Sunday, November 4, 2012

Romney’s Economic Plan: Poison Amerca First

Redacted page from a recent Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection study, shows fracking really pisses off cute bunnies, whose understandable political sentiments were viewed by PA state scientists as grounds to exclude this data.
The New York Times today reports on testimony involving Pennsylvania state scientists working for Pennsylvania’s Department of Environment Protection withholding crucial data that suggested frack well chemicals did contaminate drinking water in a private well.

Bottom line revealing confession:
“…the metals [found, but] not reported [by Pennsylvania’s evironmental scientists] have been identified by industry studies as being found as contaminants in water produced from oil and gas operations.”
While Mitt Romney has made drilling with frack technology the number one item in his plan for the economic recovery of the USA, he hasn’t said much about the environmental impact of depending so heavily on such a plan.

What Romney has said, buried in this energy component of his “plan” for jobs and economic growth, would likely suprise a lot of people who have not read it.

Basically, Mitt Romney says sure, fracking might poison your kids, but probably not as much as sticking them in a nuclear reactor, or cooking them over a pile of coal (which Romney is all for as well):
Extract Shale Gas
Natural gas is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel. Recent discoveries suggest that the United States may have a 100-year supply beneath our land. Extracting this gas requires “fracking” (hydraulic fracturing, coupled for these purposes with horizontal drilling), and will also entail significant investments in pipelines and associated infrastructure to distribute the greater volumes of gas. While fracking requires regulation just like any other energy-extraction practice, the EPA in a Romney administration will not pursue overly aggressive interventions designed to discourage fracking altogether. States have carefully and effectively regulated the process for decades, and the recent industry agreement to disclose the composition of chemicals used in the fracking process is another welcome step in the right direction. Of critical importance: the environmental impact of fracking should not be considered in the abstract, but rather evaluated in comparison to the impact of utilizing the fuels that natural gas displaces, including coal.
This is quite an amazing statement, basically supporting the oil and gas industry position that frack drilling is the holy grail of energy independence and jobs. 

Who is to be trusted in the process of protecting the environment of the USA from the application of this holy grail? Romney says the states, that stand to make a lot of money by allowing fracking, will do a great job. Once again, refer to the news today about Pennsylvania state environmental studies withholding key data of potential chemcial impacts of fracking. Romney also says, let’s trust the oil and gas industry to self regulate and honestly reveal the poisons they are using to perpetrate the fracking.

The federal government on the other hand? What is its proper role?

Oh that crazy out-of-control EPA WILL NOT PURSUE (under Romney) "interventions"—no matter what the science actually indicates about how much fracking is poisoning you and your kids. And of course getting any proper science done under Romney's administration of the government will be hard enough as it is.

Romney says we should not consider the environmental impact of fracking only “in the abstract”, by which he means let’s drill and worry about the poisoning later. Of course, his increasingly questionable basic premise is that frack drilling is probably-maybe environmentally safe, and you should just gamble on the idea it is.

The big problem (for people interested in protecting their families from insane people) is that widely touted studies, whose conclusions supported the idea fracking is safe for water supplies, have been discredited, in part because the oil and gas industry itself was revealed to have supplied researchers and perhaps the conclusions of the studies:

* 2009 University of Pennsylvania Study “sponsored by gas drillers and led by an economist, now at the University of Wyoming, with a history of producing industry-friendly research on economic and energy issues.”

* Pro-frack Professor Heads 2012 University of Texas study claiming “fracking is no great threat to water supplies.”

So, in two instances, state schools in states where the oil and gas industry has a huge economic interest in seeing enviromental studies of fracking anoint the techology as “safe”, have in fact produced that result—only to then be questioned on the considerable pro-frack biases of the researchers. Additionally, and hardly surprisingly, questions have also been raised about the research itself and the conclusions.

Does anyone really think that the University of Texas and the Univeristy of Pennsylvania are institutions with sufficient reserves of integrity (as opposed to hydrocarbon bribes) to produce reports criticizing massive infusions of cash into their respective states’ economies—and of course into the schools themselves? In their education-hating Republican dictatorships?

As Samuel L. Jackson says: Wake the fuck up!

These oil and gas motherfuckers don’t care who they poison, and they know the pols and worse, the scientists, can be bought.

And YOU should know this too, especially when you vote.

While the media has paid a little bit of attention to this ongoing, actually fundamentally important, issue, it has been extremely tepid about pushing Romney on questions concrning the environmental impact of widely expanding oil and gas drilling, especially based upon an increase in frack drilling.

Supposedly, a majority of voters now view Mitt Romney as the candidate most likely to have a plan to help the US economy. But do those voters understand that Mitt Romney’s plan is also the one most likely to poison the drinking water of millions of Americans?

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