Friday, December 19, 2014

New York Bans Fracking. What About Pennsylvania?

Two points here that need to be understood and taken seriously in PA:

1) "Wolf’s spokesman Jeff Sheridan says the incoming governor continues to oppose a ban on fracking." 
Meaning he is committed to allow fracking to continue in PA.
2) “Governor-elect Wolf will work to strengthen the rules governing drilling, increase enforcement of the rules, hire more inspectors, and create a health registry to monitor health issues,” he wrote in an email."
*In other words, Wolf will allow PA residents to be used as 'lab rats and guinea pigs' as Wolf 'monitors' the already well documented health impacts in PA and other states. That is like saying, there is an acceptable number of people who will become seriously, chronically ill, and may even die, that is fair exchange for the tax revenue fracking may generate for the state. I submit that Wolf can not possibly "strengthen the rules governing drilling" when there is no regulatory model that exists anywhere that demonstrates that it can be regulated safely, and as history has taught us that whenever a state becomes dependent on an activity for tax revenue, enforcement becomes more lax in order to encourage more of that activity to generate more tax revenue. PA residents and activists need to wake-up and realize that their "seat at Wolf's negotiating table" is meaningless. At best it will result in more empty, feel-good, and toothless regulatory language intended to quell the growing resistance to unconventional oil and gas extraction and allowing it to continue as Wolf "monitors health issues" as more people, including our children, become seriously ill, and die.
*It's important to remember that Tom Wolf accepted $273,000 in direct "campaign contributions" from the oil and gas industry, and currently sits on the board of, and is a major shareholder in the IREX Corporation, a construction company that stands to profit by building the Keystone XL Pipeline, as does Tom Wolf personally. 
Wolf's *severance tax will not cost the oil and gas industry one dime as it will ultimately be passed on to the consumers in rate increases. What it will do is create a "cash cow" for the state to milk and become dependent upon as a source of revenue for "other programs" and essentially institutionalize unconventional oil and gas exploration, extraction, and development. Keep in mind, Wolf is first and foremost a "businessman", and as such, will do what he believes is necessary to generate more tax dollars. In order to accomplish that, we will soon see more regulations "on paper" and enforcement become even more lax than it already is. 

(*The Act 13 impact fees were not allowed by law to be passed on to the consumers and had to be absorbed by the industry, and would have expired over time. This rule does not apply to any severance tax which is in place forever.)
The ONLY way to stop this industry from advancing and expanding in PA is for the people to begin adopting "home rule charters" ASAP that will render weak and corrupt township supervisors powerless so communities can enact Community Rights based ordinances that will by-pass the ineffective regulatory agencies like the *DEP, the **EPA, and ***FERC making them irrelevant. 
(*The PA/DEP is funded by the PA Department of Oil and Gas whose operating revenue is generated from "permit fees" for oil, gas, and coal extraction. **The EPA is funded by congress, and congress is now funded by the energy industry lobbyists. ***FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is NOT a true federal agency since they receive $0 in congressional funding, and 100% of their funding from the oil, gas, and coal industry, the very industry whose activities they are commissioned to "regulate"!
I would also like to point out that the job of "regulatory" agencies is to issue permits that will allow a measured destruction of the environment by simply attempting to control "the rate of damage", without controlling "the amount of damage" in order to allow destructive industrial activities to continue. 
It's the classic example of the "fox guarding the hen house", which is exactly how it is meant to be. The regulatory system has been designed to keep concerned citizens trapped inside the "regulatory box", navigating the rules that in most cases were written by the industry, implemented by agencies funded by the industry, and supported by politicians who are either deeply invested in, and/or stand to profit personally from the industry's continued expansion (like Tom Wolf), or reliant on "campaign funding" from the industry to get elected/re-elected (like Tom Corbett) and/or the corrupt pro-industry shills in both parties in the house and the senate whose "campaigns" were funded by the oil and gas industry.