Diary of a Dying Country

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This post originally appeared at Truthout.

Hand covered with wet coal ash from the Dan River swirling in the background as state and federal environmental officials continued their investigations of a spill of coal ash into the river in Danville, Va., Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. Duke Energy estimates that up to 82,000 tons of ash has been released from a break in a 48-inch storm water pipe at the Dan River Power Plant in Eden N.C. on Sunday. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
A hand covered with wet coal ash from the Dan River -- seen swirling in the background -- as state and federal environmental officials continue their investigations of a coal ash spill -- Danville, Va., Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. Duke Energy estimates that up to 82,000 tons of ash has been released from a break in a 48-inch storm water pipe at the Dan River Power Plant in Eden NC on Sunday. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

As crude a weapon as the cave man’s club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life – a fabric on the one hand delicate and destructible, on the other miraculously tough and resilient, and capable of striking back in unexpected ways. These extraordinary capacities of life have been ignored by the practitioners of chemical control who have brought to their task no “high-minded orientation,” no humility before the vast forces with which they tamper.

— Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

It has been snowing all day here, the biggest storm of the season to date. There is at least a foot piled atop the stacked cordwood outside my office window, the trees are frosted and everything is white and silent save for the hiss of flakes coming to rest. I am not one of those people who detests winter; in fact, I adore it, because it is beautiful. What I see out my window in the fading light of this late afternoon reminds me, again, how truly gorgeous this country is.

And then I remember that it is being wrecked, poisoned, denuded and ruined for money and I want to go outside and sit in the snow and listen to it as it buries me until I am gone from this country that would do such harm to itself, brazenly and without restraint, for profit.

On Tuesday afternoon, Duke Energy in North Carolina released a press statement announcing that somewhere between 50,000 and 82,000 tons of coal ash, which created some 27 million gallons of water polluted with heavy metals and other poisons, had been accidentally dumped into the Dan River, near the towns of Danville and Eden. Eden, because God, or Fate and definitely the coal industry have a vicious sense of humor. Duke Energy waited 24 hours to report the spill. They may not have said anything at all, but a security guard noticed an unusually low water level in what is called an “ash pond,” which is where this crud is stored. That low water level means most of the poison had escaped into the river by the time it was discovered.

The Dan River is a source of drinking water for the region, as the Elk River was in West Virginia when the coal industry dumped poison there a few weeks ago. According to EcoWatch, “The spill is the equivalent of 413 to 677 rail cars of wet coal ash poured into a public drinking water source. If a freight train full of this toxic waste had derailed, there would have been immediate notification and quick news coverage in order to inform and protect the public.” It appears at this point to be the third largest coal ash spill in American history.

This is what coal ash looks like. By Tuesday afternoon, the Dan River had turned completely grey.

The worst drought in living memory is currently afflicting the State of California and other parts of the West, severe water restrictions have been put in place, and every available weather model predicts the situation will “persist or intensify” through April and beyond. California Republicans have chosen to use the parched landscape as a way to attack Democrats, claiming that policies including environmental protection are to blame for the drought… because humans can’t cause climate change, but Democrats can cause droughts, or something.

As it turns out, however, there may be another explanation for why California and much of the West is drying up:

America’s oil and gas rush is depleting water supplies in the driest and most drought-prone areas of the country, from Texas to California, new research has found. Of the nearly 40,000 oil and gas wells drilled since 2011, three-quarters were located in areas where water is scarce, and 55% were in areas experiencing drought, the report by the Ceres investor network found. Fracking those wells used 97 billion gallons of water, raising new concerns about unforeseen costs of America’s energy rush.

It can take millions of gallons of fresh water to frack a single well, and much of the drilling is tightly concentrated in areas where water is in chronically short supply, or where there have been multi-year droughts. In California, where a drought emergency was declared last month, 96% of new oil and gas wells were located in areas where there was already fierce competition for water. The pattern holds for other regions caught up in the oil and gas rush. Most of the wells in New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming were also located in areas of high water stress, the report said.

It’s not just the West that is being affected by the practice of fracking. A report by the Environment America Research & Policy Center titled “Shalefield Stories” has collected the personal testimonies of dozens of people from all across the country who are suffering from the aftereffects of natural gas extraction, processing and waste disposal.

“Across the country,” reads the report, “fracking is contaminating drinking water, making nearby families sick with air pollution, and turning forest acres into industrial zones. We believe it is vital for the public to hear directly from people living on the frontlines of fracking, and so Environment America Research & Policy Center is supporting the Shalefield Stories project-a booklet designed and published by local activists where people impacted by fracking tell their stories, in their own words.”

Read it. It is the diary of a dying country.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is under construction, but not yet complete, and is still awaiting approval from the Obama administration. A few days ago, the State Department released a report on Keystone XL claiming that there are no serious environmental concerns regarding the pipeline, despite the fact that it will be carrying tar sands oil — the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet — through America’s breadbasket and very close to the most important water aquifer in the nation.

Beyond the very basic, thousand-times proven fact that the Keystone XL pipeline will leak, because all pipelines leak when they are not exploding in huge fireballs that lay waste to the countryside and light up the sky for miles, is the fact that the extraction process for tar sands oil — before it ever sees the inside of any pipeline — is actually more pollutive by two to three orders of magnitude than previously understood.

The president of the United States did not deign to give a single damn about these or any other inconvenient facts about Keystone and tar sands oil when he stood up before the American people during his State of the Union address last week and talked about “energy independence” in terms so rosy that they would make an oil baron blush.

He didn’t talk to you about any of this… but maybe you might want to talk to him. The 30-day period for public comment on the Keystone XL pipeline project has officially begun, and if you have a mind to, you can speak your mind on the matter here. Click the blue “Comment Now” button in the upper right corner and speak your piece.

I would not in any way presume to tell you what to say or how to say it, and I offer no guarantees that commenting on that site will be anything other than a waste of time; the damned pipeline is half-built already, the State Department has blithely brushed off a mountain of extremely unsettling environmental concerns, so I am pretty much convinced that the president is going to approve this thing even if God appears before him in the Oval Office and denounces the project with brimstone and fire. The president doesn’t work for God, and he sure as hell doesn’t work for us. He works for the energy industry that is turning this indescribably beautiful country — this indescribably beautiful world — into a parched, poisoned wasteland.

Speak your mind anyway, if you feel like it. Unlike the energy policies that are filling the rivers and the air with poison, drying up the water out West while making the tap water back East flammable, speaking your mind does no harm. Who knows? They may even listen. Stranger things have happened, and you still have time, because the seas have not risen to reclaim us.


William Rivers Pitt is Truthout’s senior editor and lead columnist. He lives and works in New Hampshire.
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  • Anonymous

    Let’s start with water. Of all the water on Earth only THREE percent is fresh water. One to one and a half percent of fresh water is polluted, mostly by industry. Lake Baikal in Russia holds 20 percent of the world’s fresh water. All the fresh water in glaciers is melting into the sea. That alone should rule out fracking.

    “Externalities” in economics is a faulty rule. That means industry and corporations never, ever, ever are to be held responsible for the damage they do. They’re entitled, you see. They will indignantly go to court in the defense of their right to pollute. “It’s an insult, I tell you!”

    And what about the coal ash that has NEVER been regulated? About the time of the coal ash tsunami in Tennessee a few years back, they started calling coal (the stuff they burned in Victorian England which caused killer fog) CLEAN. That solves that problem (NOT).

    Common sense dictates fossil fuels need to be replaced. It is not impossible technically. Those that have profited from fossil fuel refuse to let go and will go to any drastic lengths to keep the enterprise going. Ordinary flesh and blood people have to say NO, THIS IS OVER, or we will be over.

  • JJ042804

    well said!

  • Andres Ehrenkrantz

    I have been trying to get people to listen to me about this for weeks. I can get hundreds of signitures for petition to stop or create an injunction. PLEAS GUIDE ME

  • Bernadene

    I commented on the site linked. Thanks for the suggestion. I wish i could do more.

  • Ecovlke

    You nailed it. Second to last paragraph explains the situation. Under the Obama administration it became apparent that we citizens, regardless of how much we protest, have little influence of the decisions of our political leaders. I’ve been saying over a year that this pipeline will get installed regardless of science, regardless of people’s desire, and regardless of anything outside of the big money people who own the government and the politicians. Am I a pessimist? Yes, I’ve become one. Obama has been awful for conservation, animal protection, wildlife protection, and environmental protection. He has been great for big oil and big agriculture, though. And LOL, he’s still a ‘socialist’ in the minds of the tea-party type. Our global government system of colonialism will be the demise of our species as we know it.

  • Bill Nolkyz

    Typical Liberal Alarmism! Why do you lefties have so little faith in your fellow humans? No matter what happens to the ecosphere, we will evolve, to breathe in the New Air, drink the New Water, and eat the New Food. Sure, from 3.9-5.4 billion people on Earth will die over the next several decades, but they will be the “economically-disadvantaged” takers who have no incentive to start their own businesses. Besides, haven’t you Godless Pinkos been complaining for decades about overpopulation? Well here’s your solution! And you’re welcome! :-)

  • Anonymous

    So Pitt, you’re murdering trees to selfishly heat your little New Hampshire hovel, spew carbon into the atmosphere and you dare to lecture me about using fossil fuels to sustain my lifestyle?

    If everybody in this country heated their homes with firewood there wouldn’t be a tree left.

    Put on another sweater.

    I guess you’re just so much more deserving than others.

    *BTW William, “Silent Spring” was related to pesticides*

  • Terri Ford

    Burning wood is carbon neutral (that’s a scientific fact)… so what was the rest of your point?

  • Terri Ford

    …Because humans are the most dangerous and short sighted species on the planet. Why does your point require name calling and have no real point other than to belittle and slap people around with your bullying attitude? Perhaps you are the one with nothing to add… and you’re welcome 😀

  • http://socialk.com/ Rob Thomas

    If corporations have not completely bought this yet, think it through this way. The damage to our economy is magnified with continued reliance on fossil fuels. Kicking this issue down the road is to costly. Take the pain now, fight against corporate power. Ignoring the way corporations treat the environment in the name of providing lubrication for our economy is a fool’s errand.

  • http://socialk.com/ Rob Thomas

    Only 1000 comments on link in this article. Add more, speak your mind now.

  • Anonymous

    Dawn, I believe you mean the so-called christian fundamentalist con artists? No, they don’t care, and probably cannot be convinced either. The epic battle of our time is with capitalism, and there are wealthy and powerful supporters everywhere. The ever expanding need for “growth” plunders and decimates the natural world. Growth means Death. . . . . of people, all creatures, all sustenance, and indeed the whole biosphere, as is happening now.

  • Veteran

    I did

  • Veteran

    obviously you didn’t read the article.

    So you are saying instead of being killed with a knife, you prefer your death come from a steel toed boot to your head!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the compliment. Please spread the message!

  • Anonymous

    Hi, Don, the obscenity of mountaintop removal definitely did not start yesterday. The water problem in WV has finally made it to the “news” but of course that’s far from the whole story. The issue of fresh water is huge, both here and around the world, the wealthiest, most powerful capitalists are definitely eyeing this as a “commodity” rather than a human right. They are capable and willing to “lock up” reservoirs and sell the water to those who can pay. Those who cannot pay can just die. There have been and there will be more water wars to come.

    I want to remind everyone who thinks fresh water is abundant or limitless of the facts: Of all the water on Earth, only THREE percent is fresh water. Of the 3 percent, 1 to 1-1/2 percent is already polluted mainly by industry. Lake Baikal is Russia holds 20 percent of the fresh water on Earth. As the glaciers melt, the stored fresh water they hold flows into the sea.

    Don, your voice and efforts are honorable, commendable and very much appreciated. Native peoples are a much needed ally in this epic battle for Life on Earth.

  • Marc Berner

    Thank you, William. I just emailed President Obama expressing my vehement opposition to the pipeline.

  • Anonymous

    Jesme, I urge you to try to expand your concerns from a local level in order to see the larger picture. If possible, please read all the comments. Thank you.

  • Helen A. Spalding

    The Keystone XL pipeline, like any pipeline, will leak. The oil carried in this pipeline, however, is different from the usual crude. It is more contaminated, especially with explosive substances. As with railcars, pipelines with this contaminated crude can explode and catch fire. When they do, toxic substances are released into air, water, and soil. Contamination of groundwater, in a part of the US whose water supply is already at risk. As for the notion that this pipeline will supply the US with oil, it is intended to transport the oil to refineries is Texas and New Orleans, from whence it will be shipped to Japan. NONE of this oil will be used in the US! Therefore, this pipeline should be stopped. It is of no benefit to the US, and a great risk to the environment and families in this country.

  • Anonymous

    excellent article. how far will we let corporations go before we stand up? Hint: when we’re all dying of cancer or poisoning, it’ll be too late.

  • Jim Bush

    There is plenty of evidence that transporting oil by pipeline is NOT safer than rail. Ask the residents of Mayflower, Arkansas, as one example. One sure disadvantage of below ground transport is that a leak is likely to contaminate water sources before it can be detected and dealt with.

  • Anonymous

    Correct, Helen. Even though the Harper government has sold out Canada’s environmentally concerned citizens to the Tar Sands by trashing Kyoto, citizens there have already said NO to pipelines going either west or east. So there is no reason to accept the XL here either. And it’s not necessarily a quid pro quo of NAFTA either. It will, however, need to be the flesh and blood American people who must stop it. Our corporate masters are fine with it.

  • Barbara Clowers

    All the efforts to stop the Keystone Pipeline miss the point. Leave the tar sand in the ground to save our lives. Don’t mine it, don’t move it, don’t burn it, don’t use it. Let the trees stand. Don’t turn over the ground. That boreal forest are the lungs of North America. We need them to breathe.

  • Barbara Clowers

    My dad has land in East Tennessee with a cave and a spring that is the best water I’ve ever tasted. How sad to lose a single one. They are each a miracle

  • Anonymous

    A bit of a mistake in the article. The pipeline will run right over the heart of the aquifer, buried in abrasive and porous sand, just a few feet over the shallowest part. In the sand hills, the aquifer is so shallow that springs feed the rivers, lakes and wetlands. So, put a steel pipeline in an abrasive environment, pipe abrasive and corrosive sludge through it. Ignore maintenance, which seems to be the way of the energy industry and see what happens. The sand hills are gorgeous, if sere and stark. Better visit now, while they’re still there.

  • JonThomas

    Burning wood, if it is done inefficiently, can release a lot of carbon and particulate matter. However, unlike ‘gas’, oil, coal (fossil fuels…) when trees, plants, and grasses grow in the next cycle they reabsorb that same carbon… thus the term ‘carbon neutral.’

    Burning fossil fuels, such as ‘gas’ (as used in your comment,) release carbon stored up from different past geological eras.

    It’s this extra carbon which is the problem, not the carbon released and reaborbed from this era’s wood burning.

    If you need to attack wood burning, then mention the need for better efficiency and control of particulates.

  • JonThomas

    Sadly, it depends where in East Tenn. It was just a few years ago, in 2008, when a TVA fossil plant in Kingston Tenn. had the largest coal ash spill in U.S. history.

    Check out the basics here… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingston_Fossil_Plant_coal_fly_ash_slurry_spill

    Then, go around and find pictures of the houses buried under the ash. We go on and far too many of us forget. As often as I can, I cry out. Most times… I just cry.

    Also, don’t forget that Eastman Chemical, the maker of the chemical spilled in W. Vir. (yes, they are being sued) is right in Kinsport, East Tenn.

    They’ve been dumping their used (waste) water into the river for years.

    About 20 years ago, they dropped way down the list of worst polluters. Did they stop polluting? Nope. They lobbied the EPA to get their chemical(s) removed from the ‘dangerous’ list.

    People here are dirt poor and Eastman is one of the largest, and highest paying employers. They could spread nuclear confetti during parades and people would come out cheering, asking for more. Sometimes I get angry. Most times I just cry.

  • Anonymous

    It was as clear as day during the 2008 election campaign that Obama was spouting empty blather. His appointments back then showed that he was simply a continuation of the Bush regime with a different brand. Yet somehow, six years later, one lying betrayal after the other, some folks are still able to speak of the “great hope in you, do not let us down”.

  • Anonymous

    Making water a commodity was attempted in Equa

  • Anonymous

    I do not understand why a pipeline has to go through the US so Canada can sell oil to China.

  • Anonymous

    You seem to think this might have some sort of beneficial effect.

  • Bren

    Because permission for it’s route through Canada to a viable point has been refused.

  • Beverley K. Eddy

    Yeah, the filthy lucre of the Koch brothers …at work in our institutions of so-called higher learning….Power corrupts.

  • Paul Bodnick

    Please join us on Face Book Group: No Fracking Way

  • Paul Bodnick

    Please join us on Face Book Group: No Fracking Way.

  • Paul Bodnick

    Please join us on Face Book Group: No Fracking Way

  • Owen Johnson

    I’m well aware that “energy independence” is a joke, especially when talking about the KXL pipeline. Hence the quotation marks. Canada has sold (or turned over) most of the tar sands project to China already and they will be the recipient of what tar sands oil makes it all the way to the refineries. Of course, what DOESN’T make it that far, we get to keep – soaked through the ground into the country’s biggest aquifer.

  • Anonymous

    Fine. Ban coal. Ban oil. That way, you don’t have to “go out in your yard in the snow” to freeze to death, in order to leave the miserable for-profit planet. Hey…you’ll be able to do that in your own living room!

  • JonThomas

    The hidden costs related to fossil fuel use more than match the costs of alternative energies.

    The main, interrelated, reasons for continuing the current paradigm are fixed costs and entrenched power dynamics.

    If your concern really is staying warm in your house, then solutions like geothermal heat are already available. There are hundreds of passive solar engineering solutions also available. Cheap, subsidized fossil fuels make it easy for architects and builders to make the current, popular inefficient choices.

    When a person has easy access to cheap – even nutritionally poor – food, unfortunately they often waste it and don’t go out looking for better. When they are hungry, they save every crumb, and will do anything they can to find food.

    History teaches that it’s only those who have imagination which look outside the box of accepted norms. It’s only those with courage who challenge the status quo. It’s only those with foresight and intelligence who dare to look towards what can be…

    It’s those who are scared, who lack inspiration, who are invested, and who are downright evil which try to use fear, power, and bullying tactics to prevent progress. Which would you classify yourself as?

    Profit is WAY more than money. Profit is the bettering of yourself and those around you. To make short-term monetary profit, at the expense of destroying the environment in which you live, is the worst type of evil hubris. It sickens me!

    It should sicken everyone (and literally does!)

    So if fear of freezing is what you are using to scare people off their goals, then move aside, you are just acting as a stumbling block, the true leaders toward the future are coming through.

  • SheltieJim

    “I don’t understand Americans apathy…”

    Because “Boo! Illegal aliens. Abortion. Muslims. Birth control. Minorities. Takers. God. Oooohhh……boogityboogityboooooooO!”


  • SheltieJim

    Wow. Excellent comment, elegant, even. Better yet, spelled, punctuated, and grammatically correct. Thanks!!

  • Anonymous

    When I was younger, I had family in the sand hills, near Burwell, Nebraska. We visited frequently and I just fell in love with the space. One thing would probably trouble most folk. The water tasted funny, right out of the ground. Just a mouth full of cold. Then, there’s that big blue sky, the spring grass, and the wildflowers. It’s all going to die now.

  • Anonymous

    “When a person has easy access to cheap – even nutritionally poor – food, unfortunately they often waste it and don’t go out looking for better. When they are hungry, they save every crumb, and will do anything they can to find food.”

    I always figured this was the statist’s strategy, just never heard one admit to it. “Starve them of affordable food, and they will find ways to eat better food.” I suppose that means things like tree bark and weeds. And while we’re at it, starve them of affordable gasoline. And electric bills. And health insurance premiums. And homes.

    “The main, interrelated, reasons for continuing the current paradigm are fixed costs and entrenched power dynamics.” Correct. And it has until this point delivered affordable energy that keep us warm, and on the road to work, and is the engine of our economy. When a geothermal unit can be installed for less than $30,000 for a 1500 square foot home, I’ll think about it.

    To buy into the “starve them into submission” strategy, one must first buy the fallacy that fossil fuels put the earth in danger. I don’t. And most intelligent independent folks think the same.

    I agree that real leaders are those that look outside the box. But this road is not meant to better the planet, or to offer more affordable power to the masses. It is meant to transfer the “power” from those that may have it, to the statists themselves.

  • Anonymous

    The ocean is comming, the ocean is comming. Oil caused too many of us almost 8 billion. Without oil the planet can support 1 billion. As we depleate our energy in dirty ways we will get to the one billion much sooner.

  • JonThomas

    And there it is… the spin which attempts to malign.

    No, it’s not, as you so rudely twisted my words and meaning…

    “starving them (by ‘them’, I suppose you mean ‘us’) of affordable food, and they will find ways to eat better food.”

    It’s just as I said, those who are invested in the fixed costs, and who are profiting from the entrenched power dynamics, are poisoning the environment, waging wars, funneling hard earned tax dollars into subsidies paid to the highest profiteering enterprises which ever existed, gutting regulatory safeguards, spinning the revolving doors between business and bureaucracy, striping government budgets and choking the inflow of fiscal appropriations, propping up oppressive regimes, and among many other costly agendas, supporting those who literally arm terrorists.

    It is now commonly known that the four food groups which the meat and dairy industry giants designed and promoted for decades throughout the nation caused more sickness and long-term costs then were ever ‘saved’ through industrial profit and efficiency. On top of that, the cheap, subsidized ‘enriched flour’ products of the last 80 years have caused glutted stomachs, wasted energy, and fostered illness. Even further, the fats and oils industry pushed poison upon an unsuspecting populace.

    The tobacco industry fought change and hid scientific insight.

    All these industries saw the world in terms of profit and consumerism. All these agents are guilty of contaminating the environment and the biology of the planet on which we live.

    Yes, ‘their bellies were full…’ people – when pushed these products through crony capitalism, poor scientific study, and immoral business practices (such as ignoring evidence, and using private-interest lobbying to push government backed profiteering efforts, disguised as [so-called] educational campaigns, to create the charade that profit form poison was good for the welfare of the nation,) – stopped growing, hunting, and finding food for themselves… ‘but they were hungry.’

    Hunger is a innate desire, not for temporary satisfaction, but for nourishment. To get your fill of nutritiously bankrupt sustenance, even temporarily, is to blank out in your mind the purpose of eating and feeding your family.

    It’s not The People who have civilly banded together under the U.S. Constitution and who are using the The People’s Government, the State system established under the U.S. Constitution, who are ‘starving’ the citizens of this nation, it’s the very Capitalists who look upon such citizens as merely ‘consumers’ and tax payers to be fleeced for profit.

    Keeping warm by burning the walls of your house is the epitome of shortsightedness.

    No one ‘buys into any ‘starve them into submission” strategy’ except those who fight minimum wage hikes.

    You falsely state that fossil fuels do ‘not put the Earth in danger…’ Or do you not think the BP Gulf Disaster actually happened? That the current pipelines already leaked and have damaged private property? That the Exxon Valdez spill was just a hoax? That sulfuric acid rain from burning coal denuded the trees and altered the soils of the Eastern U.S.? That the Chinese coal-fired energy plants are polluting and damaging the people and environment of that Nation? Shall i go on?

    The list of pollution events, and the hidden costs of fossil fuel use are immense and only ignored by yourself and those who want to continue poisoning the planet and it’s inhabitants!

    Your shortsightedness, for short-term profit (of any kind,) is morally bankrupt!

    Your lies and spin are getting old. You accused me of wanting to starve people. In fact, it is those who want to continue pushing the polluting fossil fuel products who are starving and poisoning people. It is you who are feeding this nation a self-defeating delusion!

    Do you not recognize that you, and the fossil fuels defenders are the “Orren Boyles” of our age? Probably worse, there isn’t even such stature involved, but those who ignore the truth, push the lies, twist the facts, and disparage the people who are moving forward, latch on to the current power brokers like parasites on parasites.

    Sadly you sound intelligent, but to defend fossil fuels, deny the damage they cause, and berate-through-fear those who are progressing and producing the future, shows serious short-coming.

  • Anonymous

    Because the rich mistrust. Giving people who are econmically lower than themselves freedom would scare them to death . Obama has already let us down.

  • Barbara Clowers

    His place is just a few miles away but wasn’t affected. Yeah, it was awful. Yes, they are poor poor poor. Every time I visit its like the third world but most of rural America is like that. Even in California, you get outside the urban areas and it could be Tennessee.

  • Anonymous

    “It’s just as I said, those who are invested in the fixed costs, and who are profiting from the entrenched power dynamics, are poisoning the environment, waging wars, funneling hard earned tax dollars into subsidies paid to the highest profiteering enterprises which ever existed…”

    May be. Those things do occur when you are dealing with the world’s most important commodity. But would it be any different if, by some miracle, we found a way to use coconut oil as the world’s primary energy source? South America would then become the new power-brokers’ chess set. No difference. The same “profiteering, wars, subsidies” would occur. It would just be over palm trees, and not oil. Human nature.

    Meaning, the real war the eco-nazis are waging, whether they know it or not, is not really against fossil fuels, or to “save the planet”. Not at all. Their bogey-man is capitalism itself. Most won’t admit it, and would rather hide behind fallacious causes like “global warming”, “income inequality,” and (my favorite) “job-lock”.

    Which are all nothing but Marxist-rooted philosophies and buzz-words for the most dumbed-down among us, leading to handing more of our freedoms over to the masterminds that are, of course, smarter than any of us.

  • Anonymous

    An absolutely heartbreaking reality, Leo.

  • JonThomas

    You are obviously intelligent. Tell me, which form of fallacy is it which argues that because it is human nature to have greed, covet, lust after, and steal what does not belong to you, be the reason to not allow theft in a lawful society.

    If the same circumstances of immoral, unethical, and criminal actions surrounded the trade of coconut oil, and that product also caused the pollution and damage to both the Earth’s environment and it’s biology, then it too (like the Capitalist exploitation of fossil fuels for profit – at the expense of the securing the future of life on this planet) would be an example of human malevolence.

    The fallacy says… ‘Well, if humans continue to steal, kill, maim, and generally act unrighteously toward and against one another, then we should just ignore all attempts at finding justice.

    Sorry, but saying that – the current conditions would exist regardless of the commodity, and that is just the way it is, it’s human nature, don’t try to seek justice, or make it better – is ridiculous! It’s a huge fallacy!

    First off, the move to slow down the use of fossil fuels by supporting safer alternatives to keep your house warm (remember that point? I might should remind you of it… it’s where you tried to use a scare tactic as some sort of defense of fossil fuels. You seem to keep trying to change the subject after being outed… ) is not an attempt to put an end to the idea of ‘profit’. That’s a red herring… a diversion {SQUIRREL!}

    Capitalists are not under attack because some people believe in Communist, or Socialist ideals. Capitalists who seek to profit themselves at the detriment of the life supporting environment, and the safety of present and future human life on the planet, have brought this indignation upon themselves.

    Capitalism, especially Crony-Capitalism, as we see practiced today, is a blight upon everyone except those who want to foist their selfish ideology on everyone else.

    Saying that “Marxist-rooted philosophies” are trying to take your so-called freedoms to poison the the planet away, sends you right over the edge of legitimacy!

    You have no inherent, or moral right to damage anyone, or anything!

    When you defend such rights, you might begin to understand why I labeled the thoughts you expressed as “evil”!

    Sorry, but the lie of unfettered Capitalism, especially when practiced in the U.S. under the pre-Marx, constitutionally ‘Socialist’ principles of “regulating commerce,” promoting the “General welfare,” and securing the “Blessings of Liberty” for ALL citizens has come to it’s end in the popular culture’s mindset.

    Marx wasn’t even born until after the Constitution mandated the Government to impose duties, tarrifs, and to REGULATE COMMERCE when the General Welfare of the populace was at stake!

    Again, there is nothing wrong with profit, but so-called ‘profit’ which causes damage to others and the environment, solely for personal gain, is not profit at all!

    So, is this ‘dumbed-down’? Did I lower the bar? No!

    The people of this Nation have been lied to for far too long! Under the guise of ‘Capitalism’, the citizen’s of this Nation have been fleeced by looters who cry “Communism!” and “Class Warfare!” whenever people stand against their unjust, criminal, and immoral actions.

    It’s time the apologists wake up see who really is on the side of an ‘objective’ reality. The looters have succeeded in using the freedoms of this nation as their launching pad to international power.

    When the system collapsed, they came running to the Socialist ideals of the bailouts. They proved that their system doesn’t work, and they relied on their mooching ways to prop-up their failure.

    It’s the Capitalists which you are defending who are the true looters, the true expression of immorality! Again… there is nothing wrong with the principle of profit, but it has been corrupted under the falsehood of ‘free-market’ ideology. No one has the right to cause damage to anyone else, or the environment which we all share!

    I suppose just about all has been said. I want to thank you for providing the opportunity to expose the lack of integrity under the foundations upon which the Crony-Capitalists operate today.

    I am talking to you… you who have a semblance of morality. You who haven’t sold your soul to the the looters in exchange for temporary satisfaction. Use your intelligence, surely you see the difference.

    Want to know the funny thing… I’m no ‘Statist’ as you called me… I’m a Theist. Although I have citizenship through birth, I chose citizenship in an entirely different Kingdom.

    Funny how 2000 years ago there was someone laying down the principles which taught humans how to live, and really profit. Imagine… Loving your neighbor! Now that is radical! Those ideals, carried forward by a brave few challenging the status quo, have been co-opted and also corrupted. I wonder if people were calling them “Communists!” and accusing them of “Class Warfare”?

  • Anonymous

    Oh, Owen, I had a little amaretto with my coffee (which I occasionally do) and I missed the subtlety of your comment. I apologize. I did not know China was already in charge, but that should be a good barrier to burning the gunk, which should stay in the ground imho. But it seems we’re going to help the two big boys out. The threat to the aquifer is very real and scary. I’ve done some research into global water scarcity, and put some hard facts in another post (somewhere on this thread.) Perhaps you already know that fracking is not subject to clean water and safe water restrictions, and frackers are even given exemptions that allow pollution of aquifers, which I find totally shocking.

    Thanks for being thoroughly polite in responding to my rant. I’m embarrassed.

  • Owen Johnson

    oneyWasn’t it Halliburton that developed hydraulic fracturing? And wasn’t Dick Cheney CEO of that company? The same company that used the Iraq war that Cheney pushed us into as VP to rip off the US taxpayers for millions upon millions of dollars, with absolutely no repercussions? Yeah, we don’t regulate operation of businesses run (past, present or future) by people in high places. In fact, we write new laws exempting them from existing regulations.

    I’m in the middle of watching a documentary called The Toxic Compromise about chemicals in our environment and how companies like DuPont have hidden findings of health risks and enlisted the help of the White House (in DuPont’s case with PFOA, a chemical used primarily in Teflon) and/or politicians around the world to stop regulations from going into effect. Millions of lives mean nothing in the face of billions of dollars.

  • Anonymous

    My comment to the State Department: “Stupid. Stupid. Stupid! to even think of facilitating the development of Canadian tar sands with a pipeline across America. And to say that this dirtiest energy project on the planet will have no lasting environmental impact. How can you live with yourselves? You people in government doing this will be listed in future pages of human history as pariahs of our species. Your failure to lead us away from fossil fuel as the main source of our energy will be judged as the most colossal failure of humankind in all its history on this planet. Please tell the President that tens of thousands of people are ready to fill the jails over this one. I will be among them. I could not speak to my grandchildren of loving them if I do not resist this pipeline with all my heart and soul. I have never feared for the future like I do now with my government doubling down on all forms of extreme fossil fuel extraction everywhere I turn, including out my front door in the fracking gaslands of Pennsylvania. Tell the President to get ready for an uprising like he has never seen before. Better yet, tell him to stop the KXL Pipeline is he is serious at all about standing up against Big Oil as he promised to do.”

  • JJ042804

    The rich know what they are doing is wrong, that’s why they are so defensive and because they are afraid that we take away their money.

  • Anonymous

    my Aunty Sienna recently got a stunning red Nissan Maxima by
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  • sandra martin

    Because capitalism/wealth is NOT about helping others, never has been. it is about helping one’s self. You only include the others who help you help yourself. If they do not help you in anyway, you do not consider them. Witness Romney’s comment that he did not have to worry about 47% of the population, nearly HALF the country, because they were not going to help him increase or maintain the wealth he and his cohorts already have. This is not new. But nobody ever seems to come right out loud and say it. We all know it, but we don’t want to believe it, so we ignore, or pretend or go unconscious about it. Has been going on since i was born, 67 years ago. It just takes different forms and different people. This will not change either. Has been going on throughout history. Where do you think emperors, kings, lords, chiefs all came from…..And the peasants, the poor, the slaves and the indentured servants are all part of it. In fact, it could not exist without the masses of poor to keep it running. Control the resources, control the country, the world, your little corner of it, till someone else comes along stronger than you. This does not mean you give up. It means you work at it, and you delay it as long as you can. And as soon as you do, it will show up in another form. And you will delay that too. You can delay a lot of it throughout your own life at least, and then those after you will take up the task. And you have to. Because the capitalists, by whatever name they call themselves, will not stop either.

  • sandra martin

    No. They do not see it as wrong. They calculate how much trouble it will be to do whatever they want, and they make decisions based on how much they have calculated they can get away with. They look at consequences and how to get around them. They have backup plans if the first one fails. They have all the money to pay skilled others to get them out of trouble. They deny and lie. When caught, they continue to deny and lie. Witness none of the extremely wealthy institutions or their people, that crashed this economy in 2008, have served any time. They even got bonuses and were hired on at the very top to”advise” on how to prevent the situation from happening again. But look at the statistics. Those people are richer NOW than they were before they crashed us. How was Citizens United allowed LEGALLY to put as much money as they want, even with limits, into elections. You and I will never have that much money to buy off the legislators. The Congressman does what his largest donor tell him too. That leaves you and I out. We no longer have a vote that counts. They are now limiting the internet so it will be more difficult for us to get information about what they are doing, so that we can act for ourselves, against their taking over our resources. Look what they have done to our food! Get reading if you do not know what I am talking about. How many issues have you been reading about that you oppose, have passed…… Do you know….
    The rich do not have to be guilty to be afraid us taking away their money. They are just afraid of not being able to continue in this manner. And if we wait too long, to do something about it, it will not happen. Look how long it took to free the slaves; how long it took for women to get the vote, for women to be allowed in the workplace, and then still not get equal pay to men. There is so much more. WE have let them do this to us. and now it is almost, if not, too late to stop them. This country was founded on principles that allowed everyone to have a say, but we no longer operate that way. Now it is whoever has the most money, to buy off who and whatever they need, to get their way. How many times, have you given up a value when somebody offered you enough to do so…..And that is not just in dollars, but in, words and behavior. How much a part of this problem are all of us, who let it happen.

  • JJ042804

    you’re absolutely right.

  • Eric Scoles

    You guys should do an author profile on Paolo Bacigalupi. Look him up (esp. “The Tamarisk Hunter” or “Calorie Man”).

  • Anonymous

    Canada has two oceans and air to use.

  • asgjim

    The reality is that the Canadian Oil company behind the XL pipeline is working on also building another pipeline across Canada to a Canadian export ports. Once this is built they will no longer need to use the XL pipeline eliminating any benefits that might have been provided by building it.

  • Anonymous

    Because their own citizens said “no.”

  • Paul Bodnick

    I stick to”No Fracking Way. My fellow members belong to a dozen or more groups and just repose the same links to each of them.

  • Anonymous

    I have absolutely no opposition to you over crony-capitalism.

    Capitalism without some sense of virtue is truly wicked. The only thing worse, is Government without it.

  • Anonymous

    Are they fighting the pipeline? This would kill the arboreal forest?

  • Anonymous

    The brothers must be pushing this. :/

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the site.

  • Anonymous

    True, but not the 1%. I don’t understand why adding money to their billions will help when no one can pay them any more. What will their children’s children think of their ancestors if they survive?

  • Anonymous

    You are obviously intelligent so why waste time on a troll?

  • JonThomas

    1. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt about their intentions, you just never know. Have I just given up and called someone a troll? Yes I have, but I’m not proud of it, and I do my best to speak to the person’s words and message, not their character. It’s one thing to take apart an argument, it’s quite another, and it’s not good, to take away someone’s dignity.

    If you ever tear something negative down, I find it best to build back a little, or leave something positive in it’s place. A strong corner stone is a good start.

    Even if you simple take out the contaminants, maybe till the soil. If you are especially careful, you may even get the opportunity to leave a seed or 2 behind.

    2. It’s fun.

    3. It’s a challenge. Such discussions force me to dig deeper into my own mind and search my own belief system. I also get the opportunity to hone my ideas and concepts. When I am forced to put things in words, and make sense in a debate-like forum, I can correct myself, clean up the weak parts of my thinking, and grow as a person.

    4. It reveals where need work on my patience and understanding. I am often corrected, even if I hate to admit it.

    5. It gives me an opportunity for meaningful interaction.

    6. If I am humble, I might learn something. Sometimes something someone says immediately makes sense. Other times, I am forced to do study. Sometimes, grasping a single point can take years. One the other hand, if the other person is humble, they might learn.

    7. Who knows who is reading. We may impart inspiration. People might be able to learn from any of us. There are those who haven’t thought these things through and something you or I might say may help to unlock doors within others.

    There are many reasons I suppose, including I find it a good way to spend time. Watching cute cat vids doesn’t appeal. I can only do so many cryptograms and crosswords lol.

    All in all, especially in meaningful encounters… “Just as iron sharpens Iron, one man sharpens another.”

    A friend of mine used to say something similar… “Anything that will dull a blade can be used to sharpen it.”

  • luzzjl524

    My Uncle Gabriel got a stunning blue Dodge
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  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    I hate that the pipeline will give Koch $100 billion.

  • sandra martin

    But you cannot miss, initially these were attempts at bipartisanship, which the Republicans do NOT do. This was in response to the outcry of so many Americans, that they were not being included in decisions made by 8 years of the Republican party before Obama. It also became very clear that Republicans were NOT going to work on, or cooperate with anything Obama supported as long as he is in office. Their major goal is to get back in, themselves. They cannot support anything from the Democrats, because then the Dems get the credit for the good stuff. Their strategy is to block and oppose as long as they are not in control of the government. If any thing good happens without their name on it, they will not do it. This is not new. This party has always behaved in this manner in my lifetime. They have been the majority in Congress most of the time he has been in office. They are diametrically opposed to all of the things Obama has ever talked about. They have undercut, undermined and used tricks in both houses to destroy laws, but would scream bloody murder and come after us if we had done that under Bush. I remember frequently being referred to as a “traitor” because I did not support most of what Bush did the 8 years he was in there. If a Republican had gotten in this time instead, ALL of this would have happened SOONER. They would have gained control of the media sooner, and we would not be aware of anything going on in government they did not want us to object to. Obama cannot MAKe anybody in the Republican party do what he wants. Obama had to constantly compromise with the majority Republicans, which often killed the very essence of the original intent of everything he has put forth so far. America did it. If you are going to put one party in the top office, and the other party in every other government branch, and allow one party to load the courts as Reagan and Bush did, you will not get anything done, which we have all witnessed. We are not being taught in school, what REALLY goes on in government, so we are not equipped to be responsible educated voters. That was intentional. If America wants a REAL say in what happens to them inside their own country, they are going to HAVE to do it themselves. If you leave it to someone else, you will get THEIR agenda. And most of the time it does not match yours or mine. I do not know how to successfully do this, but it is VITAL that this be VERBALIZED and acknowledged, in order to get take the country back to the people, away from the control of the monied interests.

  • Rich Carter

    These people just think energy grows on trees or something. They must need to blow hot air around to keep themselves warm. An exploding leaking pipeline that destroys the planet?? They must picture a mile round pipe filled with all of Canada’s shale oil at once just busting at the seams. Of course the actual pipe could leak. When it does, folks will clean up the mess and fix the leak. Simple.

  • Rich Carter

    Well, if their children’s children can’t survive, they won’t think very often about their ancestors and this would be a moot debate.

  • Rich Carter

    No it’s not!

  • Rich Carter

    That’s not ‘reality’. Reality is ‘big blue sky, the spring grass, and the wildflowers’. They are still there. A landscape decimated by an upcoming catastrophic disaster caused by a pipe filled with oil is a fantasy. It just won’t happen.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Sandra Martin, Forgive me if I think you have fallen for the good cop/bad cop ruse that is our visible national politics. This Punch and Judy show is intended to produce exactly nothing but yet hopes to give the impression that there is some smattering of democracy in process. How anyone cannot see that Obama is a fraudulent serial liar by this time is beyond me.

  • sandra martin

    Do you realize that your almost exact words are verbatim what I have come across repeatedly by Republicans and anti-Dems, and anti-Obama people. So it seems you have succumbed to the very thing you accuse me of, only coming from the other side, a clear bias. I see what you describe about me, as exactly what Bush supporters said when challenged about the way he did things in his time. This is the problem. I see you leaving out the actualities that make your side look bad, and only repeating what seems to look good for your side. It only means you have chosen your side, and simply look for whatever you can use that fits your side, and leaving out the rest. I am not doing that. I am noticing what you did not want to acknowledge. I am open to whatever works for the majority of people, not one elitist group. Your “good cop” may be my “bad cop”, and visa versa. At least I know that. You do not seem to. All your criticism I would apply to Bush, Reagan, and the Republican party believers. This will not solve any of our problems. What is required is looking at, and verbalizing what we want clearly and truthfully, and then negotiating something for everybody. Nobody gets everything they want, and should not either. We are all too different, too unique, and most of us want it that way. That makes everything tougher. You have to give, and you have to listen, and you have to acknowledge the truth wherever it is, and whoever said it. And you have to be truthful with yourself, that what you think is “good” comes from your biases and your values. And everybody here does not share the same values. You don’t throw out, or wipe out, those who disagree with you. There will be few of us left…..unless that is really what you want, to make it easier for you to have what you want, and nobody else. That isn’t democracy, and the rest of don’t want this for us. This country was founded to reach another way of governing, where you have to be really good at seeing what works for the whole community, not just one portion of it. That is what democracy is all about, and is a lot tougher to maintain, as we are certainly seeing now. Polarizing the country around 2 classes, is what causes civil wars. Most of us do not want that. And a whole lot of us are not looking to eliminate the opposition. We realize we have to work together if everyone is going to get a little something. Yes, very tough, and no, we will not succeed 100%, but check your history. No one anywhere ever has. And you should want it that way, because of the day your group may the one on the outs or being eliminated by another. That is equality. What you do and say about others, can turn about and be done to you. If for no other reason, than your own survival, think about how you can do something constructive, rather than simply running down your opposition. This is not” black and white, good cop, bad cop”. Look further. If we do not, we are down the toilet no matter who is in charge.

  • Anonymous

    My side? My opposition? Thanks for your verbose reply but excuse me once again if I say that you sound confused and have little understanding of the history you gabble on about. Have a nice day and try to read more.

  • Anonymous

    Then why haven’t the other spills been cleaned up?

  • sandra martin

    Succinctly then. You sound like you have just done what you accused me of….taken your side, excluding all information that you do not like….blaming and namecalling. I’m up for discussion, and don’t mind saying where I’m coming from an why. Apparently you aren’t.

  • Rich Carter

    I dunno. Which particular spill would like to have cleaned up?

  • Anonymous

    I guess playing stupid on such important planet killing for money can be fun. I don’t know why. None have been cleaned up. Find just one.

  • Anonymous

    “It’s one thing to take apart an argument, it’s quite another, and it’s not good, to take away someone’s dignity.”

    Trust me. To me, you did neither.

  • Anonymous

    No offense intended, sister, we’re all on a down bound train.

  • Rich Carter

    I still have no idea what spill you’re talking about and didn’t know there was even enough oil around to kill a planet. You really don’t know very much about oil, do you?

  • Rich Carter

    You need to separate the distribution of wealth issue from the pipeline issue. The pipeline represents the type of capital deployment that the US needs in order to progress in a changing world. I agree that the oil in the pipe could create future problems, but currently there really are no alternate sources of exploitable energy available that an uninformed public will support. The catastrophe scenarios that pipeline opponents imagine are as unlikely as the sudden climate shift imagined in the ‘Day After Tomorrow’ or the meteor impact of ‘Armageddon’. They just aren’t going to happen.

  • JonThomas

    About as far as I could throw you.

  • Anonymous

    Preserving the beautiful reality is what I would choose. I live in Alaska, and there have been pipeline spills, some quite bad. There have big spills on the north slope. We still have oil under the sand from the Exxon Valdez spill too. But, yes, fossil fuels need to be over and done. There are viable alternatives, but Big Oil has a choke hold and doesn’t want it to happen.

  • Rich Carter

    You had me going up to the phrase ‘discussions force me to dig deeper into my own mind and search my own belief system’. Herein lies the problem. What is happening in your mind and whether or not your research aligns with your belief system are of no value in a discussion of this nature. Most folks posting have no background in what they are claiming to be true or will be true in the future. Opinion is especially present in many of the posts, especially when the point concerns reasons for building the pipeline and the potential catastrophes that will result if it is built.

    In order for you to ‘clean up the weak parts’ of your argument and prepare you for a debate-like forum, I would like to help with this advice. 1) Remove emotions from your method of obtaining, interpreting and validating information and making decisions. Personal opinion brings subjectivity to an argument and has no influence on reality. 2) Gather background information on the subject (in this case it’s oil, world energy supply, pipeline construction, etc.). from sources known through peer review to be reliable (such as a subject specific text book). 3) Create a hypothesis such as ‘my new soap removes 99% of used oil from concrete’. 4) Perform experiments to show that your claims are true and repeatable each and every time the soap is used. Document your findings and be prepared to demonstrate your cleaning method to others. 5) Perform a risk analysis to determine what hazards could result from use of your soap and the probability that such a hazards will occur over time. 6) Pursue your passion for meaningful interaction with other Disqus users by providing factual unbiased information about your soap so that they can decide whether or not to purchase. 7) Win that debate!!

  • Rich Carter

    We all want to preserve the beauty of Alaska, that’s why it’s beautiful. Sure, there is surface oil in spots but what are the consequences if it is? There are few viable alternative energy sources today, so just think of the pipeline as a ‘temporary measure’ until there are. I ensure you that Alaska will remain beautiful even with the pipeline. How you heat your home in the present is a choice, but please do research and financial analysis before ‘going green’. I hear it gets pretty cold up there sometimes and I don’t want you broke or left in the dark.

  • Rich Carter

    Building and opening the Keystone XL pipeline is nothing less than suicidal madness for the human race? Massive poisonous spills in my neighboring states of WV and NC? Only one reason TO build it? Worsening drought and climate destruction? Please stop the madness!!

  • Anonymous

    It only gives the Koch brothers another $100 billion. It will require a small number of workers. About 13,000 positions in construction and 7,000 in manufacturing. Not many jobs especially after it is constructed.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    All the money spent in the world will not change the climate either.

  • Anonymous

    What you want to pay $10 a gallon for gas, walk, ride a bike or horse. How are you going to get your food, heat your home, get to work, that is if there is any work at all. I guess you people call progress as going backwards to horse and buggy, riding bikes and walking. We should all go back to living like cavemen/

  • Anonymous

    The money system behind this needs to be deconstructed, dismantled, and replaced with something democratic. What is happening now here was in the cards before 1776. The British banking system has these designs, and by now they extended their system here. We need to dismantle this. This chewing up of nature and the commons is a direct result of the interest bearing debt driven money system.

  • Sbailey

    as vast areas of the country become uninhabitable, will those states, now wastelands still get 2 senators each, full and solely owned by corporations that live there?

  • Teri Jordan Towse

    The fact that they gave Dick Cheney a heart is criminal. He cast the deciding vote dismantling the clean water act so his pals can frack us to death. He should be forced to drink the water that comes from these family farms and then he will know the truth of how destructive his actions are.

  • Anonymous

    Love of animals may awake more women to take climate action. Please check out the “Fanged Wilds and Women Program.”

  • Mitchell Brown

    What an incredibly stupid comment. As to your statement regarding gas prices, were your costs not subsidized by the American taxpayer that’s probably pretty close to what you’d be paying if you were paying market prices. The price you pay at the pump doesn’t come close to reflecting actual market prices. The cost of parking the 5th Fleet in Bahrain isn’t reflected in your price at the pump (and please don’t be so dense as to tell me we get little of our oil from the ME. The 5th Fleet is used to provide security which keeps oil prices STABLE. Instability arises and the traders in NY, London, Chicago bid the prices thru the roof). The costs to build and maintain the millions of miles of road used to service a horizontal building pattern (the suburbs) are crushing. And yet, you want the gubmint to keep shoveling money into THE most inefficient pattern of settlement ever devised by humans. How DO we get our food? Well, how did food get to market 100 years ago? No one was starving then. Costs as a percentage of household budget weren’t much higher (and possibly lower) than they are today. Its funny how you folks want everyone else to pay the freight for YOUR lifestyle. What YOU call progress is destroying our landscape so you can save .10 cents at Wal-Mart.

  • Mitchell Brown

    Just another free market religionist.

  • Anonymous

    97 billion gallons of water since 2011 seems like a lot of water, but it’s literally a drop in the bucket compared to usage. Water use in California is 35 million acre-feet per year — or 1.14×10^13 US gallons for all agricultural, industrial and residential use. That’s 117 times the amount of water used for fracking cited in the article.

    I have a hard time believing that an industry using less than 0.8% of the water supply in CA alone is driving the American West into drought.

  • Anonymous

    Because the refinery resources and chemical plants are in Houston and New Orleans, that’s why.

  • Anonymous

    But most of their refinery capacity is on their east coast near the Great Lakes — as far away from Alberta as Texas& Louisiana are. And if you’re worried about oil spills from a pipeline, you should be a LOT MORE WORRIED about oil spills from tankers into the Great Lakes.

  • Anonymous

    I heard a story about how the harm in fracking and the like will be mitigated by efficiency. Before you consider taking that seriously, look up “Jevons Paradox.” Wikipedia has an entry, but the best explanation ran in the New Yorker a couple years ago.

  • hobbitcid

    Not true – green pipe dream from the 1960s. Germany gets most of its power from coal. They have on the advice of climate fear mongers gone all in on wind and to a smaller extent solar. Which have now both failed. Wind and solar cannot provide enough power in the short term or for the foreseeable future. It doesn’t matter how much money a government throws at it, and the Germans tossed a bunch, it does not work.

  • hobbitcid

    What spills have not been cleaned up – i mean in the western nations… In Russia, the oil fields are a total mess, but then again the Russians don’t reallty care. Not much we or anyone can do about it, unless of course you want to fly into Moscow and confront Pres Putin over it. No? I thought so… So give me some details on spills that have not been cleaned up – in places where the government responds to its people.

  • Anonymous

    What an incredibly stupid comment! How did we get our food 100 years ago you raised it in gardens or on farms for your own use mostly try and do that today in the middle of a major cities and see how far you get.

  • Anonymous

    An just what would that all knowing one? We can only use what we have.

  • Mitchell Brown

    Hmmm. So New Yorkers, Chicagoans, Bostonians, Baltimoreans, Cincinnatians, etc, etc, etc, etc, grew their own food in the densely packed cities? Or, did they not eat? Growing food in the middle of cities today is far more feasible than it was 100 years ago. Were you born stupid, or is there blunt head trauma in your past?

  • JonThomas

    How have the German wind and solar energy sectors ‘failed’?

    Assuming you are simply a concerned citizen, and not an invested agent, or paid by a superpac to post anti-renewable comments, use of the word ‘throws’ is disingenuous at best.

    Germany has INVESTED (not thrown,) AND CONTINUES TO INVEST, in renewable energies. The projects have not been a failure at all. In fact, even though Germany is not in an ideal geographical location for solar (as the U.S. is,) every year solar, and other forms of renewable energy, increases it share of their energy market.

    Renewable energy has been SO SUCCESSFUL, that Germany has been able to take nuclear plants offline with the difference in production largely offset by renewable sources.

    In 2000, renewable energy was 6.3% of the national total. In 2011, it had increased to to over 25%*. (* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_Germany )

    German energy prices have risen, but the reduction in hidden, and diverted costs has now brought their county’s energy sector more in line with a TRUE reckoning of market share.

    The German people have given their blessing toward continuing this trend, their Government is responding to the will of the people, and Germany is arguably the nation which has best weathered the recent corrupt, Crony-Capitalist destruction of the world economy.

  • D Kessler

    You have it exactly right my friend.

  • D Kessler

    Solar revaluation , solar panels on all newly constructed buildings, and retrofit all homes. It would creat many jobs both in installation as well as manufacturing. Just an idea.

  • Teddie Watts

    We need to add the Cove Point export facility on the Chesapeake Bay for liquid natural gas to the list.

  • Anonymous

    The problem is that the water is taken out of the hydrologic cycle and ruined forever. Would we allow all other agricultural and industrial uses of water to remove and ruin about 1% of its fresh water each year? And in areas where water is already scarce, how does that make any sense?

  • Dawn Anewday

    The capitalism connection almost goes without saying…….so many problems…..and we aren’t fixing them……we’re roiling in right wing inaction.

  • Anonymous

    Hi, Dawn. I’m wondering whether you mean actual right wing politics or merely reactionary politics. If you mean actual partisanship, both parties agree on the most important decisions without debate. Examples would be supporting job creation without actually creating any jobs, extending the Patriot Act, supporting so-call free trade agreements, and ever increasing funding for the military Whether it is the Neo-liberal free trade agenda or the Neo-conservative love of war, the government proceeds in lockstep on these goals.

    Although Republicans in Congress have been the party of “NO” it is over issues that are of less overall relevance. That they are relevant to citizens does not really phase lawmakers. That so many are doing the bidding of right wing billionaires and white southern males should not be forgotten. They do seem to oppose the president for the sake of doing that.