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Is Fracking 'Legitimate'?

Energy
Is Fracking 'Legitimate'?

Russell Mendell

When Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives science and Technology committee, said that "legitimate rape" doesn't cause pregnancy, jaws dropped across the nation. As follow-up statements by scientists and physicians made clear, the Congressman was bending the truth to fit his political viewpoint.  In fact, his assertions about female biology were at odds with the laws of nature themselves.

Magical thinking and a refusal to listen to science are not confined to the topic of birth control.  They also infect the public discussion on hydraulic fracturing.  Many renowned scientists, including Drs. Ron Bishop, Robert Howarth, Anthony Ingraffea and Sandra Steingraber, have brought forth evidence showing that fracking can contaminate water and air, raises public health risk, and is at least as bad, and may be worse, for the Earth's climate than coal. They show us that real science comes to the conclusions that the data presents.

Is fracking “legitimate?” According to Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency the only thing "legitimate" about fracking is people’s fear of it. Speaking at the Baker Institute in Houston on Aug. 17, van der Hoeven said that fracking causes "legitimate public concerns about its environmental and social impacts, these include implications for water resources, land use and disruption of local communities."

van der Hoeven spoke of her conversations with shale gas companies as cause for alarm. "If people tell me, 'We know what we are doing,' then they don't know what they are doing. Companies have to realize that they need to take people's concerns seriously. There's a very real possibility that public opposition for drilling for shale gas will halt the unconventional gas revolution and fracking in its tracks."

However, we are running out of time to turn our legitimate concerns into a fracking ban. On Sunday, CBS News reported that New York will move ahead with fracking just after Labor Day. A day later, Gov. Cuomo said no final decision has been made. All indications are that we have one last chance to make our case. We need you, and everyone who can, to attend the Don't Frack NY rally in Albany on Aug. 27.  

Whether you’re an anti-fracking movement veteran or you have never attended a rally, this is the one you can't miss. There will be two full days of training on Saturday and Sunday Aug. 25 and Aug. 26. They will include speeches and strategy discussions, with some excellent networking opportunities thrown in. Monday, Aug. 27 is the main event and will include an 11 a.m. pledge ceremony with a march and rally to follow. If you haven't yet signed the pledge of resistance, you can do so here. You can also use the ride and housing board to find transportation resources, including buses.

This is our time. This is our movement. Join us as scientists, farmers, doctors, artists, teachers, faith leaders, business owners, elected officials and everyday citizens from upstate to downstate to stand united in saying "Don't Frack NY!

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

 

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An aerial view taken on August 8, 2020 shows a large patch of leaked oil from the MV Wakashio off the coast of Mauritius. STRINGER / AFP / Getty Images

The tiny island nation of Mauritius, known for its turquoise waters, vibrant corals and diverse ecosystem, is in the midst of an environmental catastrophe after a Japanese cargo ship struck a reef off the country's coast two weeks ago. That ship, which is still intact, has since leaked more than 1,000 metric tons of oil into the Indian Ocean. Now, a greater threat looms, as a growing crack in the ship's hull might cause the ship to split in two and release the rest of the ship's oil into the water, NPR reported.

On Friday, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency.

France has sent a military aircraft carrying pollution control equipment from the nearby island of Reunion to help mitigate the disaster. Additionally, Japan has sent a six-member team to assist as well, the BBC reported.

The teams are working to pump out the remaining oil from the ship, which was believed to be carrying 4,000 metric tons of fuel.

"We are expecting the worst," Mauritian Wildlife Foundation manager Jean Hugues Gardenne said on Monday, The Weather Channel reported. "The ship is showing really big, big cracks. We believe it will break into two at any time, at the maximum within two days. So much oil remains in the ship, so the disaster could become much worse. It's important to remove as much oil as possible. Helicopters are taking out the fuel little by little, ton by ton."

Sunil Dowarkasing, a former strategist for Greenpeace International and former member of parliament in Mauritius, told CNN that the ship contains three oil tanks. The one that ruptured has stopped leaking oil, giving disaster crews time to use a tanker and salvage teams to remove oil from the other two tanks before the ship splits.

By the end of Tuesday, the crew had removed over 1,000 metric tons of oil from the ship, NPR reported, leaving about 1,800 metric tons of oil and diesel, according to the company that owns the ship. So far the frantic efforts are paying off. Earlier today, a local police chief told BBC that there were still 700 metric tons aboard the ship.

The oil spill has already killed marine animals and turned the turquoise water black. It's also threatening the long-term viability of the country's coral reefs, lagoons and shoreline, NBC News reported.

"We are starting to see dead fish. We are starting to see animals like crabs covered in oil, we are starting to see seabirds covered in oil, including some which could not be rescued," said Vikash Tatayah, conservation director at Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, according to The Weather Channel.

While the Mauritian authorities have asked residents to leave the clean-up to officials, locals have organized to help.

"People have realized that they need to take things into their hands. We are here to protect our fauna and flora," environmental activist Ashok Subron said in an AFP story.

Reuters reported that sugar cane leaves, plastic bottles and human hair donated by locals are being sewn into makeshift booms.

Human hair absorbs oil, but not water, so scientists have long suggested it as a material to contain oil spills, Gizmodo reported. Mauritians are currently collecting as much human hair as possible to contribute to the booms, which consist of tubes and nets that float on the water to trap the oil.

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