Friday, February 15, 2013

My thoughts on the Yoko Ono and Group Gas Tour

Yoko Ono and Group Gas Tour -- 1-17-13
 
 
Please let me first say that I applaud and support all efforts to educate and raise awareness about the horrors of gas drilling. As you know, my heart goes out to the Mannings, as it does to every human being that has been, and continues to be sacrificed and abused by this industry everywhere.

That being said, with the widespread release and distribution of documentaries like Gasland, Split Estate, Triple Divide, the commercial release of Promised Land, and the hundreds of videos on Youtube and on social networks, it's hard to imagine that most people are not aware of the damage, devastation, and lives that have been ruined.

What I do not understand is why more is not being done to help these people. Instead, the focus now seems to be on saving NY by allowing the affected families to be used as the "poster children" for what can go wrong. It's important that their heartbreaking stories are heard, but what I think is more important is that something be done to actually help them.

Artists Against Fracking has the financial power, and the celebrity clout to do that, at least to some measurable degree, but it seems narrowly focused on delivering these stories to Gov. Cuomo with the hope of saving NY. It seems that many Pennsylvanians who are living in the 'sacrifice zones' have given up on PA themselves and are also directing their energy to save NY. That's something I do not, and will never understand. Don't we all live downstream?

Dimock and Susquehanna County have been called "ground zero" for the fracking nightmare. That is largely because of Gasland. I get that, that's okay, and it's not a bad thing. But it's just as important for people to realize that there are people in other parts of NEPA, Central PA, SWPA, and in 34 states in the US that have been, and continue to be affected equally as much.

As pointed out in this video , PA is only 25% into this industrialization. That means that there is still 75% that has not, and in my mind, that is worth saving just as much as NY is and deserves the same amount of commitment.

I don't see NYer's flocking to Harrisburg, or standing with us in our fight to protect our land, our environment, and our way of life. Yet I see many Pennsylvanians standing with NYer's in Albany. The same Pennsylvanians who don't show up in Harrisburg to try to protect PA. It's as if some Pennsylvanians have already written off this state, and by doing that, they've written off the people in PA as well. That boggles my mind.

I have to say this, and maybe you're aware of this, or maybe you're not, but a lot of the people on the "List of the Harmed", and who have been the subjects of youtube videos, and organization presentations have candidly admitted they're beginning to feel somewhat used by some of the 501c3 grassroots organizations to boost their fund raising and by some independent film makers.

Cuomo, like Corbett, is going to do what is in their interest politically and financially. All the horror stories in the world are not going to inspire them to have a change of heart. If we haven't figured it out yet, they simply could not care less about the people living in harms way, or the environment. They care about what flows their way from the bottomless deep pockets of their industry handlers.

If we are going to save anyone, or any place from this industry, it's going to take huge numbers of people, crossing county lines, state lines, and cultural lines to take to the street in non-violent civil disobedience, slowing the industry down and costing them money. That will get the attention of the main stream media, and political powers that be. It would do more to raise public awareness and inspire others to stand up than all the 'celebrity tours' that get mentioned as a footnote on the local TV news, followed by the obligatory mentioning of the 'positive economic benefits, local jobs, and "clean burning" energy independence'

I have traveled to Dimock, Clearfield, Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Bradford County, Tioga County, Lycoming County, Luzerne County, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, NY, Ohio, Maryland, and DC to support the efforts of others and stand with those who have been abused, even when there were no cameras turned on. I have met with, and spoken to the French, the Australians, the British, the Irish, the Canadians, and the Germans. My motivation for doing any of that was not only to educate, but to gain support for the people in need.

Now, I'm wondering... at what point are we going to rise up and do something to help ourselves? If Artists Against Fracking really wants to help the people in PA, then maybe they should consider doing something real and immediate like a concert tour in the areas across PA that have been affected to raise money for those people to get water, medical attention, paes, or to provide shelter for those who really need to leave their homes now.

Something along the lines of Farm Aid. That would get massive media attention, inspire public outcry, and might actually humiliate our elected officials into doing something proactive to slow down, or perhaps even stop the wholesale destruction of rural America long enough to hurt the industry financially and make it economically impractical for them

With all due respect, this celebrity tour of Gasland-Susquehanna, although I'm sure it was done with the best intentions, does nothing for the people in PA. It may help the people in NY, but I doubt it.
 
The reality is, New York has not started to drill yet for economic reasons.
1- The supply greatly outweighs the demand 
2 - The pipeline infrastructure is not fully in place to move the gas to market
3 - There aren't sufficient storage facilities to store the gas
4 - The price is too low -for all the above reasons- it doesn't justify more drilling
 
In the meantime, Gov Cuomo is posturing to the environmental groups. He will cave, and claim 'he tried'.
 
Once all things are in place and the industry creates an increased demand, it's game over for NY. The oil and gas industry does not recognize state lines. They see only shale plays, and if they weren't completely sure that in time they will 'get it all', they won't do it.
 
The best way to save NY is to stop this industry in PA, OH, and W.VA. The industrial powers that be are not going to 'go around' NY.
 
As for the news coverage, it got mentioned, and was immediately 'balanced' by the industry's tired talking points about the "positive economic benifits, local jobs, clean energy, and energy independence". This dangerous and destructive practice of HVSW hydraulic fracturing has to be stopped nationwide, not just in NY. It is just as important to save what is left of Pennsylvania, W. Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Colorado because to the people who live there, that's all they have.

It seemed that AAF came to PA only to learn on how they might save NY, without offering [at least not publicly] what they intend to do to try and help the people in PA. I'm a bit offended by that, and so are a lot of others.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. I hope you take them in a constructive light.

7 comments:

  1. You have touched upon some of the very issues that have been keeping me awake lately. I'm glad you have not given up on PA.

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    1. I've seen these jobs. Low paying, transient, high risk, and not family friendly in the least. I know many who have taken these jobs and quit either because of horrific working conditions, moral conflicts, impossible hours, or having to be away from home infinitely. Renewable energy would create more jobs than O&G ever would, better pay, better working conditions, more family oriented, and more sustainable. PA was 27th in job growth prior to the gas industry's arrival. Now, six years later, we're 49th in job growth. And, even if the job numbers were, which they're not, it's still not worth the trade off to our way of life and our families health and safety. That would make as much sense as pimping off the kids to get the money to pay the rent so they have a roof over their head.

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