Guest View: When you have no merits to your argument, resort to manure

Fracking ban proposal in San Benito County

Have you all seen the new pro-fracking ads on local TV news stations? The pro-frackers against Measure J have a poster boy named John Eade who drawls something like, “These outside agitators and San Francisco lawyers are trying to tell us cowboys what to do. I can’t get the manure off my boots fast enough …”
Yeah, I know. It is laughable and it seems more manure is coming from his opposite end. The pro-frackers, who are officially named San Benito Citizens United for Energy Independence (also laughable), have launched their slick brochure campaign, which is flooding mailboxes in this county. Their first colored flyer doesn’t say much. It is entitled “Protect San Benito,” naturally to confuse voters. Because the local residents who are trying to protect your water, their opposition, is called Coalition to Protect San Benito.
The pro-fracker pamphlet does display big photos of three endorsers – one of them Eade, of course – and another of Elia Salinas, who is attributed the quote, “Measure J bans all petroleum production in San Benito, which goes too far …”
How many times do we have to go around this mulberry bush? For another two months, I guess. Measure J still allows conventional oil drilling in 90 percent of the county. In fact, the only change in the current county ordinances for conventional drilling is to keep it out of areas that have been zoned to allow for residential neighborhoods. If it passes, the rule that would keep oil wells out of a kids’ playground cannot be overturned by a future board of supervisors unduly influenced or intimidated by this most powerful industry.
Measure J backers – the ones who want to ban fracking – have gone to the county planning department to confirm the actual numbers that would be affected if Measure J passes. A senior planner said that only 3 percent of the county – basically, where people live – would not be allowed to have oil wells. But if you don’t believe me, then believe the reporting of this newspaper, which has recently been giving much more accurate coverage of the issue. The number reporter/editor Kollin Kosmicki received from the planning department is that Measure J still allows for oil drilling in 90 percent of the county.
Folks, John Eade and his pals lease land and mineral claims to oil drillers. There is certainly nothing wrong with that, but keep in mind, he and his ilk have vested monetary interests in fracking. The barbarians are lined up at the gates of this county, waiting to see if Measure J fails. In fact, oil companies across this nation and the California oil lobby have poured $3.5 million into stopping Measure J and a similar measure in Santa Barbara. That means over $1 million will be spent in this county to discredit Measure J and the local resident supporters who have worked hard to save this ag-heavy county’s water. Big Oily will outspend Measure J supporters by some 30 to 1.
Sheeeesh. Talk about “outside agitators.”
It takes one to four million gallons of water to frack an oil or gas well. And a well can be fracked many times, up to 10 “stimulations.” There are 649 toxic chemicals in that water, stuff known to cause cancer like benzene and radium. Or how about hydrochloric acid? – which turns anything it touches into jelly, including rock and bone. One out of seven fracked wells FAIL within 10 years of going in, according to Dr. Tim Krantz, an earth scientist hired by the oil companies to assess the catastrophic mess they left on the Central Coast outside Santa Maria.
Once that water gets fracked, nothing in this world can clean it up. There is no technology that can unfrack fracked water – putrid liquid the industry terms as “produced water.” I am surprised they haven’t started calling it “enhanced.” That fracked water stays that way until, say, the Sun swallows this Earth in about five more billion years. Then it gets burned up, turned into gas, and goes on to pollute the galaxy.
And we want to allow this in an historical drought when we are dependent on our ground water?
Kate Woods is a San Benito County resident.

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