The fracktivist community is all buzzing with the publication of an article entitled “Some anti-drilling activists change tactics, tone”. It was written by By KEVIN BEGOS and MICHAEL RUBINKAM. The appearance of Begos’ name should have been enough to send up the red flag and alert everyone to be a News Nanny.
I could go and dissect the Begos/Rubinkam article in detail, but Texas Sharon and Bob Donnan did that beautifully.
Regarding the use of the word “SOME”, it’s has become a way to lend credibility to a general statement which has little or no credibility. WATCH: Outfoxed- Fox News technique: “some people say”.
The local group featured in the article is Breath Easy Susquehanna (BES). Susquehanna is just one of a number of Pennsylvania counties which has experienced a blitzkrieg by the natural gas industry. These counties are jammed packed with well pads, gathering pipelines, compressor stations, glycol dehydration plants and more.
BELIEVING IN THE FRACK FAIRY
BES is very concerned about air quality. In February of this year, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released a report indicating Bradford and Susquehanna counties led the state in the volume of air pollution released by companies producing and processing gas from the Marcellus Shale in 2011. Granted the report is based on 2011 data, but if you consider the additional industrialization in 2012 to the present time, air pollution is getting worse.
BES realizes the emissions from NG infrastructures do not stop at property borders, and we are all downwind. Members of BES include people who have NG leases and those who do not. Their common ground is the air we all breathe. While I applaud that Susquehanna residents have realized they are all breathing the same air, their approach to remedy the air pollution from NG infrastructure has some flaws.
Hate to break it to everyone, but there ain’t no such thing as a frack fairy who will wave his magic drill bit and make it all go away.
BES states on their Facebook page: (emphasis added):
MISSION: “To protect regional air quality and health of communities in Susquehanna County, Pa from potentially harmful air emissions released through the processes of shale gas extraction, production and transport.”
STRATEGY:” We will promote respectful dialogue between the natural gas industry and our Susquehanna County community. Although our members are bipartisan, we are non-partisan. We will publicly advocate industry to keep their promise to act as good neighbors and partners through voluntary use of best technologies and processes for lowest possible air emissions at every stage of shale gas extraction beyond regulations. Achieving the lowest air emissions possible will help to keep our air healthy to breathe, which will help protect the health of everyone living and working in our community.”
So everybody clap now. BES is attempting to encourage the NG industry to use Best Technologies. BES has been actively engaging the Williams Company to employ best technologies, so let’s see what Williams has to say about their commitment to the environment.
Williams Company is also a member of the Marcellus Shale Coalition which has issued Guiding Principles (emphasis added):
We, the members of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, embrace and operate by the following guiding principles:
- We provide the safest possible workplace for our employees, with our contractors, and in the communities in which we operate;
- We implement state-of-the-art environmental protection across our operations;
- We continuously improve our practices and seek transparency in our operations;
- We strive to attract and retain a talented and engaged local workforce;
- We are committed to being responsible members of the communities in which we work;
- We encourage spirited public dialogue and fact-based education about responsible shale gas development; and
- We conduct our business in a manner that will provide sustainable and broad-based economic and energy-security benefits for all.
We recognize that to succeed in business, we not only embrace these principles, we live by them each and every day. This will be our legacy.
Click HERE to download a printable PDF of the MSC’s Guiding Principles.
….the U.S. natural gas industry is actively involved in international programs that serve to share ‘best practices’ with respect to environmental preservation.
According to the NG industry and their lobbying and front groups, the industry is already using or is committed to use “best practices and technologies”.
Is there technology out there already which will decrease air pollution emissions on well pads, pipelines, and assorted infrastructure? Yes and a number of those technologies are relatively inexpensive.
So, why hasn’t the industry incorporated them into their activities?
One possible reason is public perceptions. The NG industry has spent a significant amount of money to tell us their activities are safe and environmentally friendly. Putting equipment on their facilities would indicate it may not be all as safe and environmentally friendly as they say.
Watch these video:
- Wilma Subra – Human Health, Exposure from the Development of Shale Gas Plays Minute 32:36 Corporation said zero emissions from compressor stations.
- Wilma Subra on Gulf oil disaster 4 and hazmat equipment
The second flaw in BES’s approach is support for stronger regulations. Regulations are permission to poison us with “X” amount. It’s a limit, so where the limit is “X” or “Y”, it’s still poisoning us.
Regulations are also minimum standards which the NG corporations need to meet. There is nothing in the regulations which says a NG Corporation can’t do better than those minimal standards.
NG Corporations chose not to do better. In fact they are lobbying hard to eliminate or otherwise gut existing standards, and those they cannot cut or gut, they find loopholes and use weasel words to get around them. Additionally, according to the NG Industry and their trade/front groups, Pennsylvania already has the most stringent regulations in the country.
Marcellus Drilling News (MDN) website, which is an ardent supporter of the NG Industry, has the talking points out already to pooh-pooh the notion of cumulative pollution sources.
MDN asks : “Should processing and compressor plants that are connected by pipelines but not directly next to each other be considered a “single source” when it comes to the pollution they emit? The argument comes down to the concept of adjacency–what does the word “adjacent” mean in the federal Clean Air Act? Does it mean “directly next to each other,” or “in the same general vicinity” (up to X miles away)?”
(To see entire article FREE – run a Google search on the article title “Should PA Compressor Plants Miles Away be Considered “Adjacent”?”)
Air pollution is air pollution and we are all downwind breathing it all in no matter how far away you are from a “single source”.
In a nutshell, the NG industry says it is already using best practices and that Pennsylvania has the most stringent set of regulation in the country – so what’s left to “improve”? Look for improvements in their PR ads and talking points when they exploit BES’s cooperation.
Perhaps when Breathe Easy Susquehanna realizes nothing has changed except for the talking points they will not be breathing so easily.
©2013 by Dory Hippauf