The Masters in Sustainability Studies and Environmental Studies Programs, Ramapo College of New Jersey in conjunction with the NJ Highlands Coalition, NJ Club, ClimateMama, and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network
Cordially Invite You to a Program on Gas Infrastructure and Its Adverse Impacts: Implications for Communities across the Region with Renowned Environmental Scientist and MacArthur Fellow
“>WILMA SUBRA on Gas Infrastructure
Wed 11 Dec 2013, 9:30-11:30am
RCNJ in Friends Hall
Rationale: The Ramapo Region now serves as a confluence for major gas infrastructure projects proliferating throughout the New York/New Jersey area. Beyond the other consequences of new gas pipelines, compressor stations, metering stations and gas- fired power plants, there is the question of whether natural gas is the clean source of energy it is billed as, particularly now that the gas traveling through our area is increasingly sourced from fracking of Marcellus Shale deposits.
Because of its position between the Shale fields of Pennsylvania and northeastern cities, the Ramapo region will likely remain at the crossroads of fracking infrastructure development. With these new drilling techniques and expanding infrastructure requirements we must ask, “How Hazardous is our reliance on Natural Gas?” This is a question of importance to community decision makers, parents, and other residents of the region seeking information upon which to base policy and personal decisions. Yet, there has been a paucity of information available.
Wilma Subra is a highly regarded environmental scientist and MacArthur Genius Award recipient who has devoted herself to approaching such challenging environmental health questions. Owner of a private environmental testing company in Louisiana, she has emerged as a strong voice for environmental justice and precautionary decisions regarding environmental hazards. She has served on numerous EPA commissions relating to environmental health and justice, played an important role in understanding the issues in post-Katrina Louisiana and has emerged as a key voice in cautioning about the proliferation of gas fracking and the resulting infrastructure projects because of potential adverse health effects and community impacts.
Please use this parking permit for the event.
It’s hard to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys these days, so I do a lot of fact checking. After I heard from a couple friends that the Sierra Club’s silence on fracking had been bought by donations from natural gas companies, I put this item on my research list. Today I had a few free minutes and did some checking
Friends who told me this are radical lefties (which is becoming just another way to say “folk who blame everything on Obama”). In their opinion, Obama is nowhere near progressive enough. Climate change, coal pollution, fracking madness … they blame Obama for all of these environmental ills. I ask, “How can you blame Obama for things that have a history so much longer than his presidency?” They respond that first of all, Obama was a Federal Senator before he was president and had ample opportunity to screw the country back then – and did; and say that as president now, Obama could put a stop to most awful things by invoking Executive Order privilege. Not doing so to help the environment is proof he’s a terrible president and a horrible man.
People in modern days have bought into myths created and disseminated by big monied interests who place profit before any human or environmental interests. I think truths are just beginning to emerge about the state of our world, how much of nature has been destroyed and what we need to do to protect what remains and rebuild our planet’s ecosystem. At this, I think that not many are clear on what are the right ways to go about doing this.
The most correct answer I’ve heard comes from the Indigenous priest group, the Mamas of Medellin, Colombia, who at the Newark Peace Conference in 2011 said we should start treating Mother Earth like she’s really our mother, which she is. One of them asked, what people would go to their mother and tear out great chunks of her flesh? The same way we wouldn’t do that to any flesh and blood mother, we should realize that we cannot do it to our Earth Mother either, as it is she who sustains our individual lives and all life on our world.
But people with less clarity look at things from different perspectives. That’s how the stupid Sierra Club ended up taking money from frackers to fund its campaign to eradicate the coal industry. The Times discovered that
… between 2007 and 2010 the Sierra Club accepted over $25 million in donations from the gas industry, mostly from Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy — one of the biggest gas drilling companies in the U.S. and a firm heavily involved in fracking — to help fund the Club’s Beyond Coal campaign … Michael Brune, the Sierra Club’s executive director since 2010, (said) “The first rule of advocacy is that you shouldn’t take money from industries and companies you’re trying to change.”
(Even) Environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote in 2009 that “the giant advantage of a quick conversion from coal to gas is the quickest route for jump-starting our economy and saving our planet,” and that while gas had environmental caveats, “those impacts are dwarfed by the disastrous holocaust of coal and can be mitigated by careful regulation.”
Now the Sierra Club emphatically does not support fracking and published this statement on their blog
It’s time to stop thinking of natural gas as a “kinder, gentler” energy source. What’s more, we do not have an effective regulatory system in this country to address the risks that gas drilling poses on our health and communities. The scope of the problems from under-regulated drilling, as well as a clearer understanding of the total carbon pollution that results from both drilling and burning gas, have made it plain that, as we phase out coal, we need to leapfrog over gas whenever possible in favor of truly clean energy. Instead of rushing to see how quickly we can extract natural gas, we should be focusing on how to be sure we are using less — and safeguarding our health and environment in the meantime.
The Sierra Club also decided not to take any more money from Clorox, as bleach is not an environmentally safe product either. In 2008 the Sierra Club took $1.3 million from Clorox in exchange for endorsing “the company’s Green Works brand of environmentally-friendly cleaning products.”