Letters
music in the park san jose

I want to thank City Editor Melissa Flores for her front page article on the May 7 board of supervisors meeting and the issue of oil and gas fracking in this county. I wonder if the three supervisors who voted for the watered-down gas and oil well ordinance are aware of what is happening in the rest of the country where fracking deep into the earth to extract gas and oil has devastated the land, water and air. In North Dakota (Bakkan gas fields) and in Texas, where fracked wells have been producing fossil fuels for some time, the ranchers and farmers are finding their cattle no longer salable because of contamination, and the quality of their rural lives destroyed by huge trucks rolling up and down newly built gravel roads and creating noise pollution and air pollution that has increased asthma and other lung diseases in these areas. I wonder if these supervisors are aware that it takes one million gallons of water to sink one well? Where is that water to come from in these times of increasing drought? And why do the oil and gas corporations who finance these projects (with taxpayer subsidies among others) refuse to reveal the variety of chemicals that are used to open up the passages where this liquid gold will flow to their CEOs?

I am amazed that these supervisors wanted to water down the insurance bonds (insurance against drilling accidents) to $15,000 for a six-well “facility” rather than $15,000 for each well? Considering that it costs up to $1 million to drill one well, $15,000 for insurance to clean up accidents is a pittance. The fertilizer plant explosion in Texas that took firefighters’ lives and many more injured had not been monitored by the federal or state authorities for several decades and thus the plant had a million dollars in insurance money to “compensate” the families and surrounding property that was destroyed. A pittance of what it will cost the state and federal government when these lawsuits are settled.

And last, but most important in my opinion, is the fatally flawed argument that we need more oil and gas to keep our economy and country strong and vital. Read the handwriting on the wall! Cancer, lung disease, asthma, and the warnings of “bad air days” and poisoned food, not to mention global warming are a scientific fact of our times. Do we feed the greed and short-term goals of oil and gas companies (I wonder don’t these CEOs care about the future of their grandchildren?) or do we work together to resuscitate our gasping earth home and put our taxes, time and talents to making sustainable energy a priority as, incidentally China and India are doing now? I would like to remind Supervisor Jerry Muenzer that the “terrorist countries” we are purchasing oil from include Saudi Arabia (from whence all but one of the 9/11 terrorists came) and Saudi Arabia is a great friend of the Bushes and the U.S. government which sells weapons to this most repressive country in the Middle East. There is no oil and gas producing country in the world that is not in bed with all other fossil fuel producing countries and the prices and distribution of oil is controlled by a worldwide cartel

I want to end by quoting Supervisor Robert Rivas who in my opinion is the one person along with Botelho who has educated himself on the facts. When he said loudly and clearly “Do the people of this county want to give tax breaks to oil and gas companies rather than to the preservation of our agricultural land (and the way of life it represents)?”, he got a standing ovation in the chambers. The people have spoken. We need our other supervisors to listen!

Natasha Wist, Hollister

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