The dangers of hydraulic fracturing are well documented and include risks of earthquakes, methane explosions, the venting of poisonous gasses including benzene and sulfur dioxide, and irreparable pollution to our water tables.
Do we want these dangers in our community? Of course not.
Now comes Mr. Jack Cox, president of The Communications Institute, which recently completed a study of the economic impact of fracking, to tell us in The Observer (May 30 – June 5) that accepting these risks of fracking would benefit the state by producing jobs and revenues.
Here’s what he left out:
· The study TCI completed was funded by the Western States Petroleum Association, and as such readers should be aware of its likely bias.
· TCI’s leadership is closely aligned with that of the conservative leaning Rand Corp. which never discovered a single danger in energy development if there were some money to be made.
· There is no guarantee that the jobs and money he posits would primarily benefit many Californians, even the ones in Mendota, which he cites.
· Mendota is a town of about ten thousand people, 95% of whom are Hispanic; however, 55% of Hispanics favor an immediate and outright ban on fracking and 64% favor a moratorium which could be lifted only if fracking can be guaranteed safe. (Source: USC Dornslife College of Letters and Sciences and the L.A. Times)
Perhaps Mr. Cox, a resident of the San Fernando Valley, will move to our side of town and take up residence right across from a field of oil wells in the process of being fracked. If he does, I will buy him a gas mask and a ticket to Gus Van Sant’s movie, “Promised Land”.
In the meantime, accept my thanks to the Observer for letting him remind us that there are indeed two sides to this story: Human health and safety on one side and corporate profits on the other side.
Bruce Lebedoff Anders