May 5, 2012

Separation Of State And Exxon, Not Today

D.M. Crumbliss

Yesterday the Obama administration revealed new rules for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for fossil fuels. Fracking is the process of pumping millions of gallons of water into a rock strata to crack the rock and release fossil fuels. The problem is that this is not water in any usual sense. It is laced with vile chemicals. Fracking fluid is known to contain at least 650 known carcinogens. These new rules are meant to apply to the use of public land.

To date the drillers of fracked wells have not had to report what was in the mix. They have been allowed to keep the nature of what they are pumping into the ground secret under the dubious banner of protecting trade secrets. This is akin to claiming that radiation coming from a nuclear accident can be kept secret because someone might steal the formula for the fuel used to create the problem.

The new rules require frackers to disclose what is in the fracking mixture, but not till AFTER the well is drilled. In sum, they are required to report, “Here´s a list of what was in that stuff we pumped under your town. So now you know. We already did it. Too bad.”

This is yet more evidence that the fossil fuel industry is openly calling the shots in this country. That´s not anything new, but this proposed “law” is beyond the pale. The government is owned outright and cannot be trusted to perform its major function, keeping the country safe. The tail is wagging the dog. Big Oil and Gas are literally writing their own laws. Not just writing in secret- openly writing their own laws.

The original idea was to require the frackers to disclose what they were using 30 days before.  Is that so bad? It was too much for the industry, which implies that whatever is in there must be really foul and dangerous. Remember that each well uses millions of gallons of chemically toxic water. That water is then pulled out and shot back into another well. The fracking industry said no thanks to that idea:

“The walkback of the rule followed a series of meetings at the White House after the original regulation was proposed in February. Lobbyists representing oil industry trade associations and individual major producers like ExxonMobil, XTO Energy, Apache, Samson Resources and Anadarko Petroleum met with officials of the Office of Management and Budget, who reworked the rule to address industry concerns about overlapping state regulations and the cost of compliance.”

Given the all-out ad blitz from the fossil fuel industry, a person could be forgiven for thinking that fracking equaled puppies, babies, and jobs for all those unemployed young people.

What fracking really means is a poisoned land, a salted field, water you can´t drink, and a curse on the future. And for what, so that Exxon can make some more money? The government is a wholly owned subsidiary, an employee, a lacky of our newest citizens, corporations. And clearly some citizens stand taller than others.


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