Brown takes heat on fracking

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On Thursday Oct. 17, more than fifty people gathered in front of the Parc 55 Wyndham Hotel in downtown San Francisco to protest Governor Jerry Brown’s reception of an environmental award. 

Every year, the BlueGreen Alliance hosts its Right Stuff Awards dinner to honor prominent individuals promoting a sustainable environment and economy. This year, they selected Governor Jerry Brown as a winner in the government category. The choice enraged environmentalists, who congregated where the awards dinner was being held to voice their indignation.

Brought together by several collaborating organizations, including Idle No More and Gathering Tribes, the protesters blocked the entrance to Parc 55 as they awaited the governor’s arrival. Bearing signs with messages such as “Jerry Brown is Not BLUE or GREEN,” they yelled to drivers who honked horns in support as they sailed past.

They were upset by Brown’s support for Senate Bill 4, which he signed into law in September. SB-4 is California’s first legislation regulating hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking, which involves shooting massive amounts of water and toxic chemicals deep into the earth to crack rock formations and release otherwise trapped oil and natural gas deposits.

Widely viewed as flawed legislation that is far from what environmentalists had in mind when they called for the practice to be regulated in California, the bill allows fracking permits to be approved as long as oil and gas companies publicly disclose which chemicals are used in the process. The legislation also requires groundwater and air quality monitoring before operations begin. Environmentalists fear that SB-4 will lead to a dramatic expansion of fracking in California, by allowing access to the state’s vast Monterey Shale deposit, estimated to hold 15.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

“This award from BlueGreen is a travesty,” declared protester Steve Ongerth, after a flash mob of young people danced to the song “Toxic” by Brittney Spears, dressed in shirts spelling out TOXIC while donning surgical masks.

In the past several years, Governor Brown has accepted at least $2.49 million in financial donations from oil and natural gas interests. Environmentalists point to these donations as an explanation of Brown’s refusal to impose a moratorium or an outright ban on fracking, despite pressure from a statewide coalition of organizations calling for such protective measures.

They also blame him for the changes made to SB-4 in the final week before the bill was voted on, which followed intense lobbying by oil and gas interests. The amendments substantially weakened restrictions on fracking by removing some of the bill’s tougher regulations and diluting language intended to ensure that new wells go through adequate environmental review.

“Jerry Brown has sold out the California public for his own self-serving interests. He made a deal with the devil,” said protester Pamela Zuppo of 350 Bay Area. “This is a fracking bill gone wrong. It is referred to as a regulation bill, but it is not. It is an institutionalization of fracking bill and it’s the destruction of our democracy.”

When he signed SB-4, Brown said it “establishes strong environmental protections and transparency requirements,” but added that he plans to seek additional changes next year to clarify the new requirements. So far, details remain sketchy on what areas of the bill will actually be addressed.

At the last minute, activists learned that Brown would not be attending the event to accept his award in person. When this was announced, the crowd of protesters let out a cheer.

But environmentalists who remain concerned about fracking are keeping the pressure on. On Saturday, Oct. 19, activists from 350.org, Food & Water Watch and the Center for Biological Diversity held a march and rally in downtown Oakland to call on Brown to ban fracking.

“Over the past year, Governor Brown has gone against the wishes and best interests of Californians — the majority of which oppose fracking — and has clearly stated his support for the dangerous drilling process, said Food & Water Watch Northern California Organizer Tia Lebherz.

“By doing this he is embarrassing himself and putting his legacy and our state's future at risk."

Comments

It's the best hope the US has for energy independance and not having to rely on those maniacs in the middle-east. In fact I bought shares of American Water (AWK) recently as they have the best technology for cleaning the water that is used in fracking, making it environmentally good as well as good for our energy needs.

The whiners will not win this debates.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

into the macabre and absurd "ethical gas" argument.

(Halloween is of course the perfect time for this lycanthropian transformation.)

But on a serious note, because methane (natural gas) is 100 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, methane -leakage- during the drilling, transport and use of natural gas creates equivalent greenhouse gas emissions to coal; hence gas is no better than coal for the atmosphere.

And fracked gas, because the fracking process triggers -vastly- more methane leakage than traditional gas drilling techniques, is far -worse- than coal in its greenhouse gas emissions.

No security there, for anyone, in any way, whatsoever.

Either all fossil fuels quickly go the way of the dinosaur; or humans will do so.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

There's enough coal for hundreds of years. Shell (the provider of your precious "clean" energy is building the biggest ship in the world, for LNG. And fracking is making the Us into a major energy exporter, even though the US is not allowed to export crude oil. Oh, and oil prices have been falling for months now, again thanks to fracking.

While the alleged environmental issues have largely been debunked or solved thru technology:

http://www.amwater.com/Water-Quality-and-Stewardship/

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

We are searching for better local clean energy strategies.

And the fact that there is so much fossil fuel remaining, is precisely why we need to proactively decide not to use it, and replace it with true renewables and efficiency.

Finally, the web site you cited has little or nothing to do with the deeply serious realities of the climate crisis.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

Read further.

And the thing with fossil fuels is that we are constantly finding new reserves, so the amount of known untapped reserves increases even as we use more.

While nuclear provides eternal clean energy if we ever do start to run out.

I'm very comfortable with fracking and, more importantly, so is the government. If CA wants to demur, then all that prosperity will go to North Dakota and other states that are booming because of fracking.

Wake up.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

And in any case, the claim that AWK or any other company can supposedly 'clean up' a fracking site is simply laughable. Fracking is inherently so profoundly destructive and toxic that it is absolutely impossible to prevent massive contamination from the process. Period.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

that any marginal pollution can be cleaned up. I think i';m going to take their owrd for it over someone who is obviously as biased as you are.

Sure, burning fuels causes some pollution - that is inevitable. But pollution has improved even while energy use has increased - technology is meeting the task.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 3:59 pm

Even if the fracking process were to be made squeaky clean, how would that solve the -far- more serious and dangerous problem of the inherent massive greenhouse gas emissions of fracked gas?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

i think the earth is fine with the current and predicted levels of emissions.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

Climate crisis deniers are by far, the stupidest people on the planet.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

How's the SF Green Party coming along Eric? Are the meetings teeming with hundreds of bright-eyed intellectuals like yourself ready to lead the vanguard to a better world? I can't wait until your forces are able to sieze power and justice finally prevails. Lord knows no one is ever going to vote you into anything with your main tactic being calling opponents names. And the sting of your wise words hurts so much too. Ouch!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 9:53 pm

And a very alarming fact. People who are engaged in climate crisis denial, and in publicly expressing that denial to others (potentially getting them to dismiss the danger) are truly both incredibly stupid, and a -serious- danger to the future of everyone on Earth.

There is no purpose or wisdom in sugar coating this. Dangerously disturbed people like yourself need to be called out, for their profound stupidity and dangerousness to others and the planet.

Period.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 10:14 pm

Dismissing your opponents as believers in a flat earth isn't going to convince anyone.

Categorizing anyone who disagrees with you as "disturbed" or "dangerous" shows how limited your reasoning powers really are.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 8:31 am

There is this little thing we live in called "reality" and reality doesn't concern itself with opinions. In practice, this means that the global climate collapse will not choose to alter itself because corporate right wing nutballs, seeking to protect their stock portfolios and fossil fuel investments, claim to disagree with reality.

The reality of any debate (especially in modern media) is that it is extremely rare that exactly half of the people in the debate are correct, and half are not correct. It is often true that in many debates there are very few people one of the supposed two 'sides' of the debate.

If I start talking about how the sky is usually blue, and you jump in and say "No, it is usually plaid." this does not mean that you are some legitimate 'side' in some two 'sided' debate, and that there is a 50% chance that the sky is plaid.

And yet, if I were to say, "That idea is ridiculous." and you had a financial interest in convincing people to stop believing that the sky is blue and believe that it is plaid, the first thing you would do (as you did in this 'debate') is claim that there 'two sides' in the debate, and raise a false indignant whine that I am somehow belittling your legitimately opposing opinion.

But the reality of course is that a person who claims the sky is plaid is completely full of crap and engaging in a debate with them about the color of the sky is a stupid waste of everyone's time and energy.

And in the case of the climate crisis, the stakes are so high that they could mean the EXTINCTION of human beings by the end of this century.

So when some stupid idiot (likely because they have investments in fossil fuel - and in this case -clearly- because they do) starts denying that the most dangerous situation ever faced by humankind exists, I am quite rightly going label that person one of the most profoundly stupid and dangerous people to ever walk the face of the Earth.

So dangerous that they ought to be criminally prosecuted and put in prison for inciting potential catastrophic harm to people and the environment for personal gain, by tricking some of the public into backing off of pressuring for urgently needed climate crisis solutions because they believe, or are confused into inaction, by the deniers' lies.

This is serious fucking business. And I am not going to sit back and act like it is ok, for cynical, profit driven, sociopathic freaks, to encourage others to believe that the climate crisis does not exist and to therefore in their manufactured ignorance to allow the planet and human civilization to be destroyed; with the result being the maiming and killing of billions of human beings in the process, and even the possible extinction of our species.

That is not in my plan.

And any person who denies the climate crisis, is indeed an extremely stupid and dangerous individual.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

total that you literally cannot see any other point of view. Your views are extreme but you are so extreme that you cannot even see that.

I guarantee you that the human race will not become extinct, although political dinosaurs like you most likely will.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:35 pm

calls sensible elves and humans "biased" and says

just ignore that climate crisis behind the curtain, there is nothing to see here

Posted by ylkhdfkih on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by gloufdgkih on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:08 pm

but could have just said "bullshit goblin!"

Posted by ylkhdfkihm on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:04 pm
Posted by ylkhdfkihmj on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

this is about the end of the world, not gonna be polite about that

Posted by ylkhdfkihmjk on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:01 pm
Posted by ylkhdfkihmjkd on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:59 pm

then you're nuts, conversation over...!

Posted by ylkhdfkihmjkdj on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

i do not accept the existence of

reality

Posted by j on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

what do you mean "reality is debatable"? answer to reality

Posted by js on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:54 pm

reality is debatable....

Posted by jsl on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:53 pm

but what about reality????

Posted by jslk on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

real estate near Fukushima and Chernobyl you might want to consider.

Delivered vacant. No pesky tenants. Just up your alley.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 4:27 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 4:39 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 5:28 pm

And there have been -many- other accidents and radioactive releases, that have been poorly reported by the corporate press.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 9:32 pm

mount doom lava is bad for my head...!

Posted by hkuhsfiuhediu on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

And there have been -many- other accidents and radioactive releases, that have been poorly reported by the corporate press.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 9:32 pm

It was just a matter of time before you trotted that line out.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 8:32 am

It is concerned only with its own profit.

And since it is owned and advertised on by interests that profit from nuclear development, it no surprise, nor is it even a conspiracy, that the corporate media doesn't report the truth about nuclear accidents.

It is perfectly logical that such media would do this.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:26 pm

believe a hopelessly biased one-sided activist like you then - I hate to say - it's going to be the media every time.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

are you going to believe me

or your own eyes.....?

Posted by hkuhsfiuhe on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:37 pm

ohhh you're just a man from kansas!

Posted by hkuhsfiuhed on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

way to many....

Posted by hkuhsfiuhedi on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

what you talkin about - go away

Posted by hkuhsfiuhediuh on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:32 pm
Posted by gloufd on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:16 pm
Posted by gloufdg on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

let's hope the great AWK is soon to follow

Posted by jslkf on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:51 pm

Anyone associated with fracking sets foot in my community, and they will soon be buried.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 22, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

because you were awfully gung-ho about CPSF and poo-poo'd anyone who took offense to Shell being a part of the equation.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 9:06 am

And I was -never- strongly supportive of the Shell contract.

In fact I have been working to convince others to drop that contract ever since the SF Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) announced Shell as its chosen contractor to start up the program; with -note- a very small market purchase of only 20 megawatts of renewable electricity.

However, I did say, that we should not allow the entire several hundred megawatt CleanPowerSF local clean energy program to be derailed, just because of this tiny Shell start up contract. That would be incredibly foolish. And if we can't work around the Shell contract, we should start the program anyway.

With that said, it looks pretty clear to me that the SFPUC could purchase the 20 megawatts in market energy -itself- and this would completely eliminate the need for the Shell contract.

This option is the one I most most strongly support.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

same way as they have always voted down any form of public power.

Consumers will vote against this with their feet and their checkbooks.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:54 pm

tricksily played for the 1 millionth time

oooo... even the 100th time was 100 times too many

Posted by mghdjfi on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

just gonna keep on fighting until doom is brought low

Posted by hkuhs on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

let's drop that hot potato now!

Posted by jslkfdr on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

fossil fuels are there so let's just use 'em up!

Posted by jslkfdrg on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:47 pm

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