The Politics of Energy

The Politics of Energy by The Motley Fool, April 20, 2012, News From Nowhere
Turn on the television right about now, and if you’re watching a station with commercials, you’ll see a slew of commercials paid for by the oil and gas industry, extolling their own virtues. … If you happen to be watching a local Wyoming channel, you might be treated to commercials showing the pristine beauty of unspoiled Green River Valley landscapes, with a voiceover talking about how much EnCana, the Canadian gas giant, cares about wildlife. Even as sage grouse go extinct in EnCana’s notorious Jonah Field and the well densities hit levels never before seen in Wyoming, and seldom elsewhere. Why this sudden glut of oil industry advertising? Simple: It’s election season. The oil industry knows it has the reputation as a big polluter, so it’s always out to show how clean and responsible it is, even when it isn’t. … And let’s not forget about the residents of Pavillion, Wyoming, who had their wells poisoned during fracking operations there. This local example makes an especially interesting case study. The well contamination isn’t something that just cropped up last year. In 2008, when the well contamination first occurred, Pavillion resident Jim Fenton went to Washington to seek help to fix the problem from the Wyoming congressional delegation. Mr. Fenton told Congresswoman Lummis and Senators Enzi and Barrasso about how his family members had lost their sense of taste and smell, how cattle were going blind, how it was becoming impossible to run his ranching operation, and how his land had become worthless and unsalable on the real estate market. Mr. Fenton was politely told that not only did Wyoming’s representatives in Congress have no intention of regulating the use of toxic fracking fluids, including cancer-causing agents like benzene, ethylene, toluene, and xylene (they even sound nasty and ominous), they would not even support a law requiring companies to disclose what kinds of chemicals were being pumped into the ground as part of the fracking process. Nothing happened for years. Finally, after years of inaction by state regulators, in 2011 the federal government sent in the Environmental Protection Agency to investigate. They took samples of the water and issued a preliminary report linking the well contamination to the natural gas wells owned by EnCana. Then all hell broke loose. The oil and gas industry cried foul, launching a smear campaign to discredit the EPA’s science….

This entry was posted in Global Frac News. Bookmark the permalink.