bakken1The North American fracking industry is hailing the production of its billionth barrel of fracked oil from the vast Bakken oil fields as a cause for celebration.

The pace of the development of shale oil is reflected in the fact that two thirds of this oil has been produced in the last three years.

Jack Stark from Continental Resources, the largest stakeholder in North Dakota oil fields, argues that “This is something our country can celebrate as the oil and natural gas industry continues to create jobs, grow our economy and secure America’s energy future.”

Stark argued the billion barrel milestone “validates the immense potential of the Bakken field” and that “development is just beginning”.

But everywhere you look, resistance against fracking is growing across North America and indeed in every country where the controversial practice takes place.  Just this week, the world’s most prestigious environmental prize – The Goldman – was jointly awarded to an Ithaca-based lawyer, Helen Slottje, who has helped organise fracking bans in 172 communities across New York.

Slottje, who is despised by the fracking industry, said she would use the prestige from the award and money that comes with it to raise global awareness of her campaign.

“Fracking is a symptom of a much larger problem in our society, an oligarchy, a complete separation of people making decision and those whose lives they affect,” she said. “We’re going to do whatever we think is going to help the voice of the people,” she added.

Meanwhile, in the notoriously litigious US  there was a warning to the industry last week when a family was awarded $3 million in damages for health problems related to fracking near their land.

The Parr family experienced migraines, nausea and dizziness, problems with vision and hearing, shaking, nosebleeds, rashes, and blood pressure issues.

The family took Aruba Petroleum, who had 22 natural gas wells within a 2-mile radius of their property to court. Last week a jury awarded them $2.9 million in damages.

The Parrs’ Houston-based attorney, Brad Gilde argues that the Parrs’ court victory, which is the first jury award for personal injury in an American fracking case, “marks an important precedent for the future of natural gas production.”

So the industry may have marked a milestone in production, but everywhere communities and people are fighting back to regain control of their future.

As if to emphasize the point, last week, Beverly Hills became California’s first municipality to ban fracking after the city council unanimously voted to ban the controversial practice.

Local Council member John Mirsch said: “This is not a ‘not in my backyard issue’ — it should not be in anyone’s back yard. And we also need to think long-term, even if our city is not a center of drilling — injecting millions of gallons of water and chemicals at high pressure into the earth can’t be good.”


  • For your entertainment and enlightenment . . .


    It is not difficult to understand that the ceos and the cfos and all those who have made it their lives work to promote the fossil fuel industry as the fundamental component of the global energy equation – they will not let go of all they have built.

    They will not. They will not relinquish their status or their position – much less the wealth that their position generates.

    They will die first.

    The very same thing may be said for all of those who have with tremendous patience hijacked our economy and subverted our political and our judicial systems of government. They will not let go of all they have worked so hard for so long with such patience to create. They will not.

    They will die first.

    This is a fact with which we must absolutely come to grips.

    Those who have slaved for so long and so hard and sacrificed so much will not see all that they have built taken away. Not now. Not ever. Not for any reason.

    They will die first.

    We must come to understand this very simple and self evident fact.

    We must come to understand this very simple and self evident fact, and then we must decide how we will act.

    We must come to understand this very simple and self evident fact, and then we must decide

    that we must act.

    © D. Winter April 30, 2014

  • Whether we are fighting sand mining, fracking, unsafe oil cars and trucks, or coal mining. Our strategy should be the same in all cases. Leave the oil in the ground!!! Even if it doesn’t happen our stand will at least make people start thinking about sustainable energy as we near the end of the petrochemical age.

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