‘Fracking’ bosses would choke if tables turned

Fracking’ bosses would choke if tables turned by Joe Blundo, May 29, 2012, Dispatch
A “fracking” executive, a state legislator and an oil-and-gas-industry lobbyist walk into a bar. They’re pretty pleased with the way they’ve managed to keep some of the chemicals in fracking liquid secret from the public, and they’re ready to celebrate. Under a bill passed by the legislature last week, people who fear that the secret chemicals sickened them or polluted their water could find out what those chemicals are only by filing a lawsuit after the fact.This seems reasonable to the trio, toasting the victory. “I don’t know why all the fuss in the first place,” says the lobbyist. “What is it about the process of injecting millions of gallons of chemical-laced water deep underground that makes people so nervous?” They proceed to order drinks, then decide to have dinner, too. “How’s the meatloaf?” the fracking executive asks the waiter. “Excellent,” says the waiter. “There aren’t any peanut products in it, are there? I’m allergic to peanuts.” The waiter explains that the chef doesn’t disclose the ingredients in his meatloaf, because it’s proprietary information. “You don’t understand,” says the executive. “I’m at risk. I have to know the ingredients.” The waiter repeats that the recipe is a secret one. The executive usually wouldn’t put up with such treatment, but he’s hungry. “Well, how about the potpie?” he asks. “Can you disclose the ingredients in that?” “Certainly,” says the waiter. The diners sigh, relieved, until the waiter adds, “But first you’ll have to get sick and file a lawsuit.” The diners stare at him, slack-jawed. “You have to be kidding me,” the executive says. “No, sir, I’m not,” the waiter replies. “What we’d like is for you to eat the potpie first. Then, if your throat swells up and you have trouble breathing, call a lawyer. Once the suit is filed, let us know, and we’ll tell you what was in the food so you can arrange for the correct medical care. “Of course, your doctor might face some restrictions on whom he can tell about the chemicals. But our recipe secrets will be safe, and your heart can be restarted. It’s a win-win.” The legislator rises in anger. “I demand to see the chef right now. I will not let a job creator be treated this way.” The waiter says the chef has a long list of appointments today and can’t see the legislator. “Appointments with whom?” the legislator thunders. “A special group of customers willing to pay large amounts for access to the chef,” says the waiter. “They state their opinions on the chef’s recipes and ingredients. Of course, this in no way influences the chef’s decisions.” “Oh, please,” the legislator scoffs. “We’re leaving. “And I’m telling all my friends never to patronize this place. What’s the name of it again?” The waiter, walking away, says, “It’s called the Business as Usual.”

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