The Widdershins

Activist Monday: Fracking Bans Begin to Spread

Posted on: February 9, 2015

Fracking, we have almost have you surrounded!

Good Monday, all.  Although fracking has become more widespread than ever lately, some states have started saying no to the environmentally disastrous practice. First was Vermont; then, I am happy to say, New York, in December.

(Reuters) – New York state will ban hydraulic fracturing after a long-awaited report concluded that the oil and gas extraction method poses health risks, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration said on Wednesday.

New York Environmental Commissioner Joseph Martens said at a cabinet meeting he will issue an order early next year banning fracking, which has been under a moratorium since 2008. Once that happens, New York will join Vermont as the only states to completely prohibit fracking.

What about California? Not yet. Its Democratic Governor, Jerry Brown, is perceived as a far-left liberal by many; however, environmentalists are not pleased with him because his state, home to a huge reserve of untapped natural gas,  has still not banned fracking. This may change soon.

In the biggest climate related protest in the Bay Area to date, thousands marched in Downtown Oakland calling for real climate leadership and a ban on fracking., one of the groups organizing the march, and whose members were much in evidence, estimates that 8,000 people attended, making it the biggest anti-fracking rally in U.S. history.

Now, there is a protest almost every day in Oakland/Berkeley, but this one comes as an accompaniment to over a year of activism calling for Brown to ban fracking for good. I think momentum is on the protesters’ side; especially since the Maryland legislature has just introduced an 8-year fracking moratorium in that state. (Thank Gawd that State body is still controlled by Democrats.)

“Today we announce a new effort to place a moratorium on fracking in our state,” said Senate bill sponsor Karen Montgomery. “This bill will allow us to maintain the public’s confidence as we continue to gather data on the long-term effects of the hydraulic fracturing process. Without more scientific data on the public health consequences, we cannot engage in possibly risky energy projects.”

“Almost every week a new study emerges pointing to the alarming health and environmental effects of fracking,” said delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo, the House bill sponsor. “To open up Maryland to fracking at this time would simply be reckless.”

A statewide group of more than 100 healthcare professionals, the Concerned Health Professionals of Maryland (CHP-Md), agreed, issuing a letter to legislative leaders in support of such a moratorium.

“We write to update you concerning trends in recent health research on unconventional natural gas development and production, enabled by hydraulic fracturing and commonly referred to as ‘fracking,’” it said. “The scientific literature now includes 400+ peer-reviewed studies on the public health climate and environmental dimensions of this type of unconventional gas development, the vast majority of which suggest that high-volume hydraulic fracturing technologies pose threats to human and animal health and safety via contamination of air, water and soil. There is little evidence that these threats can be sufficiently mitigated through regulatory frameworks.”

With the price of oil so low, the financial benefits of fracking don’t seem so great right now, especially since Illinois’ recent adoption of it hasn’t been the bonanza politicians and businesspeople expected.

Low oil prices have accomplished in Illinois what environmentalists couldn’t. Horizontal hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of drilling for oil trapped in shale rock, has been halted even before it began. Officials at the state Department of Natural Resources say not a single company has applied for a fracking permit. That’s because oil prices have tanked.

Oil was fetching about $100 a barrel in the U.S. when then-Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law in June 2013 to regulate fracking. By the time the permitting process was in place in November 2014, oil prices were dropping rapidly, ironically a byproduct of fracking’s success in the U.S.

Today oil is selling for under $50 a barrel, half of what it was priced at when Illinois dreamed of an oil boom that would help solve its budgetary woes and bring much-needed jobs and revenues to the southern part of the state.

Ah, the insanity of building world economies on non-renewable resources, and making up more and more destructive ways to get them! I sincerely hope that the drop in oil prices will continue to enable this breakout of sanity with regard to fracking.

This is an open thread.


14 Responses to "Activist Monday: Fracking Bans Begin to Spread"

Yep, and I will bet that the suddeen spike in oil prices have a great deal to do with this. Frack, or we’ll triple your price at the pump.

@1 – Chat, could you clarify? I only see news about the price of oil dropping. Check this out…

Gas is up 30 cents here. Chat, I think you’re on to something. MB, thanks for the post. Lots of info I didn’t know.

I am a proud conspiracy theorist.

Hello folks! Just wanted to say that as far as I can tell, the sun still rose and set and the earth is still turning on its axis in Alabama despite Roy Moore’s worst fears. 😆 However, it did play havoc with couples wanting to get a marriage license. It was so confusing that times had to put up an interactive graphic explaining about which counties would let you do what. The situation was:

Counties colored red are not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Those colored green are issuing licenses to all couples. Those shaded in yellow are not issuing any marriage licenses and those colored orange are only accepting applications, but issuing no licenses.

Here’s a link to the article. Some of this may have changed since yesterday.

It really looks like the Supreme Court will rule in favor of gay marriage (with Thomas and Scalia against it.) So Roy Moore can, as Kathy Griffin would say, suck it!

Now the bad news: Jon Stewart will leave The Daily Show later this year! The world as we know it is over!

@DYB: I just saw that about Jon Stewart! Waaaahhh!!!!

Here’s Rachel Maddow from last night on AL Supreme Court Judge Roy Moore. As she said, he was able to stop straight marriage in Alabama!

@8: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!! How will I get accurate news?

We are also devasted about Stewart. First Colbert, now this!!! Laker says they are national leaders and they are abandoning us! So bummed.

Fredster, I read about Alabama, and wondered what your take would be. Thats great about the Supremes. I have to watch the Maddow clip.

Fredster, I liked your link with the state-county map. Good comments also. Sweet Home Alabama!

annie: To be honest I was afraid to read the comments. I didn’t know if people would start quoting Bible verses or what!

I don’t know how many more counties started issuing licenses today, but I did see something that stated the Chief Justice of the AL Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over the county probate judges. I know one of the couples in the original suit asked the federal judge yesterday to “instruct” (order?) the Mobile County Probate Judge to issue them a marriage license.

Sweet Home Alabama!

Sigh…I know. They are marking the 50th anniversary of the Selma march and it’s not like they need to be reminded of their past nor should they need reminding of the Supremacy Clause in the Constitution, but…

@13: You know that Moore is grandstanding here, claiming autonomy and that the state is sovereign. He’s still in a snit about the Ten Commandments.. If I were a parent who spent megabucks on an upcoming Valentine’s Day wedding for my daughter and lived in one of those Bama counties that would not issue any licenses to anybody, I would be righteously indignant.

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