Sandra Steingraber’s Irrational Hatred of Fossil Fuels Continues

There is no middle ground, no compromise, no basis on which to have a rational, intelligent discussion with a person who refuses to acknowledge reality. The reality we’re talking about is the fundamental and necessary role of petrochemicals–i.e. fossil fuels–in every society on earth, save a few jungle tribes. If you live in any modern civilization on earth today, fossil fuels make it possible. From the clothes on your body to the shoes on your feet, the chair you sit in, the carpet you walk on, the walls and roof of the house or dormitory where you live, the vehicle you drive–the materials that compose it, manufacture it and and power it are based on fossil fuels. And yet there are so-called intelligent, learned people, like Ithaca College’s Sandra Steingraber, who insist we must adopt a tribe-like existence and dump all fossil fuels–now. Forever. One of Steingraber’s favorite methods in talking about fossil fuels (and fracking) is to wax “poetic.” Her latest discourse, recently delivered at Wells College in beautiful Cayuga County, NY (Finger Lakes region), is described this way: “Rather than dissect the dispute [about fracking] through science, charts and graphs, visiting speaker Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., instead probed the use of fossil fuels through anecdotes and imagery.” In other words, she just makes it up. She concocts erroneous analogies and stories, comparing fracking to things like smoking, and relies on her oratory skills to convince people that fracking, indeed fossil fuels in general, are from the devil himself. And young people at places like Wells College just lap it up…
Continue reading

Niles, NY Turns Off NatGas Spigot for Everyone in Hasty Vote

Oops. Looks like the town board of Niles (Cayuga County), NY has just voted to turn off the natural gas spigot for everyone in the town. Guess they’ll now have to heat with oil or wood or coal–or maybe stick up a windmill or a solar panel. On June 13, the town board of Niles voted to institute “a permanent ban on the drilling, storage, transfer and/or treatment of natural gas within town lines.” Guess what folks–storing and transferring natural gas includes moving gas through existing underground pipelines the local gas utility operates that connect to homes and businesses in the town. It also prohibits propane trucks from delivering gas to homes, and it prohibits people from throwing the backyard barbecue grill tank into the car to get it filled up.

No storage, no transfer. We’d sure hate to live in Niles…
Continue reading

PA Driller Buys Land, Wells from Chesapeake–in NY Finger Lakes

fire sale A small independent exploration and production company from Bradford, PA—Minard Run Oil Co.—has just picked up 56,130 acres of leases, 200 miles of pipelines, compressor stations, and 413 natural gas wells—all located in the Finger Lakes region of New York. They purchased the assets from Chesapeake Energy for an undisclosed amount. According to Minard, Chesapeake was “a willing seller,” which kind of feels to MDN like it was a “fire sale” on the part of Chesapeake to get a little more cash on the books before the close of 2012.

For now, Minard plans to continue vertical-only drilling and drill another 20-30 wells in 2013. The company did not mention any plans for horizontal fracking in the future.

Continue reading

Auburn, NY Rescinds Ban on Gas Drilling Wastewater

Wiser heads have prevailed in the upstate New York Finger Lakes community of Auburn—the Auburn city council has voted to once again allow the municipal sewage treatment plant to accept gas drilling wastewater.

As you may recall, MDN told you about protesters who descended on the tiny city of Auburn last year to protest not Marcellus wastewater being treated at the sewage plant, but local conventional gas drilling wastewater—something that had been going on for 15 years with no adverse effects (see this MDN story). In the rush to condemn fracking and prevent horizontal drilling in the state, ignorant protesters have fallen into the trap of protesting all gas drilling in the state—drilling that has gone on for decades.

Continue reading

Marcellus Drilling Debate Now Affecting Conventional Gas Drilling in New York State

The debate over horizontal hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale has now spilled over to affect conventional gas drilling in New York State. Protesters rallied outside Auburn City Hall (a small city in Upstate New York) yesterday afternoon to oppose the local municipal sewage treatment plant’s practice of accepting gas drilling wastewater for treatment and release into the Owasco River. None of the wastewater accepted comes from Marcellus Shale drilling—it all comes from conventional natural gas drilling in New York State.

Continue reading