Sunday, November 7, 2010


Boy, those were the good old days, back in 2005 when Republicans were in control. Don't you think so? Those were the days before the Democrat 2006 takeover when Republicans could get just about anything they wanted through the House and Senate. And, indeed they did. Take the 2005 Energy Policy Act, enacted under Dubya, Cheney and the Republican Congress. That act had a big intentional loophole, known as the Halliburton Loophole. In fact, there is enough information about that loophole to suggest that the only reason the act was passed and signed at all was because the oil and natural gas corporations wanted that loophole. In fact, I would bet my social security check that the loophole was specifically requested in that secret Cheney-Energy Corporation meeting that Cheney refused to disclose. Remember that meeting? Ah, yea, those were the good old days. The loophole exempts oil production companies from having to comply with environmental safety laws when drilling for oil and natural gas.

Well, natural gas is a big deal and it has been the latest buzz since President Obama began running for president way back in 2007. "Drill-baby-drill," they said. T Boone Pickens made all of those ads to stop paying Saudi Arabia $700 billion a year by converting all long-haul semi trucks from diesel to natural gas. The United States, it turned out, had a super abundance of natural gas. A HUGE NATURAL GAS RESERVE! In fact, he sold me on the deal, too. I was ready and willing to be his spokesman. "Yeah! Stop paying Saudi Arabia for oil. Use our own natural gas!" Even Obama got on that band wagon. Ha! I should have known that there was a catch. There is always a Republican catch.

It was also back in the good old days that President Bush had those signing statements. Remember those? It turned out that even though Congress passed a law, that a President could just attach a little signing statement to his signature saying how the President "interpreted" the law, and Bush did. He instructed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to overlook and rubber stamp many oil and gas company drilling requests. But, the U.S. Minerals Management Service, by a Bush order, was already looking the other way and the signing statement just reinforced what it was already doing. And so, we got the BP Gulf oil disaster, which, by the way, isn't over yet - since it was discovered only a few days ago that a large area of ocean floor coral has died. We don't know everything, yet, it turns out.

But, back to natural gas and that Halliburton Loophole that exempts oil and gas companies from EPA rules. They can drill for natural gas anyplace, anytime. It turns out all of those natural gas reserves that we have is mostly contained in solid plates of shale rock. And, it turns out that to get the natural gas out of the shale, the shale must be broken up, or fractured into cracks and crevasses to release the gas. And, it turns out that "they," especially Halliburton, have developed a technique called Hydraulic Fracturing, "Fracking" for short, that breaks up the shale that releases the gas. Fracking involves injecting millions of gallons of fresh water into the shale under tons of pressure to fracture the shale.

Whoops. Here we are again. The "usual" suspects are at it again. It turns out that Fracking uses millions of gallons of your very valuable drinking and irrigation water and when that water recycles back into the ground water supply, through those underground seeps back to your city's water supply or your well water or your livestock watering trough, such as into those artesian wells for Owensville, Indiana or into the Wabash or Ohio rivers ground water system that supplies your personal drinking well, (I have friends and family I care for in that area - so I always mention it) it will contain highly toxic minerals and methane. The water cannot be used for drinking anymore. It will kill you. And, it will burn!

Well, according to this New York Times article, the gas companies are not "convinced" that they are the problem. "The jury is not in," they say. But, I guess if you had water suitable for drinking one day, and the next day your water burned and tasted like crap; looked foggy, yellow or muddy; and tests showed that it was full of toxic chemicals, and the only thing that could have caused it was a Fracking drilling rig within ten or twenty miles, then I guess that would be proof enough. In fact, the article says that many people are REALLY ANGRY about being fracked.

All of this, of course, goes back to philosophy, or more precisely, Republican philosophy. I guess if you believe the "drill-baby-drill" philosophy and be damned to any environmental impact, then the Republican philosophy is right up your alley. But, I guess if your water is burning, maybe you will change your mind. I wonder if you'll change your mind if your neighbor's water is burning? Or if your neighboring state's water is burning? Would you vote Republican in your state, say California, if you knew that your vote could cause water to burn in Lafayette or Owensville, Indiana or Gainesville, Georgia? (I have loved ones there too) Actually, it's too late to change your mind after your or your loved ones' water is burning. You've been Fracked!


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