Politicians and energy industry enthusiasts have touted fracking as the path to US energy independence, while environmentalists have battled against the proliferation of fracking and the resultant damage to the Earth. Despite environmental concerns, 18 states have jumped onto the fracking bandwagon (map.)
Fracking now is being blamed for an outbreak of earthquakes in North Texas, the explosion (pun intended) of crude oil train disasters across the country, and water contamination in four states.
Texas Is Shaking
More than 20 earthquakes have rocked North Texas since October 2013. Seventeen of those earthquakes have hit the small town of Azle, Texas, and residents are up in arms.
Why is North Texas shaking and sinking? Fracking.
North Texans are blaming the earthquakes on the growth of fracking and the proliferation of injection wells in the area. Fracking (AKA hydraulic fracturing) is a controversial technique which involves injecting a highly pressurized slurry of water and chemicals deep into the Earth in order to fracture rock and extract natural gas and petroleum.
According to Dallas/Ft. Worth NBC News report, more than 800 people showed up at a public meeting to complain about earthquakes, sink holes, damaged homes, and contaminated water. Concerned that the Texas Legislature isn’t listening, Azle residents are planning a community bus trip to Austin. (Check out a compilation of stories here.)
Crude Oil Trains Exploding
Remember last summer’s dramatic news stories about the derailment and explosionof a runaway crude oil train that destroyed the downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec and killed dozens of residents? Or the story about the 90-car oil train that derailed and exploded in Alabama in November? Or the December train derailment in Casselton, ND which ignited fireballs and forced the evacuation of town residents during bitterly cold winter temperatures? Or this week’s bridge derailment of a crude oil train that threatened the Schuylkill River, which meanders through downtown Philadelphia?
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), crude oil shipments by rail have skyrocketed by 400% since 2005. For example, fracking in North Dakota’s Brakken shale area has resulted in booming oil production– 1 million gallons per day or 5% of the country’s oil consumption. Ninety percent of Brakken crude is shipped by rail; both the Casselton and Phildelphia trains were carrying crude from Brakken.
This huge increase in rail transportation of crude oil has resulted in a rash of explosive train derailments. In fact, more oil — 1.15 million gallons– spilled from derailed trains in 2013 than in the previous four decades combined.
As a result, the NTSB is calling for tougher regulations, including a prohibition against rail transportation of flammable crude oil through urban centers. (Duh.)
Drinking Is Dangerous
Environmentalists warned us about potential groundwater contamination due to fracking, when the controversial practice was first introduced.
Fast forward a few years, and now the Associated Press is reporting contaminated well water in four states that jumped into the fracking oil boom early on. Hundreds of residents of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Texas have filed official complaints about contaminated well water, due to gas and oil production.
How much more death, destruction, and environmental damage must we suffer in the name of jobs and oil?
To the 18 states with fracking, how’s that ”drill baby drill” workin’ for ya now?
Link to original article from The Tucson Progressive
I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth--not just people who agree with me or look like me. I believe that people who promote religiosity but use violence, intimidation, and lies to force their ideas upon other people are not following the teachings of any religious leader.
I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. In addition to being a blogger, I am a published author, photographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife.
My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post. I am a proud member of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA).
Congress may be on recess, but activists across the country are not taking a break from the nationwide push to get big money out of politics. Today activists teamed up for a massive petition drop, delivering petitions in support of a constitutional amendment to overturn decisions like Citizens United to 21 Senate offices in 15 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington).
It seems like every e-mail I receive these days from a Democratic Senate candidate or Senator up for re-election this cycle includes a warning that the infamous Koch brothers will do anything, no matter the cost, to take over the US Senate - and with it, our country.
On Thursday, a group of Democratic lawmakers proposed a law to establish a Code of Conduct for the Supreme Court.
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On June 23rd the State Senate passed AJR 1, making California the second state in the union to officially call for an Article V constitutional convention for the sole purpose of passing a United States constitutional amendment that would effectively overturn Citizens United v. FEC and limit the corrupting influence of money in our electoral process.
A new organization called ExposeFacts—backed by well-known source of The Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg—is debuting itself in Washington, DC on Wednesday as a new place where government and corporate employees aware of wrongdoing can more safely and securely report their concerns.
The telecommunications industry is creating and funding front groups which pose as consumer organizations and aggressively lobby to kill net neutrality, journalist Lee Fang revealed in an article published in Vice on Friday.
It’s a sad state of affairs when a country that touts freedom of the press depends upon cable TV comedy shows to hear the real news.
Why the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon ruling is good news for the super-rich and bad news for progressive Democrats.
At the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference, a conservative election lawyer and a baby-faced electrical engineer from Alabama with a made-for-TV Southern drawl began plotting how to unravel federal campaign finance regulations.
This is an idea worth spreading - so - please watch & share with 5 or 10 friends. It’s important to get money out of politics and the average person back in. Also - leave a message on the YouTube and let TED know - this is one of the most important issues of the day."
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is, as they boast on its website, the world's largest business organization, as well as the nation's largest corporate lobbying group. It is also a recipient of some of the largest amounts of so-called "dark" money in the country, refusing to disclose to the public its donors or even the amounts it receives.
Citizens United is not just the default reference for US Supreme Court decisions—including the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling—that have ushered in a new era of corporate dominance of American elections. It’s the name of the conservative group that encouraged Chief Justice John Roberts and the most activist Court majority in American history to tear the heart out of what were already weak campaign finance laws.
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Sam Bell is in the third year of a PhD program in geology at Brown University. Geology as in rocks. But Bell also moonlights as the the state coordinator of The Rhode Island Progressive Democrats, the state affiliate of the 10-year-old Progressive Democrats of America. And in his work with The Rhode Island Progressive Democrats, Bell was instrumental to the investigation that ultimately led to the National Rifle Association paying the second largest campaign finance fine in the state's history.
Postal workers are giving it their all this holiday season, as cards and packages and returns must be collected and delivered amidst ice storms, snowstorms and wild temperature drops.
They deserve our thanks in 2013.
And our support in 2014.
Thanks to a loophole that subsidizes CEO pay, McDonald's, Yum Brands, Wendy's, Burger King, Domino's, and Dunkin' Brands trimmed $64 million from their tax bills in 2011 and 2012.
The fast food industry is notorious for handing out lean paychecks to their burger flippers and fat ones to their CEOs. What’s less well-known is that taxpayers are actually subsidizing fast food incomes at both the bottom — and top — of the industry.
In December 1972, I was part of a nationwide campaign that came tantalizingly close to getting the U.S. Senate to reject Earl Butz, Richard Nixon's choice for secretary of agriculture. A coalition of grass-roots farmers, consumers and scrappy public interest organizations (like the Agribusiness Accountability Project that Susan DeMarco and I then headed) teamed up with some gutsy, unabashedly progressive senators to undertake the almost impossible challenge of defeating the cabinet nominee of a president who'd just been elected in a landslide.
Progressive voices were heard loud and clear at Saturday’s Arizona Democratic Party (ADP) State Committee Meeting in Maricopa, Arizona.
Unlike some past ADP meetings where progressives were ignored or where progressive resolutions were tabled and not heard by the full ADP membership, the Maricopa meeting was dominated by progressives.
Tucson is one of the most impoverished cities in the country—for many reasons. The Arizona Legislature—driven by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and short-sighted, “small government” ideology—has routinely swept funds earmarked for counties and cities to “balance” the state’s budget or fund pet projects like lower corporate taxes. Beyond the Legislature’s negative impact on Baja Arizona, the Tucson economy is not diversified enough. Manufacturing is nearly non-existent in Southern Arizona. There is an over-reliance on defense spending, University of Arizona spin-offs, tourism, low-wage service jobs, and growth/development.
MoveOn.org Petition - Congress Don't Renew Fast Track
Public Citizen Petition - Congress Must Reject Fast Track Authority
MoveOn.org Petition - Stop the Trans Pacific Partnership
CREDO Petition - Stop the Massive Corporate Power Grab
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