Cory Booker just tweeted that he saw Gasland II and that it “echoed his feelings”. After three weeks of silence I was hoping for more than that, but I am hopeful if he had been for fracking before, that at least he had seen the movie and it may have changed his mind.
I urge all Progressive Dems to watch this film when it airs tonite. It raises serious questions we need to ask our elected Democratic leaders here in NJ.
The first film which I saw at a private screening with the producer a few years ago, shocked and saddened me. As a licensed water resources engineer in NJ who has studied and worked hard to appreciate the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, which every business needs to comply with – every business except one – the Gas and oil industry – I was stunned and appalled that The Energy industry is allowed to ignore these laws I spent my career trying to protect and uphold.
What is so disturbing about the second film is the number of Democrats with high offices – Like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Former PA Gov, Ed Rendell, who have courted the Oil and Gas industry for campaign cash. The new Netflix series – House of Cards even uses the issue – with Dems courting Gas lobbyists in the Delaware Basin. The plot strikes too close to home.
Although he is not in the film, but falling right into the playbook of pretending to care about the environment while not standing up on the fracking issue – falls Cory Booker – That Cory Booker, twitter addict who courts vegans – many of whom are decidedly against fracking. On the eve of the Fracking Waste Ban rally to overturn Chris Christie’s veto, the Bergen Dems had their convention to endorse a senate candidate – which turned out to be Booker.
I used to be a Committee person but no longer am due to my move to a new town. I still have friends there who report to me what happens at these conventions closed to the media.
That night one of these friends reported that a Committee person who is very concerned about fracking asked my source, what is Booker’s position on fracking. My source told the committee person to ask Booker since he was standing nearby, surrounded by a group of adoring Dems looking for autographs, pictures, or just to bask in the glow of the anointed frontrunner. The Committee person returned, face fallen and reported directly to my source that they did indeed ask Booker his position and he said he was for fracking. This Committee person also said that when they turned away, disappointed – they told Booker that he had just lost their vote.
Josh Fox – the director of Gasland 2 visited Trenton on Saturday night and a whole group of committed environmentalists were right there to greet him. I was fortunate to get a front row seat and to talk with Josh after the film.
He was exhausted but funny after spending the last evening on Bill Maher’s show Real Time and then catching a plane back east. He even treated us to a little banjo playing too. He explained that he wanted to give the folks who are being affected by fracking the first chance to see the film – which will premiere on HBO on Monday July 8 at 9 pm. He also explained that what really matters is showing up to get your voice heard – like we need to do this Thursday at the rally in Trenton to try to overturn Governor Chris Christie’s veto of the fracking waste ban.
Too many folks don’t really understand the concept of fracking and just how much what happens in rural PA will affect those of us who get our drinking water from the Delaware River Basin. We need to educate them – now. Some folks think that exempting the toxic chemicals stew from the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act means that the toxic waste is somehow OK if Halliburton uses it but not for any other industry. If they had to give fracking waste an exemption – that ought to be your first clue that it is toxic. They only have to treat it AFTER they unleash it on us all. The fact that they want to dump it here in NJ and that Gov Christie is ok with that – ok enough that he VETOED a ban on fracking waste – ought to tell you that our Gov who appears to care about the Jersey shore is ignorant about our thousands of miles of shoreline along our rivers and creeks and especially the Delaware – our other coast. The fact that he is desperately trying to REMOVE protections in the Highlands where the pipelines are going just shows how much. Some folks mistakenly even believe now that natural gas isn’t even a fossil fuel. Some folks mistakenly think that radioactivity is not a problem with fracking – that radioactive waste is only a byproduct of nuclear energy. They could be not be more wrong. Waste water trucks in Ohio are setting off radioactivity detectors. Who needs dirty bombs when frackers are illegally dumping radioactive wastewater all over the place that is not accepted at treatment facilities where they expected to dump it? Fish are already dying, even lifestock are getting sick and small children like the ones shown in the film are getting nosebleeds and testing positive for chemicals that only come from fracking. Now farmers are not even able to compete with the frackers for the price of water has increased and priced them out of the market. You can’t eat fracked gas, folks.
I have taken heat here from people who don’t believe that Natural Gas is part of the problem with Cliimate Change. Sadly we have a President who is misinformed and even on Chris Hayes’ show this morning, folks who claim to want to do something about Climate change only mention oil and coal when talking about emissions. This blatant ommission, which occurs all the time leads to the mistaken public assumption that natural gas is somehow not carbon based and somehow not a fossil fuel and that somehow, it is “clean”. We need to get this right. The gas industry is poised to descend on PA and NJ like never before and the American Society of Civil Engineers predicts natural gas production will be the second largest growth sector in the economy. We need to be very careful and honest about what natural gas is and what it isn’t.
But scientists are VERY concerned about the contribution that natural gas gives to the Greenhouse gas load. This Scientific American article explains why. Don’t just take my word for it OR the gas industry, or someone who conveniently forgets to mention gas when talking about fossil fuels. There is a reason the gas industry does not want to report methane emissions from fracked wells and why seven states are suing to find out how much that is exactly.
Here is a little chemistry lesson. Natural gas chemical formula is CH4. That C in front of the H stands for carbon, folks. It is a carbon based form of energy that when burned emits Carbon dioxide. One natural gas methane molecule added to two O2 oxygen molecules – gives you two molecules of water and one of carbon dioxide.
CH4 + 2 O2 = 2 H2O + CO2.
That is AFTER you burn it. If just left to drift off from a newly fracked well into the atmosphere as methane – methane is over 20 times more potent at trapping heat in the atmosphere as C02. So be aware, Natural gas is a problem when you get it out of the ground by fracking as well as after you burn it. You get two hits on the Climate for the price of one. And you have misinformed elected officials (Including our President) running around touting Natural Gas as our Climate Savior. Somebody, anybody, please disabuse him of this dangerous notion. ASAP.
In PA, former Democratic Governor Ed Rendell allowed a lot to happen in Pennsylvania. Let’s not have Democratic legislators in NJ falling into that trap. We need to be vigilant, because Democrats can fall for the money of the Energy industry just as easily as Republicans do.
Here is an EPA interactive webpage showing the methane emissions and other emissions that come directly from the gas and oil industry.
Some natural gas supporters can imply that methane only comes from thawing swamps in the arctic, but the EPA has the data. Right here.
You can look it up by state, by county even. By type of greenhouse gas. Numbers are given in metric tons.
Now the drawback to this data is simply this. 95% of emissions from fracking are NOT included in this data. Why? because these wells are not required to report. It is estimated that 95% of emissions are NOT reported to the EPA from fracking.
That is why seven states are now gearing up to sue the EPA to get that information known and reported. NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (my new hero) is leading the charge.
Update: I added a new NASA link on the science of methane:
Here are the things I want The NJ Senate Environment Committee to think about before they are asked to vote on the fracking ban today.
NASA recently came out with a study that methane – which is released from natural gas well drilling, is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas – than CO2 in affecting Climate Change. And yet every day I hear politicians who claim to be for solving the Climate Change problem bring up Natural Gas as a solution. I know NASA can be very technical and difficult to understand, but our elected officials need to understand this. ASAP. I am tired of shouting at my TV at elected officials with the power to make very bad decisions who spout ill-informed glowing assessments of how natural gas will save us.
Levels of methane had been stable for years until 2007 – when the shale gas boom started. Here is another article from NASA in 2004 about methane BEFORE the huge increase that goes into a lot of detail about the science: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/resea…
Let me repeat and emphasize: Methane is not better than CO2 for Climate Change – it is worse. Natural Gas should not be part of any Climate Change solution for the simple reason that it is part of the problem. For years the methane levels stayed the same – but since the fracking boom it has jumped suddenly. Which may be part of the reason we are seeing surprising climate shifts so much earlier than expected.
For years scientists were concerned about methane – mainly the vast stores of it under the frozen arctic that would be released by a warming ocean. But we need to address the component now being released by wanton gas drilling.
Hydraulic fracturing – better known as fracking – has been popping up in New Jersey a lot lately. It’s a process whereby natural gas is shaken loose and captured from deep underground deposits. Fracking is widely controversial for multiple reasons, all of which relate to the safety of the practice. We’ve reported on it a few times hereatBlueJersey.
Well, it looks like those urging caution and re-evaluation of the practice might not be alarmist party poopers after all. In Youngstown, Ohio, fracking waste water caused two earthquakes on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. The quakes measured 2.7 and 4.0 respectively on the Richter scale; they did little damage and no one was injured. However, scientists know for sure that the quakes were in fact caused by the operation of a fracking waste water injection well used by nearby Northstar Disposal Services. How do they know this? Because between March and November of 2011, nine earthquakes took place in the otherwise earthquake-free Youngstown area. Nine! And so the Ohio Department of Natural Resources teamed up with scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LEDO) to place seismographs around the area, to test what seemed like the glaringly obvious answer: that the fracking waste water operation was, in fact, causing earthquakes.
The Christmas and New Years quakes provided the LEDO scientists with conclusive evidence – with a 95% rate of certainty, that fracking caused all 11 earthquakes in Youngstown, Ohio between March and New Year’s Eve.
Fracking – it makes people sick, makes tap water flammable, fills dangerous pipelines and CAUSES EARTHQUAKES.
Here in the Garden State, the latest action in this fight came in November when the Delaware River Basin Commission decided to postpone a vote on natural gas regulations which could have opened the door to the construction of up to 35,000 fracking wells in the Delaware basin. That basin provides drinking water for 15.6 million people – 5% of the population of the United States. The postponement of the vote was considered a victory by environmentalists, but it was only a delay – not an outright rejection of fracking.
New Jersey should ban fracking, as well as the transport of natural gas acquired through the process – at the very least until the EPA completes its study on the practice’s safety, which concludes in 2014. (One can only hope the EPA will incorporate the Youngstown earthquakes into their final report.) This summer, legislation banning the practice was sent to Governor Christie; he issued a conditional veto, weakening the ban to a one-year moratorium with no teeth and all of the important loose ends left un-tied. And though legislators are currently considering override legislation that could protect NJ against future DRBC regulation changes, it’s not clear why the DRBC would move on fracking at all without some clarity from the EPA.
Do you oppose flammable drinking water and widespread illness caused by environmental contamination? Do you like free movies?
As noted previously by Blue Jersey (here, here and here) the controversial natural gas extraction method called “fracking” (slang for “hydraulic fracturing”) has been trying to extend its craptacular tendrils in our general direction for a couple of years now. But on Monday 11/21, the Delaware River Basin Commission will vote on new rules that could pave the way for nearly 20,000 fracking wells to be built in the river basin.
Yeah, not good for fans of safe water and good health. So along with some local partners, environment and sustainability watchdog Food and Water Watch is sponsoring two screenings of the the HBO documentary Gasland, which is to fracking what Supersize Me is to fast food. Not sure you understand the issue and it’s potentially devastating consequences? Or maybe you’re just cheap and need something to do this week. Either way. You can catch the New Brunswick screening today at 10 a.m., and the Princeton screening tomorrow at 7 p.m. Full details below the YouTubes.
When: Monday, Nov. 14 @ 9:10pm
Where: Rutgers Univ., Loree Hall, Room 20 (72 Lipman Drive) – parking available in Douglass Deck
It seems every day in December is a big day for legislatures as they work to finish up business for the year. Here’s the significant news of the day from New Jersey’s Members of Congress.
A minority of Republican senators blocked the Defense Authorization Act. Senator Lautenberg tells it like it is:
“Senate Republicans refuse to even begin debating a repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. The other side has run out of excuses. Eliminating ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is the right thing to do and would ensure that our military policy reflects the values of our nation.
“The fact that Republican Senators are willing to hold up a bill that provides vital resources to our troops and ends discrimination in our military is deplorable. I will continue working to pass a Defense Authorization bill that provides our military with the equipment and services they need while also bringing an end to discrimination within the ranks.”
Of course, Democrats letting Republicans takes “hostages” will go on as long as our Senators and our President let them. Why did they add DADT to the bill if they give up anyway? What was the point?
More below on the Anthrax investigation, water supplies for the Delaware River Basin, 9/11 Responders, and Iran.
New Jersey utility regulators approved the largest reduction in natural gas prices in state history Wednesday.
The state Board of Public Utilities voted unanimously to share the savings from lower wholesale rates with retail consumers. The lower prices are effective immediately and are expected save the typical household $262 to $477 a year — a reduction of 23 percent to 37 percent.
It’s a pretty significant cut that people should notice in their wallet:
A typical New Jersey home that uses 1,000 therms of natural gas — a standard measure of heat — paid between $1,671 and $1,743 last year.
PSE&G, the state’s largest utility, will charge 89 cents a therm as a result of Wednesday’s vote, compared with $1.19 in October. That translates into a $262 annual savings for a typical home.
South Jersey Gas Co. customers are expected to save $325.
“This is the biggest rate reduction for natural gas in New Jersey history,” said Jerry May, director of the Division of Energy at the state Board of Public Utilities.
If things stay the way they are, we can expect a cut in electricity rates for next year because of the lower cost for utilities to generate the electricity.