Saturday, October 15, 2011

A modest Fracking proposal for New York State: Frack-A-Thon

FrackingProposalAs the debate heats up and more of the public becomes aware of the Fracking boom coming to New York State, it’s only fair that all proposals come to the table. On December 12, 2011 The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will close public comment on the Revised Draft SGEIS on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program. Then, sometime after that, the drilling will begin because if there is fossil fuel to be burned, we will burn it even though it makes the Climate Change Crisis worse.

Remember, the SGEIS we are shaping into the drilling law of the land includes the Utica Shale (though they don’t say it in the title, it’s on page 7 of the Executive Summary) and Rochester, NY lies well within the Utica Shale, Google ‘Utica Shale’ and click on images. There you’ll see a lot of images and drawings of the Utica Shale blanketing the Rochester, NY area.

Though Fracking for natural gas is being heralded as a great transitional energy option from bad energy to good, it is not because there is not at the same time an equal and urgent attempt to create renewable energy. As a matter of fact, the New York State Power Authority has dropped the greatest attempt to kick start renewable energy, the Great Lakes Off-shore Wind project (Glow). Read “New York State: No! for renewable energy and Yes! for greenhouse gases and Climate Change.”
And, Fracking will be transformative to our region just like it has been for Pennsylvania:
Hydraulic Fracturing Brings Money, and Problems, to Pennsylvania “The gas boom is transforming small towns like this one (population 4,400 and growing) and revitalizing the economy of this once-forgotten stretch of rural northeastern Pennsylvania. The few hotels here have expanded, restaurants are packed and housing rentals have more than doubled. “There’s been a snowball effect due to the gas companies coming in,” Mr. Diaz, 33, said recently at his bustling empire near here.” (October 14, 2011) The New York Times
So, my proposal this: We, New York State residents, all get come together and have a major funding event to raise the money that Fracking will bring to our state, stop all attempts to drill, and use that money for renewable energy. I know this flies in the face of laissez-faire Capitalism but instead of potentially ruining our local landscape, putting immeasurable burden on our roads with heavy truck traffic, threatening our water quality, and putting more greenhouse gases (GHG) into our atmosphere, we could be creating green jobs and have a sustainable energy supply. Instead of scouring the financial books to find the money to increase renewable energy and stop using fossil fuels we could bypass all that with a great big funding event. We’d just up and do it, man.  Call it a Frack-A-Thon

There’s funding events all the time for specific projects. Sure, getting enough money to replace the gobs of money that many expect from Fracking will be daunting, but we can do it. Famous people could come on TV and speak and we could have matching pledges from big corporations who want our environment to survive into the next generation too. We are very creative when it comes to getting money—just think of how the Tea Party gets all those rallies that the mainstream media comes to.
Let’s be honest. Most folks don’t care where the heck we get our energy. As long as it’s cheap and their stuff turns on when they flick the switch—it works for them. Fracking, nuclear, wind power, solar, burning coal--whatever.

So, instead of appealing to the public’s sense of environmental stewardship, or whether they think Fracking can be done safely and won’t harm the environment (which is ludicrous because who the hell can tell what happens far underground when you blast unknown manmade chemicals, using tons of our fresh water, with all those natural fissures running through the Utica and Marcellus Shales?), we solve the money issue with one great big funding event. We make a quick shift to renewable energy, without the continual subsidies that the fossil fuel industry gets, and get going on environmentally friendly energy.

We could avoid this:
Tests: Pa. gas drilling town's water still fouled “DIMOCK, Pa. (AP) -- Three years after residents first noticed something wrong with their drinking-water wells, tanker trucks still rumble daily through this rural northeastern Pennsylvania village where methane gas courses through the aquifer and homeowners can light their water on fire. One of the trucks stops at Ron and Jean Carter's home and refills a 550-gallon plastic "water buffalo" container that supplies the couple with water for bathing, cleaning clothes and washing dishes. A loud hissing noise emanates from the vent stack that was connected to the Carters' water well to prevent an explosion -- an indication, they say, the well is still laced with dangerous levels of methane. Recent testing confirms that gas continues to lurk in Dimock's aquifer.” (October 15, 2011) The Crescent News
I hope folks will take this funding idea seriously. It has the advantage that’s it is easy and painless. Everyone--pensioners, those with or without jobs, rich and poor, young and old—will just kick in a little money and we all benefit. We won’t have to do the mental summersaults trying to make ourselves believe that Fracking, which is a great financial boom for some, is a great idea for all of us and good for the environment. The public won’t have to read up about Fracking or spend time away from their favorite sports programs. Even those spending most of their time working several jobs or spending all their waking moments looking for jobs, will know that their leaders are at least taking care of their children’s environment while they deal with the economic collapse that a few moral idiots have created.

We all win with a great big funding event for Fracking and then (for a moment) we can be relieved of the monstrosity of behavior that our present economic system wreaks. We could humanize the way we pay for stuff and take responsibility for our environment without being so mean and craven towards the majority, who are just trying to cope.

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