Fracking: If there is nothing to hide, why all the secrets?
I’m not one to write letters, but I was surprised to see C. Hill’s negative response (Letters, 10/3) to Mr. Marcus’ “Power to Speak” article (9/5). I thought Mr. Marcus’ comments in “The Truth about fracking” were succinct and insightful, and went well beyond the corporate doublespeak and knee-jerk reaction to regulations and responsibility.
I admit to being the kind of person that does not swallow everything the corporate media tells me. I enjoy reading, watching and listening to several sources, and I critically think for myself before rendering a decision on an issue.
Before I determine what’s right, I pay attention to who is representing pros and cons, and if those people have been influenced by large sums of money. If the industry they admire has paid them cash, their support often comes with extreme bias.
So it was interesting to me that in your only two pro-fracking articles, one by Robert Chianese, and the October one by Hill, both men indicated they were paid by the fracking industry they support.
Chianese’s rebuttal (Letters, 10/10) to Mr. Marcus shows no remorse, but rather, his embrace of a Faustian bargain, passing gas rhetoric on to the rest of us. He calls natural gas (methane) “sustainable energy.” That is a myth. It is a finite resource, like oil, coal or nuclear power. In fact, with or without regulations, coupled with man’s imperfections, these sources pose greater risk to our sustainability. Solar and wind generation ARE sustainable energy sources, because they will be with us consistently as long as we are here, and they have been under-researched and -developed, as they are not profitable enough for the oil industry, shareholders or benefactors like Hill and Chianese. It leads me to conclude that we need to be aware of groups with disarming names like “the Council on Energy Sustainability,” especially if the “council” is loaded with men receiving oil and gas handouts.
Regardless, what I have decided on fracking is that we need an immediate moratorium on fracking until:
1) We all know exactly what chemicals are being used in the fracking process. I wonder why the industry would bribe Congress to keep us from knowing this information in the first place, when, so importantly, these chemicals can directly affect the water we drink and clean our food with. Mr. Marcus contends that there are 600 unknown chemicals. Mr. Hill states there are only 12. I don’t care what the final numbers are. What I care about is what EXACTLY those chemicals are. I have a right to know and if they can do harm to our water table, our rivers and streams. If they are not harmful, why keep it a secret? Why not just tell us what they are? Plain and simple.
Mr. Hill insidiously says we have them “around our house.” Well, I have rat poison around my house, but that doesn’t mean I slip or drill it into my food or water.
2) Mr. Hill avoids well failures, but Mr. Marcus contends that 6 percent of wells drilled fail instantly, and eventually 50 percent do after several years. I want to know how many of these wells do fail. I want us to keep meticulous records. And I want to know how many we should expect to fail in an earthquake-prone environment. And, I want to know the potential and amount of chemicals that will be leached into our water table, and where the science is to reverse any contamination. I believe and do hear from the Santa Barbara director of water that we do not have that science. And further, I want to know how much harm to us these chemicals can do. What are the risks? What are the potential cancers, birth defects, etc.?
3) Since we have already exhausted easy surface access to oil and methane gas, which requires we now drill deeper and in new ways, I want to know the current risks of these new technologies and different kinds of drilling processes. How much riskier are they? What are the hazards? The EPA has already come out with in-depth reports linking gas drilling to earthquakes in Pennsylvania. The EPA showed, too, that because shale rock contains radon, after drilling, the well water and water in rivers and streams had been radiated beyond an acceptable levels because of the drilling process. This is a deep concern of mine, and it should be for everyone in Ventura County, as the drilling will be going through shale here, too.
And deep-water ocean drilling is also a concern of mine. I am old enough to remember the oil spills in our particular area and Proposition 1, which was passed by Californians and put a moratorium on drilling off our coast. It was, at one time, such a concern to the nation that our representatives implemented a moratorium, coast-to-coast. But that moratorium was allowed to expire more than a year ago, making the coast vulnerable to big oil.
It seems to me that the real reason there is such a push lately by the oil and gas industry to drill into our national parks and off our coastline is because of the exorbitant profits they will make off the ever-increasing prices for these two energy resources. And as we deplete them, they will only become more valuable, increasing the drilling for the, regardless of the environmental or health risks. It also means that through power and lobbying efforts, the oil and gas companies will act like slumlords, pounce upon our state and roughshod over our land in a frenzy of drilling renewal.
But profit is no justification for a tarred-and-feathered coastline or the many cancers that could result with toxic water supplies. And more drilling isn’t worth it for most of us if it does more harm than good, which could include lasting effects for generations, which means the quality of life for my children and yours. We should be cautious, very cautious about what the oil and gas industry is doing, and who is supporting it, as well as what the end results could be.
Wendy Lofland is a resident of Ventura.