Saturday, October 13, 2012

Become the Media! and do a Hail Mary pass around corporate media

Last Tuesday, over 4, 000 petition signatures to ban all Fracking and related activities were delivered to Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks and members of the Monroe County Legislature.  But presumably that wasn’t enough because the press didn’t even show up.  Alas, our mainstream media (which continually barrages us with countless ads and news that isn’t news) did not show up for this local event against Fracking either: Cobbs Hill rally against fracking (October 3, 2012) indymedia Rochester, NY.

Hummm… I thought the press was supposed to give the public a full airing of major issues in our communities.  I know the Communications Act of 1934 has been ripped to shreds and turned into the you-can-talk-about-anything-you-want-to-the-publc-even-hate-radio Telecommunications_Act_of_1996, but still I thought there would be some vestige of the First Amendment and a desire to act in the public interest.  Call me stupid, but tearing up our countryside, threatening our water, jeopardizing our right to self-determination, and potentially transforming the Empire State into a Resource Curse sounds like an issue of interest to the public to me. 

Apparently, I was wrong.  I looked around the legislature and not a commercial reporter could I see.  I looked under my seat.  I looked down the rows of our county representatives, thinking maybe one of our intrepid reporters tripped and fell while trying to interview one of Those Who Represent The People, but not an investigative soul did I see. I looked down the four flights of stairs from our room and no “Wait! I’m coming” from the press did I hear. What was wrong?  What was I missing?  Maybe it was because we here in Monroe County aren’t ‘sweet’ enough.  Huh? Let me explain.

The reason why the press didn’t show up for the release of 4,000 signatures could be that Monroe County is an “Unsweet Spot”.  I know, you think I’m toying with you now.  But, wait.  I’m completely serious.  The just released USGS Releases First Assessment of Shale Gas Resources in the Utica Shale: 38 trillion cubic feet says that the part of the Utica Shale that doesn’t include Monroe County is a ‘Sweet Spot’ and quite a nice place to Frack—in fact ‘sweet’.  But although we here in Monroe County are still in the Utica Shale (we haven’t moved, folks), we are in the ‘Unsweet Spot’ (I kid you not, this is the word they use) “The Utica Shale Oil AU is an area of about 15,000,000 acres at the mean and is divided into a sweet spot and a nonsweet spot.” (Page 5, Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the Ordovician Utica Shale of the Appalachian Basin Province, 2012)

So, the reason that the local press doesn’t show up to anti-Fracking events and continually dismisses the idea of Fracking in our Monroe County area (which, is larger in population than the state of Vermont) is because the press thinks there is no need to worry our pretty little heads over something that they think is not going to ever happen?  But wait!—again.  Sorry, for the dramatics, but this sentence on the same page as the above quote is quite a kicker: If I’m reading this study correctly, “Based on these input parameters, recovery of the resource would require at the mean about 7,000 wells to be drilled within the sweet spot and an additional 10,500 wells at the mean to be drilled in the nonsweet spot to extract this potential resource.” (Page 5 Ibid.)

Read it and weep: “an additional 10,500 wells at the mean to be drilled in the nonsweet spot to extract this potential resource.” If you are thinking that Monroe County doesn’t have to lift its finger to protect itself from Fracking, because we’ll never get Fracked, you’d better read the fine print: Hydraulic Fracturing SGEIS that says NYS is considering Fracking in the Utica and Marcellus Shale. Could it actually be the case that because we are a’ nonsweet’ spot instead of a ‘sweetspot’ we could get drilled with a lot more wells as the Fracking industry madly burrows under our region for every darn fix of fossil fuel?

Here’s the news that the local news media couldn’t bother themselves to print: Thousands Sign Petition to Ban Fracking and Related Activities On Monroe County Properties.  This is what we really should be doing: ‘Become the Media!’ instead of waiting for mainstream media to ‘get it’ on Climate Change, Fracking, and other critical environmental matters.  We have social media and web sites and email lists and we can reach the public just as well as the present-day dysfunctional media—if we change our attitudes.  Let’s not pander to the media and street-theatre for their attention, let’s BE THE MEDIA! So, let’s give that a try by demonstrating that we can get into the Monroe County Legislature next time and fork over 20,000 signatures? Be hard to ignore 20,000 signatures.  And it would prove to ourselves that we can do a Hail Mary pass around the corporate media and get our message out to the masses.  

Become the Media! And get everyone you know to sign this petition: Prohibit All Fracking Related Activities on Monroe County Properties, NY

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