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I was hoping that our intrepid Fish Out Of Water would write a diary about the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) meeting for public comment about their draft proposal for natural gas mining in NC. Since he hasn’t and although I am a lurker, did not intend to write about the meeting, taking no notes, I believe there are good reasons to talk about this event so I will.

My husband and I arrived early hoping to sign up to speak but by the time we got there we were beyond 85th in line and had no chance of being called. So with time on our hands we mosied over to a gazebo to wait until the door was opened for seating. With us in the gazebo was a woman from the Sanford area. She and her fiancé had 40 acres that they wanted to farm and in the future pass on to their kids. They were raising cashmere goats and starting to grow cranberries. She told us that many of her neighbors had already sold gas leases to the industry. Her plans for the future were very much in doubt and she was scared. She told us earnestly that if it came to it they would sell their property and leave. I thought that if it ‘comes to it’ she may not be able to sell and will have to walk away from a hellish situation having lost everything. Her name was Laura.

The meeting was packed; every seat in the auditorium was taken and easily 90% of the audience held some kind of anti-fracking sign or sticker. NC DENR gave an outlined expository of its report and the floor was opened up for comment. For those who weren't thoroughly familiar with the 444 page draft report DENR's presentation was not informative. Though it came out in a justification for the preliminary nature of the draft report, DENR's power point did not address the fact that there have been staff cuts in DENR field inspectors, as well as air, water and waste programs and also other massive budget cuts. They presented none of the relevant geologic graphics that would have allowed people to ask questions regarding contamination plumes that might develop in groundwater. They showed none of the graphics regarding crime increase in Pennsylvania and other states where the industry has been established. There were no maps of the affected areas such as water sources, population centers, recreation areas. There was nothing showing the geology of the gas deposits, their shallow nature or the nature of the basaltic dikes surrounding these deposits. No effort was made to explain exactly how fracking would be done in North Carolina's particular geology. Indeed in the draft report, I did not see that explained, period. The only illustration I saw pertained to deep drilling. And the draft report is simply not accessible to the general public in terms of its language and the methods described. Only the introduction with its platitudinous comments and conclusions is readable without some effort by a non-scientist. What is readable by the general public is the conclusion it draws on page 26:

After reviewing other studies and experiences in oil and gas-­‐producing states, DENR believes that hydraulic fracturing can be done safely as long as the right protections are in place.
The paragraph goes on to mention that we need better understandings and better regulations. But the caveats, such as they are--and the whole report, as much as I understand it, is a huge caveat--is lost in that single (as one commenter pointed out) tautologous sentence. That is to say--fracking can be done safely if and only if fracking is done safely.

One could be fairly certain that the Tea Partiers with their "shale yes" signs had not read or understood the meat of this report. None of them as long as I was at the meeting stood up to speak--though one fellow who spoke denied sea level rise. (I guess he hadn't been to the Maldives or Ho Chi Minh City.) None of them when questioned by the media had anything other than the vague talking points corporate interests had fed them. But they were there in numbers and visible at the entrance to the meeting where the TV trucks were parked. And they were treated by the TV media with the false equivalency we have come to expect.

The Raleigh News and Observer's coverage of the event was tentative and non-committal. There was no real discussion of the numerous catastrophes that have resulted from fracking in other states. Along with remarks from Bill Weatherspoon head of the NC Petroleum Council, it contained a long quote of industry talking points from a FreedomWorks representative. This is what we can expect as a "tempered" response to what was a highly charged and passionate meeting. In fact, the meeting was so highly charged that our own Fish Out Of Water was ejected, for pointing at his representative as he made his way to speak to the N&O's reporter.

What struck me about the reader comments immediately after the N&O article was posted was the presence of dismissive attacks on the people of Chapel Hill, who were certainly among those present at the meeting. It was described as a circus, a freakshow populated by hysterical leftists. Beyond general Tea Party hostility to those more educated than themselves, the reason for these remarks stemmed from two things that happened at the meeting. One, which was mentioned in the N&O piece, had to do with booing and hissing directed at the supporters of fracking--which I will return to later.

The second, I think, had to do with the performance by the Raging Grannies at the beginning of the comment portion of the hearing. We can applaud the fact that these citizens are political, that they want to draw attention to important issues and generate concern for them, but is a public informational meeting the place for performance art or guerrilla theater? Their performance did not set the tone for a serious discussion of the issues. Given a choice between a lecture and a circus, the media will always choose the circus. Comments at this event were the most densely informative of any in my experience at any public meeting and I have been on a planning board where technical issues abound and feelings run high. So the reporters had plenty of spectacular information about the hazards of fracking and heard the questions that MUST be asked. Nonetheles they reported slavishly the industry platitudes and the mildly stated remarks of the Sierra Club. The Raging Grannies made it to TV and the front page of Durham's Herald Sun. Laura who we met in the gazebo did not.

The mostly restrained and occasional booing was unfortunate but came in response to two features of the meeting. The first was the genuinely tepid presentation and perfunctory conclusion of NC DENR the background to which is the fact that NC Republicans are trying to ram this bill through before they might lose their seats in the election. So the blasé attitude shown by DENR who ignored in their presentation all of the challenging data of their own report was simply infuriating to those who understand the stakes. If the obvious and least damning conclusion to be drawn from the draft report, namely GO SLOW, had been the most visible and urgent message from the government, would tensions have been so high? Maybe not.

But the most provocative moments were supplied by those industry proponents who uttered blatantly political comments. Bill Weatherspoon, asserted that “Ninety percent of North Carolinians support energy development.” Of course he did not specify the kind of energy development but in the context of his remarks he meant to imply support for hydraulic fracturing. People were rightly enraged. Had he or any other industry spokesman attempted to rebut or explain any of the myriad nightmarish instances in which fracking has destroyed the environment, would people have been so frustrated? Maybe not. Indeed had industry spokesmen not shown complete disregard for the issues brought up by the public would the public have felt the need to boo? Maybe not.

What we experienced at this meeting from those who should have answered our questions was inanity or contempt. There was a mindless sanguinity on the part of DENR that was echoed in the comments of the gas industry supporters who parroted the talking points always brought up in these disputes about development. "Jobs, growth, energy independence"--and in the case of environmentally destructive activities--"'no' is not an energy policy." I emphasize there was no attempt by the industry to respond to any fracking leak, as in Pavillion, Wyoming where the EPA has documented the contamination of the groundwater by fracking fluids, or anywhere else. There was no attempt to respond to the concerns about specific sites mentioned by the citizens who had experienced firsthand in Pennsylvania the noxious results of the fracking industry.  Instead the CEO of the NC Chamber of Commerce,  Lewis Ebert discoursed about how we must think about development, growth, jobs. He spoke about an economic 'ripple effect' from hydraulic fracturing. He ignored the impact on infrastructure and water supply, which are surely parts of the economic equation that should concern him. But because of the way this meeting was structured we couldn't question him on presumptions. We could just sit there and hear him utter empty statements as if they were facts.

The worst of the industry spokesmen (and men they all were) was the aforementioned Bill Weatherspoon. After giving the same industry-determined platitude-laden commentary he turned to the crowd and made the statement about 90% of the state wanting energy development. To this he added the sneering inference that though we outnumbered him in the auditorium, we did not outnumber him in the state. His demeanor dripped with arrogance and contempt. The room came alive with anger and someone called him liar. He personified perfectly how the industry does not believe it has to respond to the public. It does not need to tell us the why's and how's of past water and air contamination. It does not need to be specific about regulations, because it believes the fix is in. It will buy its regulations and the public can be damned. Booing is then the only action that restores ‘public’ to the idea of a public meeting.

Laura, whom I mentioned meeting earlier, spoke with great passion and eloquence. She talked about being approached by a gas industry spokesman who was sitting in the room about leasing her land. He denied that he had done it—that it wasn’t part of his job description to do such things. Undeterred by his lying,  she pointed at him and described his mile and a half drive up her driveway, pretending when he got to her door he was lost. Caught and shamed he had no response. Then she turned to her congressmen (Republicans) and asked them why they hadn't talked to her about this proposal. “Why wasn't SHE involved in the decision that could ruin her future?”she wanted to know.  She accused them of ignoring their constituents who would be affected by fracking. It was an uncomfortable moment for them and they were silent. When she left the microphone she got a standing ovation. She had put her finger squarely on the problem--we the people are not considered by many to be a part of the decision-making process anymore.

In the end I hope all the information delivered by those intelligent and well-informed souls such as our own Fish Out Of Water will make a difference in how the NC Legislature views the bill that would allow fracking. I hope Laura’s message will be properly registered and respected. But any other confrontations with the industry must insist the industry deliver the information to us and if they cannot then the world needs to see it.

So we must hold the Bill Weatherspoons to account, “How are you going to clean up the water in Pavillion Wyoming?” And tell us Bill,  “How will you get the carcinogens out of the water in Dimock, PA? What will you do about the earthquakes near Youngstown , Ohio or in Arkansas? What exactly are the regulations that will prevent such catastrophes?” If they won’t answer, we must demand that they do.

Booing is just the beginning.

Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 7:22 AM PT: Thanks for putting this on the rec list! I will be able to answer comments a bit this morning and then this evening.

Originally posted to Marihilda on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 08:44 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, DK GreenRoots, Climate Hawks, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  They can't undo the damage that fracking (33+ / 0-)

    does.  Once it's ruined, there is no way to recover.

    It seems to me that fracking  may well be as destructive as the Japanese Fukushima disaster.  It will render large areas unusable and uninhabitable, once the water is poisoned.    

    Democrats - We represent America!

    by phonegery on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 09:07:39 PM PDT

  •  Excellent diary, Marihilda (26+ / 0-)

    You've got a great way of getting right to the point, and you've got an excellent grasp on how the gas companies operate.

    Keep up the fight and keep shining the light on their tactics. Lean on the local press to give fair coverage, otherwise the less-informed will only have their gas company-provided talking points to learn from.

  •  Thanks (11+ / 0-)

    for your reporting on this important topic. I'm glad to hear that your side turned out a good crowd.

    At least it wasn't you, Laura, and twenty company attorneys and consultants.

    I could picture this hearing in my mind while I read your description, I've been at too many of these things.

    I hope you folks are able to track the air pollution that fracking will cause. Each well brings with it a whole collection of poorly regulated air pollution sources; generators, storage tanks, gas treatment systems, discharges of gas when the well comes on line, and so on.

    Folks could raise a stink when these facilities' air pollution permits come up for public review. A half-dozen wells produce as much air pollution as an oil refinery.

    If no one objects they will produce 10 times as much air pollution, compared to reasonable regulation.

  •  The insanity of fracking... (8+ / 0-)

    how do we stop this tidal wave?

  •  Great, informative piece. Thanks so much. (9+ / 0-)

    If anyone hasn't seen the documentary "Gasland" I'd urge you to do so. In some areas of PA where the fracking is occuring, people can light their tap water on fire. But nothing to see here, folks, move along.

    The short-sightedness of these drill-baby-drill folks is just astounding. And for what, more profits for the already rich?

    •  Second the notion! n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, bumbi

      I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me.

      by plankbob on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:37:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We had two speakers (10+ / 0-)

      from the wreckage in PA. How their first hand experience can be written off as part of a "philosophy of no" is absolutely astounding. But it was--by those who could have responded.

      For years now industry proponents have been able to characterize anyone who voices concern for the environment as a tree hugging nutjob. I lost my place on the Durham City/County Planning Commission because of such characterizations. As a Planning Commissioner I saw how these public hearings can be manipulated by the careful placement on the agenda of certain speakers. In development cases coming before the County Commissioners, it is really useful for the industry people to speak at a point when no one has a chance to respond. And it can be set up that way.

      In this meeting those who might have mounted a defense of the safety of fracking just pretended no such defense was needed. I think DENR completely abdicated its responsibility.

      Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. Marx

      by Marihilda on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 08:04:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you're winning, you don't defend. You sit (0+ / 0-)

        quietly and wait for the agency to act in your favor.

      •  Marihilda bravo (0+ / 0-)

        Your comment above "We had two speakers" deserves a Top Comment Award. It contains profound insights into similar  meetings I've attended over and over in northern PA. Your diary is permeated with an eerie sense of manipulation in the meeting, FreedomWorks, astroturfing anger and projecting it from pro-drillers onto anti-drillers. This pattern is present anywhere the Tea Party shows up. All that money from the Koch Brothers and their ilk is being spent well, just like Chesapeake's Aubrey McClendon who created "Shale Country",  an illusion of economic salvation, and launched the idea that shale gas is "clean." This is masterful propaganda well cooked up and sold in a variety of forms in thousands of TV and print commercials across the entire carbon spectrum. The American people are being suckered to the max. It's beyond Orwellian and scary because we who are activists are on the forefront. Obama's not leading. We have to lead and we have to do better at it. We have to step back, reframe, think bigger and more carefully like the way you do, Marihilda.

        When you mentioned the Tea Party you made a crucial link into the larger political picture. We can't avoid playing the game and have to play it way better than our opposition  

        For example the answer to the 'philosophy of no' is "No! Ours is a philosophy of YES to preserving clean drinking water, clean air and our children's health." The talking points are easy; it's getting control of the structure of the meeting that's hard. That's where we have to turn ourselves from a series of well intended cliques into a movement with a common purpose larger than -- but inclusive of -- fracking, not to say goodbye to candlelight marches but to add a dimension of serious political organizing to gain political control of the meeting at the ballot box.

        Booing is not the beginning, it is not an answer at all as it plays into pro-drilling hands, and I agree with you about the Grannies. In a PA Susquehanna River Basin Commission meeting a few months ago there was a lot of booing by anti-drillers which was understandable as the SRBC has been rubber-stamping permits for fracking and millions of gallons of water withdrawals daily for fracking. However, the result was the SRBC Commissioners cut the meeting short and went behind closed doors and all recourse was lost to transparent/public decision-making. Maybe someday a legal action can catch up with that moment but for now it's lost and the next big wave has washed over us and fracking is proceeding apace.

        You have pinpointed a cynical pattern of manipulation by industry allies that our activist leaders need to get educated about and bring this consciousness to the larger group to see how close we are to losing a very big game if we don't play smarter. Underneath energy vs environment is a fundamental threat to our democracy. This sounds abstract until one remembers the beer halls of the Weimar Republic.

        Thanks for a thought-provoking diary.
        Don't let Rush get away with it! Build your own FCC complaint -- it's easy!

  •  I think we need to understand that (12+ / 0-)

    the people were never considered in how our natural resources are doled out in the past.  For over a hundred and fifty years, the role of public elected officials was mainly to dole out goodies to their friends and associates:

    free land
    free water
    free fishing
    free hunting
    free grazing
    free minerals
    free trade

    Neither the public nor the environment were considered other than as exploitable resources. If human were wasted, then females were available to make more. Individual human rights never came up. In any event, from the beginning, human rights were trumped by property rights.  People were bought off.  They could own property in exchange for not owning themselves.  Indeed, the promise of jobs continues that scheme.
    That the deprivation of the means to sustain oneself is coercive never comes up.  If people want to eat, they'll do what they're told because that's what the restrictions of private property support.
    Private property rights sequester the resources of the earth and force people to beg for their sustenance.

    Why do we need to understand this?  To put fire in the belly; to stiffen the back-bone; to generate unwavering opposition to the wrong and support for what's right.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:22:26 AM PDT

  •  I was at the meeting, and FOOW is my daddy. (21+ / 0-)

    You've presented an excellent account of the meeting. I sadly missed the Sanford women's commentary because I needed a breather.

    One thing that I wish would be emphasized more, and that I spoke -poorly- to is that the potential for economic devastation is actually enormous. I wish people would hammer back at the jobs argument more, because it's what has won them public support, as best I can tell, and it's a cruel lie.

    I can't speak for my father, but I do know that these meetings have been very emotionally draining for him/us. I wish I'd gotten a chance to meet you. I was so glad to have met Solar Mom and her spectacularly delightful son.

    •  I believe I met Marihilda at the mtg (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NYFM, Marihilda, notdarkyet, mrkvica

      Honestly, there was much too much going on for me to keep everything straight.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 07:33:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You dad was eloquent. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NYFM, Matt Z, notdarkyet, PinHole, mrkvica

      He was rightfully upset by his absurd and humiliating ejection from the meeting. I talked to him outside as we left right after he did and he was particularly angry about the gas industry people breaking into line. I can imagine how upsetting this is to you both. I felt like we had all gone down the rabbit hole at that meeting. I could have slugged the DENR woman when she started going on about "Let's not be the House of Commons here." When people aren't responding to what was an encyclopedic presentation of reasons not to frack or at the VERY least to take it slow, it turns into crazy time. War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength and you guys are on the frontlines.

      Not that the rest of us aren't too since this deposit sits under two major reservoirs for Durham and Raleigh. Leakage of fracking fluids into Falls and Jordan Lakes will be the end of this area. It is hard for me to understand how people and especially the press don't get the consequences.

      Thank you both for what you are doing.

      Are you going to the meeting in Pittsboro tonight?

      Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. Marx

      by Marihilda on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 07:48:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  House of Commons would have been an improvement (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse, FishOutofWater

        on the conditions you are describing here.  Fish's ejection sounds like an outright First Amendment violation.  What in God's good name is the reason they cited for it? Can one of you describe that exact sequence?  It sounds like there may be an actionable violation there, and there is at the very least an episode to seize upon as a PR coupe for the anti-frackers.

        And in case you haven't noticed, you have indeed entered the world of performance art/ guerrilla theater. We have been dealing with the same nonsense up here in PA/NY for over four years now.  But seriously, you need to make lemonade out of the absurd treatment of FishOutofWater.

  •  I hope you will forward (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bumbi, Marihilda, notdarkyet, tacet, mrkvica

    the text of this diary to whatever fools from newspapers that have had stories published. Along with a link, of course, so they can read comments. and cc paper editorial boards, with a 'shame on you and your reporters'.

    "Authoritarians are attracted to equality because it justifies treating everyone equally shabbily." ~hannah~

    by emmasnacker on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:37:17 AM PDT

  •  Tell Laura she needs a groundwater test NOW. (12+ / 0-)

    So if future tests reveal contamination, she'll have (contaminated) grounds for a lawsuit.  It's a hard choice to make, to fight, but hopefully she'll decide to make a stand on & for her land.

    Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

    by Leftcandid on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 06:59:56 AM PDT

  •  I am updating my comments to DENR (8+ / 0-)

    I found an in press report on Health Effects and other material that directly relate to serious negative impacts to residents of North Carolina. Those reports have not yet been discussed in public comments AFAIK.

    Thanks to TxSharon who is a Kossack with her own fantastic blog on fracking.

    Thank you for this report. I'm going to finish my comments in the next few hours.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 07:31:50 AM PDT

  •  This diary should be rec'd up to the rec list (6+ / 0-)

    It not only addresses a dire environmental issue that reflects the greater area of global problems, it also describes how broken our democracy is and the real state of our "representative government".

    Great succinct diary.

    Well, I guess I don't know what you mean by "equal justice under the law." - Bushy McSpokesperson

    by gatorcog on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 07:41:25 AM PDT

  •  what university resources are being marshaled (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    against fracking in the area?  The Chapel Hill = liberal zoo caricature is as old as Jesse Helms; BUT seems like UNC's and Duke's (even NC State's) proximities to the affected areas would make their responses to the situation crucial for swaying public opinion.  Are the schools united against fracking, and are there high-profile people affiliated with the schools speaking out against it?  Like it or not, Coach K, Roy Williams, and other coaches and local sports figures are highly respected by the general public, people who may not have paid attention to this issue given the blase press coverage.  Is there a PR push to get these influencers on our side?  It's clear that little annoyances like "the truth" about "environmental disaster" may not stand up to the industry's polictical power, so what about bringing in some celebrity firepower?  

    •  The gas industry will buy the Profs. too using (0+ / 0-)

      easy grants and research money to quiet the geologists along with the chemists and other possible naysayers.  The Profs also have a price as is evident here in PA.  

      Watch how it unfolds and you will be amazed...Fracking destroys human and animal environments.

      Reaganomics raped the American worker & this depression is the result. When will we wake up & vote with our own financial interests?

      by phree on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 08:24:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've heard Bill Faison, running for NC Governor, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    has made some strong public statements against fracking, but I have not been able to find any videos.

  •  I don't think Fracking should automatically (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    noladerf, MGross, phree

    Meet resistance. I will say that in advance- I may be biased. But I don't have to promote my Employer, only because I probably know enough about it to say I don't know enough to say dealing in absolutes for Fracking is right.

    Mea Culpa- I quit my job at a firm to work for our largest Client directly. He owns a publicly traded Oil and Gas Company, but I primarily do legal work on the other half of his portfolio- real estate.

    I have been to A LOT of CLE's (Continued Legal Education you must take to retain your license). In Ohio we passed a lot of oil and gas law in the last few years as we looked back and saw why the industry broke down (allegedly). It is honestly better for the industry and environment than the mess the EPA has made in PA.

    But as to Fracking, I have tried to learn more, consider myself pretty intelligent, and I really don't think fracking should automatically be word to rally against, but even for as much as I know I don't completely get it. It is all about how it is regulated.

    It has growingly seemed to me-when regulated properly in can be a win-win. PA and OH for example need the The Marcellus (Mostly PA) and Utica (OH). The Marcellus alone has enough natural gas to power the United States for 10 years. The Utica (in Ohio, only part of the Marcellus is) again would create jobs. What bothers me is the water used and brine disposal. Especially in the Marcellus. But, as far as I know that is unique to the Marcellus "fair-way" (that the brine created is (I think) partly- radioactive).

     An example of that not being regulated for win-win is the case is the Marcellus in PA, and the EPA's decisions (not the industry) as to brine disposal. But otherwise, I just don't think you can be realistic and just be anti-fracking without knowing everything. Or a lot. There is simply no other way to get to shale gas without vertical AND horizontal drilling.

    I think Ohio though has some pretty cutting-edge laws that strike a good balance (far better than the EPA that basically said go ahead and pour your brine in the rivers).  Take a look most went into effect a few months ago.

    Normally I would probably be behind anyone but I know too much about it to know I know too little.  

    •  I do a lot of Pro Bono (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      work to make up for the parts I don't like, at Hospice, Legal Aide, and for clients no one will take, I'll do for free on the side. So I CAN sleep at night.

    •  they are trying to sneak ahead of regulation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marihilda, samanthab

      That is what we are fighting in NC.
      No regulations on the books except one making it illegal.  
      So industry is grabbing leases hoping they won't be grandfathered into any regulations we can get passed later on.

      And our shale deposits are less than half as deep as PA - much closer to water aquifer.
      It is ugly!

      "Eating your seed corn is not a good business model." - FishOutofWater

      by saluda on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 10:24:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  PA is a disaster in the making... (0+ / 0-)

      Gas companies are dumping fracking waste water into local rivers, streams and creeks under cover of early morning, late night and sometimes, even in broad daylight.  

      The gas is being exported not used for American energy independence.  The people are being poisoned to export gas.  PA is now the third world and this sideshow is coming to OH soon.

      Reaganomics raped the American worker & this depression is the result. When will we wake up & vote with our own financial interests?

      by phree on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 08:28:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dont blur talking points with facts (0+ / 0-)

        I don't know about N.C. But in a place like PA. I said in my initial comment that PA is a mess. To be intellectually honest though it is really the EPA's fault. For better or worse, a state like PA is not going to sit on (if you accept what I would call conservative figures) of 14,000 km (cubed) of which there is an estimated 10% extraction. That amount based on 2011 prices is TWO HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS. It is just too bad PA has such terrible governance. Especially because the first oil/gas well in America was in PA so it's not like they don't know about it.

        I am not making talking points about energy independence. That is all Bs. Whenever people talk about increasing production of fossil fuels to lower prices I ask them so you're going to nationalize the reserves? I'm for it! It is the citizen's not BP. Usually those fools need to have it explained to them that we don't get anything for increasing drilling it goes on the world market.

        So no ad hominem attack necessary or assumptions I am somehow pro-ignorance. I am merely saying that in a depressed economy PA and the Marcellus have (estimated) the amount of natural gas required to power the US for 10 years. That is only to describe generally how much is there in the Marcellus Fairway. That is a fact. That is not a political talking point.

        And based on what I know, as I practice in the biz, nothing is "coming to Ohio". There are currently over 64,000 oil producing well in OH. You can find out anything you want to know about every one online based on how it is regulated. Ohio will only see more drilling because technology is now there to extract and because economically it is smart by the Corporations because the Utica is unique and the low gas price relative to oil leads to liquid rich shale plans.

        Nothing like PA will happen in OH. OH is really a model for regulation.  Ohio Started to care around 1965 with the boom-bust swings and environmental concerns. Now with Hydrofracking on the horizon they passed SB 165 and HB 153 in 2010/2011 and went into affect maybe a half year ago (HB 153 in 11/2011). It addresses and updates Ohio's Revised Code at 1509 (Chapter) and addresses things like produced waters & waste management, hydraulic fracturing, well construction and non-producing wells (and urban drilling).

        I cannot say it is perfect. But I am pretty confident in saying that it was done to 1. Protect Ohioians and 2. Protect the Industry itself. It is actually amongst the most cutting edge regulation. So no, messes in PA are not "coming to Ohio". Drilling is already happening. And in the same vein of thought  I'd add people do not realize that these are hazardous substances to begin with. Consider that as I said there are over 60,000 wells in Ohio, then consider how many there are when you include other states. You do not hear much complaint because I'd like to think those states have taken it under consideration and made it considerably safer given the enormous quantity of operations.

        To a certain extent there is in my opinion % wise a pretty good track record of isolated incidences, when you consider the volatility of the substances, and the volume of actual drilling.

  •  Fracking should not be theature!!!!! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notdarkyet, tacet, mrkvica, phree

    I understand the passions but fracking is too serious a threat to allow the media to concentrate the circus aspects.  Fracking:
    Is closely associated with earthquakes (in the range of magnitudes 3-4).
    Increases the salinity of rivers and other bodies water - the salinity, in turn, is thought to contribute to the massive fish kills caused by a Golden Algae that prefers water with some salinity (go to YouTube and look at "Dunkard Creek" - a river that runs in western PA, a bit far from the ocean).
    Creates a huge quantity of waste water that current (and for the foreseeable future) water treatment plants are unable to deal with in terms of the myriad of chemicals (many of which are unidentified because they're "proprietary).  These chemicals include radioactive elements, bio-cides (not necessarily the best substances to get into a water treatment plant), and many others that are better left underground.
    And the very worst part - every well uses between 10-20 million gallons of fresh water.  At a time when we are depleting our aquifers at a rapid rate, this is sheer insanity.  And, no - I don't believe the nonsense about recycling all of the waste water - find some pictures of these wells and the waste water ponds and do some reading re: the ability of ordinary water treatment plants to remove the contaminants.
    Bottom line is that unless we have a scientifically defensible plan to irrigate our crops and create drinking water from the hydrofracking gas, we are doing something that goes well beyond stupid.
    We need facts - clearly explained so that everyone except the Tea Party can understand the situation.

  •  Marihilda this is an EXCELLENT summary (10+ / 0-)

    Thank you!!!  I was the fourth commenter at the meeting (the woman from EPA - but not commenting on behalf of EPA but on behalf of myself and my neighbors - who addressed the lack of coverage of any relevant air quality studies, which I cited).

    I'm out of town on vacation, which is why I didn't write a summary and missed this.  FishOutofWater said he was not in a good state of mind to write about this one (we sat together at the hearing).

    You really nailed it on the hearing goings-on, and the lame coverage.  Chapelboro website had a semi-decent article, but who reads that?

    “Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.” -- FDR, 1936

    by SolarMom on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 08:50:33 AM PDT

    •  PS (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Republished to DKGreenroots and ClimateHawks. Should get you more reads.

      “Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.” -- FDR, 1936

      by SolarMom on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 09:03:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you. (0+ / 0-)

      Are you coming to Pittsboro tonight?

      Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. Marx

      by Marihilda on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 09:09:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh duh-- (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FishOutofWater, SolarMom

        You said you ARE out of town (I read WERE) so I guess no you won't be there.

        Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. Marx

        by Marihilda on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 09:10:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yup still away (0+ / 0-)

          But I would love to know how things went in Pittsboro.

          Btw, I messaged you through dKos messaging.

          “Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.” -- FDR, 1936

          by SolarMom on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 07:41:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The meeting was lively and very anti-fracking (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The room was packed but the venue was smaller than the auditorium at East Chapel Hill High. As in Chapel Hill there was an abundance of intelligent and thoughtful commentary. One man made some wonderful comments about DENR being bullied. There were several commenters who rewrote the DENR's conclusion. Many times people said that the information in the report in no way implied that conclusion. But I was trying to shape my ideas and I didn't listen as closely as I did at Chapel Hill. My idea was to challenge the gas industry to rebut the negative information about the fracking process. About two thirds through the meeting the oil and gas fellow got up and said the same things that had been said in Chapel Hill. In addition he complained about the tone of the meeting with the implication his side was the rational one. This is what I said--in essence (I am too nervous a speaker to speak something exactly as written).

            My remarks tonight are directed to the oil and gas industry. It is not enough for you to say “’No’ is not an energy policy” It is not enough to make unsubstantiated rosy prognostications about jobs and economic development. Instead you need to answer for the very real instances of destroyed economies, sick and dying people and horrific environmental disasters that have occurred in every state where fracking has been allowed. So tell us how you will make right what you have wronged. You had the opportunity in Chapel Hill and as well have it tonight but instead you have uttered nothing but vacuous platitudes.

            You act as though you don’t need to give any explanations but you do—you owe us. So if you don’t like the tone of the meetings don’t treat us with the contempt your lack of factual presentation reveals. Despite your comment—we are not in the minority. North Carolinians are not fools. We will not lie down for your program of misinformation and exploitation. The dedicated people in this room will be at every legislative session or meeting where fracking is the topic. We defeated the supercollider and we will defeat you.

            The meeting is not over. Tell us how you will clean up Pavillion, WY.

            Of course they did not bother to answer.

            Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. Marx

            by Marihilda on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 10:03:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What you said is right on. (0+ / 0-)

              I'm sorry I missed it, but I'm really glad you said it.

              “Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.” -- FDR, 1936

              by SolarMom on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 09:33:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  If anyone would like my materials (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notdarkyet, Marihilda

    from Oil and Gas Law in Ohio presenters. I have the photoshop presentations at least. They mostly discuss the Marcellus and Utica. I have not read through them since I attended, but they very well may have statements about what Ohio has done about environmental concerns, I know that at least we talked about it.

    I am 100% sure that there is a pretty good guide for attorneys or landowners as to unfavorable terms. I don't know if/how it may help someone, as it is primarily info based on the assumption there'd be a big boom of "land-men" in Ohio and what lawyers should consider in protecting their clients. The CLE was brief though, so I do not know how much useful info there is. Still, if interested, PM me, and I will Email or whatever; it does a pretty good job with graphs/etc in discussing hydrofracking and shale at some points (if memory serves me, and the development of laws in OH).

    •  That's a very nice offer. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The problem here is the shallow nature of the deposits in comparison to Ohio and PA and the area-specific geology. I think FOOW would be better able than I to assess the value of these materials.

      Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. Marx

      by Marihilda on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 10:35:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I only have Presentation PDFs (0+ / 0-)

        It is not a proposed ordinance or the like. It is just materials about hydro-fracking. While they are designed for Attorneys, most of us did not know much, so it talks about it in general, and then gets more specific about OH law. And from the viewpoint of being or representing someone who might be in the Utica. . . again don't know how helpful (perhaps the more general or the cites to what OH has done?).

        Surprising that if it is shallow they would not need to Hydro-frack I would not think (based on my understanding).

  •  Our so called democracy in action. Thank you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, tacet, mrkvica

    for reporting it like it is.

  •  Some great articles and info (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrkvica, Marihilda

    to add to the anti-fracking arsenal are:

    The Fracking Industry Has Bought Off Congress: Here Are the Worst Offenders

    This Arkansas Anti-Fracking blog is loaded with important information, like this article

    Flammable Air from a Water Well in Quitman, Arkansas

    Quitman, Arkansas has ALL the fracking problems including earthquakes, exploding homes, and flammable air.

    And this nugget in this mini-history of fracking

    In 2009, the EPA and internal studies from natural gas companies themselves found that wastewater from this process contains levels of radioactivity and carcinogenic properties that are above the level that treatment plants are currently equipped to handle.
    Fracking and Oklahoma Earthquakes

    Oil & Gas Production Time Lapse 1900-2010 & Time Lapse of Growth in Montana and North Dakota Bakken Shale are:

    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

    by War on Error on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 10:49:53 AM PDT

  •  one thing that gets me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, mrkvica

    is you all are not even on the EIA shale play map as of May 2011. Are the Triassic basins in eastern NA targets for fracking? We live near the Newark basin, which does black shales & mudstones. Never heard any talk of fracking here, though. Maybe it's coming?

    (Bigger version here:

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 11:31:38 AM PDT

    •  Black shales & mudstones could contain gas (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, mrkvica, Marihilda

      The Triassic basins are like today's African rift valleys or the Salton trough in California. The Deep River basin in NC contains coal that helped the south fight the Civil war. The coal mines here had repeated accidents caused by gas and ground water problems.

      So...we don't know that much about what's at depth in the basins.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 12:38:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting (0+ / 0-)

        the Newark Basin (I believe it and your basin were formed at the same time  - ca 230 mya?) has been cored pretty thoroughly afaik. I've seen the cores - the color changes are remarkable. We were looking for sources of arsenic. Some groundwaters here are contaminated with naturally occurring As.

        Have they done prelim work to see how much gas fracking would yield?

        Do you know how much potentially gas-yielding material there is in the basin?

        I ask because iirc Newark basin is mostly reddish rocks, not grey/black ones. I would assume the red rocks will not yield nat gas.


        and sorry to hear this is going on.

        An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

        by mightymouse on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 12:51:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The red rocks are oxidized. Gas is unlikely. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          There's a dark unit called the Cumnock formation that's coal and gas bearing in central NC. The red units above it don't generally bear gas unless they trapped it coming up from below.

          look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

          by FishOutofWater on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 01:22:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  we have a dark formation - the Lockatong (0+ / 0-)

            however, there are dark layers through the whole thing - 20,000 ft or so.

            they found the timing of the color changes was related to milankovich-type cycles - it was driven by global climate change.

            An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

            by mightymouse on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 02:00:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  It's exploratory. (0+ / 0-)

      There's shale layers in most of the United States, they don't bother to put them on the maps generally unless someone's achieved at least something beyond hydrocarbon shows drilling through.

  •  The Pavillion wells are being retested. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I haven't done a diary on it because there's really no news there until the new results come in.

  •  Marihilda, this is a terrific diary. Full (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, Marihilda

    of detail and very clearly written. Thank you!

    It is terrible to read about the behavior displayed by the industry.

    What we experienced at this meeting from those who should have answered our questions was inanity or contempt. There was a mindless sanguinity on the part of DENR that was echoed in the comments of the gas industry supporters who parroted the talking points always brought up in these disputes about development. "Jobs, growth, energy independence"..... attempt by the industry to respond to any fracking leak, as in Pavillion, Wyoming where the EPA has documented the contamination of the groundwater by fracking fluids, or anywhere else. There was no attempt to respond to the concerns about specific sites........ in Pennsylvania.
    It's like the worst possible scenario for home owners and their rights. I used to live in NC and hate to think of that beautiful state being messed up and damaged with fracking. I'm sure that economic enticements must make this a very hard situation for the community.

    The arrogance of those corporations makes me sick. I hate living in a plutocracy.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 04:36:52 PM PDT

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