I have only been following fracking in the UK for about five years. At first I was sceptical having heard “problems” described in Gasland. Rather than simply accept all the arguments against, I actually read stuff from almost every perspective possible – almost alternating between Frack Off and Frack, Baby, Frack. I was helped by my short experience as an exploration and mining geologist, and soon found that so much of the fractivist material was simply rather limited in value. (or utter rubbish if you prefer.) I also preferred to read material from the British Geological Survey rather than the Graudain.
I was appalled at misrepresentation at public meetings and then hostility if you dared to question or disagree and I got the full force from Tina!! I was surprised that Friends of the Earth were involved as I had always considered them to be a great organisation. But no more – here’s my downpayment or arrabwn on it https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/how-fiendish-is-friends-of-the-earth/ (an arrabwn is the downpayment paid to dancing girls in Egypt 2000 years ago and has a slightly different meaning in the New Testament!) There is more to come and hopefully apocalyptic.
I also became concerned at the law-breaking, harassment and even violence carried out by some fractivists in Lancashire. This is seen by the occupation of a farmers field at Preston New Road in August 2014, followed by breaking into Blackpool offices. There is also the silly stunt by the Nicholosons on the same field last month when the farmer decided to muck-spread his field 🙂 Much I have observed and even experienced.
It is sad to see decent people manipulated and drawn into this kind of behaviour and as I am not quite a bad an Anglican priest as some make out, I am also concerned how churchpeople have got suckered into it and supported by groups like Operation Noah and Christian Climate Action. see this on coal protest in South wales http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=29995&utm_content=buffer15e87&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer On a previous occasion they daubed painted over the DECC building.
I also consider that many have been swept along by McKibbin and Klein , who are calling for direct action as has happened in the last week.
Thus I plagiarise this article by Jim Willis from Pennsylvania as it chimes into what I have seen in Lancashire. I am sure he won’t mind
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
Recent actions by fractivist extremists should be the final straw; it’s time to treat these dangerous radicals as the extremists they are. End the coddling!
Once again anti-drillers have engaged in childish, petulant behavior in an attempt to call attention to themselves. Earlier this past week, Norman Bay, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)–the agency charged with reviewing and approving or denying pipeline projects–spoke at a conference organized by the Independent Power Producers of New York (IPPNY) near Albany, NY. As he was speaking, a half dozen radical “keep it in the ground” protesters “rushed the stage” hollering at Bay, who had to make a quick exit–concerned he would be assaulted by the out-of-control protesters. Enough!
The conference organizer said the protesters were “aggressive” and “disruptive” and “out of line.” It was a private event. The group’s ring leader seems to have been Igor Vamos, a media professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Vamos is the founder of “Yes Men,” a radical protest group that has staged fake press conferences on so-called climate change. Their display shows how precariously close these unbalanced people are. Just watch the video below.
Just last week Obama’s own Department of Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell, called “keep it in the ground” nutters “naïve” (see Sec. of Interior Calls “Keep it in the Ground” Protesters “Naïve”). They’re not only naïve, they’re dangerous. They’re now threatening to shut down a railroad this weekend.
Climate protesters drove the head of federal energy policy from the stage Wednesday during a conference of power plant owners.
Near the end of a speech to the Independent Power Producers of New York, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Norman Bay was interrupted and confronted by about a half-dozen protesters at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center.
As the protesters shouted about the risks of man-made climate change and demanded that he answer, Bay tried to leave the podium, and appeared uncertain of where to go before IPPNY President Gavin Donohue quickly whisked him away through a side door.
Shouting broke out between protesters and conference attendees, with some of the former yelling “genocide” due to impacts of climate change. “Why are you signing the death warrant for so many people?” one protester demanded of Bay.
One audience member yelled, “What, now we are Nazis?” while others shouted at banner-holding protesters that the “circus is over” and to leave.
One protester was Igor Vamos, a media professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a founder of the Yes Men, a media protest group that has staged fake press conferences to draw attention to social issues like climate change. The team has made several films.
Vamos and other protesters were members of Break Free Albany, an anti-fossil fuel group that plans to disrupt oil train traffic at the Port of Albany on Saturday, organizer Aly Johnson-Kurts said.
“The World Health Organization predicts there could be up to 100 million deaths worldwide from climate change by 2050,” she said. “Continuing to develop more fossil fuels is completely unacceptable.”
Johnson-Kurts said several hundred protesters will gather at the port Saturday to block the tracks, preventing trains from moving, until they are removed or arrested by authorities.
The group is also planning a kayak flotilla Friday evening on the Hudson River to draw attention to the issue of crude oil trains from the Midwest coming into the port.
On Wednesday, Vamos was carrying a microphone and video camera to record the event, and as he was leaving the room, a man who was attending the conference confronted him and tried to wrench the equipment from his hand.
State Police showed up and finished escorting Vamos and other protesters out of the hotel.
Afterward, Bay declined comment. His speech consisted of technical FERC issues on transmission and markets, and if Bay had any thoughts about several planned natural gas pipeline projects in New York to carry gas from Pennsylvania, he kept that to himself.
IPPNY CEO Gavin Donohue was critical of the protesters after the incident, calling them “aggressive…disruptive” and “out of line.”
“It’s a shame when we’re here talking about investing in clean renewable resources, reducing air emissions by over 50% on CO2, that they come in and disrupt this event that has nothing to do with issues they’re concerned with,” Donohue said. “Quite frankly, they should be applauding the industry for the improvements they’ve made.”
“FERC has been a sleepy agency, behind the scenes, doing its work and what it’s supposed to do,” said Frank Maisano, a Washington, DC-based energy specialist with the policy resolution group at law firm Bracewell LLP. “Because it has been a sleepy agency that has just done its work, [the protesters] see it as some nefarious thing, and they’re wrong in more ways than one.”
While they might be getting attention and “making themselves heroes within their own community,” anti-fossil fuel climate activists are “undermining their own cause” when they obstruct FERC from carrying out its regulatory functions, Maisano said.
“If you want to have the president’s plan or even a more aggressive plan…then you have to have FERC operating effectively because you need the infrastructure,” he said. “You can’t have a shift away from coal to natural gas without gas infrastructure. You can’t have a shift toward renewables without having transmission infrastructure, and that’s what FERC does.”
Below is a video recording part of the encounter. Notice the brain dead utterances. One young man says “It’s no joke. It’s not personal, but it’s personal.” How’s that for cogent thinking? And, listen to the idiotic woman reading a script from her iPhone. She keeps saying something about pipeline approvals “lead to the death of black and brown people in our community.” Really? Where are these dead people? Why isn’t Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton up in arms over this wanton murder of “black and brown people?” Also, I don’t see any black or brown people as part of this lily white protest group–do you?
We’ll tell you one thing: If we were private security or the State Police, we would have thrown these people to the ground, handcuffed them, and dragged them away. Far too often lawbreakers are handled with kid gloves. We need to start treating fractivist extremists the same way we treat radical terrorists and stop the coddling.
Editor’s Note: Jim is exactly correct. FERC and other agencies have been far too accommodating and tolerant of fractivist extremists. The industry has been even more so, following a traditional playbook from another era; one that supposes it’s best to listen respectfully to those who exhibit no respect and hope for the best in the faith that adopting a higher standard will somehow be rewarded. That philosophy is exactly how the Constitution Pipeline permits ended up being denied. It is both naive and hopeless. The industry needs to stand up and fight for its rights and demand accountability from the politicos who let the process be so manipulated. Both FERC and the industry need to man up and soon. No more coddling!
It’s also worth noting who the “Yes Men” really are. A search of the 20 Cooper Square, 5th floor, New York, NY 10003 address to which they suggest others mail donations reveals it is also the address for the Institute of Public Knowledge, a New York University (NYU) project and another NYU venture called the “Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics.” The implicit relationship between the latter and the “Yes Men” is freely acknowledged in this story. According to the “Hemi” website:
Hemi connects major scholars, artists, and activists working at the intersection of artistic practice and social transformation. Focusing on urgent issues of our time—from human rights and migration to racial, economic, and gender inequalities—we research politically engaged performance through gatherings, publications, and digital platforms in order to create new avenues for thought and action. Based at NYU, we have built a network that spans the Americas. Our growing community includes 42 member universities, over 20 arts and cultural centers, related human rights and social justice organizations, and thousands of individuals who participate in our programs.
First thoughts run to what a horrid mess our education system has become, but then the “Donate” page takes it further, offering that “By making a tax-deductible donation, you can support essential Hemi programs so we can continue to connect artists, scholars, and activists across borders, develop innovative research platforms, and help preserve performance practices into the future.” The whole relationship is laid out here. Yes, it appears taxpayers effectively support the “Yes Men.” Donate to NYU’s “Hemispheric Institute Fund” and you, too, can get a tax break for supporting the “Yes Men” disruptions of FERC meetings.
Bottom line: don’t send your kids to NYU or RPI. Take away their tax-exemptions. Fire Igor Vamos and friends. Then, throw them in jail. Nothing less will qualify as justice or serve to defend civil society. These people and the institutions who enable them are criminal. Treat them that way.