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He was of course asking me to sign a petition asking for my support of the continued fracking ban in New York. When I asked him what the greatest health risks demonstrated from fracking were, he said he did not know, but that he thought that fracking chemicals seeping into groundwater were a problem. First of all, you’d like to think that activists knocking on doors would at least be familiar with the topic they are supporting. However, I have come to learn that these new NYPIRG activists are paid (when I dabbled with MASSPIRG back in my lefty days in Massachusetts, those positions were unpaid) – so it might be similar to the ACORN crowd of years ago paying people to stand with signs to protest the minimum wage.

But as far as the evidence goes, neither the EPA nor the state regulators in PA, WY, TX and OH have found evidence of chemicals coming up from depths. If there are things seeping, and these studies are highly debated, it is the methane itself – which is not, by the way, toxic. In any case, fracked gas can and does replace coal in electricity generation, so it would have to be a pretty horrible technology in order to be “worse” than coal. And this brings us to today’s observation. A new study in Environmental Research Letters has estimated that the soot that comes from burning coal and diesel (yes, I know I added diesel in there) is responsible for 2 million deaths per year. For fun, compare that to other known mortality risks around the world. And in the US alone, this is estimated to kill 34,000 people per year. How large is that? It’s about the number of people killed in automobile accidents. 

Yet I have kids knocking on my door vociferously supporting a ban on an energy source that can put an incredible dent into this carnage. When I asked him to respond to this, I got better than crickets, instead I got one of these, “oh, I have so many houses to go see tonight, I’d really love to talk to you sir, I really would, but I have to go.”

Have a nice weekend. 

3 Responses to “Another NYPIRG Volunteer Visited Me Last Evening”

  1. RIT_Rich says:

    Hehe. When I was in HS one summer (last summer before college, I think), I worked both for Green Peace and NYPIRG. Green Peace had us stand on the street in Manhattan asking for donations. But I got fired after 1 week because I sucked at asking people for money (and because I would get into long 1-hour conversations with people on the street, which the supervisors really didn’t like because we were there to make money, not talk to people).

    A week later I got a job at NYPIRG doing the same thing, except it was door-to-door in Staten Island. Those poor kids get paid on commission, (Green Peace had a salary + commission), so they REALLY don’t want to talk to you, unless you pay. I quit that job after exactly 1 day because I realized that I was never going to make any money (and if you include the subway ride, I would have been loosing money every day).

    Of course, that was when I was in HS, and like most HS kids, bought into all this. Plus, lots of hot, broke and superbly dumb girls worked there. I never understood how some people can waste their lives so miserably. I was in HS, so what I got paid didn’t matter all too much, but some of those people were in their 20s and maybe even early 30s, living in NYC and surviving on…literally begging in the streets (that was in the beginning of the Hipster invasion of NYC. Can’t imagine what it’s like there now).

    PS: Also those kids tend to cheat NYPIRG pretty good, because if anyone gives them cash at the door, it goes in their pocket and never gets reported.

  2. Harry says:

    Unenlightened pure stupidity,WC.

  3. jb says:

    A Mass PIRG kid made the mistake of knocking on my door one day many years back. He was supporting a ban on fossil fuel electric generation or some variation, as I recall. Now I was pretty confident that in terms of air pollution, vehicles are a much greater source versus power stations, so I asked him in percentage terms how much of the pollutant he was concerned with (I have forgotten) was generated by the power plants. He looked at the ground for a moment, then looked up and said… “90 percent!” . I thanked him for the free entertainment… If I only had a flip cam…

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