Friday, July 31, 2015

TransCanada Keystone XL Hits New Turbulence As South Dakota Permit Hearing Implodes Over Pipeline Corrosion, Market Demand

By Julie Dermansky • Thursday, July 30, 2015 - 14:11

Keystone corrosion TransCanada root cause report
Holes too big to fix were poked in TransCanada’s narrative that its Keystone XLtar sands pipeline will be the safest pipeline ever built. And questions were raised about how the pipeline company’s financial dealings are set up duringPublic Utilities Commission hearings in Pierre, South Dakota this week where state regulators are tasked to decide if the company is capable of following the rules the state set when the original Keystone pipeline permit was granted in 2010.
A team of lawyers representing Native American tribes and the grassroots group Dakota Rural Action took the upper hand during the proceedings as they tried to have a TransCanada executive’s testimony impeached. The proceedings took on a circus-like atmosphere when TransCanada was unable to prevent lines of questioning it didn’t like. 
The commissioners seemed unsure of its own procedures. At one point, Commissioner Gary Hanson expressed frustration that he was having trouble drawing a distinction between TransCanada’s evidence and its advertising statements.
The testimony of TransCanada’s key witness, Corey Goulet, president of Keystone Pipeline Projects, turned out to be an important centerpiece of the hearing.
In pretrial testimony filed by Goulet, he stated the company would have no problem meeting the Commission’s amended conditions.
However, TransCanada’s promises to build safe pipelines have been called into question with several high-profile incidents involving its existing pipelines, particularly the corrosion problems with the Keystone 1 pipeline. 
TransCanada 'root cause analysis' document, made available online by DeSmog on Tuesday, shed troubling light on the external corrosion encountered on the Keystone 1.

ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS’ DOCUMENT CREATES HEADACHESQUESTIONS FOR TRANSCANADA

When Goulet was questioned about the significant corrosion discovered on the Keystone 1 pipeline in Missouri in 2012 — when the pipeline’s wall had corroded in one spot to the thickness of a dime — he downplayed the incident, claiming that none of the defects were close to rupturing.

“None of the defects, in my experience in 30 years of pipelines, would be injurious from the perspective of being close to rupturing. Therefore the only problem would have been the depth of corrosion,” Goulet testified. (Audio of Goulet testimony, relevant corrosion section at ~ 32:45 – 33:40)   
Bruce Ellison, one of the lawyers for the interveners, had handed Goulet a copy of the company’s root cause analysis report of the incident, before pointing out the corrosion area was much larger than Goulet had described. One of the defects involved a section of pipe where the wall had eroded 96.8 percent, which Ellison noted was close to a rupture incident.
TransCanada lawyers objected to any reference to the report because Goulet claimed he had never seen it and that it was classified. But since the report had already been entered into evidence, the interveners’ lawyers were allowed by the Commission to continue questioning him. 
In the course of discovery, TransCanada provided the report in question as part of the unclassified documents, and therefore could not exclude the report from evidence, the Commission said.
After that dispute was settled, Goulet admitted he knew the location of sites where the pipeline had been dug up for inspection and repair. 
As indicated in the ‘root cause’ report, Site 5 was only 200 feet from the Mississippi River, the primary drinking water source for 18 million Americans, as well as agricultural water for crop production. 

Image of Site 5 defect from TransCanada's report pg. 22. 
Evan Vokes, former TransCanada employee turned whistleblower, and an expert witness for the interveners, told DeSmog he has never seen a pipeline coating corroded as badly as the failed coating of the Keystone 1. It looked as if “it had been gnawed at by rats,” he told DeSmog.
Another former TransCanada employee reviewed the report and found it shocking. The fact that damaged sections of the pipe were repaired instead of replaced concerned him greatly. “We cut out better pipe than what I’ve seen in those pictures,” he told DeSmog. 

TRANSCANADA’S TAX REVENUE CALCULATIONS OFF BY A LOT

Goulet testified that the considerably lower amount of taxes TransCanada paid was less than had been estimated before construction — although the tax rate has since increased. 
While he stated he didn’t know the technical details of how the taxes are applied, he went on to testify that “TransCanada Pipeline LP is the owner of the Keystone XL pipeline,” explaining that it is a wholly owned subsidiary of TransCanada Corporation. While TransCanada Corporation has assets in excess of $50 billion, not all of that value would be assessed for tax purposes. Only the subsidiary’s assets would, Goulet explained. While TransCanada estimated that Keystone 1 would deliver at least $45 million in tax revenue to communities, Goulet admitted that the company has only paid $18.4 million over the first 5 years of the pipeline’s operation. That’s roughly a third of what TransCanada had estimated as the benefit it would deliver in tax revenue to affected communities.
 Goulet cited higher capital and operating costs for the discrepancy, blaming regulatory delays, technical changes, and inflation were responsible for the costs ballooning to nearly $2 billion for the Keystone 1 project. (Audio of hearing, relevant section on taxes at ~ 1:22:15 – 1:32:00)
The tax revenue discrepancies could have real impacts on communities that bank on the future of the Keystone pipeline.
In Harding County a bond was passed and a new school was built on the premise that TransCanada’s pipeline taxes would help pay for it,” Bret Clanton, a member of Dakota Rural Action said.

TRANSCANADA BULLISH ON BUILDING KEYSTONE XL DESPITE OIL PRICE SLUMP 

In afternoon testimony (audio from ~1:48:00 on), David Diakow, TransCanada’s Vice President, Commercial, Liquids Pipelines, opened the door to information that related to TransCanada’s business dealings related to the project.  
Diakow revealed that the company intends to build the pipeline no matter how low the price of oil goes. (audio ~ 1:54:40 – 1:57:15)
Robin Martinez, a lawyer for the interveners, described what came next as unusual in an email to DeSmog,
Paul Blackburn, one of the attorneys for the intervenors in the proceedings, started to question Mr. Diakow about market demand for the KXL pipeline. He began inquiring as to whether TransCanada’s customers were demanding changes to their contracts, which TransCanada objected to, claiming their contracts and communications with customers were highly confidential. TransCanada then argued that Mr. Blackburn’s questions relating to market demand for the pipeline were not relevant to the question of whether or not TransCanada could meet the conditions imposed by the Commission when it granted the original permit in 2010. However, by placing Mr. Diakow’s written testimony into the record they opened the door to full cross-examination of him under the applicable administrative procedure rules. Apparently not wanting to have him questioned, TransCanada withdrew him as a witness and asked the Commission to strike his testimony from the record.”
The Commission limited the scope of all further testimony for both parties to be pertinent to the amended conditions of the original 2010 permit, strictly limiting evidence presented for the remainder of the trial.
Peter Caposella, the lawyer representing the Rock Sioux Tribe said in all his years as an attorney, he had never seen a plaintiff remove their own witness in such a manner.  
As the near failure of the Keystone 1 line proved, the consequences of siting TransCanada’s bitumen-carrying export lines so close to drinking water supplies is a risk we can ill afford to accept in an age of water scarcity and climate disruption. 
Even if President Obama denies the permit for the pipeline to cross international borders, the next administration could reverse that decision. 
However, if the South Dakota Public Utility Commission decides TransCanada isn’t up to the job, TransCanada will have to start the entire re-permitting process again. 

Image credit: External corrosion pitting on Keystone 1 Pipeline, via TransCanada 'root cause analysis' report, pg. 28.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Evidence Released at TransCanada’s Keystone XL Permit Renewal Hearing Sheds Light On Serious Pipeline Risks

Keystone XL protest by Doug Grandt

Just because TransCanada continually states that the Keystone XL pipeline will be the safest pipeline ever built, doesn’t mean it is true.

The company’s pipeline construction record is facing intense scrutiny in America’s heartland, where many see no justifiable rationale to risk their water and agricultural lands for a tar sands export pipeline.
New documents submitted as evidence in the Keystone XL permitting process in South Dakota — including one published here on DeSmog for the first time publicly — paint a troubling picture of the company’s shoddy construction mishaps. This document, produced by TransCanada and signed by two company executives, details the results of its investigation into the “root cause” of the corrosion problems discovered on the Keystone pipeline.
TransCanada Corporation is continuing its push to build the northern route of the Keystone XL pipeline. On July 27, the company appeared at a hearing in Pierre, South Dakota, to seek recertification of the Keystone XLconstruction permit that expired last year. 
The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission must decide if TransCanada can guarantee it can build the pipeline under the conditions set in 2010, which it must do in order to have the permit reapproved.
High-profile spills and other incidents already tar TransCanada’s safety record. The company faces at least two known ongoing investigations by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The incident records of thesouthern route of the Keystone XL (renamed the Gulf Coast Pipeline) and the Keystone 1 Pipeline call into question TransCanada’s claim that its pipelines are among the safest ever built. 
Over the last couple of years TransCanada’s public relations team, with the help of friendly regulators, have kept critical evidence away from the public and quashed many media inquiries.
But evidence of TransCanada’s poor performance continues to emerge. Earlier this year, DeSmog obtained documents revealing extreme external corrosion in a section of the Keystone 1 pipeline that was only two years old.

This figure from TransCanada's “root cause analysis” report shows damage to the Keystone pipeline.
  
Talk about a near miss,” Robin Martinez, a lawyer for the grassroots citizens group Dakota Rural Action fighting to stop the permit, told DeSmog.
Documents the group obtained during discovery show that the corrosion occurred dangerously close to the Mississippi River near St. Louis.
“Had the pipeline failed, the drinking water supply for a significant number of people could have been destroyed,” Martinez said.
The Commission is abrogating its responsibility by refusing to look at evidence we want to present,” Martinez told DeSmog.“ It is abundantly clear to us the Commission doesn't want to look at anything from any other agencies.”  
Although Dakota Rural Action was denied the opportunity to enter into evidence documents showing TransCanada failed to follow the federally mandated code of construction while building the southern route of the Keystone XL, Martinez still believes he can present a very strong case against TransCanada’s permit renewal request.
Granting a permit would be a risky venture for South Dakota, putting the state’s land and water at risk,” he said.
According to Martinez, the witnesses the group will present, including Evan Vokes, former TransCanada employee turned whistleblower, will make it clear that TransCanada’s corporate culture put profits over safety.
report by DeSmog earlier this year revealed an alarming rate of external corrosion to parts of TransCanada’s Keystone 1 pipeline. Documents obtained through a freedom of information act request indicated the pipeline was 95% corroded, leaving it paper-thin in one area (one-third the thickness of a dime) and dangerously thin in three other places, causing TransCanada to immediately shut it down.
In fact, TransCanada’s instrument readings state it was 96.8% corroded.
Due to PHMSA’s open investigation of the pipeline, regulators refused to turn over any documents that might explain the cause of the pipeline failure. 
But lawyers for the Dakota Rural Action group were able to compel TransCanada to turn over documents to which DeSmog and other media sources had been denied acess to - documents the group entered into evidence and is making public.
The documents include TransCanada’s root cause analysis explaining what caused the external corrosion incident in the Keystone 1 pipeline, where it took place and what the damaged pipeline looked like. The report shows how close to a catastrophic failure that pipeline was before a mandatory test exposed the problem. 
What caused such deep corrosion in Keystone 1 in a short period of time? Stray current interference, the company argues. A spokesperson for TransCanada told Politico the problems were linked to “low –voltage electric currents from the Keystone and a nearby pipeline interfering with one another.”
In laymen’s terms, that means “a bunch of professional engineers were behaving badly,” Vokes told DeSmog, “because there are adequate checks and balances in the regulations to avoid this.”
Vokes was not surprised when he reviewed the root cause analysis report, although it was the first time he saw photos of the pipeline’s coating that looked as if “it had been gnawed at by rats.”
When the line was shut down, Vokes advised reporters to look into what happened because he suspected that something very serious had gone wrong. “You don’t shut a pipe down that earns millions of dollars a day over a small anomaly,” he said. And that is how TransCanada described the incident to reporters in 2012.
Even with such damaging evidence, Vokes has doubts the Keystone XL permit will be denied.
How are we supposed to have a fact-based hearing if the Commission won’t admit the documents into evidence?“ Vokes wonders.
TransCanada’s technical shortcomings are not the only hurdle the company has to overcome. The company is being challenged by Native American tribes. “Tribes have a trump card— the treaty rights,” Gary Dorr, of the Nez Perce Nation told DeSmog. “Treaty rights are the supreme law of the land.”
*The hearing will stream live on the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission site.


Image credit: Protest against the Keystone XL pipeline in Ft. Pierre, South Dakota on July 26, 2015.  © Doug Grandt

WISE WOMEN MEDIA for August 5, 2015--Interview with Dady Chery, Activist, Broadcaster, Author On Her New Book About Haiti (Link to Archived Audio and Transcript)


 SOUNDCLOUD LINK TO SHOW:
https://soundcloud.com/wisewomenmedia/interview-with-dady-chery-on-8515

Wise Women Media will be interviewing Dady Chery and the broadcast will be available on Wednesday, August 5, 2015. Ms. Chery is with News Junkie Post and is an activist, broadcaster and author. We will be talking about Haiti extensively and her new book titled “We Have Dared to Be Free.” The book was written between 2010-2015 and is definitely a story that needs to be told.

A bit about the book: about one half of all US households donated money to various charities for Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake. There is information in this book that will help many understand why Haiti has not been rebuilt on a large scale and why the relief situation there has not improved. 

News Junkie Post turned six years old on June 6, 2015. They are branching out to other media such as books, radio and even down the line, to television. A few months ago News Junkie Post decided to launch News Junkie Post Press aka NJP Press. Ms. Dady Chery will have the distinction of being their first published author.  


***LINK TO BROADCAST WILL BE NOTED HERE A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE EVENT. 
The show will be archived on SOUNDCLOUD.

***Post your questions on the FB event wall and I will ask each one during the interview.
Link to the FB Event Page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/412929158892744/

***After my health diagnosis in February 2015, I planned on not doing another show or interview. But frankly, I missed it. And based on how many people asked me to continue the shows and interviews I decided to keep pressing on, perhaps with some updated branding, a new format and shorter segments. Also decided against using BlogTalkRadio as my platform. Thanks everyone for your encouragement!!!




Transcript of this program can be found at the following link: 
http://www.dadychery.org/2015/09/07/haitian-born-author-dady-chery-discusses-we-have-dared-to-be-free-with-anita-stewart-part-i/

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Australians Tour Pennsylvania’s Gaslands as Fracking Threat Looms Over South Australia by Julie Dermansky

Australians Tour Pennsylvania’s Gaslands as Fracking Threat Looms Over South Australia


A group of Australians who made a fracking fact-finding trip to the Marcellus Shale region will report to the Australian Parliament before any decisions are made about the future of fracking in South Australia. 
In June, the group of twelve Australians—including members of Parliament, farmers, medical and legal professionals—visited communities in Pennsylvania and New York. They saw evidence of contaminated water as a result of accidents and leaks connected to the fracking industry, and met with people both for and against the process. 
David Smith, a third generation beef and prime lamb producer from Kalangadoo, organized the trip after he learned the fracking industry was exploring the possibility of fracking in the south east of South Australia. Conventional drilling has been taking place in the region for decades but currently fracking in South Australia is only taking place in the northern part of the state.
Beach Energy currently has two test wells in the south east of South Australia and has yet to ask the government for permission to utilize hydraulic fracturing , although the company is considering fracking as a possibility in the Otway Basin
Like many before him who learn the fracking industry may come too close for comfort, Smith had known little about it. He devised his own crash course on the topic by contacting people with first-hand experience.
What he learned alarmed him so greatly that he invited a cross section of South Australians, both for and against the industry, to join him in a visit to the Marcellus Shale region.

The geology of the Marcellus closely resembles that of South Australia’s south east, so they could personally witness what could lie ahead for them if the fracking industry took hold in the area. 
Louis Allstadt, a former Mobil Oil executive vice president and a strong voice in the anti-fracking movement, helped Smith set up the itinerary in Pennsylvania and New York. Allstadt arranged for notable speakers to address the group, including Cornell University professors Tony Ingraffea and Bob Howarth. Other speakers included SUNY Oneonta professor Ron Bishop; economist Dr. Jannette Bath; Deborah Goldberg, Earthjustice’s managing attorney, and the authors of The Real Cost of Fracking: How America’s Shale Boom is Threatening our Families, Pets and Food, Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald.
Smith reached out to Cabot Oil and Gas and other fracking companies in the region to set up a tour of fracking sites, but the industry declined permission for the group to view even a single location. Representatives were unwilling to address the group off-site as well. Only a public relations representative from one of the companies was made available to the group, according to Smith.
The group, like many others, took a tour led by anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins instead. Scroggins introduced them to residents whose water was contaminated shortly after the fracking industry boom began in Susquehanna County.

Ray Kem, a former industry worker in Dimock, PA, holds up water taken from his contaminated well. ©2015 Julie Dermansky

Fracking industry site near a home in Susquehanna County, PA. ©2015 Julie Dermansky
They seemed open to learn from those who are living with fracking first hand,” Scroggins told DeSmog. She was impressed that the group had come such a long way to learn about the fracking industry.


VIDEOAdrian Pederick, MP South Australia
Adrian Pederick, the South Australian Liberal Party Member for the Electorate of Hammond (the Liberal party has been likened to America’s Republican party) asserted that despite what he saw in Pennsylvania, he believes fracking can be done safely if industry is strictly regulated.
He marveled at the accomplishments of the fracking industry and doesn’t doubt it could be good for Australia, but would want things done differently from what he witnessed in Pennsylvania if fracking is permitted in his region. 
Pederick has a background working in the oil and gas industry and he was in touch with Energy in Depth, an industry group founded by the Independent Petroleum Association of America. Energy in Depth is openly critical toward some of those the group met with including Scroggins, Bamberger and Oswald.  
During a seminar led by Allstadt in Ithaca, NY, Pederick expressed his frustration that the trip was too heavily focused on those who believe they have been wronged by the fracking industry. He wanted to hear from the farmers who want fracking on their land and have been prevented from benefiting from the industry due to New York’s fracking ban.  

Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald respond to Pederick’s question at seminar in Ithaca, NY. ©2015 Julie Dermansky
Though Pederick seemed unimpressed with many of the speakers, he was also not impressed with the way industry is regulated in Pennsylvania.
He sees no reason for fracking to be done so close to residences. When asked how close he would want a fracking rig next to his own land, he replied he would be comfortable with a “1500 yard set back,” approximately 4500 feet.

MP Troy Bell in Ithaca, NY ©2015 Julie Dermansky
How can you put drill sites right next to people's houses? That is madness,” fellow Liberal Party MPTroy Bell told DeSmog. He is convinced the fracking industry has caused contamination in PA. The fact that contamination had occurred surprised him less than the lack of regulations he witnessed.  
Fracking so close to a population base worries me,” Bell said, like what might soon be considered for the south east of South Australia. He wonders if tighter regulations could have prevented the problems he saw in Pennsylvania from occurring. He plans to ask industry many questions upon returning to Australia before he makes any decisions regarding the possibility of fracking in his region.
The Australians have many of the same concerns as Americans when it comes to fracking. They worry about property values, contamination of air and water, and quality of life. What kind of regulations and safeguards will be in place if something goes wrong, and are the trade offs worth the risks?
The potential destruction of farmland and the intrusion of traffic and infrastructure concern Smith, as well as reports of a large increase in birth defects and stillbirths in heavily fracked areas.  

Mark Parnell next to David Smith at a seminar on fracking in Ithaca, NY. ©2015 Julie Dermansky
The trip confirmed much of what Smith learned about fracking beforehand. But seeing the stress endured by people negatively impacted by the industry was eye-opening.  
After meeting people whose water has been contaminated and who must now rely on delivered water, and others who are facing health issues or court actions, he is more adamant than ever in his fight to keep the fracking industry out of the south east of South Australia.

VIDEO: Parliamentary leader of the Green Party in South Australia
Mark Parnell, Parliamentary Leader of South Australia’s Green Party, praised Smith for organizing the trip. Long before the trip Parnell was already certain that welcoming the fracking industry to Australia is the wrong move, since he believes Australia must move toward renewable energy to prevent climate change.
Parnell was surprised by the sheer scale of the fracking industry. The most useful takeaway from the trip for him was meeting with experts who dispelled the myth that the fracking industry is the savior of rural communities. The trip made clear to him that the fracking boom is a short-term phenomenon, but negative impacts from the industry could last forever.
  

Drilling rig at a fracking industry site in Susquehanna County, PA. ©2015 Julie Dermansky

Monday, July 13, 2015

FRACKING IN THE EVERGLADES--JOIN US TO SAY NO!




Well, it is official. The Fracking in Florida fight has started up again and we are mobilizing...my heart is breaking. I am ready to tree sit if it comes to that.
However, this looks serious...we got a little bit of a rest to gather strength and forces...but I knew this was going to happen eventually.

Here is the news item:


And the latest press release from the Stonecrab Alliance:
MEDIA ADVISORY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Dwyer, Ph.D. 239-404-2171 dwyerka@gmail.com Stonecrab Alliance@ Facebook
BONITA SPRINGS PROPOSED FRACKING BAN DRAWING FIRE — CITIZENS GEAR UP AND UNITE TO DEFEND IT
City doesn’t want to take the chance that their water resources might become polluted.
BONITA SPRINGS—Wednesday, July 15, 9 a.m. at City Hall citizens, activists, and environmentalists will wear red in visible support of the Bonita Springs City Council’s proposed ordinance that would prohibit the use of oil well stimulation techniques, including “fracking” within city limits.  The ban, approved at a first reading July 1 in a Bonita Springs City Council 6-0 vote, with a second and final hearing July 15, is already drawing fire. 

Collier Resources threatens to sue the City if they adopt the ordinance.   The Colliers—who own thousands of acres of mineral rights in Bonita Springs and 800,000 acres in Florida—called the ban flawed and warned that the city would be opening itself to lawsuits if adopted:  “this constitutionally flawed ordinance . . . will expose the city to numerous lawsuits and class actions, from Collier Resources and others,” threatened company attorney Ronald L. Weaver.  

With an estimated net worth of $2.3 billion, the Colliers are ranked the 119th wealthiest family in the U.S. and among the country’s largest landowners, according to Forbes.

“We’re deeply offended that the Colliers would threaten Bonita with a lawsuit,” says John Dwyer, cofounder of the Stonecrab Alliance.  “It’s unneighborly.  We’ve read the seven-page letter the Colliers’ attorney sent to Mayor Ben Nelson and applaud the City’s resolve to move forward with a ban despite threats.” 

Ralf Brooks, an attorney hired by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, points out that no valid Bert Harris Act claim can be made by the Colliers since no oil and gas has been found in Bonita Springs and hence no actual mineral rights exist to protect.  Bonita’s oil reserves are as yet undiscovered and untapped and hence speculative and the Bert Harris Act only deals with non-speculative real property. 

Regarding the “Take,” Jennifer Hecker, Director of Natural Resource Policy for the Conservancy, asserts that this ordinance would not prohibit Collier Resources from taking or extracting oil and gas; Collier Resources could still use proven conventional oil drilling just not well stimulation treatments that pose a threat to our water resources, like hydraulic fracturing, acid fracking, and acidizing.  These are usually three-day procedures and non-essential, meaning oil can be extracted without these extreme extraction techniques.

Jaime Duran, a resident who helped stop the Golden Gate well from going in only 1000 feet from his home in nearby Naples, applauds the Bonita City Council for securing a local amendment to protect their community against irresponsible fracking and fracking-like activities that could contaminate Florida’s water resources.  He hopes the “Collier County Commission will imitate Bonita’s good example.”

Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Policy Director of Our Santa Fe River and President of Save Our Suwannee, says that the “Council’s efforts are particularly timely and well-advised since in the 2015 legislative session, Senate Bill 1468 would have expressly preempted local municipalities home rule right to protect themselves with bans, well siting, and water use ordinances.   So now is the perfect time for local bans.”

Kim Ross of Floridians Against Fracking, a coalition of groups working to ban fracking at the state and local level, and Jorge Aguilar, Southern Region Director for Food and Water Watch, agree.   They’re keeping close track of fracking resolutions that have been adopted in Florida and across the nation, respectively.

“What’s makes the Bonita ban precedent-setting in Florida,” says Karen Dwyer, also of the Stonecrab Alliance, “is that we’ve got a city atop the Sunniland Trend oil reserve using its home rule right to protect itself with a local fracking ban.  Bonita is a potential hotspot for oil operations in the state and near ground zero for fracking in Florida .  “The city is protecting itself, in part, because federal and state agencies have failed to do so,” adds Dwyer.

Local residents are quick to point out that Bonita Springs is located only 10 miles from the Collier Hogan well, the site of unauthorized fracking in 2014 that caused a firestorm of public protest and meetings with state and regulatory agencies.  The unauthorized fracking-like incident was breaking news for months and led to state Department of Environmental Protection fines (DEP), penalties, permit revocation, and a still pending lawsuit against Dan A. Hughes, a Texas oil company that leased 115,000 acres for oil operations from the Colliers.  The violation was grave.  DEP told Hughes not to do a procedure that had never been done before in Florida; they ignored the state and went ahead with fracking; when ordered to Cease and Desist, Hughes continued in direct defiance—willing to pay the small fine.  Worse yet, DEP was onsite at the time of the fracking to observe, but not stop the violation because the inspector “did not have enforcement powers.” DEP photographed the labels on the cancer-causing chemicals, but failed to stop the violation, failed to notify the county, and failed to test the water.  The incident compelled U.S. Senator Bill Nelson to order a federal investigation of Hughes.  He wrote:  “We cannot tolerate expanded industrial drilling activities that pose a threat to the drinking and surface water so close to the Florida Everglades. . . . one of the world’s great environmental treasures.” The good news is, that for the first time ever, Collier County sued the state on oil drilling, calling for revocation and remediation.  Hughes, in turn, announced it was abandoning all plans to explore for oil in Southwest Florida and mutually terminated its 115,000-acre-oil lease with Collier.  The state, in turn, revoked all the company’s permits, filed a lawsuit for cleanup, and promised the community stronger oil and gas laws—laws that the 2015 legislative session failed to put forward or adopt. 

“It’s clear no help is coming from the state; we need local bans to protect our water,” says Dona Knapp a shrimper who had her livelihood destroyed by the 2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill, the worst oil disaster on record that is still plaguing Florida’s coastline.

With a landmark victory on the horizon if Bonita adopts the ordinance in a second and final reading Wednesday, locals are gearing up to protect their community.  “Wear red in support of the proposed ordinance to prohibit will stimulation,” urges the Conservancy’s Policy Alert.   

WHAT: BONITA CITY COUNCIL MEETING – CITIZENS UNITE AND GEAR UP TO SUPPORT CITY’S PROPOSED FRACKING BAN THAT IS DRAWING FIRE
WHO: Stonecrab Alliance with Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Clean Water Initiative, Floridians Against Fracking, concerned citizens, activists, and environmentalists

WHERE: Bonita Spring City Hall, 9101 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135
WHEN: Wednesday, July 15, 9 a.m.

***VISUALS: Speakers/Red attire/Final Vote/Public Comment/Signs, if permitted*** 


MY COMMENTS: NO. We just went through this in Naples and with BP and the GOM. The oil companies cannot be trusted to do procedures legally and safely in regards to the environment and to preserve all life including the human impact. If there is one mistake or error on their part, there goes Florida's water. Safety standards are usually ignored. The corporations only care about their profits. We have seen this time and time again. In the meantime, solar energy is made so expensive and with such legal red tape that it is not available to most of us. Those who can implement it are those that can afford it. Definitely NOT the 99%. NO NO NO. The only reason this is not out in the open in regards to BP's total F-up of our Gulf is because of Florida's 85 billion dollar tourist industry. In the meantime, our environment is screwed and people are ill or dying. And then let's talk about the vibrio vulnificus, respiratory problems, cancers, skin lesions and other conditions and the die off of many species. NOT a conspiracy theory. So we Floridians want this to happen again? A repeat, redeux?

By the way, the money the state got from BP? The sick and dying, those who need it, will never see it. It will go to the state and the corporations.

HITS