They didn’t die
for eminent domain
or Made in China
or farmland foreclosure…
They didn’t die
The Citizens’ Voice chose a holiday weekend Saturday to squeak out its opinion that: Drilling’s OK, but commonwealth must be protected. Below is their piece followed by my letter to them.
Development of the Marcellus Shale gas formation has followed lines that generally have applied to resource extraction throughout the nation’s history.
There are substantial economic benefits and substantial environmental costs. Folks doing the actual extraction work hard and play hard, bolstering the local economy but not always in accordance with local cultural and behavioral standards. Some people profit; some people suffer losses through affected property values. The government plays catch-up because the industry drives the market and the technology.
All of that has played out in the early days of the Marcellus Shale Development. Yet there also is a broad, sensible and achievable consensus that the gas can be extracted in a way that boosts the economy without devastating the environment.
The problem is that the political debate, as political debates often are, has been driven from the ends of the spectrum rather than the middle.
As a bill in Harrisburg to establish an 8 percent “severance” tax on gas extraction has begun to move, for example, anti-tax Republicans have claimed that it would stifle further development of the Marcellus Shale field. It’s a remarkable assertion, because similar taxes just about everywhere that gas drillers operate have done nothing of the kind. Rather, those taxes are considered by the industry as part of the cost of doing business.
The plan is for an 80-20 split of the proceeds among the state government and affected local governments, which could use the money for regulatory enforcement and to mitigate the impact on roads on other infrastructure.
In Harrisburg this week, state police contended that crime has increased in drilling areas, a downside to the boom that few had anticipated. That requires continued vigilance, and also is a good argument for the severance tax, part of which could be directed to law enforcement in affected areas. It also should be an incentive to expedite the training of more local workers for jobs in the expanding industry.
Industry estimates indicate that gas extraction could be a major industry across much of Pennsylvania for as long as a century. Lawmakers should move now to ensure that the commonwealth at large benefits from the boom, and that the environmental and social costs are mitigated.
Regarding your May 29 editorial titled “Drilling’s OK, but commonwealth must be protected”: You conclude by stating “Lawmakers should move now to ensure that the commonwealth at large benefits from the boom, and that the environmental and social costs are mitigated.”
To mitigate means to lessen. I guess more crime is OK, just not too much? Dead aquifers are OK, just not too many? You also claim there is a “broad” consensus that this gas extraction can be done without “devastating the environment”. Just where is this broad consensus? In the clubhouse?
“The world’s whole petroleum resource is estimated at a million terawatts, which happens to be equal to the amount of solar energy that reaches the earth every day.”
above quote from The Independent Home by Michael Potts
Just as the world is moving forward with sustainable and alternative energy sources and management, we are allowing our piece of it to be raped and plundered by Big Gas.
Just as the United States consumers are buying more and more locally, we allow our farmland to become an industrial zone.
We are willing to let a small minority of our fellow citizens pollute the resources one hundred percent of us use. What is sane or democratic about that? We all share this halo of air and water.
Our aim should be to make each home energy independent. No monthly bills. That is what we can leave our children. That would be American.
International energy firms have aggressively sought a bigger foothold in the U.S. oil shale industry.
The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Friday it will buy East Resources Inc., a major owner of shale gas holdings in the northeast United States, for $4.7 billion from private investors.
Europe’s largest oil company said it will pay cash for East Resources, a Pennsylvania company that owns more than 2,500 oil and natural gas wells in the United States. It also controls 1.25 million acres of land, mostly in the energy-rich Marcellus Shale region that runs from New York to southwest Virginia.
Shell CEO Peter Voser said the acquisition fit with plans to “grow and upgrade” its holdings of shale gas in North America.
International energy companies have aggressively sought a bigger foothold in the U.S. oil shale industry, even with natural gas prices slumping to less than half of what they were in 2008.
Earlier this year, Japanese energy giant Mitsui Co. said it would pay $1.4 billion for a stake in Anadarko Petroleum Corp.’s shale assets. India’s Reliance Industries Ltd. also recently paid $1.7 billion for part of Atlas Energy’s shale gas deposits.
See rest of article via link above.
If this evil and blatant usury of our land is not stopped by our elected and sworn representatives by listening to reason, constituents, and the constitution – if they wimp out on their duty to make sure anything done to this state is done right or not at all; if this illegal attack supplants democracy – then democracy will be wrestled back, one way or another.
There will be thousands of gas wells drilled over the next two decades using slick water horizontal hydrofracking – the Back Mountain as Industrial ZoneMay 24, 2010
Gas Drilling Will Bring You:
Lower Property Values
Polluted and Unusable Water Sources
Toxic Waste (heavy metals, carcinogens, brine and radioactive materials)
Open Waste Pits
Carcinogens Left Underground
Depleted Water Habitat
Loss of Farmland
Loss of Tourism
Disrupted Wildlife Habitat
Higher Crime Rate
Increased Drug Use
Choking Truck Traffic
Lower Quality of Life (why do you love this place?)
Fractured Bedrock Below (where 10 to 30 tons of chemicals per well, liberated radioactivity, brine, and heavy metals are left underground to slowly migrate toward your family’s water supply)
Educate yourself and take action to stop this now! The first well is drilling this August. Don’t be fooled by the propaganda you see on television and billboards. 1.5% percent of the county households will benefit, 98.5% will suffer.
NOTE – Add on top of this: mismanagement, acts of nature, maximization of profit, and out of state corporations. Then mix in weakened laws and a depleted DEP. And put it all in the context of rapid expansion. Isn’t this a case for MORATORIUM!?
The beast is circling and beginning to take bites, a variance here, a clearing there. Soon will come a train of trucks carrying the rig. Like a missile on parade in Red Square, it might as well have a hammer and sickle on its side. The bit will drive into the bone of Mother Earth and leave her contaminated. This will happen in front of those who allow it.
Those who refuse to sign a lease will soon be tied down and forced to witness the rape. If big gov and big gas have their way, eminent domain will be granted to those who pipe the gas. You thought you could make a stand? Not in Corporate America (the former United States).
It is late and it has been a long greasy night. We took a gut blow at a packed County Zoning Board hearing.
It was to be expected. The Oil and Gas Act limited zoning board power to allow “optimal development of the oil and gas resources” of Penn’s Woods. The state took control of our communities.
The overall system is complex and segmented, it favors the ones who can afford to lawyer up. If the Zoning Board did anything outside of their tight little paradigm, EnCana could shoot a barrage of suits from the mother ship at a county already near financial ruin. Or, at least, that is how many think it would play out.
I feel so bad for those who live closest to the drilling site. I am told, there are 300 families living contiguous to the property. I want them to know, we will continue to fight for their rights. But also, they must join in.