Meet the “1%” Funding Anti-Fracking Hysteria

After spending more than a decade in finance, Michael Volpe has worked as a freelance journalist since 2009. He's based in Chicago. Volpe published his first book in October 2012, titled "Prosecutors Gone Wild: The Inside Story of the Trial of Chuck Panici, John Gliottoni, and Louise Marshall." His new book, "The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers," is now available.


The world presented in Matt Damon’s new movie Promised Land is a world in which the fracking movement, well-funded by corporate oil money, takes on a ragtag bunch of idealistic environmentalists. It’s the classic David vs. Goliath story. According to a new report, the anti-fracking movement is just as well-funded by highly organized environmental groups backed by deep-pocketed liberal philanthropists and even Middle East oil money.

According to a new report titled “The Environmental Movement vs. the Marcellus Shale,” the anti-fracking movement, using its friends in media and in Hollywood, has carefully crafted a “little guy” image when the reality is something quite different.

Environmentalists often depict themselves as scrappy underdogs fighting the power of entrenched special interests. But the case of the Marcellus Shale—and the untold energy resources that could be recovered safely by new drilling technology such as fracking—pits “the little guy” against powerful “green” forces such as the Park Foundation and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Sometimes Goliath could use a little help. A common tactic used by environmental extremists and their friends in the media is to characterize adversaries as “Goliath”—the powerful villain—in conflict with the good guy, the scrappy underdog, the “David.” In fact, the purported David may be made up of wealthy foundations, powerful politicians, and unaccountable bureaucrats, and Goliath may be small farmers, working-class people, and people with small businesses.

This report is not likely to get much coverage in the so-called mainstream media. Instead, the MSM presents a far different picture. As an example, here’s how the New York Times covered the money behind a fight to start fracking in New York State for a story in late 2011.

The hydrofracking issue has created a cottage industry for paid lobbyists, because the gas-drilling industry previously had little business in the capital. One major gas driller, Chesapeake Energy, has spent more than $1.6 million on lobbying over the past three years. In the three years before that, it spent barely $40,000.

In fact, the reason that it looks as though the fracking interests far outspend the anti-fracking interests is because environmental groups register as a 501 ©3, a tax filing status that allows each of these groups to avoid also having to register as a lobbyist. As such, even though these environmental groups perform the same functions as their lobbying counterparts supporting the fracking movements, the environmental groups are classified as a charity.

As an example, there’s the fight over the Marcellus Shale Region, a treasure trove of natural gas reserves that stretches across parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. According to Tom Shepstone, the campaign director for the Northeast Marcellus Initiative (NMI), a group that supports fracking in this area, there are about ten environmental “pressure” groups on the ground spending money and resources to block fracking in the region. The list includes: Earthjustice, Earthworks, the Delaware Riverkeeper, Otsego 2000, the Community Environmental Defense Council, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, the Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Environmental Advocates of New York, and the Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) and its sister organization, the Citizens Campaign Fund for the Environment. The CCE alone spent $3 million on efforts in the region last year. None were registered as lobbyists.

Most of the domestic anti-fracking efforts are ultimately funded by one left wing philanthropic group in particular: the Park Foundation. The Park Foundation was originally founded by Roy Park. Park was identified as the 40th wealthiest person in America by Forbes in 1993. His company, Park Communications, had control of 21 radio stations, seven television stations, and 144 publications when it was at its peak. Roy Park left 51 percent of his company to the Park Foundation when he died.

Domestically is not the only place where one will find powerful interests supporting the anti-fracking movement. The movie Promised Land is a great example. The Heritage Foundation reported that the movie’s chief financier was a company wholly owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates. The name of the company is Abu Dhabi Media. The budget for Promised Land was $15 million.

It’s no secret that Middle East oil interests like the UAE see fracking as a direct threat to the endless petro dollars that have been created because oil is the world’s chief energy source. The Middle East has an endless stream of oil, but natural gas is a different story.

The following December 2012 story from the American Interest laid out the threat to Middle East oil that fracking is.

The US shale gas boom, drastically cutting the cost of gas, is shaking the foundations of the Saudi Arabian economic model—and more is coming. The highly profitable $100bn Gulf petrochemical industry is taking a hit as its biggest customer—the U.S.—is importing less and relying instead on domestic production.

It should be noted that this anti-fracking movement comes just as Vladimir Putin attempts to quietly create a pseudo-OPEC in natural gas. A natural gas discovery in 2010 in Israel immediately made that nation a player in the world market. Since, emissaries from Russia have made a number of low key trips to Israel pitching the idea of a conglomerate of natural gas producing nations. So, even as left wing environmentalists attempt to limit our own production domestically of natural gas, our enemies are courting our allies globally to form natural gas partnerships.

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  • UCSPanther

    A lot of environmental groups are huge well funded monsters that devour economic prosperity and cripple both the economy and technological and scientific progress. I remember hearing of when Greenpeace and the Sierra Club when they were interfering with the forest industry on BC's west coast back in the 1990s.

    Several of the groups, including Greenpeace were found to be very well funded (They had a fleet of helicopters for example) and and practically paying protesters to come up from the 'States and interfere with lawful logging operations back in the day.

    We are seeing the same thing with the oilsands and fracking, but the stakes are much higher overall.

    • Deep Space

      It is interesting though how one group's civil disobedience is another groups interference with "lawful logging operations". I'm not in favor of the environmental groups using direct action to intimidate or force work stoppage but I'm not against them using legal means to obtain their goals. And that doesn't mean that I'm necessarily in favor of thier goals but many industries simply aren't interested in environmental issues or safety and health and when you think about it why not just pass on the costs of doing things in line with these objectives and then let environmentalists complain about the price of things it they care to. Anyway, environmental issues and/or practices shouldn't be dismissed completely as many on the right are wont to do. After all, what kind of physical world do we want to live in? Jobs are great but not if everything is a parking lot, a high rise, a strip mall, or a collection pond.

      • reader

        "many industries simply aren't interested in environmental issues or safety and health"

        Why? And why is it taken for granted that the government is geniunely more interested in all of those, except for 'not letting a good crisis go to waste.'

  • Refracktion

    "One major gas driller, Chesapeake Energy, has spent more than $1.6 million on lobbying over the past three years. In the three years before that, it spent barely $40,000."

    LOL Nice try but the website opensecrets.org documents the amount of money spent by oil and gas companies lobbying American politicians and financing their election campaigns. The top five companies spent the huge total of $42,470,000 on lobbying in 2012. They are: Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries, Chevron and BP.

    Now then , where were we?

    • davarino

      Yes, and you forgot to mention how much the 501s spent. Did you want to have a serious conversation or were you just wanting to make small talk?

    • Rob

      The companies you listed like Shell, Chevron ect. are not as heavily invested in the Marcellus as companies like Anadarko and Chesapeake with the exception of Exxon which owns XTO and is a major player in the Marcellus. This industry is huge and has interests all around the states that they are trying to protect. Of course they are going to spend a lot of money. They got a lot of money. What the author is trying to point out though is that there is a lot of money being spent by environmental groups on banning fracking in the Marcellus and as he pointed out it is not this David vs Goliath thing that they make it out to be……

    • Tomyris

      You are deliberately confusing the issue. The $42MM you mention was not just related to Fracking but includes the Hydrocarbon industry as a whole. The essence of the story is that the Gulf States are sponsoring a propaganda campaign to limit US home production and keep their customer base intact. Note that with US NG around $2.00 it competes with the Gulf States Petchem industry feedstock pricing. Hence that is why some of the majors are now investing (once again) in Petchem in the US. Not good news if you are a Gulf State run business and you have invested $$ Billions in new facilities.

      • Refracktion

        LOL – You seriously believe that US NG is around $2? It's averaged over $3 for the last 6 months – where have you been? And even at $3 the drillers can't make fracking pay. To quote Rex Tillersson, CEO of Exxon "We are all losing our shirts today. We’re making no money. It’s all in the red."

        Do you think the politicians care (or even realise) whether the energy companies' money is just related to fracking or is provided fro influence across all their activities? You'd have to be very naive if not to realise that $42 m buys you a lot of influence, regardless of which section of your business you are looking for help with. (And that WAS just the top 5 lobbying companies by the way, not the total)

        • reader

          "It's averaged over $3 for the last 6 months – where have you been? And even at $3 the drillers can't make fracking pay. To quote Rex Tillersson, CEO of Exxon "We are all losing our shirts today. We’re making no money. It’s all in the red.""

          Interesting. But the problem is that he said that more than six months ago, did he? And why would anybody engage in unprofitable enterprise, especially the one that Federal government has no intention of subsidizing?

        • patron

          That comment was made to support the export of natural gas, and after the boom ended from Obama outlawing new coal fired power plants.

          Environmentalists never think about the people who freeze or starve to death when they reduce energy production. They think it's all greedy oil execs and ugly Americans in their huge SUVs instead of third world agricultural or heating centers for the homeless.

          • Refracktion

            I wouldn't describe myself as an "environmentalist" and I'd be embarrassed to try to make an argument that started with the phrase "Environmentalists never think" because it would show that I myself would not be bothering to think. Stop trying to polarize the argument and look at the facts.

  • Refracktion

    Just swung by for a chat really davarino, but while I'm here, Go on then tell me – how much less than $42 million was it ? :-)

    • welldoneson

      refrack, the fact is that environmental groups are working on behalf of anyone who opposes economic development in the US and Canada. period. the Russians know how to deal with such az$ wholes… so do we, but our manners have precluded us thus far. the article is in error on one point, though; fracking is not new technology. what is new is the almost unlimited funds that Marxist-inspired activist groups have access to for the purpose of denying the US and Canada any sort of industrial infrastructure… a secondary function they serve is to propagandize any industry in Canada that competes with the US.

      • Refracktion

        "Marxist-inspired activist groups "- PMSL – is your real name McCarthy by any chance? That may suit your narrative but it is simply not true.

        And heck "almost unlimited"! Is that more or less than $42 M ?

        And I call 13 years quite new – horizontal drilling was first used "unconventionally" in the Marcellus Shale in 1991- so to say that fracking is not new technology is about as disingenuous as it gets.

        • reader

          Good point. Do you think that marxism is bad?

          • Refracktion

            Are you asking me or welldoneson? ;-)

          • reader

            You.

          • Refracktion

            I'd be very wary of labeling an entire political philosophy as either good or bad. After all I have no idea what YOU mean by "bad". As a political philosophy Marxism has certain merits, just as capitalism does. It also has many practical failings and limitations and its practical application has been pretty disastrous. Why do you ask? I certainly don't believe that even a minority of people opposing fracking being imposed on their areas are Marxists. Do you? And if so what do you base that on?

            I am not a Marxist, I am opposed to fracking, but on the basis that the economic benefit case is based on guesswork, whereas there is an absolute certainty that it would turn the area I live in from a beautiful rural environment into an industrial area, with the main beneficiaries being based in a tax haven in the Cayman Islands. The fact that that is self-evidently one of the nastier facets of capitalism does NOT make me a Marxist ;-)

            The lack or regulation and the potential environmental and health impacts that result from that are also of serious concern to me and many other people who would have to live with them. We are not tree hugging eco-warriors. We are educated and concerned citizens who believe we have as much right to question what is happening as the frackers have to suggest it in the first place.

          • reader

            I'll keep it simple: I think you are a liar and a marxist.

          • Refracktion

            LOL – Reader I think you are rather silly. What on earth gives you the right to suggest I am a Marxist because I chose not to believe everything I am told by a energy corporation.

            That is as ludicrous a me accusing you of being a Nazi because you appear to support them. Grow up and use whatever brain you have got.

          • reader

            What gives me the right to say what I think? Only a marxist can put this kind of question. And I've dealt with scores of them – you're not the first one. I've been raised in a marxist country, so I can sniff the likes of you much better than the inconspicuously mentioned by you Joe McCarthy, who, by the way, was very ineffective at that.

          • Refracktion

            PMSL – Your understanding of Marxism, political theory in general and indeed human nature must be pretty limited if you genuinely think that only Marxists would ask why you try to label someone you don't know in such a childish way.

            Of course you have the right to speak what you think. It might be helpful if you thought before you spoke though :-)

          • reader

            Now we're talking. Actually, I've probably read volumes of marxist political theory crap – more than you'll ever hope to. I had to, whether I wanted or not. But, unfortunately for you, I know what I'm talking about.

          • Refracktion

            LOL – you only probably know whether you've read them do you? OK :-)

          • reader

            Not only that, I probably did better on those than you did – my transcripts are pretty impressive. You could tell how quickly I sniffed you out here and an ignorant schizo you're budding up here with.

          • Refracktion

            LOL – You can diagnose marxism and mental illness over the web? – That's quite a trick ;-)

            Do you by an chance own any semi-automatic weapons?

          • reader

            Apparently, I can, can I? The better question is whether you two clowns own any. Marxists always liked mass murders.

          • Refracktion

            If you're so keen on Marx may I suggest that you start copying Harpo? ;-)

          • reader

            marx is dead. it's marxists like you that I'm keen on. I bet you like saying to all the gullible out there that you're not a marxist but a progressive, or, better yet, – like here – that you're just concerned with global warming and fracking effects on the prestine wild life. You're so very smart – you think. But you're not.

          • Refracktion

            At least I can spell pristine ;-)

          • reader

            I see. You also are compelled to give yourself a plus for such an achievement. Proud product of american government school system.

          • Refracktion

            It's amazing that you believe you can somehow tell who put a plus by my name , but you cant place my school to with 4,000 miles.

            Why is it that you seem to have a compulsion to express such absolute b/s with such absolute conviction reader.

          • reader

            "you cant place my school to with 4,000 miles."

            Amazingly flaws logic for such a "clever" poster. Are all the government schools situated within 4,000 miles from each other? Don't you think that my criterion may have something to do with your head?

          • Refracktion

            I have no idea where your government's schools are reader, and frankly i don't care over much as I didn't attend one.

          • reader

            particularly sad case

          • Refracktion

            LOL. Just LOL

          • reader

            If you had to have the last word in, why not just by answering a straightforward and simple enough question below?

          • Refracktion

            OK – just did LOL

          • Questions

            Arrogance is not intellect. You have much of the former and very little of the latter.

          • Refracktion

            Now come on – don't be mean to reader

          • EarlyBird

            Refracktion, welcome to the weirdest place on earth, where thinking has been replaced by mindless, raw, partisan passion. On this board anybody on the left of them is a "Marxist." The guy who cut them off in traffic is ipso facto a "Marxist." Because the flu season is a difficult one this year, it's proof of a "Marxist" plot by Obama, the Marxist Al Queda Manchurian Candidate.

            I commend you for your attempts at a reasoned discussion here, but this is the living breathing example of epistemic closure on the right.

          • Refracktion

            I think you may be right but I'll give Reader full marx for doggedly refusing to let go of a stupid position in an argument ;-)

          • Questions

            As someone who has been on the Right for a long time, I have standards. I've noticed all too often that message posters to this site are highly excitable, primitive people prone to labeling someone a "libturd" or a "Marxist" if that person is even slightly to the left of them on even one issue.

            We have democratized the conservative mind too much. We need more genuine elitists of the Right.

          • EarlyBird

            Amen. I consider myself a conservative, and I don't recognize anything "conservative" about the average posters to, or content of, this site.

          • reader

            There you go. I nailed the diagnosis.

          • reader

            So, having shifted slightly to the left of where you have allegedly been for a long time, did you ever read anything written by marx?

          • Refracktion

            FFS – what is with you and Marx – you are infatuated with him

          • reader

            What is with you trying to plug every hole? But, since you feel the urge, why don't you tell me – a primitive excitable right winger – what merit did you admit to find in marxism?

          • Refracktion

            Well reader, it was a philosophical response to the excesses which existed in the emerging 19th century capitalist system which had not yet acquired the safeguards for the less advantaged that most intelligent people would now agree are a necessary brake on an uninhibited free market in a just society.

            Would I want to live in a Marxist state? No command economies don't work well and thought control and imposed "consciousness" don't ring my bell either. I imagine we can both agree there.

            Was the concept of equality in Marxist ideas valuable in the development of our present day, somewhat fairer, democratic society. Yes, I'd say so. So, on balance I'd say that Marxism, like the French Revolution in the previous century, perhaps had more practical merit in exposing the injustices that it stood against rather than what it ultimately stood for.

            PS did you know those commies at the BBC voted Marx "thinker of the millennium" in 2000 ;-)

          • reader

            And yet, if you read marx closely – particularly the infamous manifesto – there's no equality there at all. It's pure and unfettered tyranny.

            "PS did you know those commies at the BBC voted Marx "thinker of the millennium" in 2000 ;-)"
            What's so funny? I'm not delusional enough to place BBC, you and the schizo into "conservative" column.

          • Refracktion

            What's so funny? Just go buy a mirror and you'll have the answer in nanoseconds ;-)

          • reader

            Not too sophisticated after all – unraveling from a "passionate environmentalist" to a pathetic marxist troll straight away.

          • Refracktion

            I am neither an environmentalist nor a marxist. Just a man with a brain.

          • Refracktion

            "We have democratized the conservative mind too much. We need more genuine elitists of the Right. "

            Hmmm – do YOU have a semi automatic weapon as well?

  • ice eater

    Ioil industry has been fracking wells for 40 years – over 1,000,000 – WHERES THE BEEF- enviros still believe we are the richest nation in the world and no amouint of money is too great to avoind one incident.

    Refraction – please document a fracture that has directly done damage?

  • Refracktion

    Ah – the old "we've been doing this since the year dot" rubbish. They normally say 60! Either you do not understand anything about directional drilling and horizontal fracking, ice eater, or you are being deliberately misleading. I wonder which it is?

    How about Cabot's efforts in Dimmock. In a 23-page report, the DEP stated that based on its investigations since January 2009, the drinking water wells of 13 homes had been contaminated with methane gas, and Cabot was held to be responsible. Was the largest fine then levied in Pennsylvania against a natural gas company a reward for good behaviour do you think? :-)

    • reader

      So, I take it, the court(s) took care of this problem. Why should the government get involved exactly?

    • guest

      Refracktion: I am completely lost in this debate – seriously – honestly. Can you explain to me what fracking is, and the reasons that you are opposed to it ?

      • Refracktion

        LOL

        • guest

          Why do you say lol ? I keep seeing articles about fracking, but nobody ever says what it is or what the arguments are for or against. I see lots of arguments on this page about who's financing who, and who's arguing qith who, but nobody ever says what it is' or why it's a good/bad thing. Could you please enlighten me ? I'm serious

          • Refracktion

            I said LOL because I can't believe you could find your way here without knowing how to use Google.

            As for "nobody ever says what it is or what the arguments are for or against" you are either Rip Van Winkle or a troll. ;-) So LOL again.

          • guest

            I just asked because I came across this article on a link from another site, I read the article and the comments and was still no wiser on the subject, to be honest I never even thought of googling it, the most obvious thing seemed to ask someone who knew all about it. I am not trying to trip you up or fool you, even if I was . surely explaining what fracking is and why you are against it wouldn't go any harm. I suppose it does piss me off that every argument about anything becomes a tribal war with the 'Evil Capitalist' on one side and the 'Champion of the People' on the other, the sensible debate that should be being had impossible on any subject because everyone has immediately taken to the trenches. So if me asking your opinion and why you hold it makes me a troll then I'm a troll., but your refusal to elaborate does lead me to suspect that either you don't know what your argument is yourself, or you don't think your arguments hold water.

          • Refracktion

            Fair enough then – couldn't agree more about the polarisation of the argument. This link will give you as near to an objective introduction as you will find anywhere .http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20595228

    • patron

      "How about Cabot's efforts in Dimmock. In a 23-page report, the DEP stated that based on its investigations since January 2009, the drinking water wells of 13 homes had been contaminated with methane gas, "

      People reported this before the wells were drilled.

      "and Cabot was held to be responsible"

      and OJ's busy looking for the real killer.

      • nightspore

        It's always hard to know whether types like refracktion really believe anything they say. There's always an odor of bad-faith to their arguments (which are nicely countered in some of the replies, by the way – which show just how superficial these arguments are). A deep cynicism that they really can't conceal.

        It's like these types load up on talking-points (would be interesting to know where from) before heading over to the FPM corral. To what end? My hypothesis is that it's some sort of exercise in self-justification – by whatever dubious means, as long as they can maintain a certain surface plausibility. Then they can go on believing.

      • Refracktion

        Rubbish

        • Refracktion

          Sorry that "rubbish" was intended for patron

          This "rubbish" is intended for you nightspore. An odor of bad faith ? Nicely countered. Keep dreaming.

          Sorry guy I thought this was place for an honest debate – I didn't realese I'd happened on a redneck bar. Byeee. :-)

      • BrianYYC

        I remember being in Southern Saskatchewan near Kindersly around 1973 and they could light their water on fire, as well. No gas wells in the area at all…none…nada! This whole fracking mess is made-up fraud like global warming and the Piltdown Man

        • Refracktion

          Brian catch up – even the frackers admit global warming is real these days.

          • patron

            Your initial point concerns methane containment drinking water and now you throw a red herring to avoid the point of natural migration.

            But to your statement on global warming, my skepticism comes not on the science, but the many solutions shot down, right out of the gate, by the environmentalist lobby, such as carbon sinks and solar shades.

          • Refracktion

            LOL – it wasn't me that introduce any red herrings about global warming patron. I'm not sure how Brian and Patron's logic that naturally occurring methane exists therefore anthropogenic methane cannot exist works. Can you clarify that one?

            I imagine you must think the gas companies are providing water buffaloes to affected families because they can't think of anything better to do with their money then?

  • UCSPanther

    I can imagine the Saudi King right now:

    King Abdullah: Mah Boi, this opposition to fracking is what all true warriors strive for.

    • Refracktion

      My 14 year old son would be embarrassed to have posted drivel like that.

      • guest

        Thank you. I’ve read the article and now I understand fracking. Let me say first that. fair enough. I do think that the environmental lobby do start from the position that they hate capitalism and the oil/gas companies in particular (although they seem to have no qualms about accumulating capital on their own behalf. usually at the expense of taxpayers), and that the opposition to anything that they do is automatic, start the protests. then we can come up with a reason. its not hard. The bbc report rather bears me out . the first thing is WE DON’T HAVE EARTHQUAKES IN ENGLAND, Tremors yes, earthquakes no. A lot of ifs buts and maybes are presented as not fact, but shall we say, given the full weight of probability.
        Having said that, the fracturing of large areas of strata is likely to have some effect, and when there is big money to be made big business can be totally ruthless, and does need watching. The trouble is every single issue becomes immediately partisan, when what is needed is a grown up conversation. Yes there do seem to be some POSSIBLE concerns over fracking, most of which could be overcome with an HONEST assessment of the effects of fracking and appropriate legislation. The trouble is th left want a total ban because their REAL agenda is to destroy capitalism (it’s ironic that in the countries where the left had control the environment and public health were secondary to the needs of the state, and their polution and environmental standards were appalling). On the other hand big business can be ruthless with the environment, and as I, they need to be watched.So I’m really no better off, because neither side seems trustworthy.

        • Refracktion

          LOL – you say you have trouble with people polarizing the debate and then proceed to lump everybody who is suspicious of fracking into a bin labelled "environmentalist lunatic". That is priceless.

          Don't be fooled into Reader's trap of imagining that there is a red under every bed. Do some more research and find out who really is questioning Fracking.

          It's more likely to be your grandmother than Fidel Castro.

          The USA has had 10 years to come up with an "HONEST assessment of the effects of fracking and appropriate legislation" to mitigate it's pontenial impacts.

          I am not too impressed with the progress so far.

  • David from Australia

    What do people think of the objections in Australia, not to CSG mining, but CSG mining on the 4% or 5% of the country which constiutes our prime agricultrual and urban land, and water catchment areas?
    In Australia minerals and petroleum don't usually belong to the landowner, but to the Crown, i.e., the state government.

  • EarlyBird

    So, the big scary news is that environmental groups have a lot of money, and they are supported by the "media" and Hollywood?! Shudder. Before you know it, these tree hugging, limp wristed hippies will be insisting that we can't all have coal fired plants to run our houses, or run our monster trucks on the entrails of snow leopards! Communists!

    Dopes, you should thank God every day that people have started to wake up to the fact that even good ol' meat 'n' potato 'Murcans have limited resources too, like clean drinking water and air to breathe.

    Unfortunately, this article, because it's Front Page Mag's standard, paranoid, dishonest and insane hit job on everything to the left of Genghis Khan, can't even get the arguments for fracking right: it's a lot cleaner and less destructive to our environment, ultimately, than coal.

    And of course we're not going to here that due to fracking, all on Obama's watch, we've greatly reduced our dependence on foreign oil.

    • reader

      "And of course we're not going to here that due to fracking, all on Obama's watch, we've greatly reduced our dependence on foreign oil."

      I thought that the article is critical of anti-fracking movie – made by people promoting Obama, of course – which makes it pro-fracking. But I've already seen you here somewhere lecturing us about things you know nothing about.

    • Jeff

      Obama had nothing to do with the drilling on private lands, nothing. And that is what lead to the increase in our oil production. He did give our offshore rights to Mexico and Brazil as part of his absurd global social justice mentality. On Obama's watch our country has been diminished drastically in terms of the economy and foreign policy.

      • EarlyBird

        Isn't that great though? He left private lands alone. What's wrong with allowing private companies to drill on private lands? I thought Obama's mission was to nationalize everything and take over all private enterprise? What he's done is block certain uses of public lands for oil.

  • Grant

    Our U.S. EPA has certified that fracking is safe, as has New York State. That won't keep them from trying to hamstring the U.S. gas and oil industry until it is nationalized. Then it will be fine. But let's be honest and admit that fracking is safe, and this argument is a political argument and a financial/taxation argument.

    • EarlyBird

      When the EPA certifies activities as "safe," they don't mean "harmless." It means that the upsides of the activity are worth the downsides to the environment. Similarly, when the FDA approves drugs, it is simply saying any risks or side effects are worth treating the condition.

      We need energy. Fracking is not evil, but it's not entirely harmless, and it's unreasonable to write off any critics of the downsides as leftist radicals bent on shutting down capitalism.

    • Paul Roden

      Dear Grant, have you read the New York Times series drilling down? or the reports on stateimpact.npr.org? Fracking is not safe, it is bad for the environment and for global warming. Do you want your drinking water destroyed directly or indirectly by the waste water that can't be treated? Do you want "well brine pored on your streets for de-icing because it has been reclassified as having "beneficial use"? Do you want radioactive radon delivered to be burned in your home or apt? Are you willing to pay for monitoring of spent wells the casings of which only last 100 years at best? Do you want pipelines and pumping stations in your neighborhood? Do you want well pads flaring excess gas, running drill rigs and pumping houses 24 hrs a day non stop for 10's of years?

      • Paul Roden

        Dear Grant:
        Do you want the waste water from fracking pumped into spent wells and have them causing earthquakes? And now the gas industry wants 19 ports converted to export terminals to shiip this gas overseas. I thought this gas was for US energy independence? We don't need this gas for our energy needs. Read the Nov 2009 issue of Scientific American. We can power the world without fossil fuel or nuclear power by 2030 with existing technology if we have the political will. The Germans will obtain 80 % of their energy by 2016 from renewable sources and shut down their nuclear plants by 2022. I know this because I visited there last July 2012. The Germans are not "starving and freezing in the dark". Their economy is growing while they cut their energy use. Their Chancellor and their Parliment, the Bundestad from left to right, Conservative to Green are united behind this policy. Imagine if our Congress and State government could unite behind such a plan. If the Germans can do it, we can do it. Fracking is not safe, it is too expensive and not necessary for our energy needs, just like nuclear power.

  • guest

    Refracktion: I didn't lump everyone together, though I must admit, it does seem to be a certain type of person who gets really hot under the collar about these things. The point I was making was that immediately the oil companies do ANYTHING it is immediately seized on by the left as a political whipping post to tie the oil companies to, then the gloves are off perhapses, maybes and suspicions become doom laden facts. I was totally genuine when I asked about fracking, and the information you pointed me to did not contain any FACTS, it was all supposition, and exageration – I can assure you we don't have earthquakes in England. What I am saying to you is that you MAY have a point, and I would genuinely be on your side, but as soon as I read something like the article that you directed me to it becomes obvious that the dangers are exagerated, and why have a total ban on the technique ?, there must be areas where drinking water and buildings would not be affected. It just bothers me that these things become a political football, and the average person finds it hard to get to the truth because neither side of the argument seems trustworthy

    • http://www.refracktion.com Refracktion

      “there must be areas where drinking water and buildings would not be affected.”
      LOL iIm sure there may be – does that make it OK that there are areas where they are not??? Come on.
      And you are seriously suggesting that the BBC is a left wing conspiracy. Have you never listened to Nick Robinson???
      Nobody in England is seriously suggesting that earthquakes are the major problem, except insofar as they might (and already have) affected well integrity. To say that is what people are concerned about is just a standard industry tactic . I have seen it more times than reader has found reds in his petticoats and had the vapours as a result.

      The BBC report contained no FACTS? What are you on ?

      If anyone has bothered to read this far down – they must be crazy. This isn’t somewhere where logical argument can happen – it’s a hall of mirrors full of rednecks in posing pouches. Euggh! what a image :-)

      • reader

        "The BBC report contained no FACTS? What are you on ?"

        Yeah, whatsa matter with you? The guy clearly said that "the disruption that this can cause is considerable. Road traffic, drilling noise, and the danger of accidental fuel spillages are all associated with the process." Nothing like what's going on around New York docks already, of course.

        • Refracktion

          So as well as being fixated on Marxism you can't distinguish between a residential rural area and a industrialized dock land area?

          OK

          • reader

            I don't know why you're so hung up on the rural area. Obama base is mostly urban.

          • Refracktion

            I'm not hung up on them. I live in one that is about to be sacrificed to the "greater good" of fracking.

            I don't give a flying fig about Obama. Why should I?

          • reader

            Because, he's the "environmentalists'" choice – the Communist Party USA endorsed him, you see. Didn't you vote for him?

          • Refracktion

            How could I vote for him?

            Your problem (or one of them at least) s you make far too many assumptions LOL

          • reader

            If you can't, I'm sure you would.

          • reader

            if you could.

          • Refracktion

            but I can't and I shan't

            You are starting to sound like a paranoid version of Dr Seuss ;-)

          • reader

            Funny again, but, seriously, who'd you vote for?

      • guest

        Well, as far as I can see, the article mentions earthquakes quite a few times which comes across to me as scare mongering, as I say we do have several tremors per year, none of them anywhere near the strength of an earthquake, and all the damage associated with that type of event. It makes several references to POSSIBLE effects without quoting any sources or conclusive proof. You say it is not ok to mine these minerals where nothing is affected but POSSIBLY the topology. WHY ?. Like I say, the minute the oil companies are involved in anything it's YOU who has a fit of the vapours,, and starts slinging insults. I'm trying to have a reasonable, rational conversation on the subject.If you read back that is the nub of my argument, neither side seems capable or willing to have a civilised discussion. As for the bbc and nick robinson. ifcompred to you, they are conservative or even neutral, then you were born too late – pol pot died years ago.And the bbc I stopped trusting years ago. As for the term redneck, I have never understood why it is such an insult. It is the mark of a hard working man who provides for himself and his family, and pays a proportion of that hard earned cash in taxes to support his local community and federal government. He is the man who ACTUALLY CREATES THE WEALTH of your country IN SURPLUS, – enough to support the over indoctrinated, overpaid, underemployed 'intellectuals' who sit around and scorn and deride him.He is the man who knows the value of those tax dollars that the 'clever people' are so fond of spending on their own, and their cronies obscene wages and expenses, and on their pet projects, because he earns those tax dollars THE HARD WAY.

        • reader

          "As for the bbc and nick robinson. ifcompred to you, they are conservative or even neutral, then you were born too late – pol pot died years ago."

          Yet, he's just a notch shy of declaring himself a "conservative", just like a notch less "sophisticated" clown has repeatedly done here.

          • Refracktion

            The BBC article represents the middle ground of the state of reporting of this subject in the UK which is the new frontier of fracking. I could have directed you at the inane outpourings of fracking fan boys like London Mayor Boris Johnson or professional goon James Delingpole, or I could have sent you to one of the more rabid anti-fracking sites. I'm so sorry I thought you wanted something near the middle ground.

            I would agree that the media focus too much on earth tremors (or quakes as they prefer to refer to them as it sells more papers). The frackers are happy enough as it suits their narrative and they can claim with some truth that fracking will probably not result in serious earthquakes. You will be aware though of course that the issue with potential water contamination is about 5% geology (earth tremors) and 95% engineering – well design / maintenance. The two potential pathways do of course come into conjunction if the earth tremors damage the well bore, which happened in the case of one of the more significant UK tremors.

          • reader

            "The BBC article represents the middle ground of the state of reporting"

            "LOL", as you like to do here. This is a good one. Not too settled though. "State reporting" – particularly by the outfit existing at the tax payers expense – cannot represent no "middle ground" by definition, by the way.

          • Refracktion

            Reader – I challenge you to find an article on any subject anywhere in the world by any writer that cannot be accused by someone of some sort of bias. You won't be able to.

            I did my best to find a non-hysterical article which tried to show a balanced view of the process and alluded to its potential benefits and issues. If you can find a better more balanced article then please post a link.

            "State reporting" – I'm sorry if you can sniff commies again – we're getting all marxist again aren't we ;-) The UK is just like East Germany under the Stasi isn't t?

            I'll tell you what though – I'll take the BBC (Nick Robinson and all) for balanced reporting ahead of Fox News any day of the week. ;-)

          • reader

            "I challenge you to find an article on any subject anywhere in the world by any writer that cannot be accused by someone of some sort of bias. You won't be able to. "

            So, how is bias compatible with the "middle ground" exactly? I'm not equating BBC with Brezhnev's Pravda either, but the fact that you take BBC for balanced reporting speaks volumes about where your "middle ground" is. I've already noticed it, as you probably remember.

          • Refracktion

            So you can't then? Thought not.

          • reader

            I never claimed to represent any "middle ground." You claimed that BBC does.

  • Parenthetical Phrase

    If you want Hollywood to listen, stop buying their products. No one ever died from not going to the movies or watching television.

    • Guestt

      Probably the most sensible post on this website. Once you realise how just about all tv and movie output is geared to brainwashing people to one world view it becomes unwatchable. Someone on a blog once commented that she had bought a boxed set from the '60s, route 66 I think it was called. She settled down to watch it, looking forward to a nostalgic escape from the blatant propagander that permeates modern tv drama. She was appalled when she watched the series again that it was just the same, although she had not noticed at the time. I had a similar experience with a British tv series called 'Danger Man' from the sixties. We were both amazed when we realised how long this had been going on. I used to love current affairs programmes, I thought it was great, that we could criticise ourselves and our allies our society. I still do, But then I realised it was a one way street criticism was ALL we got – no context, no comparison, we were just wrong in everything. Documentaries – all of our great heroes portrayed as having feet of clay, full of character defects, and the blatant lies and inaccuracies too.I'll tell you what Refracker if you feel like you do out of an urge to take on the establishment, or genuinely fight for truth and justice you want to look around and see who is the establishment see who's making all the money, who has all the power, and it ain't the conservatives, it's the 'men of the people' — Michael Moore, Al Gore, the Obamessia, all millionaires, plus countless other politicians THEY are the establishment now.At least the capitalists want to sell you something useful in exchange for your money, socialists just rob it from you in the form of taxes.

  • Jake

    Where are your sources for the facts in this article? Some of what I read was very questionable in regards to its legitimacy (i.e.- funding for the movie by the UAE… Do you really believe everything you hear?) I do know it is quietly suggesting that people who preach change are quacks and global warming is simply a fictional tool of state. I am an environmental engineering grad student at the university of Michigan and I can assure you that these are issues that are definitely worth lobbying for. I did an internship for a non-profit that has been monitoring the air and soil quality in varying regions of the U.S. and China; results only continue to prove an everlasting and chilling trend. Call me an environmental idealist all you want; I have the data to prove our "propaganda" is far from fictional. I could present the information to the non believers, but the majority of people cannot understand what's being introduced.

  • Duncan_McFarlane

    Do the anti-fracking campaigners other than the people in these film stand to make a penny from opposing it? No. They’re opposing it because they don’t want their own air and water polluted for a long time for small numbers of fairly short-term jobs, or to defend other people from suffering that.

    And do you think films about anti-fracking campaigners are going to bring in big money? Never in a million years. If Matt Damon and the others involved just wanted money they’d be making Terminator or Batman number whatever.

    On the other hand the Marcellus Shale Coalition – an association of the companies involved in fracking in the US – has set up ‘Energy In Depth’ as a front group to campaign in favour of supposedly “safe” fracking despite multiple EPA and academic studies showing its not safe.

    The companies also fund universities including the University of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia – and some of the studies use reports funded the Marcellus Shale Coalition as sources. As a result academic studies often use some of the same semantics to make it sound like fracking is harmless, but if you read carefully what they actually say is that the hydraulic fracturing (pumping water and chemicals under pressure down the shaft) isn’t polluting the ground water or air, but every other part of the process is ; the fracking chemicals are frequently spilled while being transported above ground and then go into water supplies ; the drilling of the well to prepare for fracking releases methane and radioactive materials trapped in the shale ; after fracking the well casing usually degrades within a few month to years resulting in pollution of water and air ; and “flaring” off of gas causes major air pollution.

    For more info and links to the EPA and university studies see my blog posts – links below

    http://inplaceoffear.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/fracking-insane-scientific-evidence.html

    http://inplaceoffear.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/texas-study-actually-shows-fracking.html

    • debek

      How do you know that the anti-fracking campaigners have no financial reason for opposing it? Perhaps their retirement portfolios are held up by overseas oil and energy and/or companies whose profits come from supporting war? Certainly they realize that if American can not be self-reliant on it’s own energy sources that we will continue to become involved in wars and conflicts overseas that are related to energy sources. War = $. $ from manufacturing uniforms, tanks, missiles, guns. $ from supplying civilian contractors to rebuild schools and hospitals. Lockheed, Haliburton, CACI International, Goodrich, DynCorp, Hewlett Packard, ManTech, General Electric, to name just a few.

      I propose that the anti-fracking rebels are simply protecting their retirement portfolios.

      Since the science does not support their stand, it’s the only other reason I can come up with that makes any sense.