The Earth Killing Practice of Fracking

Fracking: Champagne for the Elites, Death for the People - By John Robles

10 January, 22:49

There are so many serious issues concerning the spread of induced hydraulic fracturing or hydrofracturing (fracking) and so many reasons why it should be stopped completely or strictly regulated as more and more becomes known regarding the long-term impact on the planet and so much false propaganda being spread about the practice that it is difficult to choose where to begin attempting to formulate an intelligent presentation of the issue. However the long term dangers are so great to the international community and out very planet that the issue must be looked at at the highest levels and a moratorium if not an all out ban on the process must be implemented.

Corporate Destruction of the Planet

Let us start by being frank the bottom line in the fracking debate was best summed by a corporate executive whose company is making billions from fracking, he said there is gas there and we need it. In other words nothing else matters as long as there is a profit to be made.

The huge US multi-national corporations involved in oil, energy and resource extraction have a long and black record when it comes to protecting the people of the world and the planet. From the Gulf Oil Spill to the Bhopal disaster, the release of a mind-boggling plethora of toxic and deadly chemicals into the global environment (a list too long to detail here), the destruction of seas and forests and the egregious practice of moving dirty industries to unregulated countries (among top issues) all have proven that the corporations are interested in one thing and one thing only: maintaining their bottom line.

Halliburton, Cheney and convenient exemptions

It is not a secret that these corporations will do anything to make profits and when we look at the records of the players and who they are the truth becomes even clearer. A case in point is Halliburton, the company run by ex-US Vice President Dick Cheney, the snarling neo-conservative architect of the Bush wars and a man who (it was revealed by the release of the infamous torture memos) personally developed and signed off on torture techniques such as “puncturing an eye” and “slicing a testicle”.

Fracking profiteers Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Shlumberger were revealed to be the subjects of a U.S. Justice Department federal antitrust probe initiated against the $36 billion a year fracturing industry this past summer. It was reported that documents were being sought however the current state of the action is unclear.

Halliburton, with the coming to power of its “former” chairman Richard “Dick” Cheney was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the War on Terror, the invasion of Iraq and the entire indefinite-detention-torture-paradigm. The company is one of the top war profiteers on the planet and also heavily involved in oil field support operations and resource exploitation, including fracking.

So it is no coincidence that during the Bush/Cheney occupation of the White House fracking was exempted from major EPA regulation. The US Government’s Energy Policy Act of 2005 was written with a provision that benefits fracking profiteers and is now known as the "Halliburton Loophole". The provision allows Halliburton and others to be exempt from many of the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.

Responsible Government?

It is no secret that the US Government has been (quite literally) taken over by corporations and special interests willing to spend billions on lobbying and “greasing the wheels” and corporations involved in fracking spent a mind-boggling $726 million dollars on lobbying from 2001-2011.

With the inherent dangers of fracking one has to question whose interests the government is supposed to be protecting and it is clear in this case that the interests of the people and the environment fall far behind to the interests of the entrenched US corporations.

What Exactly is Fracking?

Fracking is controversial but what exactly is it? Hydraulic fracturing is the process of extracting gases by fracturing rock using a pressurized liquid mixture which cracks or “fractures” the rock. Some hydraulic fractures form naturally, for example certain veins or dikes.

With induced hydraulic fracturing a bore is drilled vertically to the desired depth, then turns ninety degrees to the horizontally and continues for several thousand feet (going thousands of feet deeper than traditional natural gas wells) into the shale containing the trapped natural gas.

When the bore or “well” is complete a mixture; usually water, sand and various chemicals, is injected at high pressure into the bore to create small fissures which are typically less than 1mm in size through which the gas can escape.

Fracking requires between two and eight million (Yes, million!) gallons of local freshwater per well which is over a 100 times more than what is required using traditional extraction methods. This water is permanently contaminated when it is mixed into the "fracking fluid". This mix is a virtual cocktail of toxic chemicals and while corporations such as Halliburton refuse to disclose the exact chemicals used, saying the information is “proprietary”, studies have shown the fluid contains: acetic acids, boric acids, citric acids, ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid, lead, mercury, methanol, radium, uranium and other deadly chemical contaminants, many of which would kill a human being in the minutest amount.

After the rock is fractured hydraulic pressure is removed from the well, then small grains of proppant (sand or aluminium oxide) hold the fractures open. The technique is very common in wells for shale gas, tight gas, tight oil, and coal seam gas and hard rock wells. The natural gas then escapes through the fissures and is drawn back up the well to the surface, where it is processed, refined, and shipped to market.

It is claimed that the wastewater returns to the surface after the fracking process is completed. Reportedly it is contained in steel tanks until it can be stored long-term by deep injection in oil and gas waste wells.

Benefits of Fracking

Proponents of hydraulic fracturing say there is about a 100 year supply of formerly inaccessible hydrocarbons in the US which can be extracted by fracking. However this amount has not been proven.

Dangers of Fracking

Opponents to fracking cite the environmental effects, including the permanent contamination of vast amounts of ground water, the depletion of fresh water reserves, air and noise pollution, the return and leakage of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface which then enter the atmosphere are carried by winds and poison water supplies, land and everything they come in contact with and can be passed to humans through livestock and the like. Again for one single fracking operation between two and eight million gallons of freshwater are required. Water which then has to be completely contained and isolated from humans. Although self-interested corporations might claim the deadly mixture is contained, there is no way to guarantee that seepage into the earth will not occur.

Disingenuous Arguments

US proponents of fracking love to jump on the “energy independence” and “economic benefits” band-wagon but all of these arguments are ludicrous when one considers the wasteland that is created by the process, the dangers to health and the massive amount of freshwater that is contaminated forever. All arguments about “energy independence” and are also completely ridiculous and absolutely annulled when you consider these corporations will never even consider promoting energy independence through renewable and alternative energy resources. They have one goal: making money the only obtuse way they know how.

The 100 year “golden age of gas” is a fallacy, this meaning one where the US is energy independent and produces enough gas to export. Any attempt at such will surely lead to 100 years of completely raping and destroying the environment for future generations.

Alternative Fuels

The idiocy of American corporations and those claiming fossil fuels are the only source of energy available cannot be overstated or exaggerated, especially given the fact that we know that workable electric cars and alternative sources of safe renewable energy have existed for decades. But of course economies and corporations making billions and based on fossil fuel trade do not want these facts to be known. Alternative fuels include everything from solar energy to vegetable oil.

Protests

Protests against fracking are growing larger and more frequent as the public becomes aware of the dangers. However those in power who are obviously catering to the interests of large corporations, such as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, choose to ignore the concerns of the public and their constituents.

Recently over a thousand protestors took part in an anti-fracking demonstration in Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York the capital of New York state, during the State of the State address. Governor Andrew Cuomo however chose not to mention fracking during his speech nor to address the concerns of the thousands gathered outside.

According to RT one of the protestors said his reason for being against fracking was the “Air contamination, high levels of radiation, earthquakes,” and that it is an incredibly dirty form of extreme energy extraction that cannot have any place in New York state. Another protestor citing the fact that “Water is non-renewable.”

Brainwashing the Children

How would Walt Disney feel if he knew that his life’s work and everything he worked for to bring hope and joy and wonderment to children was turned into a propaganda tool for corporations like Halliburton. Well that is exactly what happened.

Al-Jazeera America reported on January 8th that: “An educational program funded by Ohio’s oil and gas industry and sponsored by Radio Disney has environmental activists — and some parents — up in arms over what they say is a hijacking of public education by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) interests, in a state sitting on billions of dollars’ worth of gas-rich shale.”

They also updated their article on the 9th to include:”Disney emailed a statement to Al Jazeera, saying the company has pulled out of the remaining installments of the Rocking Ohio tour. ‘The sole intent of the collaboration between Radio Disney and the nonprofit Rocking in Ohio educational initiative was to foster kids' interest in science and technology. Having been inadvertently drawn into a debate that has no connection with this goal, Radio Disney has decided to withdraw from the few remaining installments of the program,’ the statement read.”

All is well that ends well perhaps but the fact that energy companies are now targeting children to spread their pro-fracking and dangerous agendas is extremely disturbing to say the least and the fact that the US Government would allow such corporate propaganda is also disturbing. Clearly the attempt to brain-wash the next generation so as to reduce to a minimum protests to corporate long-term strategy.

This brain-washing of children in America is not isolated to energy corporations. We have seen how children, almost any of whom would normally say “yuck” if you told them about to men having “relations” are anesthetized to believe that things like “single-sex-marriages” are normal. Something Russia has protected children from and for which the West has no end of qualms about.

Truly these matters are a damning and very sad statement on a society that has decimated its educational system in order to appease corporations and begun to privatize education, even at the elementary school level, to allow for profits to be made.

Publicity stunts

The fracking companies themselves shave been engaged in publicity stunts themselves and such events would be better ignored except for their ridiculousness. For example at the annual Quebec Oil and Gas Association meeting in Montreal at the end of October of last year. Top Halliburton executives including Halliburton Canada vice-president John Gorman and others claimed that they were drinking “frack fluid” from champagne bottles. Although no independent analysis was carried out as to what in fact they were drinking.

The Halliburton exec claimed they only had to replace a few chemicals with some food additives, however it is seriously doubtful that they were really drinking water laced with mercury, uranium, radium, lead, ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid or any of the other chemicals that could instantly kill a horse.

Halliburton loves such stunts according to the Financial Post. “In 2011 Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar asked one of his executives to take a sip of the fluid during a presentation in front of industry executives. Critics wondered why the CEO did not drink it himself.”

Non-disclosure Bribes and Corporate Secrecy

The way that Halliburton and these corporations subvert and manipulate the law in order to get away with murder is something that is almost unbelievable in modern times. But these corporations have been successful in silencing everyone from medical personnel to activists by bribing, terrorizing and tricking into signing “non-disclosure” agreements.

According to Bloomberg: “… in Pennsylvania Range Resources Corp and two other companies agreed to a $750,000 settlement in a fracking suit requiring the plaintiff’s not to tell anyone, according to court filings. In cases from Wyoming to Arkansas, Pennsylvania to Texas, (Bloomberg continues) drillers have agreed to cash settlements or property buyouts with people who say hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, ruined their water, according to a review by Bloomberg News of hundreds of regulatory and legal filings. In most cases homeowners must agree to keep quiet.The strategy keeps data from regulators, policymakers, the news media and health researchers, and makes it difficult to challenge the industry’s claim that fracking has never tainted anyone’s water.”

According to Truth Out one Pennsylvania family began suffering from headaches, nosebleeds, burning eyes and sore throats as drilling operations expanded on their land and in their neighborhood. The family ended up filing a lawsuit in 2010 and abandoning their home and eventually won their case in a hearing which was closed to the press and during which the gas companies persuaded a judge to permanently seal the case from public view.

What can be done?

As long as the government is being controlled by corporations and lobbyists continue to offer mountains of lucre to politicians and regulators to “look the other way” not much. However I would like to finish with one of my favorite quotes stated in 1964 by an activist named Mario Savio in Berkeley: “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious — makes you so sick at heart — that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”

Coming soon the 100 year total destruction of the environment. Brought to you from the people who brought you the Iraq war and $4.00 a gallon gas prices.

 

Last Update: 07/15/2018 14:48 +0300

 

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