Thursday, December 8, 2011

No Freaking Fracking Around My Home

Is it really a news break that hydraulically fracturing the bedrock of a mountain pollutes the surrounding area? No, it's a news break that our Environmental Protection Agency has admitted it:

At this point I'm going to disappoint conservative readers. The previous post, about how if our ideas are used by the current presidential administration we'll vote to reelect the current President, was by way of quantifying an improbability--as in "If we don't get a hard freeze tonight, I'll eat my hat"--although it's true. But I am going to go Green on you and explain a few hard, ugly facts about fracking.

Here, with photos, is the kind of landscape that gets fracked:

It looks very, very familiar to me. It looks like the Clinch Mountain that forms the southern boundary around Gate City, Virginia.

Here, without photos, is a description of what's been going on lately in Pennsylvania, and why, even in Virginia, we've been feeling earthquakes:

If you don't trust Wikipedia, you can find the same facts on other pages that your favorite search engine will dredge up, from the New York Times, New Yorker, Business Week, The Economist, Forbes, and probably as many more as you're willing to take the time to read. The bottom line is that fracking is obviously physically and chemically dangerous to the people who live in the Appalachian Mountains, north and south, and in the Rocky Mountains and in other places where fracking has been allowed.

Of course, these very people, bless their hearts, are the ones clamoring for more jobs and cheaper gas. Gate City is not Appalachia; Appalachia is a completely different town, almost fifty miles away. Are we all that different from Appalachia? I doubt it. If promised lucrative jobs and a short commute, would we risk a little pollution, a few hundred extra cases of cancer, a few hundred premature deaths? Would Appalachia risk that, plus beginning to look just like (God spare us all) Kentucky? Take a look at the scenic, historic Cumberland Mountain ridge that defines the Virginia/Kentucky border, or at what's left of it--I've seen a former Green Beret weep. I'd like to think we're capable of learning from the mistakes of others, but we are Homo sapiens, a now censorable name for a species with a truly astounding capacity for living and not learning.

I don't like reading that Wyoming has sacrificed its best scenery to the fracking experiment, either, or that Pennsylvania has. I have one tiny correction to make to the headline here:

Why should New York beat us to anything? Virginia should become the first state to ban fracking. And George Allen, a good e-friend who's supporting oil drilling off our coasts, and Terry Kilgore, a relative who's supported the construction of a (heavily filtered) coal-powered electrical production plant, should lead the call for the ban.

Think outside the box the industry is going to draw for you, please, fellow Virginians. Don't just think "jobs, money, jobs, money..." Take it from someone who's been in California. Think of the Natural Tunnel crashing down on top of a train. Think of the Route 23 ramp falling into the Quarry Pond. Think of the mountains that have always nestled around Gate City merging together on top of Gate City. We've never seen a real earthquake, but take it from me, we do not want to see one.

Think about how many tons of rock are, in fact, in a position to fall down on top of us if we tolerate the creation and enhancement of seismic faults through fracking, and say it with me, neighbors: "NO FREAKING FRACKING AROUND OUR HOME!"