Category Archives: Fracking

What Does Lisa R Bardack Have to Say?

screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-01-06-amIt’s funny. I didn’t even think to look and see if my blog was getting hits because Hillary Clinton’s doctor shares my name. Turns out over 300 people have looked at my “About Lisa Bardack” page in the past few days. I would imagine upon reading my mini bio, they realize that I am not currently hot in the news. I wish I was.

I wish I was a magician able to conjure evocative words that successfully reached multitudes of people beyond the green choir to get them to truly understand that we must get away from using fossil fuel energy to fuel our world ASAP. That every choice we make in switching to renewable energy and becoming more energy efficient is a choice that makes a viable future more of a possibility. Because it is just that, a possibility, not a given.

As people ponder whether Hillary Clinton getting pneumonia disqualifies her from becoming president (which, as an aside, I find ridiculous), I wish that the headlines of all mainstream media would report on the insanity going on in the Dakotas where Energy Transfer Partners is trying to force a pipeline through Native American lands. A pipeline carrying nasty toxic crude oil that when spilled — and it does spill again and again, though you never see it reported in mainstream media — destroys water, ecosystems, wildlife and human health. We do not need any more pipeline infrastructure. Not running under the Missouri River, not anywhere.

Rather than focusing on Hillary Clinton’s health, we need to be focusing on the health of humanity in the face of dirty energy and climate change. The extraction process alone of crude oil and natural gas is poisoning people all over this country and world. My prior posts talk about how fracking is wreaking havoc on the health of those who live near well sites. Children suffering from nosebleeds, dizziness, rashes that cover their body, headaches, gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses and more. The effects of greenhouse gasses saturating our atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels are turning our weather and the basic functioning of Earth’s systems upside down. I’d call that newsworthy.

In trying to get a perspective on what is at stake, there’s a powerful quote by Canadian astronaut Julie Payette, speaking of her experience in space. She says “At first you are awed by the splendor, by the beauty of the planet and then you look down and you realize that this one planet is the only thing we have. Every time the sun comes up and goes down… and for us that’s sixteen times a day… you see a thin, thin, thin layer just above the surface, maybe 10 or 12 kilometres thick. That is the atmosphere of the Earth. That is it. Below that is life. Above it is nothing.”

Earth is where we live; it sustains us. We are in a place now in human history where we must without question align how we live our lives, how we function, with the functioning of the planetary systems on which our lives depend. The atmosphere cannot continue to be subjected to greenhouse gasses. For too long now, we have treated the Earth as something to use for the sake of human progress, detaching our selves from its aliveness, its intelligence, its sacredness in order to make the destruction easier. In our thirst to fuel our society with fossil fuels, we have reached our limit.

I am not a doctor, but I do know that there is no Planet B, and the clock is ticking. Embracing and committing to a clean energy future now is a commitment to our children and future generations. There is no alternative to a viable future. If I were Dr. Lisa R Bardack, perhaps I could get more traction out of such a prescription.

 

 

 

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Fracking is Back on Maryland’s Table and State Government Means Business

Claire at fracking rally

It was a relief when the fracking moratorium passed in Maryland last legislative session. It gave those of us fighting to stop fracking a chance to take a breath. Turns out it’s not much of a break. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is following state government orders to finalize regulations for fracking in Maryland by October 1, 2016. Once approved, these regulations will become law when the moratorium lifts in October 2017, and we’ve got a governor that is eager to get going on fracking. The only way to stop fracking from coming to Maryland will be to pass a new law this legislative session banning it. No easy task and one that must be accomplished.

I testified at the MDE public comment meeting last night on the proposed regulations and am posting my testimony addressed to MDE, hoping to generate interest in this profoundly serious issue. Once Maryland is opened to fracking, it will be near impossible to turn back.

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Facts. Facts are interesting, because there’s a personal filter involved in perceiving and accepting facts. People pick and choose which facts to believe are facts. Even when facts are scientifically validated, people choose whether or not to believe these facts are scientifically valid. Tonight citizens will present proven facts that support the unmistakable reality that fracking will put our citizens, our state, and our climate in serious jeopardy. Since the Maryland moratorium on fracking, more scientific studies have confirmed that fracking contaminates water and air. Which facts will our state government choose to believe and act on?

As a mother, grandmother, and environmental educator, I have spent years in Maryland presenting facts about slickwater high-volume hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking. Facts validated by scientific studies. Facts born from undeniable experiences of people on the front lines of fracking. People whose water has been contaminated, who have lost the value of their homes because no one wants to buy a house that no longer has safe water; because no one wants to buy a house where it is questionable to breathe the air. Farmers whose livestock has been poisoned by fracking runoff or given birth to profound, shocking deformities. Mothers, fathers, seniors, children who have experienced rashes that cover their body, ringing in their ears, nosebleeds, debilitating headaches, loss of smell, loss of taste, gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses, neuropathy and cancer. All because they have been exposed to toxic chemicals from fracking in their water and air. Yet public officials making decisions about fracking still, despite mounting evidence, consider their stories anecdotal.

Here are more facts to choose from:

Fracking takes massive quantities of fresh water permanently out of our finite fresh water supply, contaminating it forever.

Fracking fluid contains highly toxic chemicals that are known endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, developmental toxicants; chemicals that harm the brain and nervous system.

Approximately 30% of fracking fluid injected into wells comes back up as wastewater. Most of the wastewater is blasted back into the earth for disposal, which is causing earthquakes. The remaining wastewater rests in the shale in casings that, as stated in the gas industry’s own documents, will ultimately deteriorate, making highly likely the contamination of pristine aquifers.

The wastewater also carries with it added toxins that have been quietly resting in the shale for 370 million years. These include arsenic, lead, uranium and radium 226. We are talking about radioactive waste.

Dangerous levels of methane leak from the fracking process, from well sites, storage tanks and countless pipelines. We have just passed the hottest year on record on this planet. We know that methane is horrific in its contribution to global warming.

Opening up Maryland to fracking is opening up Pandora’s Box. All the safety regulations in the world cannot protect the water and the air that will always be in jeopardy in the production and distribution of fracked gas. It is inevitable that underground cement casings will leak. That contractors will illegally dump wastewater into streams. That blow outs will happen at well sites. That trucks carrying lethal fracking fluid and wastewater will get into accidents on roads not meant for such extreme industrial traffic. These are facts. Does it happen every time? Of course, not. Does it happen? Absolutely!

Knowing that Western Maryland will be the first place to be fracked in our state, who will our government listen to? Will they listen to concerned citizens and the tourism industry that relies on clean water and air and untouched beauty to bring people to this treasured part of our state? Or will our government choose to gamble? Because that is what it is. Gambling. Gambling with lives, finite fresh water and pristine land. Fracking is safe until it isn’t. And once water is contaminated, there is little anyone can do.

Don’t gamble. With all due respect I have to say you will live to regret it. You will come to a place in your heart where you will realize you chose the wrong facts to back your decisions. The facts are already out there that fracking cannot be done safely. Please take the road that honors our children and future generations. Support green ways to fuel our state and boost our economy. It is the only road to take into the future. It is the only road that gives us a chance to have a future. Please ban fracking in Maryland.

Dominion’s Cove Point: Maryland Walks the Fracking Plank

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Excellent article below by my friend and colleague Laurel Peltier that presents a brief and accurate summation of why a liquid natural gas export facility in southern Maryland is bad news for all of Maryland.  And beyond.

http://www.baltimorefishbowl.com/stories/fracking-in-maryland/

 

Sheer Madness: FERC Approves Dominion Cove Point LNG Export Facility

No Cove Point

Right before bed last night, I got word that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the construction of the proposed Dominion Cove Point liquid natural gas export facility in southern Maryland. For those of us who have been fighting for a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be conducted before any approval is given, we knew we would likely see the authorization of the export facility without an EIS.  We don’t call FERC the Federal Energy Rubber-stamp Commission for nothing.  Still, the news is like a knife to the heart.

I woke up sad and furious, my head screaming at Governor O’Malley for starters. How can he stay silent on Dominion Cove Point when the health and safety of citizens from Lusby to Myersville to western Maryland are at serious risk? When the health of the Chesapeake Bay and the economy that depends on it are at serious risk?  What about all the pipeline and LNG facility explosions that have occurred in the past year?  How can they be overlooked?  It’s mind boggling. Continue reading

Josh Fox on Terry Greenwood

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Terry Greenwood is a humble hero.  Josh Fox, the director of the oscar-nominated documentary Gasland, knew Terry well.  Terry died a couple of weeks ago of brain cancer.  He knew that fracking poisoned and killed his cows, yet elected officials, the PA Department of Environmental Protection and the EPA wouldn’t listen to him.

Josh’s words and video honoring Terry Greenwood capture him so eloquently, I wanted to pass them along.  I hope you can find time to read the post and watch the video – a few poignant outtakes from Gasland.  Terry was an example of wisdom, light and integrity in the face of greed, lies and profound adversity.

Thank you, Terry.  RIP.

Here’s Josh’s post:

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Horton Hears the Whos of Calvert County and Dominion’s LNG Lies

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Most of us know the story of Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Suess. The beloved elephant Horton, with his great big ears, hears the cries for help from the Whos on Who-ville, a planet the size of a dust speck that rests precariously on a clover. Horton, with his big heart, commits to saving them because “a person’s a person no matter how small.” Yet, sadly, he can’t get others to hear their cries and acknowledge their lives.

And so it is with the citizens of Lusby, Maryland who live precariously close to a dormant liquid natural gas (LNG) import facility that Dominion Resources of Virginia is planning to turn into an LNG export facility as soon as they can get away with it. Continue reading

Whose Security Is at Stake? My Unexpected Hassle with Dominion Cove Point

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On Saturday I went to my stepson’s graduation from St. Mary’s College in southern Maryland.  It was a beautiful day, and attending family were filled with love and pride as we took in this milestone.  We snapped lots of pictures when the ceremony was over, with big smiles on our faces, attuned to both the impressive accomplishments achieved and the opportunities on the road ahead.

Speaking of the road ahead, it turns out Dominion’s Cove Point was on the way home, very close to the college.  My husband Gregg and I decided to drive by the dormant liquid natural gas (LNG) import facility that Dominion Resources of Virginia hopes to turn into an export facility as soon as possible.  I wanted to see for myself how close the facility is to family residences.  I had heard they were just across a two-lane road and, lo and behold, they are!

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Notice the LNG storage tank just beyond the gate!

I got out of the car to take a few photos, and as soon as I got back in, security pulled up behind us, lights flashing.  They asked what I was doing there.  I explained that I had heard about Dominion Cove Point and wanted to see for myself how close the LNG facility was to the community.  He asked for my ID and then went around and took down Gregg’s license plate.  He was on his walkie-talkie the entire time and continued to detain us there, as if we were a threat of some sort.  After a few minutes, Gregg said we had been detained long enough, and we parted ways.

Really?  Was it necessary to detain us for taking a couple of photographs outside of the facility?  Who’s the real threat to security?  A concerned citizen or a proposed LNG export facility that has the proven potential to explode right beside a residential neighborhood?  The answer should be a no brainer. Apparently it’s not.

Continue reading

Natural Gas is Not Clean (Even If Ads Say It Is)

Cove Point Rally in downtown Baltimore, February 20, 2014

Cove Point rally in downtown Baltimore, February 20, 2014

I have been quiet for a while on the writing front.  I’ve been more of an activist of late, compelled by the urgency to change where we source our energy before we poison ourselves right out of existence.  I’ve been going to press events and rallies for such things as the proposed Dominion Cove Point liquid natural gas (LNG) export facility in southern Maryland.  I’ve been making video shorts of some of the moving speeches given at these rallies. I’ve been speaking in places of faith about fracking. And I’ve been going to Annapolis, Maryland to learn how my state government works, how to meet with elected officials and educate them on what I know and why it matters.

In all these events and actions, I carry in my heart the people I have met over these past months and years who have been directly affected by the ramifications of high-volume, slick water hydraulic fracturing – more commonly known as fracking.  They are sick. Their children are sick.  Their drinking water and air have been contaminated by the fracking process with incredibly toxic chemicals that should never touch humans.  They have lost the value of their homes and peace in their lives.

Now, Dominion Resources of Virginia wants to turn its dormant liquid natural gas import facility in residential Lusby, Maryland into an export facility, with a massive contract already in place to export the gas to India and Japan for the next 20 years.  It will be the first LNG export facility on the east coast.

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Fracking Falls Short of “Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself”

Cove Point

Cove Point LNG export terminal. Coming soon to a Chesapeake Bay near you?

In my constant state of vocation evolution, I now find myself focused on getting into places of faith to talk about fracking*, the new, unconventional natural gas extraction process I’ve been obsessed with over the past few years.  I’m knocking on the doors of places of faith because the moral consequences of fracking are up in my face, screaming at me to let it be known that fracking is not the way to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”

There has been an impressive, growing effort in religious communities to become more actively engaged in energy efficiency, thanks in large part to Interfaith Power and Light. So fracking seemed to me a reasonable extension of this engagement.  Turns out, a fracking presentation is a harder sell than I had hoped.  Taking a look at how natural gas is extracted isn’t a priority, and I get that.  There are so many social causes that call out for help; fracking seems a more abstract and less pertinent one.  But I beg to differ.

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And We’ve Got to Get Ourselves Back to the Garden

This garden we are graced to live in, this magical spinning planet we call home, was designed for abundance, designed to provide us with food, clothing and shelter, and, beyond that, beauty and magic. This garden was not designed to withstand the amount of carbon dioxide and methane we are putting into the atmosphere from fossil fuels; the pesticides we are putting into our water, soil and food; the destruction of our trees and oceans meant to clean our air and create oxygen.

We have forgotten where we live. We have forgotten that being alive is not something we are guaranteed.

We are forgetting our moral obligation to our children and future generations.

Claire and berries