Petroleum interests uber alles

Petroleum interests uber alles

Make no mistake about it, when it comes to pet industries of the State of Oklahoma Big Oil & Gas has a firm lock on the top spot.  Yes indeed, just last week the small government conservative majority in the state legislature and their rubber stamp governor passed a law banning municipalities from imposing bans on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and other oil and gas operations such as drilling within their boundaries.  The corporate bottom line drove this ramrod bit of legislation given that so much of the state’s revenues are derived from the petroleum industry at a time when a budget shortfall confronts those in control.  In contrast, the State of Maryland recent banned fracking altogether so they could evaluate the public health and economic dangers of the practice.  I shudder to think that it will be me and my fellow Oklahomans, those of us who live along this most conservative stretch of the Mother Road, who will be studied by the members of the Maryland state legislature!

It has been no secret that scientists at the University of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Geological Survey have indicated that the increase in seismic activity we have had here in the Sooner State is related to oil and gas drilling activities, particularly fracking.  The old saying is true, never mess with another person’s livelihood even if it is a public hazard.  You know you’ve struck a sensitive nerve when a big oil boss calls for your dismissal.  This is a state steeped in and handcuffed to the interests of Big Oil and Gas and no regulation or other interest, corporate or otherwise, is beyond ignoring.  The oily people will have their way and no nasty spectre, actual or conjured up, matters.

Arkansas Oil Spill

Eventually coming to a neighborhood near you!

I assure you nobody is laughing about this.  I have met more than a couple of people who live near where fracking operations are being conducted and I do not jest, their houses are falling down around them because of the increase in frequency and intensity of earthquakes.  Over 90 years ago the City of Tulsa implemented a no drill ordinance within the city limits.  Even then “black gold” had a place and in population centers was not it.  It is very evident that a lot of decisions with potentially long reaching health and safety consequences are being made and are driven by the corporate bottom line.

It was only a paltry ten years ago that I had a scanner, a fax machine, a digital camera and a big desktop computer to facilitate the use of them all.  I can now do 90% of the functions of all those with a hand held cell phone.  So, can someone tell me why after 100+ years of fossil fuel indulgence the mainstay of personal and mass transportation is a gasoline engine?  Sure, we have compressed natural gas, diesel and biodiesel and a few hybrid and electric motor vehicles but these, at least in Oklahoma, are a minority.  The oil booms and busts have been cyclical phenomenon in Oklahoma over the past hundred years.  The dalliance with ethanol mixture gasoline in Oklahoma seems to have run its course.  Most gas stations in and around Tulsa now offer ethanol-free gasoline, so it seems we are reverting back to our old ways.  I can only hope we will eventually break our addiction to fossil fuels.  I don’t see it happening any time soon.  The downside is we are going to pay dearly to serve that addiction.  The upside is we will serve as the quintessential bad example for progressive places like Maryland.

What you need to know about hydraulic fracturing