Bare Bones Biology 242 – Fracking III repost

So here’s my answer to the question asked by the young man at the airing of the documentary Gasland in College Station in 2011 (https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/). Yes indeed, young man, every industry is having problems. That’s because the question is not fundamentally about industries. It’s about the universal law of cause and effect. About the common root cause of the effects that you don’t like, and the bigger question is whether you will decide to take actions that will make things better — or carry on doing the same behaviors that caused the problem in the first place.

No living thing on this earth has ever had the power, in the long term, to get whatever it wants without doing the behaviors (that is the causes) that will bring the effects that we want. I150118-Sette-ASC_3695RLSsf we sincerely want to solve the problems of industry and their root cause, then problem solving requires, first, knowing what we want; second, knowing what stands between us and getting what we want; and third, understanding that many actions are possible and useful for now, but most of them will cause more harm than good for future generations if we don’t know how the system functions.

So it’s your choice:
You can do nothing, or you can do something.
If you decide to do something, you can decide to:
Do something that will make you feel better;
or you can
Do something that will probably be a little more frustrating but will actually help improve the conditions.

The living earth ecosystem, not industry but the living Earth ecosystem – that’s what produces our air, water, earth and energy.

 

The living Earth ecosystem does not function by human values or aspirations. The living earth ecosystem functions very elegantly, incredibly, but definitely on the basis of cause and effect and according to the natural laws of physics and biology. So if we want to influence the living earth ecosystem we must do the actions, the causes, that will cause the effect we want. And not do the actions that cause adverse effects.

 

That’s all there is to it; and we know enough to do it; and there is no other way to get what we say we want.

For the past 100 years at least we have clearly understood our problem. We are unbalancing our ecosystem by taking away too much of the resources it needs to maintain its own balance of life, and using those resources for activities that poison the cycles required for its health and ours.

 

We know how to fix that. We fix it by reducing our growth of all kinds, because it is our growth that consumes the resources that the ecosystem needs to maintain its own healthy balance. There is no other way to get what we say we want, but we refuse to do it.

That’s why the oorporations don’t want us to understand our human problem. They would be required to help grow healthy communities rather than simply use the productivity of the existing communities to feather their own pocketbooks.

So your choice, young man, now, is to decide whether you want to make the earth more healthy, or if you would prefer to spend your time:

 

Doing nothing;
Trying to believe the corposystem fairy tales;
Resorting to powers like prayer or spirituality, that we cannot control, while ignoring or mis-using our own personal and social power;
Having fun;
Being miserable;
Blaming someone else;
Fighting over issues that will not change the outcomes;
Debating issues that will not change the outcomes;
Complaining;
Crying;
Pretending the glass is half full;
Pretending the glass is half empty;
Trying to win something;
Or trying yet harder to believe in the human value system that caused the problem in the first place.

Well, here’s my helpful hint. Your first next step should be to learn the difference between measurable facts, propaganda and opinions, including your own opinions.

 

At the same time you should:

 

(1) begin studying the laws of biology. The most basic laws, not all the details people try to befuddle you with. You will not learn about ecosystem health by studying physics or even physiology. It’s the ecosystem that’s sick, not a human or a proton.  A completely free download of the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook is available on my website; I don’t even keep track of who downloads these.

 

(2) Stop arguing or fighting over anything, and begin problem solving discussions. Preferably with someone who read the same handbook. https://factfictionfancy.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/pages_std-portrait-barebonesecology100627-finalfinalprinter.pdf

(3) Stop doing or supporting those actions that cause harm to the life of the ecosystem.

You’re right. Fracking is a symptom and not the cause of our problems. Stopping or limiting or confining fracking will not solve all the problems. Neither would anything else solve all the problems, instantly. Doing nothing will definitely not solve all the problems, and stopping or limiting or confining  fracking could prevent terminal destruction of the earth’s remaining fresh water, though it won’t improve the dirty air that now pollutes our beautiful Brazos Valley.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM in Bryan Texas. A download of this radiocast available at:


traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_242_-_Fracking_iii_repost.mp3
 

Links, References and Trackbacks:
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1558250/
https://factfictionfancy.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/pages_std-portrait-barebonesecology100627-finalfinalprinter.pdf

Key Words: fresh water, fracking, propaganda, difference between measurable facts and opinions, industry, root cause, living earth ecosystem, human values, law of cause and effect, resources, poison, balance of life, growth, healthy balance, corporation, biology, physics, physiology.

Bare Bones Biology 241 – Fracking II

The movie “Gasland“ by, Josh Fox (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1558250/), was aired in College Station in 2011, followed by discussion. Now I would recommend Gasland 2, http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/. One of the questions asked at the College Station airing (and recorded if you want a copy) was:

“. . . every industry is having problems, and that goes into agriculture, that goes into everything. This is not just a problem for this industry, this is every single industry. How are people in my generation who are completely apathetic and feel there is nothing we do that matters . . ?”

141227-snow-ASC_3667RLSsYes indeed, every industry is having problems. Of course they’re having problems, because industries are not more powerful than God, and they’re not more powerful than nature. And for at least the past 200 years, they’ve been behaving as though they think they are. The answer is up to you, of course — what do you propose to do about it?

If you want what you want, regardless of what the living earth needs, then you will make your town and your world worse than it is now. Of course you will, because worldwide we have reached the point where human activity is depriving the Living Earth of the things it needs to keep itself alive. Regardless of whatever you believe or I believe — our reasons, emotions, opinions, intentions, desires, wars, tantrums, Presidents, cannot change what the earth needs to stay alive. The living earth does not operate according to whatever people want.

If you mean to force the world to operate the way you think it should, then the answer still is that you cannot. If you mean how can you have yours, regardless of who must pay the price, that behavior will end soon, because the corposystem has already destroyed a large portion of what the earth needs to provide for our needs, and your generation is about to pay the price.

If you mean you are very angry because the corposystem — your culture, in which you deeply believed – probably still believe – has been lying to you, then I don’t blame you. So am I. But being angry will not change what we have done. Neither will blaming someone nor griping nor apathy nor doing nothing. No living thing on this earth has ever had the power to get whatever it wants, over the long term, without doing what is required to get it.

And that means you must study and discuss WHAT THE EARTH NEEDS TO BE HEALTHY, because we are a part of life on Earth, and when the Earth is unhealthy, then we and our industries will also be unhealthy. First we all need to study and discuss (not debate, discuss) what are we doing that makes the Earth unhealthy. Then we need to study what is possible and what is not possible for humans to do on the small surface of this tiny living planet, and then we must stop doing behaviors that make the Earth unhealthy. Those are not choices. The only choice that we have remaining now is whether or not we want to survive on this Living Earth.

If we ignore the requirements of Life because we think physics and human engineering are more powerful or less complicated — then the laws of physics will survive because they are truly laws of nature. But Life as we know it will not survive, because Life is more complicated than the laws of Physics.

Physics functions just fine on the sun and the moon and the Earth, but Life on Earth is more than the laws of physics, and it will not survive if we take away what it needs to survive, which is mostly a viable balance among all its parts. The Earth will simply ease back to the simpler state and stop supporting Life. We don’t even know what all it’s parts are, and with fracking we are killing a huge subterranean ecosystem without even trying to find out what that ecosystem does to help sustain all of the Life of Earth, including us. It’s all connected – all of Life is an interconnected system.

In fact, Life on Earth is not surviving in good health, as you clearly describe when you say all the industries are failing. But I think your focus on industry is failing. Water is not an industry; air is not an industry; soil is not an industry, energy is not an industry. These things are the commons by international law because they are made available to us only by a healthy living earth. Yes, they are failing, because the living earth is not healthy, because we have unbalanced it.

If you want all that living ecosystem to stop being sick and suddenly start to do what you want it to do? Ahhhhh, should we try force? A revolution? A war against the ecosystem? We’ve been doing that for the past 200 years. It makes the problem worse because it DOES NOT GIVE THE EARTH WHAT IT NEEDS TO BE HEALTHY.

For 100 years at least we humans have very clearly understood the problem. The problem is too much growth – too many people to feed, in addition to the other living things the earth must feed if it is to continue providing us with air, water, soil and energy. We have known what we must do to fix it. We must reduce the growth – and the human population. We don’t want to do it. So we just throw another technological tantrum and complain when it only makes the Earth that much sicker.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio, 89.1 in Bryan, Texas. A podcast of this program can be downloaded at: http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_241-_Fracking_II.mp3

Key Words – War against the ecosystem, blaming, griping, apathy, doing nothing, living earth, corposystem, technological tantrum

Links, References and Trackbacks

http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1558250/

https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/07/02/
bare-bones-bio…–-fracking-iii/ ‎

https://factfictionfancy.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/pages_std-portrait-barebonesecology100627-finalfinalprinter.pdf

Bare Bones Biology 240 – Reality Check

FAX to BLM 140812 (FAX receipt filed)

120115_buzzards_ASC_4671Ss

U.S. Bureau of Land Management
New Mexico State Office
Fax: 505-954-2010
• I am protesting parcels NM-2014-001, 004 through 015, which are in the Rio Chama Watershed and East of the Continental Divide.

I am an 80-year-old retired career basic scientist who planned to spend the rest of my life in the Brazos Valley of Texas and was forced to move because of the destruction of the quality of the air that was threatening my health. I am not alone. Large segments of the American people are becoming homeless or mobile. It is excellent business for the travel trailer parks, but not for building healthy productive communities.

I lived in this location in Texas for 35 years, and invested much of my life savings in four pieces of property in Texas. When I arrived in Texas the air was always as crystalline as that in northern New Mexico on a good day like today. When I left, the air was consistently, daily, gray with a dank smog that damaged my lungs and other organs.

This fug is still there on most days, over the entire region of the hill country and eastward, and up to about 200 feet elevation, and of course it continues to get worse as all those wells leak (I was threatened when I photographed effluent being poured into the local creek). This change took (for the worst of it) about 5 years and was very clearly, the most of it, the result of intensive fracking north of us.

In addition, of course, I know many other people who owned land and homes in the Brazos Valley of Texas who have had personal health problems, have been forced out of their rural homes, have lost their jobs to people brought in from outside to work the oil and gas jobs, and even have observed flights of birds drop from the air, killed or disabled by the fumes from those local processing stations the gas companies try to hide back in the boonies. I can document these things.

Some of the negative effects of fracking are very well known and well documented.. This destruction does not sit there on top of the BLM lands. Among these problems documented in regions of fracking, worldwide. Destruction of air, water and the almost completely unstudied underground biosystem are among them. Earthquakes that indicate unknown kinds of damage to underground bio and geo systems.

Our air water and soil are the commons. They belong to the people – not to the gas or oil companies, and not to the BLM. Money is not more important than the common welfare, and a little more money now will not solve the human problem of depleting resources. In fact, it will make the problem worse for children who are born today, because we did not try to solve the real human problem, but only tried to do more of what caused the problem in the first place.

I am a basic career biologist – not a technician or a technologist. Regardless of the opinions of technicians and technologists, I and other basic scientists know that what we do to the earth today we can never undo. Before we do anything we should deeply consider what will be the effect on the future of humans in New Mexico and beyond, because the effects of this toxic technology are not only local. But expand far across the land air and water, and into the future.

I sincerely hope I will not need to sell out and move away from New Mexico as fracking continues, but I hesitate to invest further – to buy a property where I can live in winter – until I find out to what extent New Mexico is willing to protect her citizens and the natural wealth of her Biosystems from fly-by-night developers who bring temporary jobs, use up the infrastructure of the communities, and then sell off a portion gas and oil overseas and go away to feed off of the next community. It is the function of government to protect its citizens from these snake-oil salesmen who promise temporary riches rather than help to grow sustainable communities for the welfare of all the people.

I have purchased land here. Again, I hope this is a place where I can live healthy to the end of my days.

Dr. M. Lynn Lamoreux
Lumberton, NM 87528

Copy to:
Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens
POB 934
Abiquiu, NM 87510

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS Radio, 89.1 in Bryan, TX

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:

Again, this link does not appear to respond to my efforts to open it, but the address is:
traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_240F_-_Reality_Check.mp3
You have to precede the above with http://

References

For a more inclusive and very well informed account of the biological and human consequences of fracking go to Alternative Radio and download the audio or the transcript (or both) of Fracking and Public Health, Sandra Steingraber. http://www.alternativeradio.org/products/stes001

And while you are there: http://www.alternativeradio.org/products/lint001
Thomas Linzety. Corporations, communities and the environment.

Bare Bones Biology 239 – Fracking

Rerun of BBB 060
Podcast is posted at http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_239_-_Fracking.mp3

I have lived in a Tokyo suburb, and in the shade of a mountain in Montana, but it’s in rural loneliness where I learned the most about community. I learned to sit under a tree in the forest until the little creatures gathered around to investigate this stranger in their midst. Almost like a Bambi forest glade with the little birds and flowers, but I learned this before I ever saw a motion picture. And I always knew it was no fairy tale, but the deepest source of life itself.

So I already knew this when I went to college, and there I found the wonder of basic science and I dedicated my life to learning how we humans can use our knowledge of basic science to bring to ourselves a life of ordinary happiness, in a perpetual way, like a forest glade that blooms for us and for our children unto the seventh generation yet to be born, and beyond. I mean learning how the whole system works so that we can help us to continue nurturing us on into the future. And now we know; we are choosing not to do it, and that is our human tragedy.

110611DroughtASC_2572S copyFor a long time, I have been wondering how anyone could make that choice.

This morning I woke up remembering how exciting it was in college, that three year period when I understood how forest glade ecosystems function – using all the species at once, and all the cycles, and the flow of energy at all the levels (see the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook download free from the web site) – to maintain the well being of us all, the rabbits and birds and flowers and all of us who are a part of the ecosystem.

This morning after the fracking presentation, I woke up remembering how that felt and wondering how anyone, as we heard yesterday and have been hearing for the past 15 years or so – how anyone could dedicate his life to tearing down this wonderful dream of a forever fine future.

And then I realized there isn’t very much difference between a young person who dedicates her life to understanding the factual truth of a functioning world ecosystem (that would be me). There isn’t that much difference between me and, say, a young man who grows to that age of enlightenment and observes the amazing power of the workings of the corposystem. A young man raised on Star Wars make-believe instead of the beauty of factual reality can believe in the corposystem very much in the same way I believe in the ecosystem. Very much as Bernie Madoff’s clients and even his sons believed in his Ponzi scheme, even though anyone can do the math and know there is no sustainable future in it. Star Wars economics is of course impossible to sustain for the same reason that any Ponzi scheme is impossible to sustain within a universe that operates according to the laws of energy and the law of cause and effect. Anyone can do the math. But when we are dreaming big dreams and deciding where to devote our lives, if we don’t know about schemes and scams and the first and second law of thermodynamics we get big ideas and are willing to make big sacrifices for them.

That’s the tragedy of human kind.

Of course there are no tragedies at levels three and four (corposystem and ecosystem), so far as I know. It’s all about cause and effect. But level one, the individual person and level two, the communities – the tragedy is all around us now, in the air and the water and the soil and every forest glade. Not only the sacrifice of our best human values – honor, honesty, compassion — but also the promotion of suffering – and the effort it takes for idealistic people to believe that what they are doing is for the best.

Even though anyone can do the math.

Podcast is posted at http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_239_-_Fracking.mp3

Bare Bones Biology 238 – Reflux

Congratulations to The Eagle and to Gunnar Schade for publishing an accurate, straightforward, and conservative op-ed describing facts and opinions related to fracking (posted below and at http://www.theeagle.com/opinion/columnists/cs-needs-proper-drilling-setbacks/article_5c06e1bc-abf2-5b67-87c8-9ae1fd6c5347.html )

Facts, by definition, are realities that we cannot change. Opinions, we can change. That means we cannot improve our lives by trying to change an unchangeable set of facts. It does not mean there is nothing we can do to improve our lives. It does mean we should study the facts and use the facts to help us decide what will work and what will not work to improve our lives, and then argue our opinions about the options that are actually available to us.

Bare Bones Biology http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com was created for just this reason: to clarify relationships among facts about biology, and opinions about biology so that we can make the wisest possible short-term choices that cause the least possible long-term harm to ourselves.
141115-JourneyStories-ASC_2648RS2s
We cannot change facts, but we can change our opinions about how to deal with the facts. For example, we cannot change what fracking is doing to the air that everyone in the community must breath. That’s a fact of Life. We can change what we choose to do about fracking. That’s an available human choice.

In making that choice, another fact of Life should be considered. That is, what goes around, comes around. It is a fact that all the substances of Life (the atoms and molecules) recycle in the Biosystem. The fact is, if we put poisonous substances into the air, water and soil, then at least most of us must breathe, drink and/or eat poisonous substances.

We all know it’s true, what goes around comes around in the Biosystem. We don’t like to deal with it (http://www.celdf.org/), but that doesn’t change the fact. The modern “systems” expert Fritjof Capra (http://www.amazon.com/Systems-View-Life-Unifying-Vision/dp/1107011361/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1419440846&sr=1-1&keywords=capra) knows it is true, even though he may think of it more like a business plan than a law of nature. Hundreds of thousands of people during the green revolution came to understand how our earth system functions to provide for our needs, and they embraced the Ecosystem (note, system) as their family of origin. Farther back in time, earlier cultures understood the dangers of fouling our own nest; for example, lessons we have learned in Ladakh (http://www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org/) and other places are now being applied to problems in many modern communities, even Houston (www.transitionhouston.org/).

Do we need more examples? It’s a fact of life. In the real world, what goes around comes back around to affect our future welfare, the up side and the down side of our welfare, and we can’t change the facts of Life. What we can do is choose how we respond to them.

Of course, we also know that some people do not agree. For example the Eagle also published an opinion entitled: “Fracking Bans in Cities Hurt Everyone.” We know that is not a fact because I am someone and I have been very greatly harmed, physically, emotionally, financially, and permanently by oil and gas development in the Brazos Valley, as have many other people. So the idea that we all benefit from fracking is not a fact. It is an opinion. Furthermore, the author of that letter makes some rather extravagant claims that he does not support with data or references. In my opinion he cannot support some of these claims. So it seems that we have an argument between two sets of statements, each of which is supported by some facts and some opinions, with or without supporting evidence.

141104-FirstFriday-ASC_2633RSsIt seems to me foolish to argue opinions against facts. We can’t change the facts anyhow; it’s a non-discussable issue, a waste of our time that could be used to do something that actually would work to maintain or improve the common welfare. We do know that fracking is toxic to the “commons.” The commons is the air we all must breathe, the water we all must drink, and the soil in which our food grows. That’s a fact. The poisons we throw into the commons will go around and come back to bite us in the end.

If our real goal is to benefit everyone in our community, it should not be difficult to make a list of the most useful facts that limit our options. We could consult unaffiliated, well-informed experts. We then could post this list on the wall in city offices, and stop trying to change facts, admit to the reality of natural law, and begin to rationally discuss our opinions, considering both the up side and the down side of the options that remain to us, under three headings: 1) What is best for everyone now; 2) What is best for the welfare of the entire community. That would of course include people outside the cities who provide services of various kinds. 3) What is best for the future welfare of the children born into this community.

Obviously such a discussion is not an either/or debate that someone wins and someone else loses, and that’s a good thing, because either/or arguments do not lead to win-win solutions. Discussion is not the easiest answer to any problem because discussing real, fact-based issues is difficult. But such an effort, carried out with good will, could genuinely bring us one step closer, at least in BCS, to Peace on Earth and the welfare of all our citizens.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS FM, 89.1 in Bryan, Texas.

A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at:

 

References:
http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com

http://www.theeagle.com/opinion/columnists/cs-needs-proper-drilling-setbacks/article_5c06e1bc-abf2-
5b67-87c8-9ae1fd6c5347.html

http://www.celdf.org/

http://www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org/

http://www.transitionhouston.org/

http://www.amazon.com/Systems-View-Life-Unifying-Vision/dp/1107011361/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1419440846&sr=1-1&keywords=capra

 

 

Copy of op-ed:

http://www.theeagle.com/opinion/columnists/cs-needs-proper-drilling-setbacks/article_5c06e1bc-abf2-5b67-87c8-9ae1fd6c5347.html

Posted: Saturday, December 20, 2014 12:00 am

By GUNNAR W. SCHADE

Special to The Eagle

While the shale boom is heralded as a new energy era and an economic windfall for all, the reality often looks much more mundane. Rarely in the mainstream news are there stories about the people directly affected by fracking operations near their homes, or the rapid degradation of air quality in those parts of the nation where fracking is dotting the landscape.

As geoscientists from across the world gathered two weeks ago in San Francisco for the annual American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, there were several sessions on the air quality impacts of oil and gas extraction, especially as related to the “boom.”

And the news is bleak: Ongoing air quality measurements have shown for several years now that numerous hydrocarbons attributable to oil and gas industry emissions are tens to thousands of times higher in shale areas than what is considered clean air. The widespread hydrocarbon pollution creates secondary ozone pollution, even in winter, thus affecting people far removed from extraction areas, possibly erasing two decades of ozone air quality improvements. Air toxics emissions include known and suspected carcinogens such as benzene and formaldehyde, and neurotoxins such as xylenes.

The industry’s large well numbers per area with onsite pipes, valves, tanks, compressors and other equipment, together leak an enormous amount of gas and vapors into the air. Nevertheless, regulators treat each well as a minor emitter, and permits to drill are obtained easily.

In addition, Texas regulators allow onsite gas flaring with little oversight, which together with flaring in the Bakken shale has catapulted the U.S. into the top five flaring nations in the world, wasting more than 240 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year, emitting yet unquantified amounts of soot and formaldehyde. Living downwind of one or more well sites, especially when flaring, thus means intermittent to constant nuisances from air pollutants. Associated public health effects are becoming better documented and are consistent in shale areas, including headaches, nose bleeds, and eye, skin and respiratory tract irritations.

Through front groups such as Energy in Depth, the industry is denying responsibility and shedding doubt on the health effects. But the air quality data show otherwise. At Texas Commission on Environmental Quality monitoring stations in the Barnett shale area and since 2013 also downwind of the Eagle Ford, the widespread hydrocarbon pollution is well documented. In addition, the commission’s data bases contain numerous incidences of individual measurements taken near industrial sites in the Eagle Ford showing outlandishly high pollutant concentrations.

We have analyzed the Floresville monitor (the only current air quality monitor in the Eagle Ford region) data in detail, showing on average roughly 10 times above “normal” levels of hydrocarbons many miles downwind the shale area, with regular pollution plumes at much higher levels. Tracing these plumes suggests that, at times, acutely toxic concentration levels can exist at fence-lines of individual facilities. Independent air quality measurements and the commission’s own data thus contradict repeated statements by its leadership that there are no air quality levels of concern in the shale areas.

Is it thus surprising that residents in Denton and other Texas cities are objecting to wells inside their city limits, in their neighborhoods?

As the city of College Station is pondering changes to its oil and gas ordinance, it needs to consider the impacts of air pollution on the health and welfare of its residents. Despite new federal regulations taking effect on Jan. 1, the industry as a whole has not operated responsibly in the past, and we should not expect that it will do better — especially in Texas, where lax enforcement of the rules and a lack of deterring fines are commonplace. It is up to local communities to put in place and enforce rules protective not only of the air we breathe, but the associated property values and quality of life.

As College Station is impacted ever more directly through fracking sites in the surrounding county — and soon inside the city limits — its leadership has the opportunity to pass a stronger ordinance that addresses various air quality and other environmental concerns, such as via appropriate setbacks, and continuous air quality monitoring paid by the operators, including public availability of the data. The latter falls under the widely accepted “polluter pays” principle and can instill best practices by the operator.

No clear scientific guidance exists yet for the former, i.e. the allowable proximity of a facility to a residence. Toxicological evaluations of existing air quality measurements in shale areas, however, suggest that people living within 2,600 feet of well sites have a significantly elevated risk of cancer and other ailments from their exposure.

Since there is also legal precedent in other Texas city ordinances, it would be prudent to select at least a 1,500 feet setback to limit resident exposure during the inevitable times of poor pollutant dilution under unfavorable wind conditions.

Such setbacks, alongside other rules the ordinance does contain, may allow for responsible oil and gas extraction inside city limits.
• Gunnar W. Schade lives in College Station. He receives funding from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Air Quality Research Program, though unrelated to the topic of this column.

Bare Bones Biology 217 – Bureau of Land Management

Today I want to share with you the protest letter I wrote to the New Mexico State Office of the United States Bureau of Land Management.

FAX to BLM 140812 (FAX receipt filed)
Jesse Juen Deadline is 140815 (August 15, Friday)
U.S. Bureau of Land Management
New Mexico State Office
PO Box 27115
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502

Fax: 505-954-2010

• I am protesting parcels NM-2014-001, 004 through 015, which are in the Rio Chama Watershed and East of the Continental Divide.

I am an 80-year-old retired career basic scientist who planned to spend the rest of my life in the Brazos Valley of Texas and was forced to move because of the destruction of the quality of the air that was threatening my health. I am not alone. Large segments of the American people are becoming homeless or mobile. It is excellent business for the travel trailer parks, but not for building healthy productive communities.

I lived in this location in Texas for 35 years, and invested much of my life savings in four pieces of property in Texas. When I arrived in Texas the air was always as crystalline as that in northern New Mexico on a good day like today. When I left, the air was consistently, daily, gray with a dank smog that damaged my lungs and other organs.

This fug is still there on most days, over the entire region of the hill country and eastward, and up to about 200 feet elevation, and of course it continues to get worse as all those wells leak, many spill (I was threatened when I photographed effluent being poured into the local creek). This change took (for the worst of it) about 5 years and was very clearly, the most of it, the result of intensive fracking north of us.

In addition, of course, I know many other people who owned land and homes in the Brazos Valley of Texas who have had personal health problems, have been forced out of their rural homes, have lost their jobs to people brought in from outside to work the oil and gas jobs, and even have observed flights of birds drop from the air, killed or disabled by the fumes from those local processing stations the gas companies try to hide back in the boonies. I can document these things.

Some of the negative effects of fracking are very well known and well documented.. This destruction does not sit there on top of the BLM lands. Among these problems documented in regions of fracking, worldwide. Destruction of air, water and the almost completely unstudied underground biosystem are among them. Earthquakes that indicate unknown kinds of damage to underground bio- and geo- systems.

Our air water and soil are the commons. They belong to the people – not to the gas or oil companies, and not to the BLM. Money is not more important than the common welfare, and a little more money now will not solve the human problem of depleting resources. In fact, it will make the problem worse for children who are born today, because we did not try to solve the real human problem, but only tried to do more of what caused the problem in the first place.

I am a basic career biologist – not a technician or a technologist. Regardless of the opinions of technicians and technologists, I and other basic scientists know that what we do to the earth today we can never undo. Before we do anything we should deeply consider what will be the effect on the future of humans in New Mexico and beyond, because the effects of this toxic technology are not only local, but expand far across the land air and water, and into the future.

I sincerely hope I will not need to sell out and move away from New Mexico as fracking continues, but I hesitate to invest further – to buy a property where I can live in winter – until I find out to what extent New Mexico is willing to protect her citizens and the natural wealth of her Biosystems from fly-by-night developers who bring temporary jobs, use up the infrastructure of the communities, and then sell off a portion of gas and oil overseas and go away to feed off of the next community. It is the function of government to protect its citizens from these snake-oil salesmen who promise temporary riches rather than help to grow sustainable communities for the welfare of all the people.

I have purchased land here. Again, I hope this is a place where I can live healthy to the end of my days.

Dr. M. Lynn Lamoreux Copy to: Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens
350, CR 352 Post Office Bos 934
Lumberton, NM 87528 Abiquiu, NM 87510

Copy of the radio spot available here:http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_217-BLM.mp3


What can we do?
I recommend contacting the
Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens, and
http://www.celdf.org/, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund and ask them to provide legal and educational support for you community rights.

Two of my previous blogs regarding fracking:
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/
(fracking-the-reservation/)
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/ bare-bones-biology-061-%E2%80%93-fracking-ii/
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/bare-bones-bio…and-management/

Dragon’s Breath

140227-tree-ASC_8143RSs copy

I go through layers after layers of air, these days as I descend from the mountaintop at 7000 feet elevation through the layers of central Texas smog to approximately 100 feet elevation near the Gulf. I call it dragon’s breath in the middle layer, and at the bottom, on those days that the sun is completely obscured and the windshield is streaked, I call it (pardon) dragon snot.

Where are the dragons? I thought Harry Potter had killed those things off. Obviously their caves are now hidden in areas bordering the Gulf of Mexico, and they must range up to about 1500 feet, as the airborne materials are thickest below that level. From 1500 to about 3000, it’s just ordinary smog, and somewhere above that, about when one is just leaving Texas two days later, it thins out and the sky looks like it used to look everywhere when I moved to Texas 30 years ago. I guess that’s why all those pipelines converge on the Gulf. Hungry dragons.

140304-DragonBrath-ASC_8324RLSs copy.This has been true, the layers of air, for three round trips over two years, different seasons, getting worse. Now that I have found the best route (avoiding all cities by the way) I will continue to take photos at selected locations during every trip and see what happens next. Dead trees and dead people would be my guess. Like the story of boiling the poor frog, I wonder what it will take for the people who live in this snot to realize THAT’S WHY THEY FEEL SO FUNKY, and that’s not even mentioning the actual illnesses that are increasing by the decade: Alzheimers, asthma, cancers, you name it, the dragon’s breath exacerbates it and not infrequently causes it.

Sayonara

PS, I did nothing to these pictures that would make them look worse. In fact, I might have brightened up, just a bit, the picture of formerly beautiful rolling farmland just to make sure it looks like it looked at the time and not worse, and you old-timers know that, thirty years ago, it looked in this spot near Gause, Texas (below) just as gorgeous as it now looks in Santa Rosa New Mexico (above), with or without the difference in cloud cover.