Springville pipeline 12

(Picture courtesy of arimoore’s photostream, flickr.com.)

The push being made to bring about massive fracking projects throughout national treasures like George Washington National Forest is taking advantage of the influx of the ignorant into positions of power. While those lacking knowledge of any need to protect the environment, and the economy, hold sway, the forces of destruction are making as big inroads as possible into any measures that protect the public.

Last week’s hearing on drilling in the forest area of Virginia that took the first president’s revered name was a festering example of those means. Beginning with an address from Chairman Lamborn of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Agriculture Committee, the putsch from the right claimed a study from the Bureau of Land Management as authority to declare fracking free of any threat to natural resources. Of course, BLM representative and panelist Abbey tried to point out that the study was 30 years out of date, but right wing committee members continued to insist that its findings were the final authority, and prove fracking is safe and incident free.

Right wingers thanked Abbey – who actually told them that under proper supervision, BLM has leased and kept close watch, and no accidents have occurred – by insisting he had told them that it was a universally safe practice. Other claims by those of the right obfuscated the facts by using the total depth of vertical wells drilled to enable horizontal hydrofracking – which level can reach down more than 5,000 feet – to ‘prove’ that the wells are much too far down to affect ground water. Of course, they ignore the simple facts that the horizontal drilling and injection of fuels occurs throughout the depth and can happen anywhere along the drill, be it at 100 or 1000 or 5000 feet.

Louisiana Rep. Fleming used his question period to hammer out that no deaths have occurred under BLM management as if it finally proved the lack of hazards involved in fracking rather than careful supervision. He also insisted that recent New York Times articles about the hazards of fracking in the Catskills show that NYT knows nothing about the process. Altogether too much sanity was brought up by Forest Service panelist Hyzen who used simple facts, that the leases that exist in this area of the Marcellus Field have produced not one producing well.

There is increasing evidence of the lack of real wealth to be produced, that is turning up in further study of the national push to get fracking going under the current lack of a responsible regulatory environment. Recently on CNBC an interview with Dallas Federal Reserve advisory board member Deborah Rogers brought out a startling lack of geological evidence that there is present in shale enough gas reserves to justify the expenses of drilling.

A former stockbroker with Merrill Lynch, Ms. Rogers said she started studying well data from shale companies in October 2009 after attending a speech by the chief executive of Chesapeake, Aubrey K. McClendon. The math was not adding up, Ms. Rogers said. Her research showed that wells were petering out faster than expected.

“These wells are depleting so quickly that the operators are in an expensive game of ‘catch-up,’ ” Ms. Rogers wrote in an e-mail on Nov. 17, 2009, to a petroleum geologist in Houston, who wrote back that he agreed.

“This could have profound consequences for our local economy,” she explained in the e-mail.

Fort Worth residents were already reeling from the sudden reversal of fortune for the natural gas industry.

The Dish, TX, experience near Dallas/Ft. Worth has provided evidence of deeply disturbing water resource contamination, with pictures of residents lighting up the water from kitchen faucets.

In other areas as well, the picture is not what is being painted to invite investors to sink their money into questionable practices, and imaginary profits.

“Our engineers here project these wells out to 20-30 years of production and in my mind that has yet to be proven as viable,” wrote a geologist at Chesapeake in a March 17 e-mail to a federal energy analyst. “In fact I’m quite skeptical of it myself when you see the % decline in the first year of production.”

“In these shale gas plays no well is really economic right now,” the geologist said in a previous e-mail to the same official on March 16. “They are all losing a little money or only making a little bit of money.”

Around the same time the geologist sent the e-mail, Mr. McClendon, Chesapeake’s chief executive, told investors, “It’s time to get bullish on natural gas.”

Of course, the contract can be a vital problem to an investor in drilling ventures. Many include an ownership share, which entails expense when maintenance and reparations enter into the picture upon a well’s playing out.

Having worked at an oil company for a short, but altogether too long for comfort, spell, I have seen the dismay of investors in a promise of profits that turned into lost money, sometimes insupportable obligations as well, that were a big problem and affected investors’ economic survival.

The selling of shares in promised profits has been a spectacular sham in the cases of several of our large financial industry businesses like J.P.Morgan and Bank of America, and has resulted in fines for their deceit that profited those banks at the expense of their clients. It was a large part of Enron’s winding down, and seems to be a very big indicator of crooked operations.

We need responsible representation, to protect the individual investor and thereby the total economy. Right now, the crooks are in charge, and they are trying to establish a lot of inroads into our economy quickly, before they can be exposed. The media continues to ignore the public, and publicize the false claims of the ones they work for, and under.

Ruth Calvo

Ruth Calvo

I've blogged at The Seminal for about two years, was at cabdrollery for around three. I live in N.TX., worked for Sen.Yarborough of TX after graduation from Wellesley, went on to receive award in playwriting, served on MD Arts Council after award, then managed a few campaigns in MD and served as assistant to a member of the MD House for several years, have worked in legal offices and written for magazines, now am retired but addicted to politics, and join gladly in promoting liberals and liberal policies.