Quick update – 2015 thus far: Deer farming, red wolves, sea fracking

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Three interesting bits of news from the Associated Press have come in on the Pack News Wire that I have not touched on as yet. So let’s toss out a quick update.

Deer farming: Nine public hearing were slated for January by the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, on the topic of deer farming. This practice involves raising deer on farms to be sold as game or directly for their meat and antlers.

Hunters are joining wildlife advocates to express concern for this sort of industry. One fear is for the risk of the spread of diseases.

Red Wolves: 2015 could be a key year for the red wolf. The Associated Press notes North Carolina has the only wild population of this wolf species. The program to maintain the species is being debated early this year.

Due to habitat loss and hunting, the red wolf populations were devastated. In 1987, red wolves were bred and released into the wild in an effort to restore their numbers.

Sea Fracking: An article from January 9 contained two stunning revelations.

If fracking waste is discharged by a company into the ocean, it is in most cases up the company to report the spill.

And one paragraph of the Associated Press piece states the following:

Little is known about the effects of the chemicals used in fracking on ocean life.

The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, for failing to honor a request for public records.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Hopefully – a trend: New York state to ban fracking

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The more I’m reading about the health and environmental impacts of fracking, the more I’m convinced we’re a long way from this being a safe system for drilling for gas and oil.

Oh we get the take from Big Oil and Big Gas – that it’s completely safe and the people who live around the fracking wells have nothing at all to be afraid of. We hear that the chemicals that the industry refuses to disclose but are pumping into the ground are very safe.

Don’t be concerned about your neighbors being sick. Look at the pretty towers rising across the horizons. Think of them as towers of gold and magic.”

The industry doesn’t have a great track record for safety. And even when full-on, horrible disasters strike, like the Gulf Oil Gusher, the industry blows off concerns and underplays the extent of the impacts.

Should people have trusted the cigarette manufacturers when for decades they claimed smoking was safe? Naah – I think I’ll trust science; thank you.

Of late, we’re seeing more research bubble to the surface on fracking. The news that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is ready to ban fracking in his state offered up more news about the dangers.

But while Cuomo seems to be ready to take this positive step, reports indicate his administration had previously attempted to delay and soften a report about the dangers of fracking.

A Capital New York article from early October reports in the final version of the report, “some of the authors’ original descriptions of environmental and health risks associated with fracking were played down or removed.”

So even in state that might become the first to ban fracking, the coverup on the dangers of the practice was well underway.

I’m just not going to trust the states or the industry, in claiming the chemicals are safe. Why would be that naive?

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

More evidence on fracking hazards

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Big Oil and Gas want us all to believe that fracking is perfectly safe and it won’t pollute the water. We’re supposed to take their word for it, the way people were supposed to take the cigarette manufacturers word for decades, on how safe their products are.

People in North Texas are getting sick and the industry is brushing aside any possible link.  A second Center for Public Integrity article includes information about a new, peer-reviewed study, published by the journal – Environmental Health.

David O. Carpenter is the paper’s senior author and is the director of the University at Albany’s Institute for Health and the Environment. He is quoted as saying, “The implications for health effects are just enormous.”

And the dangers don’t stop in the water. One study found “benzene, formaldehyde or other toxic substances” in the air in fracking zones. The monitoring was conducted in Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

That second article linked above cites studies with findings that should be cause for concern for everyone. One showed people living less than two-thirds of a mile from natural-gas wells were experiencing more skin and upper-respiratory problems.

We should all be concerned with finding more congenital heart defects in babies and benzene found in air samples here some West Virginia wells.

We all know the chemicals are dangerous, but the fracking industry just can’t believe that something so profitable could be a concern for the public.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Wacky Mentality at the forefront this month

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Maybe it’s the approach of Halloween or maybe it’s a decay of common sense, but we’re seeing an ever-growing level of Wacky Mentality in recent news reports.

But first, a commercial break: A new, regular video feature is coming soon for the Pack Mentality Blog. Stay tuned for more details. Hint: It will be a news show like no other.

Now – on to the latest Wacky-ness:

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was quoted this week as stating that allowing all people to vote in a democracy would give too much power to the poor.

So you oppress people into poverty and then cry-baby that letting them vote would give them a stake in their government. That’s wacky and evil.

The national government in China has presented a plan where the people of Hong Kong could vote on their leaders, but only among a list of candidates hand picked by the sitting government.

We’ve got our own problems with voting laws in some US states. I hope leaders in these regions don’t get any new ideas from China.

Allowing fracking companies to keep the list of chemicals they use secret from the public is more than wacky – it’s sneaky, underhanded wacky. But this is exactly what the government is currently doing.

An Environmental Integrity Project report notes the companies don’t even have to obtain a permit to inject potentially-dangerous chemicals into the ground. Why? – because the lobbyists keep reminding the politicians about those big campaign donations.

And get this, it’s called the “Halliburton Loophole.” If that’s not a slap in the face to the environment and to the public across the board, I don’t know what is.

And if both of those stories weren’t enough for the week …

Cigarette manufacturer Reynolds American – in 2014!! – is finally banning the act of smoking in its offices. Most indoor areas will be off limits to smoking, but the company will set up smoking rooms.

It took Reynolds this long to consider the health of its employees. That’s stunning, even for a cigarette company.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Troubling legislative news out of North Carolina

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The Associated Press reported recently on a new bill in the North Carolina General Assembly, proposed legislation that would make it illegal to expose the secret chemicals in fracking fluids.

The goal seems to be to protect the gas companies, while possibly putting public health at risk.

If passed, gas companies would submit the contents of fracking materials to a state geologist and this would be held in secret, to be used in case of an emergency. This is far from being reasonable.

The public needs to know what gas companies are injecting into our environment. We deserve to know and keeping the contents a secret means the contents must be something the companies know we’d be fearful of.

The NC Senate also voted recently to lift a moratorium on fracking by next summer.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic