Opinion: Fossil Fuels- Friend or Foe?

Proposed sentry guard over San Luis Obispo County Flare tower
There is a flare tower on the drawing board for the Arroyo Grande oil field. There is no way Air Quality Control could legitimately approve this. But they will do it anyway.
Flare towers emit tons of toxins into the air we breathe. Not friendly. Flare towers are the sentries standing guard in an oil field. They are the finale to oils conquest over a community with an eternally burning fireworks display announcing that San Luis Obispo is an unsafe, hazardous waste disposal site and oil owns its every breath. The moment that aquifer is exempted by DOGGR and it will be, the flare tower goes up.
An aquifer exemption means other manufacturers from anywhere in the country could dispose of their hazardous, radioactive waste, H2S, toxic waste in our back yard. That’s how an oil-i-archy operates.
Thank you very much County Board of Supervisors, DOGGR and Governor Brown who are gun ho on letting this happen without so much as a mother may I.
Just one small little detail they have so willingly and intently chosen to ignore. WE, the residents and citizens of this county say NO to this invasion. We respond wholeheartedly and with all the due diligence and fervor of a community intent on a safe, healthy life for generations to come, NO. NO to the inevitable mass destruction of our peaceful coexistence with our environment.
We know that enhanced oil drilling is not safe. You could even go so far as to say it is down right hostile. And we know this to be true by the oil industries own admission.
 That admission comes with all the pomp and circumstance of exemptions and immunities from safety and health laws, The Clean Air Act, The Clean Water Act, The Safe Drinking Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Community Right to Know Act, Wow those are the major environmental laws that every industry and business must comply with to protect lives by protecting the environment we live in. All industries and businesses except for the fossil fuel industry.
They got special dispensation claiming they were cash poor and compliance with these very stringent safety and health laws was a financial burden.
 They took their case to their friends in very high places explaining to them in terms they understood, that money invested in safety would infringe on their capital gains. Less money in oil drillers pockets means less money to invest in their friend’s campaigns. After all what are friends for? A friend in need is a friend indeed. Right?
EPA, appointed by the friends of industry, were sympathetic to oil’s plea for relief, also realizing they too did not have the resources, manpower, technology to track, monitor, supervise and certify the fossil fuel as safe so with a little help from the Vice President Dick Cheney, a major friend and former CEO of Halliburton the #1 oil drilling equipment and technologically advanced construction company in the world, granted their fossil fuel friends in need, a fee waiver thereby removing their need to comply with cost prohibitive health and safety laws.
 Fossil fuel extraction can never be safe. It is impossible. And Halliburton proved that. If anyone could make it safe they could. The premier worldwide experts in the manufacture of oil drilling mechanisms with advanced technological skills bar none could not make it safe. Human error, equipment malfunction, Mother Nature with all the tricks up Her sleeves, earthquakes, fault line and tectonic plates, tsunamis made it impossible and they knew it.
 The Halliburton Loophole is a signed confession by the fossil industry that safe oil extraction is impossible.
 They admit they would be out of business if they were to be held to the health and safety standards set by law.
 Really ironic isn’t it that the avoidance of health and safety standards was a real windfall for the industry. They are now so flush with capital they are purchasing Baker Hughes in a stock and cash transaction valued at $34.6 billion.
A $48 billion a year taxpayer subside in perpetuity didn’t hurt either. With friends like this who needs enemies?
 Fossil fuel harvesting didn’t have to be safe to be profitable. It just had to be forgiven for all its transgressions and violations it would commit in the pursuit of those profits.
And the EPA, as a testament of their loyalty and devotion to their favorite son, fossil fuel, passed the buck of monitoring, supervising, certifying safety and health standards onto the States. One particularly sticky program, Underground Injection Control program because of the uproar over water contamination nationwide, got kicked down the road for the States to deal with.
 Here in California the Department of Gas, Oil and Geothermal Resources, DOGGR for short, shouted foul for the same reasons the EPA had but to no avail.
 DOGGR had fewer resources than the FEDS and so following in the footsteps of an age-old regulatory tradition, when push comes to shove just shove the regs under the rug.
 DOGGR approved permits to drill with a catch-us-if-you-can approach and passed out over 1200 permits in a 10-year span with ease and just one little caveat to cover their asses.
 They asked the oil operators to please try to be careful, not to pollute or cause any harm. And if it wouldn’t be too inconvenient if they could submit a report or two every now and then on their drilling activity that would be lovely.
 You can imagine how accommodating Freeport and every other drilling operation in this State were with that almost apologetic request to self-regulate. Not surprisingly drillers never found the time or the inclination to be careful, provide data and are happy as clams with the whole corrupt set up.
Thank you Governor Brown, DOGGR and San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors for aiding and abetting this atrocity and travesty upon the inhabitants, taxpayers, property owners, citizens of this State and County. You are no friend of ours.
 Your shameful, belligerent, disgraceful and willful dismissal of our safety and well-being is no less a declaration of your intent to embrace and promote an enemy of our freedom and right to live in peace and harmony with our environment.
 So, in the tradition of a New Year and New Resolve, I think it is time we announce to the Board of Supervisors our New Year’s Resolution 2016.
To the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors who has been asked repeatedly to prevent a known historically robust criminal element access to our precious living space we resolve to stop asking for your help.
Instead we invite you to join us in calling for an immediate prohibition on all water extraction for the manufacture of fossil fuels and the sequential depositing and disposal of all lethally injected hazardous by-products into the subterranean soil and topical surfaces in the unincorporated areas of San Luis Obispo County.
After the first of the year we will be asking the Board of Supervisors for a declaration of their loyalty and reaffirmation of their vow to love, honor and respect the residents of this county.
 The affirmation of their loyalty and devotion to insuring the health and well-being to this community will be recorded forthwith on the Emergency Moratorium document on all water extraction used for oil production and prohibition of all on-site toxic waste disposal and storage.
 We will regard a nay vote for this moratorium as a denouncement of their loyalty and trusted friendship to the community. A nay vote therefore will require a formal letter of resignation due and owing this community at the next regularly scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting.
 It’s simple. To the Board we are saying sign the moratorium as an affirmation of your love and devotion to this community or sign your resignation letter which will allow you to pursue your other interests. We have no interest or desire in harboring a hostile and unfriendly element and release you of your obligation to serve this community as deemed. We will gladly accept your resignation. Either you are a friend to the people who elected you or a friend to our enemy. Friend or Foe? Can’t be both.

Newsletter #50 – Quickie- Call to Action- Another DOGGR Exec bites the dust

The ongoing DOGGR melodrama continues to unfold.  Steven Bohlen, Director of the Department of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources ‘resigns’ after just 18 months on the job. Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to appoint Ken Harris, executive officer of the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board,   http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article47188875.html#storylink=cpy

Have no idea what ole Gov is up to but when it comes to this DOGGR saga Jerry is writing the script and taken a vow of silence on how it is all going to end.


Meanwhile back at the ranch
On December 2, 2015, the California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources in consultation with the State Water Resources Control Board and the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, have provided additional information to the proposed exemption and, therefore, reopened a 15-day supplemental comment period to receive comment on the additional information.
This is where audience participation comes into play, like on the VOICE.
See the attached Notice for further information regarding the Aquifer Exemption proposal.
Our cue to chime in.
email to comments@conservation.ca.gov  Put Supplemental Arroyo Grande Oil Fields  in the subject line

 Dec. 16 5pm  Drop dead date.

So, I know this is getting  tiresome but writing in your concerns, questions, objections is worth the effort I promise you. DOGGR is a mess right now and we should not have to pay for their screw ups. So let DOGGR know what you think despite everything that is going on behind the curtain.

The really critical part of this is;  all our comments become part of the public record and can not be deleted or ignored, bcc yourself a copy of your comments. If they go missing you got the original.

If they don’t address our concerns to our satisfaction then this could very well be the grounds for a lawsuit against DOGGR if it comes to that. Better safe than sorry.  Boy isn’t that the truth?

I just have a few things to say about what has taken place up to this point. And I’ll be quick.


Calling the Arroyo Grande Aquifer impermeable without looking at the earthquake factor is like calling the Titanic unsinkable without looking at the Iceberg factor.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, in fact any 5th grader knows, that when the earth moves every single geological formation known to man is subject to permeability.

And second,

There are a few plot holes that need some explaining.  Are these hearings about protecting an aquifer that was misdiagnosed by DOGGR? Which would mean Freeport is illegally and unlawfully injecting toxic waste into a protected aquifer?  Or is this about Freeport claiming they have a right to dump toxic waste into a protected aquifer because DOGGR said it was o.k.?

DOGGR exempted over 1200 aquifers. All it took to get an exemption was to apply for one. It may be years before we get to the bottom of that quagmire. In the mean time we could certainly take a close look at what happens when impermeable meets permeable. The consequences are never less than catastrophic.

The solution for a catastrophic environmental disaster  is sue the company for damages. In our case we would be  suing Freeport when the impermeable bowl crumbles like a cookie and billions of gallons of illegally injected toxic waste goes anywhere it wants.  Suing is the answer to making everything o.k. It will bring dead people back to life and restore the river and fields to its original condition when the settlement papers are signed. It’s the law.

I don’t think so. Here is what really happens.

Chief executive resigns. Petrobras is facing a corruption scandal and has a mountain of debt. But nobody is going to jail for murder. The company’s license is not revoked. The beat goes on. That’s the solution.

Now it is dead and everything that lived in it and around it.

This river was alive. Now it is dead and everything that lived in it and around it.

This is a look into our future. This is how it could play out here if we let it.  Aquifer is breached.   Freeport exec resigns so he can get booted up the ladder.  Freeport files bankruptcy. Carnage forgiven.  The court ordered ‘clean up’ crew is a team of corporate stealthy lawyers that will proceed to sue the community, the government, the country for being so stupid for believing them.

Freeport’s reputation is world renowned. We should pay attention. Stockholders are bailing. Never a good sign. http://www.dandodiary.com/2015/01/articles/shareholders-derivative-litigation/parties-finalize-massive-and-unusual-freeport-mcmoran-derivative-lawsuit-settlement/

Lawsuits against Freeport for environmental health and safety violations abound. A history of  criminal, corrupt  activity world wide and yet we are dealing with them here like they are pillars of the community. We roll out the red carpet, give them center stage with a spotlight, our leaders break  rules so they have all the time they need to shine.  WE, the residents, are shushed.

If you don’t like the way this is going let DOGGR know.  Ask questions, make comments, express every concern you have about this ‘exemption’.  We are making our case.

We can write our own ending to this story and we are.  We are not waiting to read about Freeport’s, DOGGR’s. EPA or Gov. Brown’s version of how this is going to end.  We are writing our own ending and that will be covered in the next installment of life in the SLO lane coming out the first of the year. History in the making. Very exciting.

Deadline for comments Dec. 16. email to comments@conservation.ca.gov  Put Supplemental Arroyo Grande Oil Fields  in the subject line

In solidarity and love join the

Oil train Action: 
This Saturday at 11 at the Jennifer St bridge/Los Osos St. SLO train station


Draw The Line Against Fossil Fuels

On December 12th, thousands of activists will take to the streets as the Paris Climate Summit wraps up. A livable climate is a red line that can’t be compromised or…
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