You’ve got to be fracking kidding me! Three environmental news stories from the past week have brought us fracking headlines that are so outrageous that I’m not sure whether to chuckle at the absurdity or shake my head in disgust. I’m sure you’ll find yourself doing some of both when you see what the fracking industry is up to as of late:
1. A Gas Company President Turns Against Fracking… Well, Sort Of
In his position as CEO at ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson not only oversees fracking across the United States, he also lobbies to protect the activity despite evidence that it is environmentally destructive. However, Tillerson is willing to draw the line on fracking under one condition: when it’s set to occur too closely to his own home!
Tillerson has joined a Texas class action lawsuit to attempt to block fracking construction adjacent to his $5 million home. According to his lawyer, Tillerson still considers fracking to be perfectly safe, but he is concerned that the nearby fracking will harm his property value.
Funny, declining property value is one of the many logical results of destroying land, tainting the water supply and increasing local cancer rates. The fact that Tillerson is fine advocating for – and profiting massively from — fracking when it happens in other people’s towns yet complains when it affects him is the height of hypocrisy.
2. A Propaganda Plan for Fracking in State Parks is Exposed
You’d think that in a state where more than 100 earthquakes have been linked to fracking, politicians would take a more aggressive stance against the activity, but money talks in Ohio, apparently. As newly leaked documents demonstrate, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources put together a secret marketing scheme to convince the public that fracking in state parks is a good idea, despite all evidence to the contrary.
If there’s a silver lining to the situation, the revelation of this shady plan achieved the opposite result. Caught with their pants down, politicians are changing their stances in order to avoid being complicit with a propaganda campaign. Governor John Kasich, who signed legislation allowing for park fracking not too long ago, has now reversed his position and says he no longer supports the idea while simultaneously claiming the leaked memo had no impact on this switch.
3. Sorry We Blew Up Your Town; Here’s a Pizza
Dunkard Township, Pennsylvania suffered a huge disaster recently after a fracking well exploded. The blast shook the community like an earthquake and seemingly killed one man whose body has not yet been recovered. What’s worse, the fatal accident had lasting effects. The fire was so intense that rescue crews were unable to put it out for five days.
How did Chevron, the company fracking in Dunkard Township, apologize for the mishap? With a coupon for a free pizza and a two liter soda. (What, no cheesy bread?) Some of the residents closest to the explosion received a gift certificate in lieu of an actual apology.
If a large pepperoni and mushroom seems like literally the least Chevron could do after unleashing a deadly ecological disaster on a community, that’s probably because it is. Certainly a company that nets more than $20 billion annually could afford to do better than some pizzas… perhaps starting with some increased safety precautions.
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