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4.29.2011

Guest Article...Call To Ban Natural Gas Drilling Heard Around The World, But Not Heeded

Call To Ban Natural Gas Drilling Heard Around The World, But Not Heeded

By Theodora Filis

Environmental and health concerns have people around the world calling for a ban on natural gas drilling. Global warming effects of methane in natural gas are many times greater than the global warming effects of carbon dioxide. Subsidies granted to gas drilling promote the use of fossil fuels and undermine the development of conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy sources.

From the Permian Basin (western Texas and the southeastern part of New Mexico) to the Paris Basin, from Pennsylvania to Poland it is clear that in the next 20 years the global natural gas industry will not only be far bigger and more valuable than it is in 2011, but it will also be much more diversified.

Communities around the world will be faced with costs for baseline-testing of water pollutants, emergency response, health department monitoring of complaints, property tax assessment changes, building and repairing roads, and waste water treatment facilities.

Samples of flowback fluids in Pennsylvania and West Virginia have shown concentrations of cancer-causing chemicals that weren’t included in the list of Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) hydraulic fracturing chemicals, and that in some instances the concentration of a single one of these carcinogenic chemicals exceeded 0.5% of the fluid – which is the purported total concentration of all chemicals in fracking fluid.

Studies reveal that components of natural gas affected the reproductive health of women working in gas processing plants in Russia.

The US National Energy Policy (NEP) adopted by President George W. Bush on May 17, 2001, led by former Halliburton CEO Vice President Dick Cheney, warned that the US was becoming ever more dependent on imported energy, thereby endangering national security. It called for increased reliance on domestic energy sources, especially oil and natural gas.

“A primary goal of the National Energy Policy is to add supply from diverse sources,” the document declared. “This means domestic oil, gas, and coal.”

Despite the obvious hazards and dangers, as well as inadequate safety practices, the Obama Administration backed corporate strategies strongly favoring the exploitation of oil and gas reservoirs in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico and other environmentally sensitive areas.

Nicolas Sarkozy, The Prime Minister of France, ordered a national ban on shale oil and gas drilling until June -- when two separate government reports will be released.

The government of Quebec halted all shale gas drilling until it can conduct its own in-depth analysis.

The Polish government, on the other hand, is ignoring the environmental impacts of gas drilling. Shale gas is now an issue of national foreign policy adopted by foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski.

In the UK, Cuadrilla Resources has completed a test well in the Bowland Shale formation between Pendle Hill and Blackpool, in Lancashire. The company is backed by Riverstone Holdings, a private equity firm that former BP executive, Lord Browne, is a partner and managing director.

Companies are leasing land across Europe for gas exploration. Engineers and geologists from Italy and Norway have been to Texas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania to learn how to extract gas from shale, and oil executives are now in Asia and North Africa mapping out gas fields.

The global call from citizens to preserve what is left of our clean water and clean air is being drowned out by the drilling for natural gas.
 

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