Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hydrofracking half -Truths

In the latest issue of National Review there is an essay, semi-serious, semi-humorous, that discusses the differences between "bull...ters" and liars. The former being much less harmful than the latter. The essay is centered on a 1986 essay by Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt and discusses what makes bull...t different from "balderdash", "claptrap", "hokum", "drivel", and "quackery". We are reminded of all these terms when we try to analyze what the anti-gas drilling environmentalists are up to when we listen to most of their statements. In honor of Dale Carnegie we have to acknowledge that they are generally sincere - that they generally believe what they are saying. It just becomes a colossal challenge to believe that they are being totally honest with us. They are environmentalists. For some this becomes virtually a religion. "Thou shall not harm Mother Earth". We are conservationists. We are concerned about protecting our environment while maintaining "progress". Hence, we live in a country where we know our air and water are steadily getting cleaner, but we believe they're getting dirtier. In the name of civility, when the anits make their statements that are not entirely true, we have to hesitate to call them liars or ..., the other. When Josh Fox was confronted about all the material in "Gasland" that was, shall we say, "untrue", he responded that "the truth is irrelevant". It seems more and more that "the truth" is irrelevant to all the antis. The antis often use what we can semi-humorously describe as the Bikini presentation. (This analogy may have been used by this writer before, but it's just too good to let go.) That is - revealing points of interest, but concealing all the vitals. There are scores of examples of this, but let's look at just a few. "There's radiation in the Marcellus Shale" - certainly a point of interest. The concentrations are totally insignificant - certainly a vital point. Hydrofracking could pollute a water source - point of interest. It's just that after about 1.5 million uses in general and about 50,000 high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing operations, it never has! - a vital point. The Marcellus Watch column, which would be more accurately titled the Marcellus Mash column, is full of these half-truths. The Wheeler board members voted entirely legally, and probably in the interests of the majority of their residents. At least there are far, far, more members in the land owners coalition than the 30 "residents" who signed the referred to letter. Mr. Mantius cites on Amish man as if he represented all Amish farmers. (point of interest). There were dozens of Amish at Coalition meetings over the last four years. (vital point!) You have to wonder why he ignores the Freemont town meeting - where an overwhelming majority of town residents is a show of hands said they would sue if the town passed a moratorium - and with Mr. Slotje in attendance! So, those of us who have been fighting the antis, and all their half truths, for four years, continue to search for a term to describe our friends in the Anti-movement. In the name of civility we should probably not use any of the terms cited in the lead paragraph - and yet come of them are soooo tempting. Certainly "bikini-ists" doesn't do it. Maybe, in a show of respect to the Plains Indians, "buffalo chipsters". Even that probably doesn't do it. We'll just have to keep looking for that "perfect" descriptive word. Maybe we can get beyond the negative "Anti"; after all, "anti" just reveals a point of interest. Jeff Heller Chairman SCLOC - PAC

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