Here is an absolutely spot on piece from Tyler Cowen:
But I am unhappy when that broom is used to sweep some very important underlying issues under the carpet. The insistence on a sensible middle position, while true, is very often a cloak for partisan reframing of the issue itself and a somewhat Orwellian forgetting of what is really going on.
In other news, I was perusing the Ithaca newspapers the other day (I did go to Cornell and meet my wife there, so I hope that is at least some justification for doing it) and came across this lovely piece. I’ll reprint it in full with some commentary from me (in green) in between):
On a cold and sunny day, I enjoy the peace winter seems to bring. The glistening of sunlight on the new-fallen snow is a welcome sight. As I walk out to feed the goats, I chuckle at the cat as she backtracks to the barn in the same prints she left as she trotted out to meet me. I gaze around at the blue sky, breathe the clean air and exhale a sigh of relief.
Had this been an essay assignment in my class, I’d simply mark this up already with, “get to the point.”
My town is abundantly blessed and ever thankful for our ban on fracking. A ban means I will be able to keep good health, finish the home I began building and resume investing in my community. Without a ban, the effects of fracking would have forced me to move. My American dream will remain intact. I won’t be forced to give up my gas rights by compulsory integration, or forced out by eminent domain.
Goodness gracious – if fracking were not banned, the seventh seal would be broken? You would think at this point our author would show us the overwhelming evidence on the ill health effects of fracking, and how this makes it hard for her to continue working on her house. And I am sure she would be willing to show the Joads of Pennsylvania fleeing by the thousands because of the ill effects of fracking. And how one is “forced” to give up gas rights is fairly interesting. Does our author mean that she does not own the property on which she will continue to build her home? And this eminent domain thingy? That’s was created by energy companies, right? The very same entity that presumably is “protecting” her by banning fracking is the only entity “permitted” to exercise eminent domain. I can’t wait for the day when the greenies in Ithaca find this person’s property perfectly suitable for a huge solar array and “ask” her to leave so that this greater public purpose can be served.
I conducted thousands of hours of independent study and traveled the country to investigate the far-reaching effects of fracking. A process of extreme extractive mining is eating up rural America’s food producing farmlands like Pac-Man. In New York, enormous scale is planned, conquering entire regions of peaceful rural neighborhoods filled with unsuspecting residents, unaware of industrial takeover. Knowing neighboring wells will likely ruin the farm I was raised on leaves me sleepless.
Each phase of extreme extraction brings a certainty of pollution, damage and a measure of high-risk chemical exposure.
This is impressive research and ironic given the false idols she worships. Fracking and the gas it produces is one of the most incredible land saving energy sources known to man. The fracking process itself takes only a short period of time (less than a month) and the finished well-head is no larger than a rain collection barrel. Not only this, but the energy density of the gas is very large compared to the density of wind, solar and other “green” sources. So banning fracking just means that our author gets to say stuff about saving farms while acceding to the fact that the alternatives to fracking truly wreck farmland at considerably larger rates. Or does she believe that acres of windmills and solar panels just hover like green wraiths? And as far as the certainty, certainty! of pollution and exposure, you’d think 1,000+ hours of research would enable her to produce research on this. We’ve covered this dozens of times before, you can start with the EPA itself on the epidemiology. It just ain’t there.
I grew up in Greene, in the so-called “sacrifice zone.” Industry cannot restrain toxic air nor confine the damages to only the drill pad. Neighboring dairies and croplands will be exposed to lethal venting causing air pollution. My hometown remains a target without a protective ban and can suffer from drilling upstream, beyond its borders. My friend, biologist Sandra Steingraber, teaches that the known effects of environmental illnesses and cancers produced by fracking pads are unacceptable.
Cornell engineer Tony Ingraffea states that 6 percent of all horizontal gas wells leak initially; all eventually fail. Fracking produces billions of gallons of chemical and radioactive waste stored in injection wells. No monetary fine can cover the incalculable collective toll to health, air, water and farming that fracking produces.
Once again, “unacceptable” is not a measured risk.
The Marcellus shale is not a viable source of fuel according to the evidence provided by scientists to New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation detailing costs. The DEC’s mission is to ensure a healthy environment and also to exploit natural resources, an inherent conflict.
Why is this up to the scientists? If gas were not a “viable” source of fuel, then she should be thrilled that energy companies are wasting billions of dollars of resources developing it. That will put those evil people out of business faster than if you ban this supposed “not viable” fuel. Furthermore, I am pretty sure our author, on her farm, is “exploiting” natural resources. That seems to be a conflict. And it’s also a conflict because her garden means one less wooded piece of land for the wildlife I care about, right?
Americans from Wyoming, Texas, Colorado and Pennsylvania are sharing their experiences; New Yorkers are acting. A tenacious Ron Gulla shouted at EPA, “Is Pennsylvania worth fighting for? Yes! Worth dying for? Hell, yes! But not from a glass of water!”
You’d think that fractivists by this time would be ashamed to use this trick. I’ve seen faucets in New York State ignite and I’ve seen glasses of water look worse than Mark Ruffalo’s parlor trick water in New York State. How’d they get that way when fracking is already banned here? Let’s not bother explaining this to our author, or to ask her what the most serious risks to her well water are.
The Community Environmental Defense Counsel of Ithaca helps towns protect their schools, parks and cemeteries from fracking. The people of Greene are unprotected. Coming together can save a town; silence results industry takeover. Action by a small group of residents to proclaim their community be protected by law from industrial takeover is now critical to keep Greene clean. The Trojans should mount up.
How does silence allow industries to take over towns? Do they steal homes? And as for the Trojans mounting up, does our author believe she has the right to prevent her neighbor from selling beef from her farm? Or how about not permitting another neighbor to sell lumber? How does that “build community?” But this is, of course, what this proposal is amounting to. If there were gas beneath my land, you bet your bottom dollar I’d drill for it.
Cipolla-Dennis, a Dryden resident, is a member of the Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition and The Ithaca Green Building Alliance.
The fun part of this little letter is that the fractivist author seems to be a regular contributor to Change.org, and in a recent piece she signed up and demanded that:
We Demand Opposing Viewpoint Be Allowed to Speak!
Except when it comes to fracking. Then, we just ban it. No questions asked.