Yours, mines and ours

The abandoned mining town of Caribou, Colorado.
The abandoned mining town of Caribou, Colorado.

There is an Energy from Shale ad currently bombarding the airwaves (and brainwaves) in Colorado and other states the oil and gas industries wish to further ravage that attempts to convince us hydraulic fracturing isn’t bad, it’s just misunderstood.

Reese is just talkin' about mine shaft.
Reese is just talkin’ about mine shaft.

“With all the stories out there, some people were surprised that we allowed fracking on our land,” says a wholesome-looking woman amid golden-hour shots of the family ranch and hooved locusts. “But we talked with experts and learned the facts about drilling for oil and natural gas. And guess what, it’s safe. Safe for our land, our water and the air.”

Here is what she would say, were this an honest public service announcement rather than desperate propaganda:

The writing's on the wall in Caribou, Colorado, and it's giving St. Louisans a bad name.
The writing’s on the wall in Caribou, Colorado, and it’s giving St. Louisans a bad name.

“With all the facts out there, some people were surprised that we allowed fracking on our land. But we figured our cattle have already bled the Earth’s crust dry and the planet’s dying anyway, so fuck it, let’s get paid and hope it’s enough to cover our family’s looming, long-term medical expenses. And if it’s not, we’ll just sue Halliburton in 10 years anyway for failing to disclose the toxic chemicals it pumped into our water supply. Hahaha…. God bless America.”

It is appropriate that the term “fracking” is so close to “fucking.” Both are about selfish, short-term gratification; penetrate, unload, and move on, consequences be damned.

Energy from Shale, incidentally, is a project of Energy Tomorrow, both of which maintain websites designed to look like nonprofit educational resources. They are, in fact, PR efforts of the American Petroleum Institute, the country’s largest oil and gas trade agency.

Tetanus waiting to happen.
Tetanus waiting to happen.
A dilapidated mining cabin.
A dilapidated mining cabin.

While Colorado’s most prevalent forms of mining today are the extraction of natural gas and petroleum, the state’s mining history is most closely associated with gold. Colorado also has a storied and lurid coal mining past, and the Centennial State continues to produce silver, gypsum, limestone and other minerals.

The remnants of some old-school mining operations remain on public lands throughout the state: Cabins, boarded entry shafts, abandoned equipment, even the shells of entire towns. The names of many Colorado cities evoke the state’s mining roots: Golden, Silver Plume, Coal Creek, Agate, Gypsum. May we forever go without a Frackington or a Shaleville.

The view toward the continental divide from the mining ghost town of Caribou, Colorado.
The view toward the continental divide from the mining ghost town of Caribou, Colorado.
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4 thoughts on “Yours, mines and ours

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    1. Yikes! It’s scary to me how little these companies have to disclose regarding the chemicals used in fracturing liquid and how much fracking is being conducted on public land.

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      1. The piece in The Guardian is heartening. If we at least want practical regulations on fracking, the mandate is going to have to come from the people.

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