Archive for the ‘Oil Companies’ Category

I’ve written on this blog before about fracking. Fracking is the high pressure injection of water contaminated with a toxic (and secret) blend of “fracking chemicals” under the ground to break apart the bedrock and release natural gas where we can collect (some of) it. Because of our unique (absurd) relationship with property ownership, one can own ones land but not the gasses and  minerals underneath it. Gas companies have been gobbling up drilling permits all across the country. As oil prices have risen, the phrase “America is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas!” has become a mantra.

There are lots of environmental reasons to be opposed to fracking, but here is one more.

Ohio ended 2011 with a magnitude 4.0 earthquake on New Year’s Eve, the second quake to strike the area within a week and the 11th of the year. That earthquake, the most recent and the strongest, was traced back to the fluid injection wells at a fracking site in Youngstown, Ohio. Indeed, all 11 earthquakes occurred “within two miles of the injection wells.”

Now, state officials are shutting down the injection wells and letting the waste fluids that were injected to “bubble back to the surface in an effort to relieve underground pressure.” The original injection pressure will force the brine waste water back out of the well into storage tanks, which should “help stop the ground from shaking.”

Read the rest of the article on Think Progress.

Ohio was in the process of debating opening up the state’s parks to fracking and hopefully this will help prohibit that. If fracking were able to save us from the impending energy crisis, there might be a stronger justification for continuing it despite the outrageous environmental degradation. The truth is that fracking will not save us. Natural gas is also a limited resource with consequences for global climate change. Fracking is a way for oil and gas companies to squeeze more monetary value out of the earth in the short term without paving the way for energy sustainability or environmental health in the long run.

And apparently it can cause earthquakes.

Picture from the AP: Anti-fracking demonstrators at a recent protest in Youngstown, Ohio.


For most of my adult life I haven’t owned a TV. I don’t play video games unless I’m on vacation at my brother and sister-in-law’s and I get most of the media I need from the Internet, renting the occasional DVD, and bumming off someone else’s TV in a pinch. Then, last year when I was a live-in nanny in Massachusetts,  I had a TV in my room. With cable. After about a week of quietly and awkwardly sharing the space, I got bold and turned it on. And loved it. I hated it a little, too, I guess (Jersey Shore made me feel depressed), but it was mostly a great time. Top Chef Masters!

One thing I was really surprised to learn that I had missed out on during my break from TV was the greening of the oil companies’ images. I was surprised to hear, for example, all the happy reports from Gulf residents who found that BP had kept all of its promises after the massive spill and left the Gulf Coast better than ever.

Or that Exxon Mobile has done so much for green energy research.

This one was especially hard to handle, given the film “Gasland” and so many independent reports of water contamination due to fracking.

From Bloomberg News this past July:

July 30 (Bloomberg) — Exxon Mobil Corp., the biggest U.S. oil producer, spent more on Washington lobbying during the first half of the year than all clean-energy companies combined, researcher New Energy Finance Ltd. said.

Exxon Mobil, based in Irving, Texas, spent $14.9 million lobbying in the six months, 23 percent more than the $12.1 million laid out by companies that make solar panels or wind turbines to generate electricity, London-based New Energy Finance said today in a note to clients. Oil and gas companies spent a total of $82.2 million on Washington lobbyists, according to the report.

Congress is debating legislation that would promote renewable power, limit carbon dioxide emissions caused by the burning of fossil fuels, and expand drilling for oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico. President Barack Obama signed a law earlier this year that allocates more than $60 billion to promote clean energy.

Read the rest of the article here. The most recent clean energy expenditures I could find for Exxon Mobile were from 2008. They totaled 1% of the company’s budget.

These commercials are the contemporary, highly polished version of the 1950’s doctors trying to get us to smoke Camels.

Except their product is killing everything, not just lungs and people.