Friday, May 27, 2011

WV gas industry propaganda

The West Virginia Oil and Gas Association has created yet another "astroturf" (in contrast to "grassroots") group to propagandize the public about the "benefits" of natural gas.

The name of the group is Just Beneath the Surface WV, who announced their formation on Wednesday, and already have ads posted at the Charleston Gazette, among other websites.

It's an indication of just how worried the industry is about the public reaction as more negative information surfaces about the dangers of hydraulic fracturing. I guess that's why they want to keep people's attention focused beneath the surface.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wellsburg meets the frackers

On May 10th, the city of Wellsburg WV passed an ordinance that prohibits the process of hydraulic fracturing within one mile of the city limits--the first city in West Virginia to adopt such an ordinance.

Yesterday, the Wellsburg city council met with representatives from Chesapeake Energy, one of the largest gas drilling companies, and the WV Department of Environmental Protection, to discuss the new law.

Despite the often-heard siren song of future economic benefits the Chesapeake rep sang, at the end of the meeting, the council decided to keep its ordinance on the books.

The reason for sticking with the ordinance was stated quite succinctly by City Manager Mark Henne: "The thing that's most important to us, that would affect us in the most adverse way, would be if something went awry and contaminated our water."

As more evidence about fracking comes in, that threat seems more and more real. We can only hope that other elected officials in this state will take courage from the Wellsburg model, and keep their priorities straight.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Gasland" in Morgan County

Several community groups are sponsoring a viewing of the documentary "Gasland," about the questions surrounding the fracking process, tonight at 6:30 pm, at the Berkeley Springs High School auditorium. There will be discussion following the film.

In other fracking news, the Post Carbon Institute has just issued a report challenging the assumptions of the federal Energy Information Agency that Marcellus shale gas is the key to our energy future. Here's the link:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

HCMC meeting

The Hampshire County Marcellus Committee will meet Monday, May 16 at 10 am at the Hampshire County Health Department, on Route 50 in Augusta WV. The public is welcome to attend.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Study links flaming faucets to fracking

A peer-reviewed scientific study has found a definite correlation between methane gas migration into drinking water wells--a phenomenon documented in the movie "Gasland," which shows several homeowners lighting their running kitchen faucets on fire--and the process of hydraulic fracture, or "fracking."

The study was done by Duke University, and found dangerous levels of methane in drinking water where a gas well was fracked within a kilometer (about three-fifths of a mile) of a water well. Considering that present WV regulations allow fracking as close as 200 feet to a water well, this study shows how truly inadequate those regulations are.

Let's hope that once the gubernatorial primary dust clears, legislators (including the acting governor) will get serious about a special session to deal with this issue.

--Michael Hasty

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Marcellus wells in Morgantown

Ken Ward of the Charleston Gazette has a blog post about WVDEP permits being granted in March for two Marcellus gas wells, not far from where the Morgantown area draws its public water. The permits were granted without any opportunity for public comment.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Marcellus task force meets

The Marcellus-to-manufacturing task force that acting governor Earl Ray Tomblin named in February had its first meeting this week. As expected, it will focus on boosting industry, and leave the issues of new regulations and environmental damage to someone else. Paul Nyden wrote the story for the Charleston Gazette:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama assassinated

The news that Osama bin Laden—a CIA asset until at least the morning of September 11, 2001, according to former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds—has died of a single gunshot to the head, fired by a US Navy SEAL, signals the end of an era in Deep State global relations.

There is a major shift occurring in global politics, as old US allies like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan abandon the sinking American empire for the rising power, China. Silencing Osama bin Laden, who has obviously been under the protection of both Pakistani and American intelligence services for the past ten years, is a message from US elites to their restive Middle Eastern vassals that such betrayals will go neither unpunished nor unchallenged.

We live in a world ruled by gangsters allied with banksters—Russian gangsters, Chinese gangsters, American gangsters, and a multitude of smaller affiliate gangs, organized in elite clubs like the Trilateral Commission and the central bankers and the G20. It is a lawless world, governed solely by power. And it is a world running out of cheap oil, the fuel that runs capitalist civilization. We’re entering an era of global hardball. Bin Laden’s death sends a serious message that the US is in the game. It also fits a pattern: Noriega, Saddam, Mubarek—the US always double crosses the monsters it creates.

The news we see rarely reflects the reality of a given geopolitical event, and the death of Osama bin Laden will be no exception. The whole circumstance raises numerous questions which will be studiously avoided by our mainstream propagandists. They create the corporate version of reality, the matrix where most people live.

Nothing to see here, folks. The war on terror grinds on. Your liberties, please.

--Michael Hasty