Thursday, April 19, 2012

Elders Take a Break From Weeping To Smile Down Upon New Generation

UPDATE: VIDEO released at   Press Conference in Mill Creek Park's Lily Pond

Smiling through the tears - conservationists of old smiling down on those trying to follow in their footsteps in the fight for clean water, clean land and the preservation of unsullied wild places - and then they continue to weep at the horrors wrought by entities like an out-of-control fossil fools industry - and at our shared willful and arrogant ignorance. We hope there is time...
Smiling through the tears - conservationists of old smiling down on those following in their footsteps (although the water is higher, the pool of tears deeper)
Coverage of Lily Pond press conference here:  
We Stand For What We Stand In - Do You?**  It was held in attempt to keep media up-to-date on fast breaking BP Actions, See earlier Actions Here: and Here:

This is the anniversary of the BP Gulf Disaster and Ecowatch breaks story of BP cover-up TWO years earlier, story here: PART 2: BP Covered Up Blow-out Prior to Deepwater Horizon

Brief Warren Tribune-Chronicle video on YouTube here:
Return of the rainbow warriors... :-)

Return of the rainbow warriors although in reality they are the everyday people all around you, participating in civic duties, attending meeting after meeting, standing up, speaking out, even running for office Jim....Howard... Cheryl...

Mill Creek Park board meeting, some of the Guardians giving comment and guidance
Occupy Youngstown GA General Assembly meeting, downtown Youngstown Ohio

After the We Stand For What We Stand In - Do You?** press conference in the Lily Pond, Mill Creek Park, Youngstown, northeast Ohio
...speaking out and taking action often shoulder-to-shoulder and sometimes alone as Tom Cvetkovich did (above in the red shirt assisting with the We Stand For What We Stand In - Do You?** ) On April 18, 2012, Tom made a fervent and science-backed plea to the town fathers to enact a human rights-based ban on fracking in Youngstown. If they listen and act they will beat Cincinnati to be the first major city in Ohio to pass an anti-fracking resolution

The transcript of Tom's  presentation:
Plea for a ban on Hydraulic Fracking in the Meander and Mill Creek Watersheds To: The Youngstown City Council, The Governing Board of the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District and the Mill Creek Park Commissioners Mayor, City Council, fellow concerned citizens, I will present three reasons why a ban on hydrofracking in the Meander and Mill Creek watersheds is a reasonable idea.
They are health, economic and legal in nature. Everyone acknowledges that there is risk in an endeavor as complex and huge as hydrofracking The question is when do the quantity, severity and nature of those risks outweigh the benefits. We accept risk when we drive our cars. And we seek to minimize risk when identified causes lead to a pattern of accidents, we lower speed limits, seat belts, change the signage, etc. There are 64,000 active gas wells in Ohio. This record is a seemingly compelling argument to accept the future proposed round of drilling. But we also know that hydrofracking multiplies all of the risk factors and stressors on human health and the environment by many times. There are more noxious air emissions, more hazardous chemicals and up to 500 times more water consumed than with conventional fracked vertical or slant wells. Past performance equals future expectations.

Here is a list of a wide variety of so-called “Fraccidents” of the past few years. These are taken from Google Maps, Fraccidents. Examples include spillage, fouled streams, noxious vapors and anecdotes, including the fellow who took a sip of water one morning followed immediately by a burning in his mouth and immediate headache. After his wife’s shower her lungs and sinuses burned. The map gives names and is cross-referenced with newspaper reports. Events which occurred in Pennsylvania often include a Department of Environmental Protection reference date. (A fifteen-foot long scroll of these incidents was exhibited to council.)

If these are not “excusable, one of a kind” accidents then perhaps by now we should be seeing concerned doctors and institutions undertaking comprehensive studies in those states where fracking is several years ahead of Ohio. And in fact we are seeing them. A three-year study by the Colorado School of Public Health warns, “that air pollution caused by hydraulic fracturing or fracking may contribute to acute and chronic health problems for those living near natural gas drilling sites.” Veterinarians from Cornell University have put together a list of adverse health conditions in animals and humans as correlated to gas operations. These are anecdotal reports, not hard evidence, but they are as valid and important to the discussion as the reporting of the coincidences of time and place of the Youngstown earthquakes with the D&L injection well. The authors explain, “Because animals often are exposed continually to air, soil, and groundwater and have more frequent reproductive cycles, animals can be used as sentinels to monitor impacts to human health.” Adverse health effects impacted; reproductive, respiratory, dermatological, and neurological systems of dogs, cats, lamas, cows, chickens and their human owners. The report includes the kind of gas well present and the possible route of contamination including storm water run off, spills waste water impoundment compromise, etc. Can this simply be coincidence? Coincidence in both place and time? Let me remind you that it took 34 years between the Surgeon Generals warning on cigarettes and the actual molecular proof that cigarettes cause cancer. If a bend in a road has multiple accidents in a year, do we not say, “Maybe the speed limit should be lowered?” This graph compares bodily reactions to fracking chemicals as correlated by their MSDS. (GRAPH SHOWN TO COUNCIL) “Of those (chemicals) studied, 72 were found to have 10 or more adverse health effects, including effects on skin, eye and sensory organs, respiratory, gastrointestinal brain and nervous, endocrine and immune systems, kidney, liver, cardiovascular and blood, as well as cancer causing and mutagenic effects. Some of the chemicals used include hydrochloric acid, gluteraldehyde, formaldehyde, xylene, formic acid and ammonia, heavy metals and numerous organic compounds, to mention only a few.” Says Dr. Theodore Voneida, founder of the Neuro Biology Department at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED). Numerous professionals and institutions have voiced concern and/or studied the ills of hydraulic fracturing.

The international firm Schlumberger, the industry standard for testing and analysis reports 61% of gas wells will experience Sustained Casing Pressure problems in 31 years. This is from a study of 22,000 wells. (GRAPH SHOWN TO COUNCIL) This means that the story of a well does not end when production ends. Last year alone the ODNR had to seal 1,000 orphaned wells. The new hydrofracked wells will leave a legacy of underground toxins at extreme pressure which for many decades have an impetus to find the path of least resistance upwards. Is it not possible that these “swimming pools” of added toxins combined with the now liberated chemicals already existing in the earth will silently find their way to our water sources? A report issued this today (April 18th 2012) by the USGS (US Geological Services) links an uptick in seismic activity in the Midwest with injection wells.

My second point is financial. The revenue local municipalities receive is not unencumbered. Many studies detail the long-term costs and liabilities, which include: Hazmat equipment and training, road deterioration, real-estate depreciation, , changes in water treatment protocols. Pittsburgh recently had to deal with bromide in the Monongahela River. When combined with chlorine it forms trihalomethanes, a cancer-causing agent. There is concern that water prices may rise.

Thirdly, lawsuits relating to the industry are starting to abound. In Philadelphia there has even been a whole convention dedicated to the topic of lawsuits and fracking. "Municipalities are on the horizon,…threats to their water supplies as opposed to just homeowners and their water supplies,…" said co-chair Marc J. Bern. This is a sign of a poorly regulated and executed industry. Has any other industry ever amassed such a history of objections and concerns? Summary The effects of the hydraulic fracturing are systemic and persistent. In your deliberation on fracking please consider the magnitude of possible losses: residents’ health, potable water supply impacts, recreational opportunities lost, possible deterring of future development to the area, irrigation problems, litigation. Please consider the many directions from which hazards might arise. Existing leases and short-term revenues do not out weigh these concerns.

Smaller and large communities than ours have banned fracking in their watersheds. Our water and air are owned “in common.” The Mahoning Valley Sanitary District is its steward. You cannot clean a lake or aquifer with a shop vac. The industry may offer in good faith to clean up after itself but the whole notion of cleaning up or replacing such resources is absurd and often beyond the capability of the firms involved.

A ban on fracking in the Meander and Mill Creek watersheds is not be an indictment on the industry any more than a 70 mile speed limit is an indictment on GM for making cars that go 140 miles an hour. This request is not an indictment of V&M and other industries for whom the Valley (Youngstown) has rolled out the red carpet. It is not a betrayal of those we know and respect who work in the industry, nor a judgment of those who have leased their mineral rights. Rather it is a request for a responsible decision with a healthy dose of caution, and respect for our common values related to a livable community including the safeguard of our essential water and air. Please, in conjunction with the Governing Board of the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District and the Mill Creek Park Commissioners, put a ban on hydraulic fracturing in the Meander and Mill Creek watersheds.

We thought the steel industry would be here forever and they let us down, shame on them. If we bet our future on the Fracking boom, shame on us. Respectfully, Tom Cvetkovich April 18th, 2012

All the sources can be read here:

Coverage by The Business Journal: Dozens Urge City Council to Protect Water

Coverage by WKBN 27:  Youngstown Man Seeks Fracking Ban

Coverage by WFMJ: Fracking opponent pleads for ban on drilling near local water shed

**According to wikipedia, the chorus of this spiritual first published in 1901, Wade In The Water:
Wade in the water.
Wade in the water children.
Wade in the water.
God's gonna trouble the water.
 refers to healing: see John 5:4, "For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had." Thus and so, have you joined the tide to Wade in the Water, to heal the fracktioning situation? You know in your heart it doesn't have to be this way, there are better ways to exist on earth.

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