Thursday, November 20, 2008

So,THIS is forward thinking? Give me a break!

An unspoiled landmark so iconic it's on Utah's license plates - could one day include a drilling platform under a proposal that environmentalists call a Bush administration "fire sale" for the oil and gas industry.

Late on Election Day, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced a Dec. 19 auction of more than 50,000 acres of oil and gas parcels alongside or within view of Arches National Park and two other redrock national parks in Utah: Dinosaur and Canyonlands. The National Park Service's top official in the state calls it "shocking and disturbing" and says his agency wasn't properly notified. Environmentalists call it a "fire sale" for the oil and gas industry by a departing administration.

Officials of the BLM, which oversees millions of acres of public land in the West, say the sale is nothing unusual, and one is "puzzled" that the Park Service is upset. "We find it shocking and disturbing," said Cordell Roy, the chief Park Service administrator in Utah. "They added 51,000 acres of tracts near Arches, Dinosaur and Canyonlands without telling us about it. That's 40 tracts within four miles of these parks."
To read this entire article click here.

Some of the most beautiful places in the country are now under siege. A final gift is being given to the oil and gas industry from their king, President Bush. Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and Dinosaur National Monument contain some of the most spectacular natural wonders ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH, and he means to give away to the highest bidder land for drilling that is within site of the Delicate Arch. I am disgusted! Ah, wouldn’t it be the greatest shock of all if we actually had a president who cared about the West.

The geology of this part of the United States is ancient and in some places EXTREMELY DELICATE AND FRAGILE. Let’s take Arches for example. Did you know that to release the gas from the Earth requires a process called HYDRAULIC FRACTURING. It’s a process by which they pump highly pressurized fluids, like diesel fuel, acids, all kinds of toxic stuff (that gets in the groundwater by the way, you know because the arid West needs another problem with their groundwater)in the ground, actually shaking the substrate in order to release the gases. SHAKING THE EARTH. I wonder how all the arches in the parks will handle the below ground earth quakes! Click here to read about the health affects and the process of drilling for natural gas. It’s extremely interesting.

How many places are we going to permanently destroy all in the name of oil independence. Idiocy! Does know one care about what we leave for our ancestors! Apparently not.
I would like to be able to take my grandchildren to one of my favorite places on Earth. Instead of just showing them pictures of what the arches, delicate Indian ruins, dinosaur tracks, looked like (because by then they’ll all just be piles of rubble), I want them to see the real things without the permanent blights and scars left by the drilling fields, who where there for probably a year and left nothing but their toxic waste and destruction in the dirt.

I call that not being selfish and looking ahead. I call that forward thinking. I call that actually caring about something bigger and more important than yourself.


okbushmans said...

Anyone? Anyone? Ok, I'll bite. First, I would love to see the connection made from this deal to President Bush directly. And if you can't connect the dots, it weakens your argument throwing out blatant Bush slams when he doesn't have a direct link.
Second, I have a deep love and connection with Zions, Bryce Canyon, and the other S. Utah parks. My grandpa helped build "Hell's Backbone" bridge just outside of Escalante. I want those natural sanctuaries preserved. I would be against a big oil derek (sp?) going right through the middle of Arches. Just like oil-diggers/earth-killers overextend their powers, so do environmentalists. Many in my family were affected during the Clinton administration with the "Grand Staircase" legislation, which made ANY activity illegal. An uncle who did HORSEBACK RIDING TRIPS through that area had to close down his business, because of the 'HARMFUL' effects they were having on the earth. HORSES?!?!? Give me a break.
Lastly, it is confusing to me those who hold mother-earth in such sacred and celestial regard, yet can destroy or experiment on embryos, the foundation of life. (I'm not categorizing Lula, or those who read this blog in this, just those of the pro-earth/pro-choice crowd). Does that make sense to anyone? Protect the earth, but those who don't have a voice and who are ALIVE, are disposable. The earth was given to us for our USE, granted not ABUSE. We have to carefully use what we have stewardship over. I guess we all have different opinions as to what is USE and ABUSE. I don't think drilling (of course not down Arches or protected National Monuments) is ABUSE. Where do you draw the line?

Bryce and Mandy said...

I was so disappointed when I heard about this. Moab is one of my favorite places to visit. Until I had my baby last year, I had gone every year for the past 7-8 years. It is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I can’t believe they will actually shake the ground. Those arches are so delicate, one even fell earlier this year. I hope they are there long enough for me to take my kids there so they can see them before they are all destroyed. Not to mention the Petroglyphs and Pictographs that have been there for thousands of years. Hopefully the rocks they are on don’t get sheared off and fall to the earth.

It is just so disappointing to me that they can drill next to national parks now. Are they going to start drilling in them next? Good bye Old Faithful. I thought these parks were created to protect them. I love going to them. It is nice to get away from the urban sprawl and get just a glimpse of what life used to be like. It makes me sad to think my kids might not be able to enjoy Moab like I have. Who will want to go see a pile of rocks that used to be an arch? Or a boulder sitting on the ground that used to be Balanced Rock? At Least I have lots of pictures.

I read an article about natural gas drilling in Business Week. I can’t believe that gas companies don’t have to disclose the chemicals they use to split the earth. I understand they don’t want to give away trade secrets but can’t some sort of compromise be reached to make sure they aren’t using benzene, methanol and other toxic chemicals? “Tests conducted near a Wyoming gas field found 88 contaminated water wells stretching over 28 miles – 15 contained the carcinogen Benzene.” A man in Colorado was hospitalized after drinking water from his well and Benzene was later found in it.

Gas companies point to a 2004 EPA study that said the process was not dangerous but if you look closely at the report it says that fracturing fluids migrated unpredictably through rock layers in half the cases they studied. They also said the chemicals used “can cause kidney, liver, heart, blood and brain damage through prolonged or repeated exposure. It even says that 1/3 of injected fluids used remains in the ground and is “likely to be transported by groundwater.” That to me right there says we should find out what chemicals are used and make sure they aren’t toxic. Poor Moab, not only could they lose their national parks but their drinking water.

I use natural gas to heat my home. I’m not against it; I just wish it could be done in a safer manner and not next to national parks. Maybe that is an unrealistic wish.

okbushmans said...

So now what? I think anyone with a functioning brain disagrees with using harmful chemicals which can spread into the major population. (Which majority companies are careful and responsible in what they put into the earth, if not for the earth's sake but for 'not being sued' sake.)

Yet, it is one thing to identify the problem, but what is the solution? I still haven't heard any. Energy is a necessity of life. We need oil and gas. Therefore, there needs to be oil and gas companies. Evil corporations, providing the human population with necessities of living outside of the dark ages! What are we supposed to do? What is the solution? Live in the dark ages without harming those poor layers of rock or responsibily take advantage of the resources we have? I would LOVE to hear the alternatives!

Bryce and Mandy said...

Actually the three companies they talked about in the article are the top three companies (Schlumberger, Halliburton and BJ Services) in the business, which cover about 90% of the market so they are the majority. And did I say they were evil companies? I believe I said I wasn't against natural gas. I just want them to disclose what they put in the earth (and our drinking water).

I enjoy my heat and electricity as much as anybody. As for the solution, I don't know. I would say, don't use toxic chemicals to do the drilling, and don't do it near a national park. But, I am not an expert. I never claimed to be. If I knew the solution I might be a millionaire! I just thought the article was interesting and I learned a lot. I thought others might be interested in what I learned too.

These are just the humble opinions of a history major who is worried about her drinking water and her favorite vacation spot. I will leave it up to someone else to talk about alternative energy. I don't know enough about it.

Oh, and everything I read said it was the Bush administration who is pushing this through so I believe that connects Bush directly to it.

Lula O said...

Just like I would "love" to hear the alternative's to ending all entitlements, other than let the people do it. Neither is realistic.
Having worked for the BLM for almost a decade - the Director at the time once even came to our lab, I know as a Federal entity it is led by the current administration. They can't wipe their nose without permission. I'm sorry, but its naive to think Bush and his oil friendly comrades are not involved in this. I mean, come on, why would the BLM do it now? Right before he leaves office and within the time limit allowed by law. Something stinks and it's not the horse manure.

Kids crying will finish later...

okbushmans said...

Agreed. (Mandy). I just want them to disclose what they put in the earth and be responsible (and be held accountable if they are reckless).
And since you asked, my propositions to curb entitlements (I don't think they should end all together. They have a purpose and are needed.)
1. Time limits: Medicaid, unemployment, welfare, WIC, etc have expiration dates. A time table for withdrawl, if you will! I don't think any of these are needed longer than 1 year max. (6 months ideal).
2. Be put to work: During FDR those who received assistance did community service. It was almost like being employed by the state.
3. Flat Tax: I know this sounds crazy, but it is fair. And I still wouldn't be against tax refunds for a certain population, but that would minimize the money going to the IRS which could be spent else where.
There's a good start. Listing that is much easier than alternative energy, biology mumbo-jumbo. And like both of you have said, I need more info on this also. If we're drilling in Zions, why not tap Niagra Falls and Old Faithful for Hydro-energy?

Jen said...

Where is Erin Brokovich when you need her?

Lula O said...

Well there you go. Sounds good to me. Surprise, surprise.

I agree with Mandy.

Clinton did make a big, brash move at the end of his presidency that angered alot of people in that area. It's interesting how Utah has become such a poster child for term-ending legislation and how the people there have to pay for it, in one way or another.

No, I'm obviously not against drilling, just give-aways to special interest groups that leave the states to clean up the messes.

I read that just 2.5% of the natural gas reserves and 1% of the petroleum in the US is in Utah. Enough for 5.5 months and 7 weeks respectively, of total supply for the country. Is it worth drilling next to our precious landmarks for such a tiny amount? Is it worth allowing the thumper trucks that pound the ground looking for reserves along the fencelines of our National parks?

Another problem for me is access. Their 'footprints' cannot be removed. When these companies are done drilling in the backcountry, they leave their roads and accessways behind. They are then used by 4X4's and atv's to get even farther back into country once limited to those on foot.

As the population grows and these areas become more popular, they need to be better managed. It is not how it was when our parents were our age. It's much, much worse.
So the answer? Compromise. Drill smarter and wiser, involve the state agencies who work directly with the land everyday, get the public's input as part of the decision process. No more exemptions from regulations like the Clean Water Act and those that control air pollution - which they currently have by the way. No more shady behind-the-scenes deals that do nothing but cause people like me to spit fire.
Nuff said.

okbushmans said...

Nuff said. (shake hands). Why can't Washington work like the political moms? Oh wait, we're not getting paid over or under the table to voice our opinions!

Ben and Christina said...

I am not necessarily opposed to drilling (although in UT it seems rediculous based on all of the arguements already given), but I do think that we need to look at drilling as a short term fix rather then a long term solution. We are using way too much energy as a nation, and now China is using as much as us (I think I remember hearing them saying that during the Olympics...)

Anyway, I am really excited that Obama is talking about investing however many billions of dollars into alternative energy. If we could harness the wind and solar powers to do most of our energy work, I just think that would be so incredibly awesome and powerful-and I hope someday it can provide real solutions! I think it is time for America to start thinking long term, and become a real leader in this.

Lula O said...

Well said. I totally agree. We need to be an example for the other nations, especially when we aren't the ones producing the majority of CO2 emissions - That would be India and China, who have no incentive to be environmentally friendly. I agree, we need to be a leader in developing the technology. Clean coal is an example of a step in the right direction.
I just hope with gas getting cheaper again, that we as American's don't revert back to our gas guzzling ways.

okbushmans said...

F.Y.I: Companies who drill for energy (gas/oil) use chemicals while they drill to keep the contents from prematurely coming to the surface. It is much more hazardous to have a gas or oil leak, which could start horrible fires. And from what I could find, many major companies are trying to find safer alternative chemicals to use while drilling.