Monday, March 17, 2014

Hydraulic Fracturing

I went to a rally at the Capitol in Sacramento Saturday. Billed as the largest anti-Fracking rally in California history, supporters of a moratorium on fracking in California are urging Gov. Brown to ban fracking, presumably until a time when it might be deemed safe for the environment and for people.
All the usual suspects were there, young and old, farm workers, California natives (original), guerrilla theater, guitars, yogis and the curious. It was a very laid-back crowd, sometimes so much so that they didn't follow the chanting prompts bellowed out on the loud speakers. Much to the chagrin of the leaders....
There were many kids there, toddlers even. These boys took up a good post in the tree and had a variety of signs to hold up. Like many in the crowd, they didn't know much about fracking, but they'd heard it was bad. I watched an HBO documentary years ago called "Gasland," where the hazards of fracking and the secrecy of the oil and gas companies is laid bare. On the other hand, I read articles by geologists who claim that fracking in safe, both for the environment and people. They minimize the fears that were raised in the documentary. I get so confused, and don't know whom to believe sometimes, but when you watch farmers and other directly affected by natural gas extraction on their land, and listen to their first hand testimony, it's pretty damning. And the corporations of course make everyone sign a 'non-disclosure agreement' when they sell fracking rights on their land.

This young couple took a bus up from Santa Barbara with a lot of others just for the rally. They were sincere and sweet, and I kept running into them. Buses of people came from all over the state. I heard about the rally from S.'s friend in Arizona for crying out loud. Blocks from my home, and I wouldn't have known it was going on except for this informed guy in Phoenix.

It occurs to me that even if the chemicals used in the process turn out to be at such low levels that they are harmless, the amount of water and energy expended setting up a fracking site is just not worth the energy extracted from underground. Watch Gasland; it will astound you the number of trucks full of water, chemicals and equipment required to initiate a site. How can it possibly be worth it? Use that energy to provide the energy you are seeking. Oh. Right. Then nobody would make any money. It also occurs to me that if we, collectively, really were serious about ending these kind of hazardous practices, we would make some real changes in the way we transport ourselves, the amount of energy we consume in every day life and in the products we buy and from where we buy them. We could affect great change, but we live in a country where we use 25% of the total world's resources, and we are used to this standard of living. Most educated people understand the impact our living has on the planet, but keep doing the same old things. This isn't going to get us to energy independence. This isn't going to be sustainable for the world community. We need a real "come to Jesus" national conversation about this.  This going to be a stretch, especially when our very own President says fracking is a good bridge from oil to renewable resources.  B.S., I say.  B.S.


  1. Such a short-sighted solution with such a long-lasting negative impact.

    1. Indeed. And in California where we are experiencing record drought, we can ill afford to use water in this fracking process!