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Is Big Oil Fracking the New Tobacco??

10303772_10152421728353838_6309156073461181113_nA lot more years ago than I care to remember, the biggest event to happen on my family’s farm was the day we got our first TV and entered into a brand new world of make believe. Far off places and beautiful people now entered our living room every evening and brought with them all kinds of products with glamorous advertising. Among them were all the current brands of cigarettes and tobacco ads with their brainwashing jingles singing the virtues of tobacco.  “LSMFT” and, “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should!” and, “More Doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette!” They almost had you believing that in order to be healthy, you had to smoke their product and plenty of us did! 

That was the game that got played back then. The government allowed it, the citizens bought it, and the tobacco companies loved it! We bought their story hook, line, and sinker and never did we imagine (or allow ourselves to,) that those same companies with their healthy slogans and cigbeautiful, flowery TV ads, were selling us a product that was potentially killing us….but they were!

Now, we’ve moved on to another generation and another product that’s being pushed at us almost as hard as any tobacco product ever was! Every day you turn on your TV set, you’re inundated with a menagerie of ads telling you about the virtues of horizontal well drilling (or “fracking” if you like the slang term better!) When the ads come on, they’re usually panoramic rural scenes of farms or ranches with Mom, Dad, the kids and the dog, driving herds of fat cattle through the lush green grass while a soothing voice (usually female) tells you about the virtues and safety of this new energy independence and how it’s going to do everything but milk the cows and raise the kids for us! (Kind of gives you that warm fuzzy feeling doesn’t it?)

Who’s supplying the money that’s paying for all this beautiful advertising? That would be the people who want you to buy their story right? Are they the same ones who gave us the Exxon Valdez, the BP oil spill in the gulf, the Yellowstone river spill in Montana and a host of other disasters too numerous to mention? By the way, are the same two brothers who are spending millions to make big oil sound like Mothers Milk involved? Want a fracking well in your back yard? The TV ads say yes but the president of Exxon says hell no!

I don’t know much about fracking but from what I’m reading, it takes plenty of water, a lot of sand, (and some other chemicals they don’t want us to know about) to frack a well. Since Colorado is known for having a moderately dry climate (not recently!) and since we’ve been undergoing a drought in the southwestern states for the last few years, water is becoming an important commodity for everyone including the fracking industry to think about.

I read an article written by a lady named Sharon Wilson for Earthworks. She called it “Fun with fracking social math,” and it had some interesting things to say about fracking a gas shale well which is something we might see quite a bit of here in Colorado. The example she used was the Barnett Shale in north Texas and here’s just a few things from her article.

  • Sand requirement to frack one well, 2500 tons
  • Water requirement to frack one well. Between 2.5 to 9 million gallons
  • Barnett gas shale has 15,000 wells
  • That’s a minimum of 94,110,000,000 gallons of water and 37,500,000 tons of sand to frack 15,000 Barnett shale wells

Now, I’m not against energy independence and I’m not anti progress, but aside from the monumental water and sand requirements for this industry in the middle of a drought (to say nothing about the earthquakes caused by forcing all this stuff into the ground,) we have other problems to look at such as transportation, storage et al. Right now we’re looking at railroads barely capable of hauling all the oil we’re producing, and we’re battling over a proposed pipeline that will pass right through the bread basket of our nation to transport crude from Canada, to the refineries in Houston, and sold offshore to other nations. Not one drop for our consumption!

Please don’t scream at me about all the jobs it will create. Those jobs are during construction, not for maintenance.

I’m not asking anyone to close their mind to this type of energy. Just think about it. Think about those ads, question the motives behind them. Remember, “When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is!”

Please send your critiques and comments. I’ll be sure to read them all and use them if I can.

Thanks and have a great week everybody.










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