My response to Op Ed “How the word ‘fracking’ is used as a political scare tactic”

How the word ‘fracking’ is used as a political scare tactic

BY JOHN Peschong  John Allan Peschong served in President Ronald Reagan’s administration and as a senior strategist for the campaigns of President George W. Bush. He is a founding partner of Meridian Pacific Inc., a public relations and affairs company, and serves as chairman of the San Luis Obispo County Republican Party. His column appears twice a month in The Tribune, in rotation with liberal columnist Tom Fulks.

 Special to The Tribune February 22, 2015

​That is a great headline Mr. Peschong. Got my attention. As a mom and concerned citizen who loves living here I can agree that word ‘fracking’ can be very scary.

Having raised 3 kids in what can be a very scary world I found educating myself with facts along with some good old fashion common sense was a great antidote for scary. And while we may agree or disagree on opinions, facts speak for themselves.

So, I want to make sure I understand the premise you are presenting here and what I am hearing is, ballot measures written to prevent harm are dishonest and deeply flawed.   That is very interesting. I was not aware of that fact.  I was of the opinion that laws were mainly written to insure the safety, health and well being of individuals and the community they share in common with each other.

Our legal system based on your premise then must be fatally flawed as it is inundated with laws that prohibit harmful behavior.

There are guns laws, wash your hands laws, workplace ladder laws, stop sign laws, food handling laws, electrical wiring laws, house building laws, business license laws, chemical handling laws, air and water pollution laws all written with the intent of preventing harm and keeping us safe and healthy.

​You mentioned ‘fracking’ bans in particular in cities and counties across California as being dishonest and deeply flawed based on the fact that no ‘fracking’ was taking place there.

This is not to say it couldn’t and if the opportunity presented itself more than likely would, if there was not a law preventing it.   As for here in SLO the industry has stated they have no intention of fracking in Price Canyon or Huasna.

Of course that is not to say they couldn’t change their mind and without a ban there is nothing to prevent them from doing it.

My confusion on this issue is, if there is no intent to frack here what is all the fuss about a ban on something you have no intention of doing? Unless of course you do intend to frack in which case your opposition makes more sense.

I also appreciate your concern about the cost of an election. It would be costly if we had to go to an election but the Board of Supervisors could offset that cost by just signing the measure into law once it is certified by the county clerk.

The cost of an election however would pale in comparison to the cost of a cleanup of an industry that has a history of accident, spills, explosions, fires, human and environmental violations.

Richmond CA is a good example. The Chevron Refinery fire that killed 8 people displaced and disrupted 15,000 lives and was subject to what you have referred to as the best laws in the country.

Two years down the road people are still struggling to recover costs and damages caused by the ‘accident’ as Chevron denies any wrongdoing or liability, responsibility for harm and damages the fire and explosion caused.

Chevron was cited after the fact for 3,700 violations of the best regulations in the county. The best laws in the country are useless if they are not enforced.

Chevron made $26 billion that year, paid out about 2 million in fines and settlement, drop in the bucket. It cost the city 6.1 million dollars in lost tax revenue from destroyed homes and businesses. I wonder if that includes cost of repairs to the infrastructure?

A special election would cost about $70,000. Still it pales in comparison to what it cost to partner up with an business that refuses to assume any of the liabilities for its operation and shows utter contempt  disrespect and disregard for the safety, health and well being of others.

I will have to respectfully disagree with you and your colleagues, Mr. Peschong but I think New York has the best Fracking laws in the country not California.

San Luis Obispo ban ‘fracking’ in 1986, city ordinance 17.92.020 well before the colloquial term ‘fracking’ was in use nonetheless I don’t see any rigs in SLO.  Flawed and dishonest ordinance?

On the subject of definitions I have found the oil industry the primary source of most of the confusion. They keep saying they have been fracking for decades.  And then they say no fracking is going on.

So which is it?   You really can’t have it both ways.

Perhaps one of your own put it best and we can use his definition.   “Fracking and drilling are not the same thing,” said University of Houston engineering professor Michael Economides, who consults for drillers on fracturing. “We drill wells. Then we frack.”   Yup its the same.

Confusion begets the oil industry. They are champs at ambiguities. Classic case in point. The Halliburton Loophole.

Definition of a Loophole.

A loophole is an ambiguity or inadequacy in a system, such as a law or security, which can be used to circumvent or otherwise avoid the intent, implied or explicitly stated, of the system.  A flaw.

What this means is the oil industry is granted a pardon, special dispensation,  from any wrongdoing or harm to our air, water, drinking water, flora fauna, as a result of their extreme, unconventional, enhanced, well stimulation, oil extraction process, aka ‘fracking.’

I am sure a person of your experience and influence can understand how a mother such as myself concerned first and foremost for the safety, health and well being of her family and every mother’s child for generations to come could trust a entity that used all its power and influence to get themselves exempted from all the things I hold precious, a safe place to call home.

I can’t begin to understand the complexities, absurdities, intricacies of a highly specialized and confounding political system that we are living in today. I leave that up to the experts such as yourself.

What I do want is to be able to do is keep my promise to my kids and grand kids and leave them a future I can be proud of, safe clean water, fresh air and healthy soil. All the ingredients needed for a prosperous and abundant life.

In all of my research on this issue of fracking, Mr. Peschong, I have not been able to find one single solitary contribution to those ends.

I agree with all those little cities and towns, counties and communities, States and countries that have passed and are in the process of passing bans and moratoriums on a industry that seems to operate counter intuitive to common sense and logic. On this we may disagree and that is o.k.

Jeanne Blackwell

The safety of the people is the supreme law. Bacon’s Max. in Reg. 12; Broom’s Max. 1.  Prevention is better than cure. Co. Litt. 304.  “In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell.

One thought on “My response to Op Ed “How the word ‘fracking’ is used as a political scare tactic”

  1. Pingback: Newsletter #29 Lot of Good News | SLO Clean Water

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