“Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that’s a straw, you see? You watching? And my straw reaches acroooooooss the room, and starts to drink your milkshake… I… drink… your… milkshake!”
- Daniel Plainview, There Will be Blood
Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing, aka hydrofracking. We’ve been hearing about fracking for a while now. Controversy swirls around the practice that injects highly pressurized water and (lots of) chemicals into shale to create fissures that will allow fossil fuels to flow freely. Fracking is said to cause air pollution, groundwater contamination and radioactive contamination. There is a huge boom in the natural gas industry right now as its being touted as the “lesser of evils” in fossil fuels, but the real kicker is that as of 2005 the natural gas industry does not have to disclose the chemicals they use in the process. WTF?
Photo by Yana Paskova for The New York Times
Yesterday’s NY Times featured an article about the actor Mark Ruffalo and his fight to stop fracking from entering his own backyard. In Ruffalo Embraces a Role Closer to Home I learned a few things I didn’t know. One, Actor Mark Ruffalo has become a strong voice against fracking ever since he moved to the Catskills on the Deleware River, about three years ago. Two, NY State is on the cusp of becoming the 35th state to allow fracking. As a child I spent my summers in the Catskills, as did my parents, grandparents and great grandparents, so this hits pretty close to home for me. The third, and perhaps most notable thing I learned, is that Ruffalo is having no luck getting locals to stand up against fracking. Economic hardship is being preyed upon by the gas companies who offer lots of money to get their hands on that fuel rich land. Some think that it’s a rich man’s problem, and many believe that if we allow fracking and can rely more on natural gas, we can in turn rely less on foreign oil. It’s drill baby drill all over again. Studies that claim that fracking is causing severe environmental and health problems have been swiftly shot down by governmental agencies who refuse to acknowledge the contamination popping up near fracking sites across the country. The gas industry and its lobby are powerful, and putting money in the hands of those who need it is a surefire way for them to get what they want. There will be blood.
“I can take a car battery and throw it into the watershed and goto federal prison. These guys can take the same chemicals and inject it by the thousands of gallons and they’re exempt. It makes no sense” – Filmmaker Josh Fox