Monday, January 02, 2012

The relentless march of fracking

As I read the year-end reports of the top news stories of 2011, I think one of the great underreported, undercited stories of 2011 is the slow, grinding, gnawing, relentless change coming through the Pennsylvania government's total commitment to making this a frack-friendly state.

It's not in the big stories, but in the little things that hit page 6 and then go away:

- Cabot Oil stopping delivery of water to the Dimock residents whose wells were contaminated (and who won a judgement against Cabot - before it was later overturned.)
- The continued bubbling of methane into the Susquehanna (and where else? would we notice methane being released anywhere other than under water?)
- The elimination of local control over any zoning regulations involving fracking.
- The Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) filed by Chief Gathering against concerned individuals who were trying to stop Chief from running a gas pipeline through their neighborhood - the lawsuit would have bankrupted any non-Corporate Citizen in NEPA, and even the costs associated with fighting it would be enough to economically cripple anyone. (Among other things, Chief wanted to financially destroy these residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania for portraying Chief as bad neighbors...something that Chief's actions in the suit proved to be true.)
- The death of John Jones III on July 31 when an out-of-control fracking truck overturned onto his car, killing him and injuring his daughter.
- The recent collision of two fracking trucks that resulted in a spill of "drilling mud" (doesn't that sound benign?) into a creek.
- The contamination of a pristine waterway by multiple releases of "drilling mud" into it.
- The intentional dumping of fracking waste onto game lands.
- The poaching of deer out-of-season and without a license by employees of the drilling industry.
- The arrest of a group of illegal immigrants working for a fracking contractor.
- The approval of new fracking-related withdrawals of water from the Susquehanna River at a meeting of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission - after the meeting was abruptly adjourned without allowing the scheduled period of public comment.

...and on and on and on.

In two years or so, people will look at the glowing skies at night from the lights of the drilling pads, hear the continuous industrial clamor of the drilling rigs, look at the unsellable status of their houses (who would want to buy a house in such a location?), look at the destruction of freshwater supplies and the contamination of creeks and streams, shake their heads at the latest deaths due to fracking truck accidents, read about the latest crimes perpetrated by roughnecks from Oklahoma and Texas and Georgia, and ask "What happened? How did this happen?"


Anonymous said...

You should update your ComplexActions link on the sidebar. They've redone the site, and with a new RSS feed (just below the comic). Then it won't look like it's 6 months old. :)

Feel free to let this comment self destruct if you so choose. =P

Will catch up with you soon.
-Domestic Zookeeper-

D.B. Echo said...

Let the first sign of life from you in YEARS - other than occasional appearances in an online comic - self-destruct? I think not!

Anonymous said...

"Strategic Lawsuit Against Pubic Participation"

Normally I wouldn't mention a typo, but that one ...

D.B. Echo said...

AAAAGH! I fully take the blame and put it on Google Chrome for automatically spell-checking. It didn't get flagged, of course, and I glossed over it during my late-night re-read. Thanks!

Super G said...


Don't worry be happy! Invest in Halliburton. They are expected from the coming fracking boon.

Not that we should be surprised by that. Cheney is grinning somewhere (is he still pulseless?).

Super G