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Baldwin writes: "Then there are those who believe that fracking is actually the energy industry's most recent opportunity to do to Americans what these companies have been doing to other, economically impoverished and less politically sophisticated peoples all over the globe: to promise them some economic benefit, deliver a pittance in actual compensation, desecrate their environment and then split and leave them the bill."

Mark Ruffalo at a protest against fracking in New York. (photo: Getty Images)
Mark Ruffalo at a protest against fracking in New York. (photo: Getty Images)

The Truth About Fracking

By Alec Baldwin, Reader Supported News

17 August 12


n a recent post here, I described an event that I produced in Syracuse, New York, which brought together disparate anti-fracking groups for a screening of Josh Fox's documentary film Gasland. As one would expect, among the readers who posted here there was a strong level of both support for the event (and any anti-fracking advocacy) and critiques of our effort, typically from gas industry functionaries or labor that supports hydraulic fracturing on behalf of jobs.

Many pro-fracking people posted attacks on Fox and his film, going so far as to state, in no uncertain terms, that his film has been widely and undeniably dismissed for lacking in accurate facts, science and history. I contacted Fox, by email, and asked him to provide me with more information to address the "deniers" who have debunked his assertions.

Josh Fox forwarded to me a detailed response that included the following links:

1- This 2009 piece from ProPublica that refers to a Garfield County, Colorado, study that contradicts certain gas industry assertions about methane in drinking water.

2- This 2011 report from Scientific American that describes significant aquifer contamination from fracking fluids in Wyoming.

3- A 2011 New York Times article that refers to the potential "first crack in the armor" of Rex Tillerson's claims about fracking-related contamination.

4- This article from Food and Water Watch in April of 2012.

5- And this article from a March, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone.

I've got more if you want it.

I am quite certain that not many minds will be changed here. There are those who believe natural gas is abundant and readily accessible through fracking, that it will create lots of good paying jobs and will contribute to America's energy independence.

Then there are those who believe that fracking is actually the energy industry's most recent opportunity to do to Americans what these companies have been doing to other, economically impoverished and less politically sophisticated peoples all over the globe: to promise them some economic benefit, deliver a pittance in actual compensation, desecrate their environment and then split and leave them the bill.

Unfortunately, in this case, it's not like Shell in Nigeria or Chevron in Ecuador. It's here. In New York State and Pennsylvania and many other areas. And when the gas companies are done blasting and pumping and contaminating, after they've put the gas on the open market and sold it and the workers head home to Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, who do you think they'll hand the bill to for the clean up of that mess? Who will be asked to provide water for cooking, cleaning and drinking for all of those affected?

Gas companies, like LNG, will make huge profits. And what will you get? your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+25 # michellewey 2012-08-17 16:28
Thank you Mr. Baldwin. Isn't is so much better to not hold political office so that you can be free to speak the Truth?! What I want to know is why does an ad for an oil and natural gas company that operates in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, keep showing up on my google page advertising Tax Free Investment in oil and gas wells? Why is that investment tax free? It's called BreitlingOiland It seems so funny (in that I get a perverse pleasure in black humor) that they boast of "experience in the field since 2004" as if 8 years experience adds up to much. Then I read an article (which disappears after 1 day) on Yahoo about the massive sink hole that just appeared suddenly in Louisiana. Their rightwing Gov. Jindal and cohorts want to blame it on the nearby abandoned salt mine and compel the salt mine company to drill a hole to investigate. Like it really makes sense to build a hole right near a massive hole. Meanwhile I learn from reading through the thousands of comments underneath that the region is "pocked with pumpers" (small exploratory wells) and I read various speculations about the likelihood that the sinkhole is related to fracking. Now finally, I am reading something logical that might resemble the Truth. If we wring the earth dry like a sponge, the earth will collapse in on itself. Fracking just helps us race ever faster to our own destruction.
+19 # phrixus 2012-08-17 16:34
"And what will you get?" Screwed, I suspect.
+17 # Street Level 2012-08-17 23:00
Well said. The energy industry and idiots will always deny anything said about conservation and/or contamination. Our consumption based economy punishes us for using less with higher prices.
Our local water company is wanting a huge rate increase because consumption has gone down. I can only hope that they don't end up selling it to the energy companies for fracking, causing a shortage and forcing farmers to compete for water like they've had to do in some parts of the country.
+10 # mighead 2012-08-18 04:08
So where's the Environmental Protection Agency???
Oops...I forgot...the agency is run by the politicians who are run by the backers with the most funds... you think those 'backers' are the same big oil corporations that aren't paying any taxes???
+2 # RobertMStahl 2012-08-18 06:34
Totalitarianism is a maintenance of the status quo of education, thus its dominance. The Life sciences are the real question, like Gregory Bateson's psychology, Lynn Margulis' biology (discovering a fifth and final kingdom..), or Francisco J. Varela's immunology/neur ology that handles AI by default. However, about the context of energy, another text complete or comprehensive has a solution to pollution free energy as part of a wider set of limitations it defines in examining the universe, not just earth.

The book is free and is called The Grand Unified Theory of Classical Physics, or GUTCP. One might want to blog the Society of Classical Physics site.
+2 # wilma 2012-08-18 07:42
The bill
+4 # dick 2012-08-18 08:22
Big Pharmas use people in their "former" colonies as lab mice for drug testing & for outdated drug dumps. Fracking is one example of using US as a colony. We are once again colonies for London financiers. And they have the surveillance for CONTROL.
As we know, colonists don't win their independence easily, partly because so many of their own countrymen serve $$ masters.
+3 # Doll 2012-08-18 11:09
Fracking is happening throughout the US. Guess what happens to all the profits of people who have let these folks drill on their land after we have a glut of natural gas: The value goes down and the costs go up.
+5 # chrisconnolly 2012-08-18 11:15
We have DICK Cheney to thank for this unrestrained, unregulated, heartless and blind industry for the rape of our environment, our pursuit of happiness, our democracy, our economy. It is hard to imagine ever voting republican again. They have sold any morals they may have ever had to the great satan, money.
+5 # mrbadexample 2012-08-19 07:54
Mr. Baldwin: there's a whole group of protesters in NY trying to stop construction of the Spectra pipeline-- a 30" natural gas pipeline under Gansevoort street? The purpose of that pipeline will be to put LNG into ships bound for China. And the pipeline only makes sense if Cuomo gets to frack upstate and it produces large amounts of Natural Gas. Spectra has a horrible safety record, and a natural gas explosion under those streets would extract a huge human and economic toll on the city. Here's what the blast radius from an accident similar to California would look like--note that NY doesn't build to the same earthquake standards, so the damage would probably be WORSE:

There are protesters down there as I speak trying to interfere with construction. It would probably help raise their media profile if some famous guy went down there with the media tagging along. just sayin.”
0 # Twodayone 2013-08-28 16:37
Syracuse New York is in the center of the fracking problem with that is being said. There are many pros and cons about this method of getting natural gas.
Syracuse New York

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