, or follow on Twitter #TheDelawareIsMe.

Better still, attend the public hearing and stand behind watershed advocates and activists in Trenton on December 3rd.

BAN IN THE BASIN

The Delaware Is Me project is co-hosted by Green Door Magazine, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy.

SB1171 Would Nearly Double Renewable Energy In Pennsylvania

November 14, 2013

Naturally, The GOP’s Gonna Hate It

On November 12, 2013, State Senator Daylin Leach [D-Montgomery/Delaware] introduced new Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) legislation, SB1171, aimed at reducing Pennsylvania’s dependance on fossil fuels. Leach was flanked by State Representative Greg Vitali [D-Delaware], who is sponsoring companion legislation in the house (HB100), and Tom Schuster, who represented about 24,000 Sierra Club members in Pennsylvania.

SB1171 is already supported by the majority of economic and environmental stakeholders in the state, including Blue-Green Alliance, Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition and PennFuture. Makes sense, too, in this age of super storms and carbon thresholds, and given the fact that Pennsylvania is the third highest carbon producing state in the nation, right? Tell it to the Mayberry Machiavellians in Harrisburg, please.

What’s 8% Of Lame?

Under current state law, passed in 2007, Pennsylvania’s power generating utilities must acquire 8% of their energy from renewable sources. Last time I checked, natural gas was not considered a renewable in Pennsylvania, though in Texas the definition gets a little hazy.

Time, technology and other states have passed us by,” said to Leach to Kevin Gavin and Haldan Kirsch in PA Lags In Renewables, on 90.5 WESA NPR Pittsburgh on November 12, 2013.   (more…)

Ode To ‘Joy Of Fracking’

July 25, 2013

GrowthBusters wants you to know “what’s cooking in the public debate about fracking” so they made this “fair use sampling” of video clips about one the most important public debates currently raging across Colorado and the United States.

Frack-Free TV:  Lives and groundwater are routinely destroyed yet the shale gas industry keeps on drilling, spending millions to buy the silence of those impacted, and often their real estate, too. Big Gas has also been spending hundreds of millions in advertising to convince you that these Americans don’t exist.

Thing is, they do.

#ThinkAboutIt

Dear President Obama, Please Meet With Citizens Impacted By Fracking

July 11, 2013

Right after the release of Gasland II on HBO, Josh Fox sent this letter to President Obama, and he asked fellow fractivists to share it, too.

Finally got to see the film, and I felt relieved and recharged because Fox has successfully captured, in granular detail, an accurate portrait of big energy fracking U.S. democracy, and a fossil-free movement that is growing larger and ever more determined. The complexity of images, information, and emotions validated my impression of the shale gas invasion over the past few years, both in Pennsylvania and around the world. Given that this form of extreme fossil fuel extraction is ramping up exponentially worldwide, and entire regions of my home state are being transformed into endless industrial zones, the request seems pretty damn reasonable. Sharing!

Request to President Obama: Please meet with the Scientists and Families in GASLAND, Part II

Josh’s letter to President Obama, July 8th, 2013:

Dear President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary Moniz, Heather Zichal and Valerie Jarrett,

I write to request a meeting with you and families directly impacted by oil and gas drilling and fracking—as documented in Gasland Part II—to…gether with a small group of scientists and engineers who are also featured in the film.   (more…)

Think About It – Cement Won’t Last Forever

June 21, 2013

Energy From Shale is yet another generic new front group created by America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) to advertise the illusion that the highly polluting process of shale gas production is really shiny, clean and green. They recently launched their first PR effort, asking us to “Think About It.” Believe me, ANGA, I have.

Even when done correctly, fracking cannot be done safely. 

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All cement wellbore seals, every last one of them, will fail over time. Cement simply doesn’t last forever. Steel can crack. Even if drillers get everything exactly right the first time, cement will become porous due to heat and pressure. Earthquakes, whether caused by nature or deep waste injection wells, hold the potential to damage seals. In about 50-60 years tops, according to gas industry estimates, most wellbore seals will fail, eventually enabling pathways for fluids and gases to communicate  with aquifers, geological formations or the environment.

Image Credit: George E. King Engineering, March, 2009

This is an aspect of the drilling issue that simply cannot be ignored. When it comes to the future security of our drinking water supplies, this is the crux of it.

Now, It’s About Gas. Ultimately, It’s About Water.

It’s not roulette. It’s a certainty,” Gasland II filmmaker and citizen of the United States, Josh Fox, recently said on HBO’s Real Time With Bill MaherThis is a problem the gas industry can’t fix.”

Headless Fed: EPA Punts Fracking Study

The good news is, drillers have the technology to reseal and replug failed wellbores. The bad news is, they have to do it fairly often. More than 5% of wellbore seals fail immediately.    (more…)

Ways and Memes: PA Lawmakers Seek To Ban Photography Of Gas Drilling Activity

June 17, 2013

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but apparently it says a lot more when it’s a photo of frackers fracking. In Pennsylvania recently, the battle to control the images used to depict the national debate over shale gas drilling has officially heated up.

In February, 2013 PA House Bill 683 was proposed by nine Pennsylvania lawmakers – Reps. Gary Haluska [D-73rd], Carl Metzgar [R-69th], Stephen Barrar [R-160th], M. K. Keller [R-86th], Dick Hess [R-78th], Dan Moul [R-91st], Mike Fleck [R-81st], C. Adam Harris [R-82nd] and Tom Murt [R-152nd]. Steve Todd was among the first to report it in his February 26 post, PA State House Judiciary Committee: NO on HB683. This bill would prohibit people from photographing oil and gas operations because they are occurring on agricultural lands. By fracking farmland, gas drillers would gain new impunity under a piece of anti-whitsle blower legislation, commonly known as an “Ag-gag.”

Yes, you’re reading it correctly. PA HB683 would make it illegal to photograph images of gas drilling operations – the good, the bad, the mundane and the incendiary.

And in case you’re wondering, Pennsylvania has about 63,163 farms. That’s roughly 7.8 million agricultural acres out of the total 29.5 million acres in Pennsylvania, which ranks 20th in the U.S. for agricultural production.

HB683 makes it illegal to photograph a farm, a cow, a horse, sheep, goats, pigs, haystacks, tractors, chickens, corn fields, pumpkin patches, vegetables, fruits, and natural gas wells. Fracktivists have been filming frack sites, FROM PUBLIC ROADS, their videos are invaluable in documenting fracking’s destruction of PA.”                          ~ MarcellusProtest.org

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Credit: Marcellus Protest 

The bill is currently in committee, but environmentalists are keeping an eye on it. HB 683 is exactly the sort of legislation the PA GOP tucks into other bills and passes late at night.

Unsurprisingly, HB 683 has its roots (tentacles?) in similar ALEC-sponsored legislation proposed in other states. Dory Hippauf relates its absurdity in Arresting Monet – AG-GAG Pennsylvania House Bill 683, Blog.ShaleShockMedia.org:

HB683 is modeled after ‘proposed legislation’ written by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wish lists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations.

PLEASE SIGN ON to the PETITION To Say NO to HB 683 HERE.

And if you have more time, please CONTACT YOUR PA STATE REP.

Meme’s The Word   (more…)

Got Civil Rights? Flaunt Them In Harrisburg With Josh Fox on June18th

June 15, 2013

Now We’re Cookin! (But Not With Gas)

CALL TO ACTION!  

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Rally In Harrisburg With Gasland II Filmaker Josh Fox  

Tell Pennsylvania Governor Corbett, “No More Cover Ups for the Drillers!”

Tuesday, June 18 – 12 Noon

Pennsylvania State Capitol Rotunda, Harrisburg PA

Please join Clean Water Action, Delaware Riverkeeper Network and many others. (more…)

Hey PA Dems, Quit Fracking Around!

June 14, 2013

UPDATE via Mark Dodel: June 16 2013

SUCCESS!!

” Yesterday in Lancaster, PA, the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee voted 115 to 81 for a resolution calling for a moratorium on all frack drilling in Pennsylvania. This was a vote for the health and safety of Pennsylvanians and our environment against the out of state billionaires and corporations who own Corbett and the DEP.” 

Resolution can be read here:

http://www.monroepadems.com/images/files/Moratorium_Fracking_Resolution.pdf

Read More:

6.15.13 PA State Democratic Committee Passes Resolution to Support Fracking Moratorium by Wendy Lee, Raging Chicken Press.

And here:

FIRST STEP: PA DEMS PASS FRACKING MORATORIUM by Dory Hippauf, Shaleshock

[ORIGINAL POST:]

                             CALL TO ACTION!

           Tell the PA Dems, “STOP FRACKING NOW!”

    Saturday, June 15th  –  Lancaster Convention Center

A coalition of concerned democrats will deliver a widely supported resolution to the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee which is meeting on Saturday, June 15th in Lancaster, Pa. They will address the party’s emerging policies towards shale gas production, urging them a second time to support Senator Jim Ferlo’s proposed Statewide Natural Gas Drilling Moratorium. Scroll down, or click here for a link to the action and resolution, written by Sue Lyons of Monroe County, Pa.

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Use Discretion, Win Elections!

It’s time for the PA Dems to stop being out of step with the majority of Pennsylvanians and out of touch with the damage fracking is doing to our communities, natural resources, health, safety and climate!   (more…)

Largest Petition Ever Submitted In Pennsylvania

April 30, 2013

And It Calls For A Fracking Moratorium

April 30, 2013 is an historic day.

Today, a coalition of environmental organizations and anti-fracking activists deliver the largest petition ever submitted to the Pennsylvania state legislature. It calls for a moratorium on new shale gas drilling permits in Pennsylvania.

The petition, Protect Pennsylvania From Gas Drilling, includes the names and signatures of more than 100,000 Pennsylvania residents, and it sends a stunning message to state legislators and the shale gas industry. This is what it says:   (more…)

Delaware River Basin Commission Drops The Ball, Again

March 8, 2013

Environmental Organizations Disrupt DRBC Meeting,

Demand A Resolution On Pipeline Oversight

Despite the wildly banging gavel, The Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum would not be silenced at the March 6 Delaware River Basin Commission public hearing – not until she had given full voice to the resolution proposed by numerous environmental groups in the basin. Only then did she yield the floor, and it was to the incredible harmony of the 70 or so activists in attendance singing This Land Is Your Land.

Try as DRBC might, even with a formal acknowledgement of  the March 1 letter signed by 67 organizations and a petition signed by thousands of citizens, the Commission can no longer fallback on its routine deferral of pipeline oversight. While the DRBC would continue to kick the can down the road, chainsaws are whirring, and trees are already being felled by the thousands as forests are fragmented for new pipeline routes. This is no longer acceptable to watershed stakeholders, nor was it palatable to the majority of people in that meeting room.

van Rossum delivered their message with succinct, breathtaking force:

“A failure to act is a decision not to act.”

Thank you, protestors. Thank you, Delaware Riverkeeper, for standing up for our right to a clean, safe watershed.

Somebody has to do something to protect these waters,” Joe Zenes, Pike County PA resident. Posted by Delaware Riverkeeper Network, March 7, 2013

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network and concerned citizens from four states vented their anger at the Delaware River Basin Commission when the agency refused to take action to regulate shale gas pipelines in the watershed. The protestors shutdown the meeting at one point.”   (more…)

Sierra Club’s Brune Braves Fox Fact Bubble, Remains A Gentleman

February 16, 2013

Interviewed, and often talked over, on Fox NewsVarney & Co.Sierra Club Executive Director, Mike Brunenot only keeps his cool but remains a polite and informative guest.

Despite Stuart Varney’s ill-informed scoffing and scorn, the unflappable Brune manages to state a few facts on climate change, solar power, wind, natural gas and the Keystone XL Pipeline – facts like how KXL isn’t any more inevitable than other planned, non-existent pipelines; and how the number of US solar installations broke the record in 2012, and will do so again in 2013.

A vociferous climate denier, Varney appears to think fossil fuels will last “forever” while one of his co-hosts would simply deny wind power altogether because he’s never seen a windmill turning. (Here’s a hint: just like the sun is more likely to shine in the daytime, the wind is more likely to blow at night – maybe go look then?)

Photo: sierra.org

Brune isn’t baited or cowed by Varney & Co.’s carnival-esque atmosphere. I’ve been unable to embed the video, as is usually the case with Fox clips, but here’s the link:

Sierra Club ExecutiveDirector Mike Brune On His Efforts To Stop The Completion Of The Keystone Pipeline

http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/2165321833001/

Way Beyond Coal   (more…)

Range Gets ‘Creative’ With Water Tests; When Pipelines Fail; A Mother’s Work & More

February 2, 2013

Got Frack? (We all do.) Get caught up on the Gas issues bounding around this week:

  • Deny Deny… Range’s Resourcefulness

In Range Resources Accused Of Water Test Tampering Dory Hippauf explains how Range isn’t such a great neighbor after all.

“According to Rende’s logic, it is the plaintiff’s own fault for believing the Range Resource test report was accurate and truthful.  Does this mean Rende is also saying Range Resources is not to be trusted?”

  • The Must-Read

Mother Jones: The Surprising Connection Between Food and Fracking

“As they fight the expansion of fracking and push for tighter regulations on it, concerned citizens can count on an opponent nearly as powerful and monied as Big Oil: Big Ag…” 

  • League Of Women Worriers? 
PA League of Women Voters published Pipelines in Pennsylvania: A Case Study of Lycoming Countya 65-page, photo rich eye-opener about the very specific impacts of developing vast webs of gas pipelines across a single county, slicing up communities.   (more…)