Astronomy Picture of the Day

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Gaz Update

For those following the fight,
Want to throw up a few links...

From Anne Galloway, at The Digger, one of the best diggers around...
Vermont Public Research Group
asked the Public Service board to on and donate if you are so inclined.
my local go to for reality news...

And from the list I am on, Jennifer did some research...
the Friends weigh in...

Dear Activists and Supporters- I've been researching work done by Quakers
regarding fracking, pipelines, natural gas companies, etc. Here are three
formal Quaker statements relating to our cause that may give us more
creative ideas in pursuing 'the good fight'. In Peace, Jennifer V.

Minute #1:

Genesee Valley Quaker Meeting Minute on Hydrofracking

Genesee Valley Quaker Meeting (Dansville, NY) approved the following minute
at Meeting for Business on June 3, 2012:

Members of Genesee Valley Quaker Meeting have considered the potential
consequences of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (also known as HVHF,
horizontal hydrofracking, or fracking) in New York State.

We strongly oppose initiating hydrofracking in New York State. As Quakers,
experience the divine through loving and truthful relationships with all
people and all creation. From what we understand about fracking, it is
inconsistent with our faith and practices.

In other states where horizontal hydrofracking was performed, it resulted in
forever losing vast amounts of fresh water, releasing toxins into the
environment, damaging communities, and costing the tax payers. We urge our
political representatives to prohibit the practice of HVHF in New York

We support legislation and incentives to do the following: promote
research, development, and use of renewable and sustainable energy; support
local organic farms and farmers; protect the air and water; institute
accountability for industries that cause environmental damage; and create
longterm economic policies that promote work for New York State residents
that they can do in good conscience.

We urge all citizens to thoughtfully consider the long term effects of
hydrofracking on the water, land, local economy, infrastructure, services,
and the community as a whole. We are encouraged by the many
communities that are coming together to educate one another, to consider the
complex interrelation of the many issues that surround hydrofracking, and to
seek a way forward together based on truth and respect.

Genesee Valley Quaker Meeting offers the following editorial for
consideration in conjunction with our
approved minute:

The cornerstone of the Quaker faith is that there is something of the divine
in all. This Divine Light is found in every person and in all creation. In
each moment of our daily lives, we strive to respond to the sacred, to truth
and love in ourselves and in all others.

Friends, as Quakers are known, have been seeking divine truth and love,
within ourselves and in all of our interactions, for over 350 years. What we
call our testimonies have grown
out of our experience of the Inner Light: simplicity, peace, integrity,
community, equality, and stewardship.

Friends have a long history of working for peace, the abolition of slavery,
equality for women, civil rights for African-Americans, and human rights
around the world. Now we are led to work
for peace, simplicity, integrity, community, and stewardship with the
natural world. (See "Eco-Spirituality & Action Minute" Approved by New York
Yearly Meeting, July 27, 2007, minute # 2007-7-58.)

At the very heart of our concerns about hydrofracking is water. As most
people know, fresh water sustains all humans and our ecosystem. Although we
can't live without fresh water, the price of fresh water is amazingly cheap.
Imagine if much of our fresh water was lost forever, or too contaminated to
drink. Fresh water may suddenly be not so cheap. Hydrofracking leads to
these ends.

Each hydrofracked shale well consumes millions of gallons of fresh water.
All the fresh water is mixed with sand and toxic chemicals, and is forced
into the rock to fracture and extract the natural gas. About half of the
water flows back to the surface, still contaminated with the chemicals, and
further contaminated
with naturally occurring salts and radioactive minerals, with half-lives
ranging from days to centuries. The other half of the water is lost in shale
pores and fissures far too deep
underground to reclaim.

Recent research suggests that this water, also
contaminated with toxic chemicals and radiation, can migrate underground and
percolate to the surface in the next one to two centuries. Although the
contaminated water can theoretically be purified, few high volume treatment
facilities currently exist. So for now, much hydrofrack "flowback" water is
simply held, sometimes in open pools as is done in Pennsylvania, waiting for
a future method of cleaning. While sitting there, some of the contaminated
water overflows or leaks out, and contaminates the surrounding aquifers.

During the summer, much of the flowback (including the chemicals)
evaporates, and then later rains down on the rest of the world. New York
State proposes that waste water be stored on site in closed containers but
the long-term problem remains the same. A "cost effective" technology may
never be developed for purifying the stored waste water, in which case the
flowback may eventually leak out and kill the local ecosystem.

Water is a finite resource. As stewards of our water, communities must
thoughtfully consider how we use the precious water that sustains New York
State. Around the world, wars are being fought over water, both wars with
weapons and wars of a political and economic nature. Wasting water "sows the
seeds of war" in our communities.

High Volume Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing has been occurring in many
states around our country. The promises and projections made by the gas
companies have proven to be false. Whether they were made in error or were
utter lies, gas industry records tell us the truth. In the short run, some
community members profit by leasing their land. But the expected returns
have been short-lived. Within 5 to 10 years, HVHF becomes an economic burden
to the tax payers and to many land owners. Industry data show that well
output peaks after about two to three months, with the amount of gas
extracted decreasing quickly after that early peak. Most wells are capped
after just a few years, often at the expense of the land owner.

When hydrofracking takes place, community members live with increased heavy
truck traffic, decreased air quality, increased noise and light pollution,
housing price instability, and a huge risk of toxic waste leaks and
contamination of the local water supply
and environment. Workers are often brought in from other states, where they
impact the need for local services but do not pay local taxes. When the
wells are capped, land owners learn that their property values may have
decreased, the promised royalty payments are not forthcoming, and local
infrastructure is in need of repair at the expense of the tax payer.

In the short run, natural gas extraction can create employment
opportunities. But can New York State residents do this work in good
conscience? Do we want ourselves, our friends, and our neighbors doing work
that destroys the natural resources
which sustain us? Politicians and industry supporters often frame the issue
as one of job creation verses the well being of the environment. We seek a
third option, what some would call "both/and." We desire BOTH employment
opportunities AND a healthy environment.

Affordable renewable power technologies already exist, and are improving
with every-day advances in technology. Let us invest in producing clean
technologies now, and allow
economies of scale to make clean energy available to everyone. Our nation
has thrived on our citizens' creativity. Let us put ourselves to work doing
work that we know is good for our communities, our environment, our state,
and our spirits.

Minute #2

Ithaca Friends Monthly Meeting Minute on

Energy Sources and Right Relationship with Earth:

by Margaret McCasland

All sources of energy should be produced in ways that maintain Right
Relationship with Earth and with all people and all other living things.
Whenever we extract energy sources from the earth to use for human
activities, we do so in ways that harm Earth's living systems and disrupt
balance for living things.

We affirm the primacy of creating truly safe and renewable energy sources as
quickly as possible. We are concerned that favoring natural gas as "cleaner"
than coal both slows the necessary development of truly ecological energy
sources, and obscures the full costs of extracting and using that fuel.
Natural gas (methane) traps over 20 times* as much heat as carbon dioxide.
The many ways in which it is released into the atmosphere (i.e., leaks which
regularly occur during exploration, drilling, storing, processing,
transmission and then combustion) negate much-if not all-of its advantages
over coal. Long-term costs include: the pollution of water and soil, the
destruction of roads and other infrastructure, the costs of treating health
problems resulting from the release of toxins, and the loss of productivity
of those whose health is adversely affected.

While there is much gas tightly embedded in shale formations throughout the
US, the largest formation begins in New York and continues as far south as
Tennessee. The gas industry has estimated that enough gas can be extracted
from this Marcellus shale to provide about two years' supply for the entire
United States. This is an amount that can easily be saved through
conservation and efficiency measures, using technology that can be
implemented quickly and that will continue to reduce our needs for energy
until we can fully switch to renewable sources using proven technologies
such as geothermal, passive and active solar, non-food biofuels, and
appropriate-scale wind and hydropower.

We call upon Friends to educate themselves and to examine their own lives
and patterns of consumption. In unity with the Minute on the Care of God's
Creation, approved by Friends' United Meeting in Triennial Session on July
15, 1999, "We call upon the nations of the world, and in particular our own
governments, to enact laws and reach agreements which will protect the
creation from the effects of human exploitation, greed and carelessness."

Minute passed in December, 2009

*NOTE: "20 times" is a very conservative way of comparing unburned methane
with CO2 . ("20 times" is 1,900% more heat.) Depending on the framework
being used (eg, half-life in the atmosphere over a given interval), climate
scientists rate methane as holding 20, 70, or over 100 times as much heat as
CO2. Any of these numbers is significant enough for us to make personal and
public policy decisions about energy sources, management and uses. Keeping
unburned methane out of the atmosphere seems like an obvious goal for public
policies, such as the New York State's Public Service Commissions inadequate
regulation of leaks in natural gas transmission lines (methane is the
primary constituent of natural gas). 1-2% loss of unburned methane to
transmission line leaks is a standard minimum figure; some estimates run
more like 5-8%.

Minute #3:

Approved at Friends United Meeting Triennial Sessions, 1999

GEORGE FOX "lived in the virtue of that life and power that took away
the occasion of all wars and [he] knew from whence all wars did rise, for
the lust, according to James's doctrine" (Journal/1651). It is the same lust
(cravings, desires, self-centeredness) that causes violence in war, and
which causes us to do violence to God's creation. The "life and power that
takes away the occasion of all wars" also takes away the occasion for
violence against the creation.

The concern for the care of God's creation has long been implicit in
our Christian testimony. We recognize that our historic peace testimony is a
testimony to living in harmony with the world in a covenant among God,
humanity, and the creation (Gen. 9:8-13), a covenant the renewal of which
was foreseen by the prophets as in Isaiah's vision of the peaceable kingdom
(11:1-9), by Paul (e.g., Rom. 8:12-17), and in the great commission when the
risen Christ told the eleven, "Go into all the world and proclaim the good
news to the whole creation" (Mark 16:15 NRSV, the AV has "all creatures").
Implicit in our testimony on simplicity is the understanding that we will
not take more than we need, particularly (and here we move into the
testimony on justice) if it means depriving others, including future
generations, of their basic needs.

We call upon Friends to examine their own lives to see if their own
patterns of consumption reflect self-centeredness and greed rather than a
concern for living harmoniously in the creation, that we might witness to
the world that harmony. We call upon the nations of the world, and in
particular our own governments, to enact laws and reach agreements which
will protect the creation from the effects of human exploitation, greed, and

Thanks Friends...

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