This set of photographs canvases the DEP hearing for public input on the construction of a huge (944 MW) natural gas power plant in Clinton Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.
For the full set, please see: (11) DEP Permit Hearing: Moxie Patriot Power Plant, 1.3.13
The plant would not only be constructed near residences and the Muncy Women’s Prison, the site is located on a 100 year flood plain. I find this deeply ironic given that the 100 year flood designation is accelerated by the very pollutants the plant will emit: greenhouse gases.As we have all been taught by Hurricane Lee and Tropical Storm Sandy, catastrophic weather events are becoming more and more common–and ever more catastrophic.
The Moxie Patriot (and the Moxie Liberty–the twin plant in Bradford County) will contribute substantially to the production of greenhouse gases–and hence to the destruction of the the environment, human and nonhuman health.
But the thing I want you to see in these pictures–beyond the atrocious lighting–are the smug faces of the Moxie CEO–Aaron Samson and his cohorts, Mike Holtzman (the “environmental consultant” who flatly denied the significant contribution of methane to climate change), and Kent Morgan, Vice president of Moxie.
Look at the repeated photographs of Aaron Samson juxtaposed next to folks providing testimony
–all but these two gentlemen, the first pleading with Moxie to hire union labor, the second with Williamsport Chamber of Commerce, strongly opposed to the power plant construction.
Samson’s face does not change at all–even when he is looking up at a pregnant woman weeping over the potential hazards posed by the Moxie Plant’s smog (ozone) generation for her unborn child.
His face does not change–regardless the facts with which he’s confronted, regardless the emotion of the witnesses, regardless the questions they asked. His is the face of a man who thinks he has this permit in the bag.
He’s imaging the money he’s going to make once Moxie can SELL this plant to some unknown/unrevealed “operator.”
Some more faces of the opposition:
We spoke; we asked pointed, well-informed questions; we made clear, well-grounded statements.
The stony-face of Aaron Samson is equalled only by the stony-face of Dan Spadoni, spokesperson for DEP–and cheerleader for fracking.
Four things, I think, are unmistakably clear about this meeting: 1. The people most affected by the potential hazardous consequences of building this power plant do NOT want it.
2. The people who stand to make a ton of money–and can leverage that into escaping the fate of the folks who health, property values, livestock, and quality of life are jeopardized by it–do.
3. The only reason for this power plant application is to provide another “justification” to continue fracking. It is clear in the application that Clinton Township does not need this energy–and the energy produced is NOT necessarily going to benefit the locals in any case.
It goes into the pipeline infrastructure of a thirteen state grid (and includes the Transco), so the gas will go to whoever is willing to pay the highest premium for it–just like LNG, just like petroleum, just like tar sands extraction. THAT is the natural gas industry: whoever pays the most gets the gas–regardless the human and environmental carnage it leaves behind.
The Moxie power plant plan is for 35-50 YEARS of production at 130 million cubic feet of natural gas consumption per day. That’s 6 billion, 500 thousand cubic feet of natural gas–and all of the polluting emissions over a 50 year period–from just one power plant.
Between the Moxie and the Liberty, that’s 13 billion cubic feet. And that’s just power plants. This does not include the infrastructure necessary to get the gas to the plants: slickwater horizontal hydraulic fracturing, truck transport of sand (silica), of waste water, of production water, water pipeline construction, gas pipeline construction, dehydrator stations, compressor stations, water withdrawal stations–all polluters, all implicated in climate change.
4. DEP works feverishly to constrain the questions and comments to the most technical (and most narrowly defined) aspects of air quality controls qua the application for two reasons:
a. This way they can tamp down other questions about water pollution, flood planes, community disruption, noise pollution, light pollution, and other hazards associated with the plant. “We are just about the air here!” they insist. But, actually, they’re not about that either.
b. This way they can punt on really tough questions about aggregate pollution. “We’re only interested in this plant right here, right now!” But, actually, that’s not true either. What they’re interested in is making sure the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted–Philosopher Hanna Arendt called this “the banality of evil,” bureaucrats whose instrumental reason sees only to the completion of forms and the obeying of rules–but insulates itself from the potential hazardous consequences of of what it permits.
This was Arendt’s analysis of Adolf Eichmann, the mid-level manager who orchestrated the most efficient train schedule to deliver Jews to the Extermination camps. Evil transpires not merely when good people do nothing, but with the simple signatures of those paid to insure against liability for the state–in this case a state government as corrupt as in the sun the center of the known universe.
The application includes no plan for a back-up fuel.
When queried, Samson’s response was that there’s so much natural gas that this just wasn’t a worry.
The emissions monitoring is entirely in-house. The DEP reviews the information provided by the corporation–and there appears to be no mechanism for insuring that this information is correct and complete.
We All know how reliable that procedure is.
Just take a look at what other corporations like Chesapeake have gotten away with, and look especially at the disclaimers on the DEP website concerning the completeness and accuracy of industry reporting.
The application includes no evacuation plan.
When queried about Moxie’s safety record, CEO Samson can confidently reply that it’s stellar–but that’s because Moxie has only been incorporated AS Moxie since 2009.
All of its principle players come from AES.
From the Moxie website: “Mr. Samson was a Managing Director for the AES Corporation where he led LNG development efforts throughout the world, including the Andres LNG Project in the Dominican Republic that is currently in operation.”
Mr. Morton: “Mr. Morton was a Project Director with the AES Corporation working on the Sparrows Point LNG Project, a $1.5 billion project consisting of an LNG import terminal, an 88 mile interstate natural gas pipeline, a 300 MW cogeneration power plant, and a dredged material recycling facility.”
Scott Taylor: “is a Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Moxie Energy. Mr. Taylor was previously a Managing Director in the wind and solar groups of The AES Corporation, among other positions at AES over a twelve year career. While at AES, Mr. Taylor worked in a broad range of development and financial roles, including structuring and securing debt and equity financings across a diverse range of technologies, lead financial executive of the LNG team, and supporting acquisitions and other corporate activities.”
In other words, Moxie’s chief players are affiliated with a multinational Big Energy Corporation whose objectives are the export of fossil fuels as a global player. That Moxie’s executive officers are interested in supplying local energy for local folks is a lie.
With connections like Samson’s and company, we can only surmise that the Patriot and the Liberty Fracking Gas Plants are opportunities to take advantage of the fracking gas boom–and it’s global markets. It’s also notable that, as the New York Times reports, AES recently sold its interests in Oman and Pakistan for 276 million (http://
But here’s, I think, the bottom line. The folks of Clinton Township do not need this power plant. It’s only justification is supplied not by the people, but by the profiteering of the fracking industry with whom Moxie is in bed.
What will happen, if there are no explosions first, is a half century of serious pollutants entering the air–and our lungs.
We have alternatives.
What we lack is the political will to demand their development.
And while we dither, we choke.
For the full set in chronological order with names and descriptions os statements, please see: (11) DEP Permit Hearing: Moxie Patriot Power Plant, 1.3.13