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Wednesday, October 24, 2012



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(NOTE: Unless you read the first part of this series, FRACKING INSANE, you will miss background information that is essential for a complete understanding on this subject. There are so many facets, the deeper we got, the deeper it gets.  Though we may refer to some of this information, we will not repeat it in this or subsequent parts of this series, so we recommend you first read it, and if possible, parts two (RADON IN THE PIPELINES) and three (OIL BOOM).

Yes, there is an 800 pound Gorilla in the Room, but no one dare mention it. It’s sitting right there next to you, taking up half the room. If you pay attention, you can almost smell it.  But never is it acknowledged. Certainly, you’ll never hear the word mentioned, not even the euphemistic proper name “Hydraulic Fracturing”, let alone the contraction “Hydro-fracturing”, or, Heaven forbid, the inelegant word, “Fracking”.
We’re referring to the ceaseless stream of television advertisements extolling the virtues of Natural Gas, and the political speeches and ads, as they’re all jumping on the Energy bandwagon. Even though, that’s what they’re here to talk about, even though they’re spending millions of dollars to run these ads to promote and protect this very process, they dare not mention the name, because the word has negative connotations, and this is all part of an elaborate public relations campaign with the goal of winning the hearts and minds of the American people. If they can avoid any words or images with negative connotations and replace them with positive words and images like “jobs” and “economic recovery” and ”energy independence”  and  “new technology”, their campaign will be that much more effective. Public Relations is a science, and the people orchestrating these ads and these speeches are masters.

They know “Fracking” has negative connotations, though they dispute our findings that this rap is well justified. They’re aware that many people in this country unbelievably still have no idea what it is, and that they can depend on the support of lots of people and their neighbors and families who are benefitting from it directly or indirectly through jobs or investments or gas and oil leases, and  the support of people who they’ve been able to convince through their propaganda that the nation’s economic recovery depends on Fracking, But they also  know that there are enough people out there who know enough about it  to fear Fracking and what it could do to their family’s health and to the environment. So if the PR people and politicians can get their message across without ever mentioning the dirty word by name, without ever bringing it up for discussion, they feel they’re that far ahead of the game.

If you ever watch television at all, you’ve seen these ads, one after the other, ad nauseum, about how Natural Gas is better than Coal, about it being “Clean Energy”, about jobs, etc. The pastoral scenes they paint of nature and babies and happy, healthy people are just beautiful. Unless you pay close attention, you won’t even notice what they’re promoting, which is a “100 year supply”, and “new methods of extraction”, but you never even get to see (or hear the name of) what it is they’re talking about. The advertisers are subliminally winning over Americans in these apparently benign ads without them even being aware of it.

In a New York Times article dated  September 13 2012, entitled Fossil Fuel Industry Ads Dominate TV Campaign, we find, ">With nearly two months before Election Day on Nov. 6, estimated spending on television ads promoting coal and more oil and gas drilling or criticizing clean energy has exceeded $153 million this year, according to an analysis by The New York Times of 138 ads on energy issues broadcast this year by the presidential campaigns, political parties, energy companies, trade associations and third-party spenders.”

Besides the direct advertising budgets of the political campaigns and parties, one of the largest advertisers spending over $37 million is the American Petroleum Institute (API), funded by Big Oil, with their “I’m an energy voter” campaign. Though they try in these, and in many other of these ads, to give the appearance of nonpartisanship, they are clearly echoing Romney’s positions, including resistance to strengthening environmental regulations, and their desire to maintain federal subsidies for Big Oil, and to eliminate federal subsidies for wind and solar. Other advertisers who paid for most of those 138 ads include, the American Energy Alliance, Crossroads GPS, and Americans for Prosperity (this one is funded by the oil billionaire Koch brothers whose stated goal is to defeat President Obama), all masquerading as non-profit grassroots citizen groups, as well as Shell Oil, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Range Resources, Chesapeake Energy, Amerigas, etc., etc. And in none of these ads do they mention the dirty word. In addition to the $153 million spent on advertising, Oil, Gas, and Coal executives and their groups have donated $13 million to Romney’s campaign, while giving less than a million to reelect the President.

Also from the Times article, “The lopsided nature of the energy messages this year (where the pro-fossil fuel ad spending outweighs the clean energy ad spending - $153million to $41 million – almost 4 to1) contrasts sharply with 2008. Back then, global warming was genuinely a top public concern, and green ads greatly outnumbered those for fossil fuels, $152 million to $109 million, according to the analysis by The Times, which looked at 184 energy-related ads. In 2008, Chevron, one of the nation’s leading oil companies, trumpeted its investments in geothermal power, and Mr. McCain spent millions of dollars on ads featuring solar panels and wind farms as part of a solution to global warming.”

In stark contrast, during the current election cycle, we find Mr. Romney joking to everyone’s delight during his major acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention that “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet,” provoking universal laughter and applause. To Romney and his party, especially to the Tea Party members, the subjects four years later of Climate Change and Global Warming are now nothing more than a big joke.  And to further their bullying of Green Energy, and in an effort to cease federal subsidies for Green Energy businesses, they constantly bring up Solyndra, a new technology solar panel manufacturer that had defaulted on a $535 million federal loan after having gone bankrupt and closing in 2011. (Romney actually visited an empty Solyndra plant in mid-2012 to highlight the apparent folly of the government supporting renewable energy, which he intends to stop, never mind the federal subsidies to Big Oil, that he plans to continue. But it’s also interesting that these federal loan guarantees were originally provided for by Title 1705 of the Republican Bush/Cheney’s Energy Act of 2005, a law that also set up and allowed the unrestrained growth of Fracking. - See part one of this series, FRACKING INSANE)

Courtesy of Google Images

Many of the 138 ads analyzed by the New York Times are attack ads, characterizing President Obama as the “anti-energy president” or criticizing his ”war on coal”, which are ludicrous charges, as environmentalists have found Obama’s energy strategy to be virtually indistinguishable from his predecessor, George W. Bush. People with environmental concerns have been outraged by the President’s cooperation with the fossil fuel industry. In the President’s “all of the above” energy strategy, he has championed the unmitigated growth of Fracking for Gas and Oil, he has rescinded the short term moratorium on Deep Water Drilling (that he imposed in 2010 after the BP Gulf Oil Spill – see CLEAN UP OR COVER UP?), and he has opened up new areas for drilling offshore and onshore, including on Federal and Native American lands. As far as his “war on coal”, the greatest threat to Coal is not Obama and it’s not the EPA (though it’s been well known since the beginning of the Industrial Age that the burning of Coal pollutes), the greatest threat to Coal is Fracking for Natural Gas. Fracking has created such an oversupply of Natural Gas that it has lowered the price of Gas to a point where it’s more economical per kilowatt-hour of Electricity to convert their equipment from burning Coal. But as bad as we find Obama’s energy policy, Romney’s strategy would be worse. Take a look at this article from Forbes featuring an event on October 5, 2012, held by MIT’s (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Energy Club, where key Republican and Democratic campaign strategists debated energy policy. Rolling Stone Magazine recently published a very comprehensive article entitled, Mitt Romney’s Disastrous Energy Plan, which is also very telling.

During the second of the three major Presidential Debates on October 16, 2012, the candidates spent a little over 11 minutes discussing Energy issues, and though there was heated debate about certain details like Romney’s assertions that the President had impeded drilling on public land and that the President had been unfriendly to Coal, they basically tried to outdo each other like high school cheerleaders, insofar as their dedication to the pursuit of fossil fuels through Fracking for Gas and Oil. (See part three – OIL BOOM)

After the second Presidential Debate, the moderator Candy Crowley of CNN, was asked why the issue of Climate Change had not been touched. Her answer was that a question had been prepared, but they had simply run out of time. Obviously it had not been a priority for either of the candidates, or it would have been mentioned, whether or not there had been a question. In a post-debate analysis, Chris Hayes of MSNBC likened the omission of Climate Change in the Debate to a discussion on smoking without ever mentioning cancer.

We’ve included a transcript of the Energy portion of this debate at the bottom of this post to illustrate how Fracking was the 800 Pound Gorilla in the Room, yet the dirty word never appears in the transcript. We even considered highlighting every sentence of both candidates that related to Fracking, but decided not to print most of the transcript yellow. But when you read it, please read it through this lens. We’ve also included a portion of the transcript of the President’s 2012 State of the Union Address as it relates to energy policy for you to read through this same lens. In it he heralds a 100 year supply of Natural Gas, and in retrospect, he may have been alluding to the Oil Boom, though none of us was aware of it at that time. We encourage you to read between the lines in this same way when hearing or reading other political speeches, and when viewing the television ads.

Woodstock Earth Blog is encouraging all who can to vote in the upcoming US elections. We strongly endorse President Barack Obama as a vote against Mitt Romney on a host of issues including Environment, Taxation, Medicare, Women’s Rights, Gay Rights, Supreme Court, Education, as well as Energy.

We were thinking of including some video with examples of this year’s $153 million worth of pro-fossil fuel ads, but we couldn’t stomach putting this garbage in our blog. On a more positive note, we decided to include a new very well produced 6 minute video directed by Josh Fox (director of Gasland and The Sky is Pink) featuring Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow, and their son, Sean Lennon, and talking about what Fracking has done to Pennsylvania and about a new website they started called They’ve successfully enrolled lots of actors, musicians and artists for the cause.

As always, we encourage you to do your own research and to draw your own conclusions. We’d love to get some feedback from our readers. Our email address is Also we’d like to thank our readers in Russia and the UK, (Germany is third now, but still running strong), our biggest audience so far outside the US, as we would all of our US and international readers. For the sake of our people, our families, and Mother Earth, we encourage all of you, as charter members of Woodstock Earth, to spread the word and help get these stories out.

Yoko Ono and Artists AgainstFracking Find Out What
Fracking has Done to Pennsylvania

Transcript of Energy Portion of Presidential Debate – October 16, 2012 

MS. CROWLEY: I — OK. We’ll — you certainly will have lots of time here coming up. I — because I want to move you on to something that — sort of connected to cars here, and go over — and we want to get a question from Philip Tricolla.
Q: Your energy secretary, Steven Chu, has now been on record three times stating it’s not policy of his department to help lower gas prices. Do you agree with Secretary Chu that this is not the job of the Energy Department?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: The most important thing we can do is to make sure we control our own energy.
So here’s what I’ve done since I’ve been president. We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years. Natural gas production is the highest it’s been in decades. We have seen increases in coal production and coal employment.
But what I’ve also said is we can’t just produce traditional sources of energy; we’ve also got to look to the future. That’s why we doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars. That means that in the middle of the next decade, any car you buy, you’re going to end up going twice as far on a gallon of gas. That’s why we’ve doubled clean energy production like wind and solar and biofuels. And all these things have contributed to us lowering our oil imports to the lowest levels in 16 years.
Now, I want to build on that. And that means, yes, we still continue to open up new areas for drilling. We continue to make a — it a priority for us to go after natural gas. We’ve got potentially 600,000 jobs and a hundred years’ worth of energy right beneath our feet with natural gas. And we can do it in an environmentally sound way. But we’ve also got to continue to figure out how we have efficient energy, because ultimately that’s how we’re going to reduce demand, and that’s what’s going to keep gas prices lower.
Now, Governor Romney will say he’s got an all-of-the-above plan, but basically his plan is to let the oil companies write the energy policies. So he’s got the oil and gas part, but he doesn’t have the clean energy part. And if we are only thinking about tomorrow or the next day and not thinking about 10 years from now, we’re not going to control our own economic future, because China, Germany — they’re making these investments. And I’m not going to cede those jobs of the future to those countries. I expect those new energy sources to be built right here in the United States.
So that’s going to help Jeremy get a job, it’s also going to make sure that you’re not paying as much for gas.
MS. CROWLEY: Governor, on the subject of gas prices.
MR. ROMNEY: Well, let’s look at the president’s policies, all right, as opposed to the rhetoric, because we’ve had four years of policies being played out. And the president’s right in terms of the additional oil production, but none of it came on federal land. As a matter of fact, oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production is down 9 percent. Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands and in federal waters. So where’d the increase come from? Well, a lot of it came from the Bakken Range in North Dakota. What was his participation there? The administration brought a criminal action against the people drilling up there for oil, this massive new resource we have. And what was the cost? Twenty or 25 birds were killed, and they brought out a migratory bird act to go after them on a criminal basis.
Look, I want to make sure we use our oil, our coal, our gas, our nuclear, our renewables. I believe very much in our renewable capabilities — ethanol, wind, solar will be an important part of our energy mix. But what we don’t need is to have the president keeping us from taking advantage of oil, coal and gas. This has not been Mr. Oil or Mr. Gas or Mr. Coal. Talk to the people that are working in those industries. I was in coal country. People grabbed my arms and say, please, save my job. The head of the EPA said, you can’t build a coal plant. You’ll virtually — it’s virtually impossible, given our regulations. When the president ran for office, he said, if you build a coal plant, you can go ahead, but you’ll go bankrupt. That’s not the right course for America. Let’s take advantage of the energy resources we have, as well as the energy sources for the future. And if we do that, if we do what I am planning on doing, which is getting us energy-independent, North American energy independence within eight years, you’re going to see manufacturing come back jobs because our energy is low-cost.
They’re already beginning to come back because of our abundant energy.
I’ll get America and North America energy-independent. I’ll do it by more drilling, more permits and licenses. We’re going to bring that pipeline in from Canada. How in the world the president said no to that pipeline, I will never know. This is about bringing good jobs back for the middle class of America, and that’s what I’m going to do.
MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President, let me just see if I can move you to the gist of this question, which is are we looking at the new normal? I can tell you that tomorrow morning, a lot of people in Hempstead will wake up and fill up, and they will find that the price of gas is over $4 a gallon. Is it within the purview of the government to bring those prices down, or are we looking at the new normal?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Candy, there’s no doubt that world demand’s gone up. But our production is going up, and we’re using oil more efficiently.
And very little of what Governor Romney just said is true. We’ve opened up public lands. We’re actually drilling more on public lands than in the previous administration. And my — the previous president was an oilman. And natural gas isn’t just appearing magically; we’re encouraging it and working with the industry.
And when I hear Governor Romney say he’s a big coal guy — and keep in mind when — Governor, when you were governor of Massachusetts, you stood in front of a coal plant and pointed at it and said, this plant kills, and took great pride in shutting it down. And now suddenly you’re a big champion of coal.
So what I’ve tried to do is be consistent. With respect to something like coal, we made the largest investment in clean coal technology to make sure that even as we’re producing more coal, we’re producing it cleaner and smarter. Same thing with oil; same thing with natural gas.
And the proof is our oil imports are down to the lowest levels in 20 years, oil production is up, natural gas production is up, and most importantly, we’re also starting to build cars that are more efficient.
And that’s creating jobs. That means those cars can be exported, because that’s the demand around the world. And it also means that it’ll save money in your pocketbook. That’s the strategy you need, an all-of-the-above strategy, and that’s what we’re going to do in the next four years.
MR. ROMNEY: But that’s not what you done in the last four years. That’s the problem.
MR. ROMNEY: In the last four years, you cut permits and licenses on federal land and federal waters in half.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Not true, Governor Romney.
MR. ROMNEY: So how much did you cut them by?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: It’s not true.
MR. ROMNEY: By how much did you cut them by, then?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Governor, we have actually produced more oil on —
MR. ROMNEY: No, no, how much did you cut licenses and permits on federal land and federal waters?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Governor Romney, here’s what we did. There were a whole bunch of oil companies —
MR. ROMNEY: No, I had a — I had a — I had a question —
PRESIDENT OBAMA: No, you — no, you — you — you want —
MR. ROMNEY: — and the question was how much did you cut them by?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: — you want me to answer a question, I’m —
MR. ROMNEY: How much did you cut them by?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: — I’m happy to answer the question.
MR. ROMNEY: All right, and it is?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Here’s what happened. You had a whole bunch of oil companies who had leases on public lands that they weren’t using. So what we said was, you can’t just sit on this for 10, 20, 30 years, decide when you want to drill, when you want to produce, when it’s most profitable for you. These are public lands. So if you want to drill on public lands, you use it or you lose it.
MR. ROMNEY: OK — (inaudible) —
PRESIDENT OBAMA: And so what we did was take away —
MR. ROMNEY: That’s —
PRESIDENT OBAMA: — those leases, and we are now reletting them so that we can actually make a profit.
MR. ROMNEY: And — and — and production on private — on government lands is down.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: And the production is up. No it isn’t.
MR. ROMNEY: Production on government land of oil is down 14 percent.
MR. ROMNEY: And production of gas is down 9 percent.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: What you’re saying is just not true. It’s just not true.
MR. ROMNEY: I — it’s absolutely true. Look, there’s no question but that the people recognize that we have not produced more oil —
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’ll give you your time. Go ahead.
MR. ROMNEY: — and gas on federal lands and in federal waters. And coal — coal production is not up, coal jobs are not up. I was just at a coal facility where some 1,200 people lost their jobs. The right course for America is to have a true all-of-the-above policy. I don’t think anyone really believes that you’re a person who’s going to be pushing for oil and gas and coal.
You’ll get your chance in a moment. I’m still speaking.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, Governor, if — if you’re asking me a question, I’m going to answer it.
MR. ROMNEY: My — and the answer is I don’t believe people think that’s the case, because I — I’m — that wasn’t a question.
MR. ROMNEY: That was a statement. I don’t think — (chuckles) — the American people believe that. I will fight for oil, coal and natural gas. And the proof — the proof of whether a strategy is working or not is what the price is that you’re paying at the pump. If you’re paying less than you paid a year or two ago, why, then the strategy is working. But you’re paying more. When the president took office, the price of gasoline here in Nassau County was about a buck eighty-six a gallon. Now it’s four bucks a gallon. Price of electricity is up.
If the president’s energy policies are working, you’re going to see the cost of energy come down. I will fight to create more energy in this country to get America energy-secure. And part of that is bringing in a pipeline of oil from Canada, taking advantage of the oil and coal we have here, drilling offshore in Alaska, drilling offshore in Virginia where the people want it.
MS. CROWLEY: Let me —
MR. ROMNEY: Those things will get us the energy we need.
MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President, could you address — because we did finally get to gas prices here — could you address what the governor said, which is: If your energy policy was working, the price of gasoline would not be $4 a gallon here. Is that true?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, think about what the governor — think about what the governor just said. He said when I took office, the price of gasoline was 1.80 (dollars), 1.86 (dollars). Why is that? Because the economy was on the verge of collapse; because we were about to go through the worst recession since the Great Depression as a consequence of some of the same policies that Governor Romney is now promoting. So it’s conceivable that Governor Romney could bring down gas prices, because with his policies we might be back in that same mess. (Audience murmurs.)
What I want to do is to create an economy that is strong and at the same time produce energy. And with respect to this pipeline that Governor Romney keeps on talking about, we’ve — we’ve built enough pipeline to wrap around the entire Earth once. So I’m all for pipelines; I’m all for oil production.
What I’m not for is us ignoring the other half of the quotation. So for example, on wind energy, when Governor Romney says these are imaginary jobs, when you’ve got thousands of people right now in Iowa, right now in Colorado who are working, creating wind power, with good- paying manufacturing jobs, and the Republican senator in that — in Iowa is all for it, providing tax credits to help this work and Governor Romney says, I’m opposed, I’d get rid of it, that’s not an energy strategy for the future. And we need to win that future, and I intend to win it as president of the United States.
MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President, I got to — I got to move you along. And the next a question is for you —
MR. ROMNEY: No, he — he gets the first — he actually got — he actually got the first question. So I get the last question — last answer on that one.
MS. CROWLEY: If — actually, in the follow-up. It doesn’t quite work like that.
MR. ROMNEY: Actually —
MS. CROWLEY: But I’m going to give you a chance here. (Laughter.) I promise you I’m going to.
And the next question is for you, so if you want to, you know, continue on, but I don’t want to leave all these guys sitting here and — because —
MR. ROMNEY: Candy, Candy, Candy, I don’t have a policy of — of stopping wind jobs in Iowa and that — they’re not phantom jobs. They’re real jobs.
MR. ROMNEY: I appreciate wind jobs in Iowa and across our country. I appreciate the jobs in coal and oil and gas. I’m going to make sure —
MS. CROWLEY: So you’re — OK. Thank you, Governor.
MR. ROMNEY: — that taking advantage of our energy resources will bring back manufacturing to America. We’re going to get through a very aggressive energy policy, 3.5 million more jobs in this country.
MS. CROWLEY: We’re going to move you along to taxes —
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’m used — I’m used to being interrupted. You know, the —
MS. CROWLEY: (Chuckles.) We’re going to move you both along to taxes over here and all these folks that have been waiting.

Transcript of Energy Portion of President Obama’s State of the Union Address January 2012

Nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy. Over the last three years, we've opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I'm directing my Administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources. Right now, American oil production is the highest that it's been in eight years. That's right - eight years. Not only that - last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past sixteen years.
But with only 2 percent of the world's oil reserves, oil isn't enough. This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy - a strategy that's cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.
We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly one hundred years, and my Administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. And I'm requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use. America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.
The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don't have to choose between our environment and our economy. And by the way, it was public research dollars, over the course of thirty years, that helped develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock - reminding us that Government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground.
What's true for natural gas is true for clean energy. In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world's leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries. Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled. And thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.
When Bryan Ritterby was laid off from his job making furniture, he said he worried that at 55, no one would give him a second chance. But he found work at Energetx, a wind turbine manufacturer in Michigan. Before the recession, the factory only made luxury yachts. Today, it's hiring workers like Bryan, who said, "I'm proud to be working in the industry of the future."
Our experience with shale gas shows us that the payoffs on these public investments don't always come right away. Some technologies don't pan out; some companies fail. But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy. I will not walk away from workers like Bryan. I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here. We have subsidized oil companies for a century. That's long enough. It's time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that's rarely been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that's never been more promising. Pass clean energy tax credits and create these jobs.
We can also spur energy innovation with new incentives. The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change. But there's no reason why Congress shouldn't at least set a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation. So far, you haven't acted. Well tonight, I will. I'm directing my Administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power three million homes. And I'm proud to announce that the Department of Defense, the world's largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history - with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.
Of course, the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy. So here's another proposal: Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings. Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, and more jobs for construction workers who need them. Send me a bill that creates these jobs.
Building this new energy future should be just one part of a broader agenda to repair America's infrastructure. So much of America needs to be rebuilt. We've got crumbling roads and bridges. A power grid that wastes too much energy. An incomplete high-speed broadband network that prevents a small business owner in rural America from selling her products all over the world.

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