Vote for What’s Right for the People and the Earth!

by S. Tom Bond on June 24, 2017

Large gas pipelines create sediment at stream crossings, etc.

The Halliburton Loophole Started an Attack on the Environment

Letter to FrackCheckWV and Tom Bond from George Neall, June 22, 2017

What has been taking place in WV, PA and other states since 2004/2005 is a carefully choreographed action plan devised by the oil and gas industry. The first step was getting the “Halliburton loophole” written into the energy bill in 2005. This opened the floodgates to the fracking industry so they could assault Marcellus shale areas and reap methane from previously uneconomic shale formations.

At the same time, the O&G industry was working behind the scenes to get the complex government bureaucracy working for them. They knew that once they got thousands of fracked gas wells producing, they would need infrastructure to transport that gas to markets along the east coast. Natural gas markets could be expanded by switching from “dirty coal” electrical generating plants to “clean gas” plants. Plans were also made to liquefy the natural gas so it could be exported.

All of this should have served as warning to environmental organizations, but they apparently failed to realize the significance of what was to follow. Few, if any, in the environmental community were doing strategic planning and thinking so they could effectively oppose such future assaults before they occurred.

To aide in this, the O&G industry made sure that PHMSA’s budget was increased (at a time when other government agency budgets were being slashed) so more pipeline inspectors could be hired and trained. The O&G industry also worked with the states to make it easier for them to survey and steal land for pipelines using eminent domain.

Though opposition to the pipelines has been strong, I believe few, if any, protests will prevent those pipelines from being built, especially considering the actions of the Trump administration and recent court rulings, which clearly favor corporations. “It’s difficult to win a game when the rules are stacked against you.” Once the pipelines are built, that will provide justification for further drilling of fracked wells in deeper shale formations.

Of course, the price of natural gas will rise because of exports and the increased production costs, but that’s OK because consumers will pay these costs and the O&G industry will make their profits. Low and middle income rural people will bear the brunt of the environmental and social damage that results from this.

The O&G industry is working in concert with coal companies, pipeline contractors, mining companies and the Trump administration. Their goal is to divide and conquer and it seems to be working. We have thousands of hard-working environmental and social justice organizations working independently and uncoordinated. Many are duplicating the efforts of other groups. The O&G industry is playing on the egos of leaders of these organizations and the organizations don’t seem to understand that unification, a united front, is needed to effectively oppose what is being done to people and the environment.

The O&G industry recognizes the importance of water, probably more so than the average urbanite who takes clean water for granted, and is taking steps to maximize their profits by investing in water (link). The Haliburton loophole makes it legal for them to pollute aquifers. But that’s OK to them because it opens up another huge market that everyone needs even more than oil and gas……..clean water.

Fracking (like other environmental and social justice issues) needs to become an election issue! It’s not a Democratic party issue or a Republican party issue. It’s a “what’s right” issue. Not “what’s right for the rich”. Not “whats right for corporations,” But “what’s right for people and the earth.”

Submitted by George Neall, Mathias, Hardy County, WV

See also: The Facts on Fracking Chemical Disclosure

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Wildfire June 25, 2017 at 10:57 am

What is your evidence that environmental and social justice organizations are NOT working together?

Looks to me like they are.

Mary Wildfire, Calhoun County, WV


Tom Bond June 25, 2017 at 6:06 pm

Mary …..

I assume you are referring to the last paragraph of George Neall’s article where it says:

“Fracking (like other environmental and social justice issues) needs to become an election issue!”

I don’t think his intent is to divide social justice and environmental concerns, but to point out both are not mentioned by people running for office. That is readily observable, but likely to overlooked, in the electoral process.

Tom Bond, Jane Lew, WV


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