Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Appalachian Mountains Must Dress Sexy and Ask for It

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored." Usually we're just riotously funny here, and it's been a minor hit. But there's a new danger on the horizon, and it's not a Weeping Angel.

This danger is hydraulic fracturing. Better known as fracking.

Just when you would think that Appalachia has been f***** enough for centuries, there's a new kid on the block. Well, actually it's an old bully -- Big Energy, with a new agenda: fracking (yeah, I know, even Puck couldn't have picked a better name).

Fracking is the process of extracting natural gas from shale layers up to and exceeding a mile beneath the surface of Appalachia. And this time we're not talking about just West Virginia and Kentucky. This time we're including Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland.

The way fracking works is, they drill a hole into the shale layer, and then drill a horizontal hole along a part of the shale bed. Then they pump chemical-laden water into the drill hole. The water causes pressure that releases natural gas, which is captured and piped to ... oh hell, to wherever they make the power that's driving this computer.

I went to a lecture last month at Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences. One of the speakers said that there's a minimum of $1.3 trillion worth of natural gas just in the Marcellus Shale. Other shale layers beneath the Marcellus layer also have gas in them.

Well, I love sitting here using electricity to power my computer. So I'm not going to come down hard on fracking, even in the face of this early indication of what's to come:

Here's my take on it. We know the gas is there. Could we just possibly stop, take a cleansing breath, and create safe technology for extraction?

What's the frackin rush here? That gas has been in those rocks for eons and eons and eons! Could we be patient for 50 years and put our best minds to work on getting it out cleanly, and without so much disruption in the form of tanker trucks, refineries, and toxic waste?

Oh, of course not. It doesn't work that way. Big Energy wants to grab, grab, grab.

To which the bored gods say: "Frack you."

When the watershed that may be polluted is the Delaware River, rest assured that B.E. will have to move cautiously. What's in that fracking fluid? Are the citizens of Manhattan going to wake up one day, turn on the shower, and have flames (or radioactivity) come pouring out?

Patience is a virtue that is not often cultivated. Therefore, we at "The Gods Are Bored" inaugurate a new theme with a new slogan: "Don't pass gas fast."

It begs the question: What next for Appalachia? How many times can these mountains be raped, in how many ways? Oh, my dear friends! The mighty Appalachians are not "just asking for it." They are ancient and sacred ... and how we treat them will show just what we're made of.


Stormy said...

From one who lives on top of one of these beautiful Appalachian Mountains, thank you for posting this. :)

Maebius said...

The same debate about hydrofraking is going on up here in the middle of New York.

and I rather enjoy the handmade signs that have started appearing in people's front yards recently in response.

"Frakking is Naughty in my backyard" or simply "Frakking is Naughty".

Love the signs, and am saddened and frightened at the mad rush to pass this gas fast as well.

Aquila ka Hecate said...

They're trying to frack our Karoo, as well.
There's been quite an outcry -surprisingly, for usually apathetic Seffricans -because the Karoo is close to sacred for many of us as well.
Here, we can relate it to a specific oil producer - Shell. So you can imagine the epithets.

Terri in Joburg

Intense Guy said...

Thanks for writing this.

I agree with you - there isn't a HUGE rush here.. we should take the time to figure out how to do this properly (and cleanly) or let it not happen if we can't figure out how to extract it without destroying out planet.

Aquila ka Hecate said...

..and the good news from this side of the world is that the Seffrican government did the right thing and opposed any fracking licences. For the moment.
I've only just received the word.

Terri in Joburg

AliceKay said...

Iggy gave me the link to your blog. I live about 10 miles east (and downstream) from this well blowout. The Towanda Creek flows by the little town I live in. You would never recognize most of Bradford County from what it was only a couple of years ago. It's a nightmare.

Alex (the comic blasphemer) Pendragon said...

Please, people, RELAX! According to a lot of Christians, Christ is coming back soon, and just as SOON as he finishes his reign of terror, called Armeghedon (in which those who didn't rate highly on the rapture scale get to stay behind and suffer horrible torments, because God 'loves us"), he is going to pave all the streets in gold (not gold PLATE it, but actually pour slabs of the 24 k stuff), replace all those pesky trees with sterling silver filigree, and mulch all the stubs in rubies and diamonds. So you see, it doesn't MATTER in the end how badly we rape and pillage Mother Gaia, because the feminine is toxic in the mind of God, and humans just happen to get off sitting around for all eternity staring at gold and shit, otherwise he would have went with Allah on the seventy virgin program instead.

Aren't you tickled pink there's a God in heaven watching over us?

miakoda said...

I don't know if it's a repeat, but the 4/21 CSI is all about fracking gone wrong. Here's hoping the bad PR actually catches some well-deserved attention.

Anonymous said...

Fracking kontaminates folkes wells with all kinds a kontaminated khemicals including but not limited to methane and that thar radon invisible stuff. Some folks down here kan turn on the citchen tap, strike a match and kook a khicken. Trucking kompanies that have kontracts to haul away the toxic waste sometimes just dump it in a kreek somewheres. The best part is that a lot of the wells already drilled have been kapped off to ceep the gas off the market!