Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012


 As expected, we as a nation are bombarded by conflicting facts where it comes to natural gas and whether it's our energy salvation or will doom our land. If you are a right winger, get your info from Fox, you see it as a money pool. They pay people, who own the land money to frack under it. That can amount to $800 a month or even hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on how much land. The beauty of it is that you okay it but you have no liability for the damage it might do to someone else's water supply (likely not even your own).

The argument from the natural gas industry is that the fracking is so deep that it cannot hurt water for wells which is not anywhere near that far down. So when someone turns on their tap and can light the water with a match, it's coincidence. And if you are a right winger, you believe that or just consider it worth the price.

If you are a leftie, you see it quite differently. You want the facts on what is happening and facts are hard to come by. Dollars easy. Facts hard.

We watched GasLand, a documentary on fracking and the price some are paying for others to have a rich pool of natural gas.

What's to not like? This is a win win, right? Well, not so quick. GasLand goes after another aspect of it-- the price to the environment and human stories of what it has done to individuals. And what it makes someone like me wonder when I see how much of the US has this natural gas under it.

Right wing-- yeah who cares on individuals. Gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet right? It's about dollars, cheaper fuel, and energy self-sufficiency.
Left wing-- Fracking has hurt people, made them sick, spoiled water sources.
Right wing-- not enough to matter besides-- coincidence.

People only watch a documentary, award winning or not, like GasLand if they truly care about the natural environment and don't trust the system. They should not watch it if they already have high bp as the next morning because despite mine having been down for over a week thanks to the meds, the morning after, it was higher than it should be again from stress.

I say I can handle politics without it stressing me and generally I can, but GasLand is about families, individual people and their experience with finding the system failed them and didn't really care about what had happened to them. Being a country living woman, who has a well, who lives on a creek, I related to all of these people who form the bulk of this documentary.

 Of course, the right wing has put out protesting sites to explain how Josh Fox was all wrong about fracking. The Natural Gas Industry Goes on the Attack. If you are a rightie, that's all you need to hear-- that a corporation says it was perfectly safe and justified. Of course, the corporate powers would not do something wrong. Naturally a leftie film maker would cheat or play the hearts and flowers theme.

After all, go the arguments from the foxies, think of all the good that can be done from this lush source of natural gas (school buses and all trucking may be all running on it soon-- bye bye diesel and ethanol). So what if there are a few families with poisoned wells, bodies, and lands (they call that collateral damage or a coincidence). In most case they would be paid off cheaply by bringing them filtration systems or water but not because the process did it. Just out of the goodness of their corporate hearts. You know how warm-hearted corporations are.

From Delaware River Basin Commission Votes I got this map of where in the US this will be and is an issue:

The powers that be, who have managed to defund more and more regulatory bodies who might look into the truth of what fracking has done, naturally say it's not an issue and never really damages anything including wells that suddenly put out water that catches fire or is totally black or full of enough chemicals that my chemist husband (who doesn't blanch easily) blanched and groaned with disgust. Most of us do not know what these chemicals are. He does.

Here's the thing. The rest of the nation is being convinced it doesn't impact them. Corporate interests can do this fracking (explosions) and it won't put natural gas into wells. After all the deposits are way below the wells. Couldn't possibly relate.

Would they lie? Would they care that people get sick? Not if they can pay them off and shut them up with confidentiality agreements.

If you thought Love Canal was behind us because we learned from it. If you thought the Gulf Coast was a one time deal. If you thought that Mustang gas tank, that they knew could explode but were caught saying it was cheaper to pay off victims, couldn't happen again. If you thought any of that was in the past, you are kidding yourself. If you think this won't impact you because you don't live over one of those fields, you are also kidding yourself. This is about an attitude. An attitude that doesn't care about people and is making drones and zombies out of previously thinking Americans.

Dick Cheney had a lot to do with getting regulations gone so that this kind of thing could be done with no concern over past scientific wisdom. Now the right argues that there was no rule about fracking for him to take away. True but that's the problem. It had not been regulated and now it never will be. Cheney used the same excuse he used to take away our Bill of Rights. We need it. And we, the selfish people that we are, if it keeps us safer, makes our lives easier or cheaper, we don't give a damn what it does to someone else.

We are the frogs being slowly cooked in heating water and most of us don't even know it.

Whatever you believe, whatever party you support, this is one issue on which Americans should go out of their way to inform themselves.  The people who would do this to those people with homes near those wells, those same people will do the same kind of thing to you over something else. They just don't care about anything but their profits.

You are about to vote for one of them to be your president...  and no, it's not like Obama has been a lot better about fracking (although it was begun before he took office), and he is hamstrung by Americans who vote in right wingers to balance power.

Except what that balance of power actually does is make sure nothing can happen-- good or bad. Why not elect people who care and will work for our good-- not just to get lower taxes but clean air, water, quality education for kids, safe roads, the services we already depend on but are being slowly leeched away like regulatory bodies for environment or economics? There is one reason why not-- money.

Watch GasLand (it's on Netflix) and when you have or if you already have, let me know what you thought.


Taradharma said...

I watched Gasland quite awhile ago and was horrified at the effects of this practice. Then I see ads on t.v. with a pretty blond lady explaining that we have vast natural gas resources RIGHT HERE IN AMERICA and gosh, shouldn't we be proud and happy about that? I've heard the facts about fracking pooh-poohed time and again. But I see the movie -- It reminds me of the poor folks in the Erin Brochovich movie. Rolled over in the name of corporate greed and malfeasance. I think we need to spread the word on Gasland - what do you think?

Ingineer66 said...

I have been meaning to do some research on the whole fracking issue since I am hearing conflicting reports.

You have an interesting take on thrashing the right for wanting to use Natural Gas. Here in California the Democrats and Greenies have been the biggest pushers of Natural Gas because it is clean burning. They have spent millions of tax dollars converting all the city buses to Natural Gas and most all the power plants that used to run on coal, diesel or nuclear are now burning natural gas. It is the only kind of fuel that can get approved for a new power plant.

It was the Pinto not the Mustang with the gas tank problem.

la peregrina said...

My husband was a petroleum engineer and he says they had problems with the fracking process all the time. He also says that fracking shale was so difficult and expensive it was not done back when he was a working engineer. In fact, they used the shale layer to help contain the fracking fluids and keep it away from the ground-water. Now they are fracking the shale and telling us not to worry about the groundwater? Yeah, right.

MerCyn said...

The lobbyists and their cronies have so much money they end up drowning out the opposition. I think another problem is that too many people are willing to accept everything some say (here it would be the pro-fracking pols and corporations) without doing any research themselves.

Hattie said...

I watched Gasland and was pretty upset.
We have a similar battle going on here about geothermal energy. A modest amount of geothermal is being generated now, but there has always been a push from Hawaiian Energy Co. to build an enormous plant and pump energy through an undersea pipe, more than 200 miles long, from Hawaii Island to urban Oahu, where Honolulu is. This project could have unforeseen consequences on a major scale. And why here, when solar could easily cover all the energy needs for the entire state of Hawaii!

OldLady Of The Hills said...

This made me think of Erin Brokovitch and the Water being poisened and what it took to fight a BIG Corporation....
Greed seems to be what always wins in the end now, I'm afraid. The indifference that most people feel towards other people is rather frightening. What have we come to as a people?

Rain Trueax said...

That's funny on the Pinto as I thought it was Corvette and Farm Boss said Mustang. I should have done some research first but the important part is what happened, not the model of vehicle. It's happened before and worries a lot of people about nuclear power.

Basically if we have a government who is paid off by lobbying, and regulations are reduced, nobody is there to check on what is happening.

Rubye Jack said...

I've heard it also causes earthquakes. I live in Oklahoma and we never used to have earthquakes but they are rather commonplace nowadays. As far as water goes, I only drink bottled water because the water here is toxic and overloaded with chlorine. Regardless, it still gets into the body by showering. So, what's a little gas mixed in with the chlorine? Ha.

joared said...

PBS has aired some excellent documentaries on fracking issues -- filmed in coal mining areas where companies have a century-long history of destroying land, streams. Many folks living in poverty are those society makes fun of as "hillbillies," but who've valued and respected nature and the land. They live in poverty and now their above ground water is corrupted, surroundings destroyed. Below the ground water sources are vital water sources, too.

North of some of those South Midwestern States and in southern Ohio, within the past year or so, a small quake not far from the Canton-Akron,Ohio area they had a small earthquake directly attributed to nearby fracking activity. Also, threatening water acquifiers is madness with water so essential for life and our climate changes.

Anonymous said...

Dare to vet what you heard and watched. View FrackNation and then also go watch TruthLand on YOUTUBE.