High cost of cheap gas

The final sentence of the

The final sentence of the description of THE HIGH COST OF CHEAP GAS is: "The film will help people in southern Africa to learn from mistakes that people in the US made by allowing this development to take place without proper oversight." It should read: "The film will help people in southern Africa to learn from mistakes that people in the US made by allowing this development to take place." Please don't wait to discover for yourselves that "oversight" in this case is worse than irrelevant. The only mistake of those fighting this scourge is to believe that regulation can affect the oil and gas industry. Those of us in New York State and elsewhere in the US who have been working on this issue (some of us for five years) have learned that there's NO safe way to drill for oil or gas. For example: • No regulation can prevent the extraordinary squandering of fresh water, 5.5 million gallons average per well, 100% of which becomes contaminated — contaminated permanently — and removed from the natural hydrological cycle. This in an era of critically diminishing supplies of fresh water in the US and around the world. • No regulation can prevent the heavy metals and radioactive substances loosened by the fracking process from coming up with the gas. • No regulation can decontaminate the unbiodegradable toxic chemicals, heavy metals and radioactive materials from these billions of gallons of once-fresh water. Pennsylvania radioactive drilling muds and fluids are already swamping New York State landfills, leaching in unpredictable directions. • No regulation can stop 30% to 70% of the toxic fracking chemicals from remaining underground. • No regulation can prevent these chemicals, heavy metals and radioactive substances, now loosened and mixed by the fracking process, from becoming a toxic plume that can wangle its way into old fissures and new drilling fractures. • No regulation can predict or control the underground migration of these toxic plumes. They’re already under way, from Sublette County, Wyoming, to Endicott, New York, and Greenpoint, Brooklyn. • No regulation can control the time frame — years, decades, millennia? — over which such plumes will migrate. • No regulation, in this era of economic plummet, can scrape together the billions of dollars needed to construct waste treatment plants, which do not yet exist, that MIGHT be able to filter the toxic chemicals, heavy metals and radioactive materials from fracking waste. • No regulation can create a safe manner or safe location for storage of waste — even if the economy could support the very expensive construction and maintenance of waste treatment plants. Once supposedly filtered, toxic waste still must be put somewhere. • No regulation can avoid the great risk of potential leakage and further aquifer contamination, or of earthquakes, from high-pressure disposal in injection wells. Tremors have already caused damage in Ashtabula, Ohio, as well as Texas and Arkansas. Some West Virginia quakes may have the same cause. • No regulation can dispel the myth of “energy independence.” At present, Asian, European and Canadian corporations own significant pieces of US drilling companies, land and leases. Some profit may already be going overseas. So will the gas if it’s more profitable to export than to sell domestically. • No regulation can ensure enforcement. Without 24/7 oversight, there’s no assurance that drillers will stick to the pathetic rules now in place and safeguard the safety and health of people, other living things or the environment. A trail of ruined lives and regions is already documented in thousands of articles, many YouTube videos and several films, one of which — Gasland — was nominated for an Oscar. • Only a drastic change in regulation can thwart eminent domain abuse, by which the state confiscates private land (much of it agricultural) for the use of a private company. New York State’s particularly vicious form is called “compulsory integration.” Until such change, local, often poor citizens are influenced or manipulated by wealthy corporations, and powerful local and state agencies. An effort to fix that would leave all other vulnerabilities intact. Is it rational to accept exclusion zones when they — by definition — create sacrifice zones and sacrificed lives? Is it rational to accept any form of poisonous drilling in agricultural areas and watersheds that produce the food and drinking water for millions? I look forward to seeing THE HIGH COST OF CHEAP GAS. It will undoubtedly help the anti-fracking movement move forward. But if any resistance is to succeed, it must proceed on the basis of a complete ban on this terrible activity and creation of laws to criminalize this patently criminal behavior.
Carl Arnold

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