Friday, January 27, 2012

Rest in Peace, my Friend

Fracktivist Carl Stiles, of Bradford County, PA, died last night, after living with illnesses caused by shale gas drilling. Mr. Stiles was forced to move away from his Bradford County home as an environmental refugee.

Carl Stiles had intestinal cancer which he blamed on Chesapeake’s gas drilling. He and his wife abandoned their home last November at the urging of a toxicologist who found barium, arsenic, and VOCs (volatile organic chemicals) in Carl’s blood. Strontium, uranium and radium were found in their water. They’ve been told to expect to get leukemia within two years.

How many more have to die before the corporate greed is satisfied?

Call the White House NOW - ask Obama How many more have to die before the corporate greed is satisfied.
Call Obama at 1-888-925-7006.  When you dial 888-925-7006, you'll hear a message and then be connected to the White House Comment Line. Simply tell the volunteer on the line that President Obama must protect his constituents and walk away from fracking for shale gas.
The White House Comment Line is open Monday - Friday from 9am to 5pm EST
If you can't get through on the phone - WRITE.
If you did get through on the phone - WRITE A LETTER TOO

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Frackers voting for OBAMA?

Energy-in-Depth recently blogged "The President’s Big Shout Out to Shale" .  

Only read the blather if you have a strong stomach or a barf bag handy.

Whether it's this story or similar, the "Frack Babies" will be posting, sharing, tweeting it all over the place.

IF you feel you need to respond to Frack Babies- simply ask them "Does this mean you are going to vote for Obama in November?"

Meanwhile - the author of the EID blog is Steve Everly:

an EID Spokesperson
Assistant Vice President: FTI Consulting Financial Dynamics, The strategic communication division of FTI Consulting, Financial Dynamics helps ensure that its clients’ brand, reputation and market valuation reflect the true worth of their businesses. 
Columnist:, Steve Everley is Manager of Policy Research at American Solutions and a contributing author to To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine by Newt Gingrich. Prior to joining AmericanSolutions, Everley worked as a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Kansas and attended graduate school at the University of Southern California.

Monday, January 23, 2012

From the Choir

A column by Robert Bryce appeared in Sunday's (1/22/12) New York Daily news, entitled:
How fracking lies triumphed
A much-needed source of energy has been unjustly maligned
My curiosity screamed at me Who is Robert Bryce? 

Let's connect a couple of dots and find out.

About the writer Robert Bryce:
Center for Energy Policy and the Environment - Manhatten Institute for Policy Research
Robert Bryce - senior fellow with the Center for Energy Policy and the Environment at the Manhattan Institute. He has written about the energy business for two decades.
• Oil and Gas Production and Taxation
• Renewable/Alternative Energy
• Climate Change/Cap-and-Trade Legislation
• Nuclear Technology

For two decades, Robert Bryce has written about the energy business. He is the author of four books, including Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future, published in April 2010 by PublicAffairs. A New York Times review of 2008’s Gusher of Lies called Bryce “something of a visionary and perhaps even a revolutionary.” Since 2005, he has served as managing editor of Energy Tribune, an online publication that focuses on the global energy sector.
Per Media Matters:  Robert Bryce Is A Senior Fellow At The Manhattan Institute. Bryce is "a senior fellow with the Center for Energy Policy and the Environment at the Manhattan Institute." The center "seeks to influence today's energy policy debate by developing and advancing ideas rooted in free-market economic principles" and disseminates its message "through research papers, op-eds and interviews." According to The Manhattan Insitute's 2009 990 form, accessed through, the center had expenses of $496,692. [Manhattan Institute, accessed 10/6/11]

Manhattan Institute Is Funded By ExxonMobil. According to, the Manhattan Institute has received $385,000 from Exxon since 1998, including $50,000 in 2010. [, accessed 9/13/11]

Manhattan Institute Has Received Funding From The Koch Family Foundations. The Manhattan Institute has received over $1.3 million total from the Claude R. Lambe Foundation and the David H. Koch Foundation over the years, both of which are associated with Koch Industries, an oil, gas and chemical corporation. From 2001 to 2009 (the most recent year for which data is available), the Lambe Foundation gave The Manhattan Institute $200,000 annually. The Lambe Foundation's board of directors is "comprised entirely of Koch family members, senior Koch executives, and staff who serve Koch foundations," including the CEO of Koch Industries Charles G. Koch, according to Greenpeace. [Greenpeace, accessed 10/7/11]

Per Sourcewatch: Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

Bryce was a featured speaker at the 2011 American Legislative Exchange Council Annual Meeting, at a Workshop titled "Unconventional Revolution: How Technological Advancements Have Transformed Energy Production in the United States." The panel served as advocacy for the controversial drilling process for natural gas, called fracking.[2]

ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line. Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on all nine ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. They have their own corporate governing board which meets jointly with the legislative board. (ALEC says that corporations do not vote on the board.) They fund almost all of ALEC's operations. Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills. ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law. ALEC describes itself as a “unique,” “unparalleled” and “unmatched” organization. It might be right. It is as if a state legislature had been reconstituted, yet corporations had pushed the people out the door. Learn more at

Now you know a bit more.  Bryce and others are part of the choir, part of the echo chamber.   In my "googling" to connect the dots, I happened upon a PR firm called "Story Partners".   The name couldn't be more obvious.  All PR firms create frames, spin, narratives and "stories" to promote their client's product or message.

Story Partners intrigued me, I went looking a bit more and found their statements which exemplifies the entire "message" industry.
Story Partners, a public affairs firm focused on helping trade associations, corporations and coalitions amplify their story through carefully aligned online and offline campaigns designed to drive public policy debates.
Our Story
Our principals have an extensive history of developing and executing strategies that make a difference – whether our clients are trying to influence a public debate, define and dominate a market, or successfully position an executive team.

Our philosophy is simple: leverage your story through compelling messages, amplify your story through an echo chamber of friends and allies, and broadcast your story through every communications channel available.
I find no connection between Bryce and Story Partners at this time.  The purpose of the excerpts from Story Partners is to show the purpose of PR firms, and perhaps enlighten you as to how the public is being manipulated.

I strongly recommend reading Trust Us We're Experts, it's not a long book, it's very informative, and I'll bet before you finish the first couple of chapters that you will NEVER look at an advertising campaign the same.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Behind the Ohio earthquakes: Big money leads to big risks

Behind the Ohio earthquakes: Big money leads to big risks
By Betsey Piette
Published Jan 14, 2012 10:49 AM


Campaign contributions pay off
In the last three years, campaign contributions from natural gas companies have more than tripled, especially in the wake of the January 2010 Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision giving corporations the same rights as individuals.
Kasich came to office in 2010 thanks to heavy financial backing from the oil and gas industry. He received $213,519 in campaign contributions from oil and gas interests — the most of any politician in Ohio, according to Common Cause. It found Ohio’s fracking regulations to be among the weakest of any state.

The report tracked $2.8 million in energy industry campaign contributions to Ohio politicians, including House Speaker John Boehner, who raised $186,900 from fracking interests.
Pennsylvania’s governor, Tom Corbett, beat them both — taking in more than $1.6 million from the energy industry. It has shelled out $747 million in political contributions in the last 10 years, according to Common Cause.

Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake’s chief executive officer and one of Corbett’s earliest backers, contributed $450,000 to finance Corbett’s 2004 run for attorney general in Pennsylvania. McClendon has told shareholders that Ohio’s Utica Shale could be worth $15 billion to $20 billion.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Watch the Shiney

Have you noticed when big stories hit the media which feature Marcellus Shale protests, or stories about studies linking fracking to water well contamination there is an immediate flurry of articles about how much money people are making and/or jobs are being created?

 200 protest gas oversight law
They call for Legislature to reject bill that would let state sue over local Marcellus Shale ordinances.

By John L. Micek, Call Harrisburg Bureau
January 17, 2012

 American Natural Gas Creating Economic Growth that Communities Have “Never Dreamed Of”
By Feed: Marcellus Shale Coalition
January 17, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pocket Politicians? You Decide

The letter from Marcellus Shale Coalition and API was sent directly to: 
Rep Sam Smith (R) District 66
Rep Mike Turzai (R) District 28
Rep Brian  Ellis (R) District 11

Who do they represent?  You or the Gas Corporations?  You decide

Rep Sam Smith (R) District 66
Armstrong County (Part), Indiana County (Part), Jefferson County
Member of the House 1987 to date
Committee Assignments: Rules

Gas/Oil Corporate Donations

TOTAL  2003-2010: $59, 250

CYCLE 2009 - 2010  Donors:
  • Alpha Natural Resources $2,500
  • Anadarko $3,500
  • Chesapeake Energy $6,500
  • Consol Energy $1,000
  • Dominion $1,000
  • Exxon Mobil $3,500
  • EQT $1,000
  • UGI $1,000
Allegheny County (Part)
Majority Floor Leader
Member of the House: 2001 to date
Committee Assignments: Rules, Chair
TOTAL  2001- 2010:  $79,100
CYCLE 2009-2010 Donors
  • Alpha Natural Resources  $7,000
  • Amerikohl Mining  $1,000
  • Atlas Energy  $8,000
  • Chesapeake Energy  $6,500
  • Consol Energy $10,000
  • Dominion $6,000
  • EQT $8,000
  • Exxon Mobil $1,000
  • Ni Source $2,200
  • Range Resources $2,000
  • UGI $1,000

Rep Brian  Ellis (R) District 11
Butler County (Part)
Member of the House 2005 to date
Committee Assignments:
Committee On Ethics
Consumer Affairs, Subcommittee on Telecommunications - Chair
Liquor Control

Gas/Oil Corporate Donations

TOTAL  2003- 2010: $23,000

CYCLE 2009-2010 Donors
  • Alpha Natural Resources $3,200
  • Amerikohl Mining  $5,000
  • Chesapeake Energy $3,000
  • Chief Gas & Oil $500
  • Consol Energy $1,000
  • Dominion $1,000
  • Exxon Mobil $500
  • National Fuel $300
  • Range Resources $1,700
  • UGI $700
  • Williams $500

For People or Profit?

Recently a letter was sent to Representatives Smith, Turzai and Ellis on behalf of Kathryn Z. Klaber, President, Marcellus Shale Coalition and Stephanie Catarino Wissman, Executive Director, Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania.

A copy of the letter was also sent to all Pennsylvania House Members in the PA Legislator and to Gov. Tom Corbett.

Suggestions for Final Marcellus Shale Legislation - Read the Letter 

 One interest of note is the "suggestion" for changing a term:

Under Well Completion Reports

The provision in the House-passed version (§3222(b)(4)(i) (well completion reports)) should be harmonized with recently promulgated provisions set forth in Pennsylvania’s oil and gas regulations at 25 Pa. Code §78.122(b)(6) by requiring the stimulation record to include a descriptive list of the "chemical additives" in the stimulation fluid. This term should be used rather than “hazardous and other chemicals” as proposed.

Will you feel better knowing “hazardous and other chemicals" are now "chemical additives"?

The Players:

API is the American Petroleum Insitute:  largest U.S trade association for the oil and natural gas industry. It claims to represent about 400 corporations involved in production, refinement, distribution, and many other aspects of the petroleum industry.

API is also part of the VOTE 4 ENERGY, an industry and corporation funded ad campaign.

Vote4Energy is a project of the American Petroleum Institute representing more than 490 oil and natural gas companies, leaders of a technology-driven industry that supplies most of America’s energy, supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.7 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers more than $85 million a day in revenue to our government, and, since 2000, has invested more than $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.

Marcellus Shale Coaliton (MSC)
About the Marcellus Shale Coalition

Founded in 2008, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) is an organization committed to the responsible development of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale geological formation and the enhancement of the region’s economy that can be realized by this clean-burning energy source.

Members of the MSC are the oil/gas corporations, too numoreous to list on this blog. Click a link below to see the lists.

Who is Kathryn Klaber?
Prior to joining the MSC, Ms. Klaber was Executive Vice President for Competitiveness at the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Economy League.

Through the 1990s, Ms. Klaber worked in the environmental consulting business in mergers and acquisitions, environmental management systems, air and water quality projects, Brownfields redevelopment, accidental release preparedness, and other environmental initiatives.

She is a member of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee.

Environmental consulting business?  Which one?
Through the 1990s, Kathryn Klaber worked for the international environmental, health and safety consulting firm, Environmental Resources Management, Inc. (ERM), first at the company’s headquarters in Philadelphia, then in her native Pittsburgh. Her client work consisted primarily of mergers and acquisitions, environmental management systems, air and water quality projects, and other facilities’ engineering engagements. She supervised multinational projects, primarily for Fortune 1000 companies, involving staff from across the company’s 130 offices. In southwestern Pennsylvania, she worked with regional companies on air quality compliance, Brownfields redevelopment, accidental release preparedness, and a myriad of other environmental initiatives. During her last three years with the firm, Ms. Klaber managed the Pittsburgh regional office, responsible for all aspects of the practice including business development, product delivery, staffing, and financial management.

Environmental Resources Management, Inc. (ERM)
As a leading global provider of environmental, health, safety, risk, and social consulting services, ERM has sustainability at the heart of both our services and how we operate our business. We employ over 4,000 people with 140 offices in 40 countries worldwide.

For over 40 years we have been working with clients around the world and in diverse industry sectors to help them to understand and manage their environmental, health, safety, risk and social impacts.

The key sectors we serve include Oil & Gas, Mining, Power, and Manufacturing, Chemical and Pharmaceutical.

Who is Stephanie Catarino Wissman?
Director, Government Affairs
Stephanie Catarino Wissman joined the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry as director of Government Affairs in October 2007. Stephanie graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. With nearly 15 years of experience in government relations, Stephanie primarily serves as the PA Chamber’s energy and environmental lobbyist, with additional responsibilities including general business advocacy, transportation and technology.

Prior to joining the PA Chamber, Stephanie served as manager of Government Affairs for Embarq (formerly Sprint). Highlighting her career at Embarq was her work on Act 183 of 2004, commonly referred to as Chapter 30. Stephanie played a major role in passing this landmark telecommunications alternative regulation legislation, which has become a model for other states confronting telecommunications reform.

A registered lobbyist, Stephanie has also held positions at Pennsylvanians for Effective Government and Associated PA Constructors. She is a member of Women in Pennsylvania Government Relations and serves on the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association’s (PHIA) Board of Directors.

Governor Corbett Announces Recent Nominations, Appointments
HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett today announced the following recent nominations and appointments:

Stephanie Catarino Wissman, Mechanicsburg - Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Board

API: Announces Stephanie Catarino Wissman as executive director, API-PA
HARRISBURG, September 19, 2011—The American Petroleum Institute today announced Stephanie Catarino Wissman as executive director of the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania, a division of API, effective October 10.

Given the list of corporations, industry organizations, ad campaigns and the amount of corporate money being poured into the issue of fracking - do you really think they have YOUR best interest at heart or the interest of Profits?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

At what point does anecdotal evidence of harm become systematic evidence of harm?

Bradford County is at the front line of gas drilling in Pennsylvania. An accounting of suspected and confirmed private water wells that have been contaminated by gas drilling.

Why you need to know the Players

I started the spreadsheet about a year ago as a way to find out who is who, and where they would interact.  All corporations in any sector "talk" to each other, and it's not about how their golf game is going.  they talk business, coordinate PR, discuss issues/problems which effect the industry as a whole.

With any issue, it's just as important to know the "WHO" as well as the "HOW".  Corporations exist for two purposes:

  •     To protect the directors and management from personal exposure to liability
  •     Most importantly - to make money 

Just like the Watergate scandal - you have to FOLLOW The MONEY and CONNECT THE DOTS.

If you were to try and "map" out the "dots" it would look like many skeins of yarn, all tied together, and tangled by a herd of cats on speed.

Basic Components are:
  • Individuals (Management/Board of Directors)CorporationsFront Groups, AstroTurf Groups
  • Marketing (includes ads, universities, researchers)
  • Financial/investment interests
  • Political arena, including politicians, lobbyists, organizations .

All of these are coordinated to control the message, manipulate the markets, and pocket politicians to create the most "corporate friendly" environment to produce the most money.

Corporations are pieces of paper, it has no "human" characteristics, it do not rape, it has no conscience to direct concepts of right and wrong.  It exists to make money period.

Goodwin said there are limited ways to punish a corporation. “It is not a life. It is not a being. It can’t go to jail,” he said. “The only thing that it can do is help make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.” – U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin speaking about West Virginia Mine Settlement, December 6, 2011 

In Senate and House hearings, following the market crash of 2008, CEO's, one after another, stated "gee we didn't know".  How many were arrested?  ZERO.  Instead, these corporations were rewarded with billions of dollars.   Today, the corporations are working even harder to further deregulate and gut any oversight and standards of accountability.

Three books I strongly suggest you read:

This is what fracktivist groups need to understand.  Just like in a sport, you have to know the players, their strengths, their weaknesses in order to figure out how to use them to YOUR advantage

Connecting the Dots: The Marcellus Natural Gas Play Players – Part 2

Connecting the Dots: The Marcellus Natural Gas Play Players – Part 2
By Dory Hippauf
Chesapeake Energy –  Peeking Behind the Curtain

Connecting the Dots: The Marcellus Natural Gas Play Players – Part 1

Connecting the Dots: The Marcellus Natural Gas Play Players – Part 1
By Dory Hippauf
You Can’t Tell the Players Without a Scorecard!