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‘Clean’ Energy and Poisoned Water

Posted on May 25, 2009
AP photo / Keith Srakocic

A drilling rig used to bore thousands of feet into the earth to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale deep underground stands on a hill above a Pennsylvania farm.

By Chris Hedges

In the musical “Urinetown,” a severe drought leaves the dwindling supplies of clean water in the hands of a corporation called Urine Good Company.  Urine Good Company makes a fortune selling the precious commodity and running public toilets. It pays off politicians to ward off regulation and inspection. It uses the mechanisms of state control to repress an increasingly desperate and impoverished population.

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The musical satire may turn out to be a prescient vision of the future. Corporations in Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and upstate New York have launched a massive program to extract natural gas through a process that could, if it goes wrong, degrade the Delaware River watershed and the fresh water supplies that feed upstate communities, the metropolitan cities of New York, Philadelphia, Camden and Trenton, and many others on its way to the Delaware Bay.

“The potential environmental consequences are extreme,” says Fritz Mayer, editor of The River Reporter in Narrowsburg, N.Y. His paper has been following the drilling in the Upper Delaware River Valley and he told me, “It could ruin the drinking supply for 8 million people in New York City.”

Trillions of cubic feet of natural gas are locked under the Marcellus Shale that runs from West Virginia, through Ohio, across most of Pennsylvania and into the Southern Tier of New York state. There are other, small plates of shale, in the south and west of the United States. It takes an estimated 3 million to 5 million gallons of water per well to drill down to the natural gas in a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The water is mixed with resin-coated sand and a cocktail of hazardous chemicals, including hydrochloric acid, nitrogen, biocides, surfactants, friction reducers and benzene to facilitate the fracturing of the shale to extract the gas.

The toxic brew is injected with extreme force deep within the earth. The drilling is vertical for about 5,000 to 7,000 feet. The technology, developed by Halliburton, allows drills to abruptly turn sideways when they reach these depths. The lubricant and biocides propel the sand on a horizontal axis for as far as half a mile. The fissures created are held open by the sand, and the natural gas flows to the surface through steel casings. Feeder lines run from the grid of wells to regional pipelines.


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About 60 percent of the toxic water used to extract the natural gas—touted in mendacious commercials by the natural gas industry as “clean” energy—is left underground. The rest is stored in huge, open pits that dot the landscapes at drilling sites, before it is loaded into hundreds of large vehicles and trucked to regional filtration facilities. Such drilling has already poisoned wells in western Pennsylvania, Colorado, Alabama, Arkansas, New Mexico, Kansas, Montana, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. Those whose water becomes contaminated, including people living in towns such as Dimock, Pa., must have water trucked in to provide for their needs. Farm animals that have drunk the toxic mixture that has leeched from gas drilling sites have died. Cattle ranchers in Colorado, where drilling is occurring in close proximity, have reported that their livestock birthrates have gone down and animals are bearing deformed offspring.

“The single biggest concern is the release of poisons into the environment and its impact on all that live in proximity to the drilling activity,” the River Reporter’s editorial this week read following a visit to local drilling sites. “Large pits, lined with sagging black plastic, did not instill confidence that it couldn’t escape into the environment. And we wondered how migrating birds would know the difference between this body of fluid and an area pond. Ironically, the effect on animals became very real that afternoon when, upon our return, we received the news that in Caddo Parish, LA, 17 cows died after apparently ingesting fluids that escaped from a nearby gas pad.”

The New York City watershed lies within the Marcellus Shale. This watershed provides unfiltered water to more than 14 million people in New York City, upstate New York, Philadelphia and northern New Jersey. It is the largest unfiltered drinking water supply in the United States. And if the federal government does not intervene swiftly, it could become contaminated. The nonprofit group NYH2O has begun organizing in New York City, calling for a statewide ban on natural gas drilling to protect not only the city’s fresh water drinking supply, but everyone else’s. But New York’s notoriously corrupt state Legislature and feeble governor seem set to permit the drilling. 

The natural gas companies, not surprisingly, insist that the millions of gallons of poisoned water left underground or collected in huge open pits pose no threat to watersheds. Let us hope they are right. The truth is, no one knows. And these corporations, in a move that suggests the drilling may not be as benign as they contend, had their lobbyists ensure that the natural gas industry was exempted by Congress in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 from complying with the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, which is designed to regulate groundwater.

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By john_heat, January 4, 2012 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment

I guess even though renewable energy and such was created with the sustainability of the Earth in mind, corporations will eventually run away with it and end up causing more damage to the Earth than they can repair or prevent using these technology. I just hope Earth will not become a furnace to live in while I am still alive.

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By garth, June 1, 2009 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

I am saying that they, indeed, are who they say they are.  Only they are saying it with such sing-songy ads and advertising guile that the one scientist they’ve found from the University of Wisconsin who is willing to give voice to these half-assed claims, namely, that nuclear energy is safe, are misleading to an unwitting listener.
If you find fault with any criticism, then I should think you are a monitor, ready to jump at a moment’s notice to question any post that might hint to the devious nature of the whole advertising scheme.  Reminds me of a lawyer’s ploy:  If you have the facts, pound the facts.  If you have the law, pound the law.  If you have neither, pound the table,
To get back to the issue at hand, it is like George W.‘s Clean Air and Clean Water initiatives.  They did exactly opposite of what the name of the bills would imply.
Of course, your predilection or mission might be completetly different from mine.  I am just writing what appears to be obvious to me.

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By Night-Gaunt, June 1, 2009 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment

So far Garth you are the paradox on this. How about some indicators that EarthSky isn’t what they say it is. I mean in the body of their articles and interviews that say you are wrong. In fact I am tempted to say you are a troll agent provocateur unless you can give proof I can check on. It is a classic psyops of taking down an opponent is to paint them as a false face of the enemy (you) then you saying they are the enemy and you aren’t!

So Garth got anything you can quote from or better yet a direct link to? I am open to either way Earth Sky may be. Real or bogus. The same with Air America. Put up or…

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By garth, June 1, 2009 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

It’s a paradox.  They are supporting neo-Liberalism and wearing sheep’s clothing on a progressive network, so to apeak.
The network, for the most part, I assume, is looking for money from sponsors to stay on the air and they don’t review a lot of the ads that they broadcast.
Advertising seems to be a contradictory, mystical thing.  I keep remembering a friend who went to a sales seminar where the presenter kept reinforcing the notion that you sell the sizzle not the steak.
Al Franken did a take off on the oil companies who were trying to sell the idea tha CO2 pollution was good.
Iococca said in his book about 20 years ago that, “Americans do not know the difference between shit and chocolate ice cream.”
I think they are betting their adverstising investment on the fact that most people watch tv and listen to the radio, passively.
The neo-liberal and conservative platforms differ only in gay marriage and abortion.  The airwaves are being deluged with persuasive techniques to get the public behind what amounts to be a self-hamstringing.
With each household currently being in debt up to $55,000 I remember what Webster Tarpley said in his one of his books on Obama, “We will be flayed.”

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By Night-Gaunt, June 1, 2009 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

Garth why is it that would sponsor Air America if it didn’t support their neo-libralism? That confuses me. It seems illogical to spend money in areas that don’t give them back what they pay for. Can you answer on that conundrum?

To me this sounds like a way to sabotage Air America. What better way than to say the enemy is really running it. However my previous warning to be skeptical but open minded stands as caveat emptor.

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By Night-Gaunt, June 1, 2009 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

Garth why is it that would sponsor Air America if it didn’t support their neo-libralism? That confuses me. It seems illogical to spend money in areas that don’t give them back what they pay for. Can you answer on that conundrum?

To me this sounds like a way to sabotage Air America. What better way than to say the enemy is really running it. However my previous waring to be skeptical but open minded stands as caveat emptor.

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By Joe Schmoe, May 31, 2009 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

I am sure that the landowners in upstate New York would be more than happy to sell their development rights to NYC.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 29, 2009 at 10:47 pm Link to this comment

It is one of their tactics to mimic clean, green, local control cooperatives to hide their central control via corporate smiley faced authoritarianism and monopolist power.

Caveat emptor to all.

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By garth, May 29, 2009 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

Beware of!

It is currently sponsoring left-leaning radio programs like the ones on Air America. represents the neo-liberals.  The sing-songy, smarmy sounding voices advocate government takeover of water supplies, a super large energy grid getting into every nook and cranny of energy use, and nuclear energy. 
Progressive minded energy researchers support more solar panels not an extensive government controlled grid. 
The takeover of water supplies reminded me of Frank Lundt, Karl Rove, and Blumenauer (D-OR) from the Bush days, and the Bechtel intrusion into the daily lives of Bolivians via the takeover of the Bolivian water supply.  Bolivians water bills soared.  (On second thought, that’s what caused the Bolivians to drive out the neo-liberal cover band that was in control of the country, so that might turn out to be a good thing. Once people get a water bill as high as their health insurance, they might take to screaming a little.)
What it looks like is George Bush has finally been successful at something.  No one else would have been so callous as to take such a sharp right turn.  But he did and the Republicans lorded it over the Democrats for 6 years, or so it seemed.
Now, Obama is holding the reins and acting more like Bush than the President people hoped he’d be.
The Democrats are not lording it over the Republican, though.  Their part of the play is to offer sweet sounding neo-liberal overtures while the Republicans act like a pack of shepherding dogs.  Their maddening fury is scaring people right into the neo liberal trap. They are acting like dogs that are used to herd sheep.  This time right into the neo-liberal pen, a trap that proffers hope but in the end will turn out to strangulation.
The Democrats, for the most part, are staying out of the limelight while the Republicans are acting like rabid animals, for example, that fat guy on the radio.
Now, the old 60’s slur used by the radical left is accurate for the Republicans, they are “running dogs of yankee capitalist emperialism.”  The Democrats are the ravenous wolves.  And we are the sheep, or the sheeple as someone on this blog so aptly named us.

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By KDelphi, May 29, 2009 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

Night Guant—-The new “libertarian” “free mkt” “utopia”

I just cant resist….

The “seasteading institute” (Theyre going to live on concrete platforms at sea where no one can tax them!)

You gotta see this—Here is Patri Friedman’s (yes, that grandson) site, with him hugging a plastic mermaid…

No, its not Ayn Rnad—its a plastic Ayn Rand with fins!!


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By Night-Gaunt, May 29, 2009 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

The problem I have with Libertarians and other uber-Capitalists is that they think that if you let business be utterly free then the best aspects of human and business will come through. Except it doesn’t. Greed and the needs of the bottom line overrules any such lesser considerations as life and liberty of health care. Profit over life is what it reduces to. [This also applies to drilling operations and any other industries that pollute the environment.]

I see it happen time and again. It is an unpleasant commonality. Very rarely is it when altruism will win over the profit motive.

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By KDelphi, May 29, 2009 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

Textynn—Excellent post! It doesnt sound “conspiratorial” to me at all! I worked as Med. Social Worker for years, and, believe that the insurance industry IS a big conspiracy! lol. But, Im not kidding!

If people knew the goings-on of these coporations, they would be much more afraid than they are, and, would stop worrying about the ridiculous straw man of “choice”.

I’ve been treated under several “western” countries’ nationalized health care plans. Care was immediate , excellent, and free.

Until we break their stranglehold that multi-natls have on citizens (“consumers”—ie thats all you are good for), and can come up with a better system to protect resources and health than the scaled down “cap and trade” that was so histrionically argued over (why?? its almost nothing!), people will continue to suffer and die, and, all will be forced to pay for it—-except the elites.

How we get people to understand this, when money rules and, they have all of it, I do not know.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 28, 2009 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

It is killing the small businesses, their direct competetors though.

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By Textynn, May 28, 2009 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

Trojan Horse
Something that people don’t talk about much is the fact that the whole medical insurance industry was created to protect large companies against employees hurt or poisoned on the job.  These medical companies were expanded immediately to include townspeople as soon as they were able to figure out the model. These large companies created Medical insurance groups to protect themselves from anyone being able to sue them.  The current Medical Insurance Complex is a Trojan Horse!!  It’s much more than that now, but its true identity is the Trojan Horse.

In the famous Erin Brockovitch case we had all the victims of PG&E being served by PG&E company doctors. PG&E sent in their own doctors to take care of the sick town’s people and to treat them for problems they knew were caused by PG&E’s own toxins. These doctors, paid by PG&E, lied straight out to these people.  The first insurance legislation was created by Kaiser, a big corporation that specializes in mining and metals world wide. This is one of the dirtiest industries in the world. The Medical Insurance Agency is a Trojan Horse created to protect the world’s giant corporations ability to dispose of filth cheaply right in our own backyards.  Cheaply, if you don’t count the cost of human suffering, pain, grief, loss, etc.  They also enjoy the luxury of running dirty work sites that aren’t expensive to run with disposable employees.
If you have medical problems that the medical insurance group approves of or that won’t keep you from working all day, they will help you. Otherwise, you’re going to be put on the short list for ending service one way or another. The doctors operate without too much conscience because they are relieved of making these decisions by the bean counters and they don’t have to feel conflicted.  Any problems you might have involving possible exposure to industrial toxic chemicals will never be considered, tested for, or discussed. No matter how often you bring up this concern there will be no notes taken of this for the record.

I have been dealing with HMOs providers that are completely married to huge polluters in my town.  Very long story involving city water, 200 years of history,  the railroad and oil industry, superfund sites, and thousands of documented illnesses at world record numbers in my hometown.

Nothing protects a polluter more than a sick person with no access to health care. But to insure complete dominance of the land and resources at a cheap price, the medical health care industry provides a controlled health care designed to deflect victims from information regarding their illnesses and knowledge of exposure to chemical industrial waste. Most importantly, these victims are unable to create documentation.  They are completely censored from understanding and proving a case against anyone in any way.
This is the veiled truth of the Medical insurance companies. We are not just fighting the medical insurance companies for single payer health care; we are fighting all the other major polluters sitting quietly in the corner protecting their interests.

I know this might sound kind of conspiracy theory-ish, but if you think about it, you will see why big business isn’t clamoring to relieve themselves of the burden of health care.

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By KDelphi, May 28, 2009 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

Night Guant—Yes! What YOU said, better than I!! lol…

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By Bill Carson, May 28, 2009 at 9:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear KDelphi:

I see now how you could misunderstand my statement about the shale.  If you have the time and inclination, please look at this PDF document put out by New York State:

The link for the above document is on this page:

If you look at figure 4 of the document you will see an idealized cross section of the earth, which may or may not represent the stratigraphy of the Marcellus basin, but it still serves to illustrate my point.  The Marcellus Shale is only one of several shale units in the basin, so while it would be fractured, the other thick shales above it would not.  So, the shales above it would help to limit any upward flow of fracture fluids.

It would be better to read the whole document and form your own opinion because the writers have put a lot more time into the problem than I have. And there may be other documents which discuss the potential for communication of fracture fluids with surface waters somewhere on the New York State site.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 27, 2009 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

How can hydraulic fracturing not contaminate the surrounding area? The vibrations will cause the light weight fluids to rise and heavier to fall. Cracks will form all up and down the bore as it operates. The pressures of the fluid being forced down also acts upon the shale. Infiltration of the fluid through the strata will occur too.

Because of the corporate friendly, human unfriendly nature of the privacy laws for businesses despite our need to know such a threat is just evil! The so called “trade secrets” isn’t a trump on threats to human life. They must prove it isn’t a threat and not with a tame EPA giving their answer without any real research unbiased and free of influence. Those 8 million should be demanding to find out or shut them all down but they will trade their fuel for their lives. The pressure is now on us to accede to their wishes if not demands. A sad day for human kind.

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By KDelphi, May 27, 2009 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment

I didnt exactly have Earth Science (just the usual for “liberal arts”)...and I havent had a chance to read the website’s articles, either. But, it seems that if, for example, this:

“2) The natural gas being sought now, within the Marcellus and other stone formations, is not “under” the shale, but is rather trapped very tightly within the matrix of the stone itself. By describing it as being “under” the shale,...”

is true, how can this be true:

“The fact that there are thousands of feet of shale between the production zone and surface waters or shallow aquifers provides plenty of protection for water resources in the basin.  Also, if you are familiar with the mineralogical content of shales, you would take comfort in knowing that they are most likely to impede any migration of contaminants.”

If the natural gas is in the shale, how would the shale not release any contaminants if, it has to be broken up.How could you get it out of the shale without fracturing the shale? I said, I am not expert.I am just asking.

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By Bill Carson, May 27, 2009 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Lance-A-Little:

Thank you for the link to the BusinessWeek article which I read with interest.  While this article references the 2004 EPA decision, I have not read it, but plan to. IMHO, the article does not provide enough data to form a scientific conclusion.  But it is useful in that it highlights areas of concern.

It is not clear to me from the article whether the case of groundwater pollution in Wyoming is due to fracturing gas wells or just poor surface water maintenance at the drilling sites. I wish the writer had provided a link to the study that provides the data and analysis of the problem. It would be interesting to see what the background levels of benzene are in all the groundwater of the region, given that benzene is a naturally occurring compound.  It may simply be that the source of the benzene is natural and not a result of wrong doing by anyone other than Mother Nature. I have seen the same kind of panic in an area near my home where high levels of arsenic were found in private drinking wells and mining was accused of the problem.  But what happened was that people had built homes on naturally mineralized property and drilled their wells into veins of arsenic bearing sulfides.

I full well believe that contamination can occur from some drilling activities if the correct precautions are not taken.  But, I groan when I read articles that profess to know where the contamination is coming from.  FYI, I am very familiar with the statistics it takes to prove contamination sources, having assisted EPA for several years on these kind of problems.

I suspect your observation that state agencies are under pressure to push through projects is probably true, and I would not like to be in the shoes of the PA state inspectors who are probably getting pressed from both sides.  I have spent some time working as a state regulator in an environmental division and it is a thankless job.

There is so much to consider regarding fracturing gas wells that is is difficult to address it in a short article like Chris gave.  There are many other sources of information out there, so we all have our pick as to who we want to believe.

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By lance-a-little, May 27, 2009 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment

Dear Bill Carson,

While I respect your call for a scientific approach to this question, I urge you to consider that the fundamental characteristic of scientific inquiry is that it is based on evidence, not abstract reasoning.  Thus, while state regulatory authorities in NY and PA repeat industry claims that it is logically impossible for groundwater to be polluted by the hydrofracturing process, because they are thousands of feet apart, the evidence shows that it has happened repeatedly.  See, e.g.,
As the above article notes, a 28-mile plume of polluted groundwater was discovered in one particularly hard-hit Wyoming county; one water well there contained 1500 times the maximum levels of benzene.

The sad truth is that these state regulatory agencies are under intense pressure to ensure that the gas industry succeeds regardless of the consequences; in PA, for example, the Rendell Administration is counting on gas drilling revenues to shore up an ailing state budget.  You cite the papers put forth by the NY DEC to justify drilling, but they are no substitute for the verified reports of thousands of landowners who have been affected by this form of drilling. (see Business Week article cited above)

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By Bill Carson, May 27, 2009 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear KDelphi:

I’m not sure I understand what you mean when you say my comments and those of Dave can’t both be correct. I do agree with the factual basis of Dave’s two comments.  I would argue with him that the production of natural gas by fracturing is environmentally unsound, though I have briefly looked over his web site and he does raise some important issues regarding potential contamination of drinking water by gas exploration/production. I intend to read some of the articles he has put up when I get the time.

I have not done an in-depth research into the particulars of the potential problems regarding gas development in the New York portion of the Marcellus Shale basin, but I believe the technical aspects of the problem have been well researched based on findings found in documents at the New York State site here:

I know many aspects of geology as they relate to environmental issues are not well known to the general public because earth science is rarely taught outside of college.  But I still think any discussion of the impacts of natural resource production on the environment need to be based on earth science.

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By KDelphi, May 27, 2009 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

the last two posts cant both be correct, can they?

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By Bill Carson, May 27, 2009 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Chris:

I too appreciate clean water, but I am worried that the arguments against drilling for gas in the Marcellus shale don’t hold water.  I am not saying there is no risk involved because there is always risk in any project. I am not sure if you have any background in earth science, so maybe some of the scientific documents regarding the risks of shale gas development, as provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, are not particularly meaningful.  I have read a few of their offerings, which doesn’t make me an expert but I don’t see anything to be alarmed about.  The fact that there are thousands of feet of shale between the production zone and surface waters or shallow aquifers provides plenty of protection for water resources in the basin.  Also, if you are familiar with the mineralogical content of shales, you would take comfort in knowing that they are most likely to impede any migration of contaminants.

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By David J. Cyr, May 27, 2009 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

There are some significant careless errors in Hedges article, which are important to correct. The statement “Trillions of cubic feet of natural gas are locked under the Marcellus Shale that runs from…” is in error, for 2 reasons:

1) Those “Trillions of cubic feet of natural gas” which Hedges states “are” there are not actually proven to be there. They may be there, or may not be there, retrievable in the quantity that speculators have eagerly estimated.

2) The natural gas being sought now, within the Marcellus and other stone formations, is not “under” the shale, but is rather trapped very tightly within the matrix of the stone itself. By describing it as being “under” the shale, Hedges article unintentionally implies that the prize now tortuously sought isn’t much different from what was relatively easily collected in the past. It is that fact that these last remnants of natural gas, that are now being sought to maintain fossil fuel dependency, are so tightly trapped within the stone, rather than “under” it, that makes its extraction so very un-natural… so environmentally unsound that this desperate form of extraction, which does hidden underground what mountaintop removal does in plain sight, shouldn’t be allowed anywhere. It should be banned everywhere.

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By ControlledDemolition, May 26, 2009 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges,

Peace be with you.  I met you briefly last week in Berkeley at the KPFA evening MECA event, where you kindly answered a couple of my questions.  A follow-up…

Calling 911 an “inside job” is a bit of a misnomer, since “false-flag operation” is more accurate.  It did not require a lot of US personnel to pull off, so to my mind your argument that someone would have inevitably spilled the beans by now is untenable.  It only took a few key individuals to implement the stand-down (including Cheney, most likely) and override normal FAA regulations under the deflective guise of military drills arranged for 9/11/01.  As well, it took a few people to do the (probable) fly-over of the Pentagon to give the false impression that a Boeing 757 hit that wall.  And a few others, maybe not even totalling 19.  In a national emergency, subordinates fell into line; naturally a patsy had to be established at once for this “surprise” attack and the media was ready to propagate “what we have just learned.”  I link to more evidence below.

Stop.  No one is asking anyone to rage, “oh my ghee odd” and become a raving lunatic.  Rather, the call is for a new, independent investigation—with subpoena power to be real.  I hope you and all readers can review some of the materials in order to support that effort.

In a way, there is no “official architectural/engineering report” explaining why the Towers collapsed (in 12.5 secs!!) because evidence was cleaned up and destroyed immediately.  (That should be suspicious in itself.)  NIST however did output a report based on conjectures and hypotheses, using best available evidence that supported the official story-line.  Today, however, there are two important new resources.  First, there is clear chemical evidence that thermite exists in some randomly saved debris, indicating demolition.  See (link to the Chemical Journal publication, but major points appear on the webpage).  More critically thinking Architects and Engineers have banded under and are calling for a new investigation, too.  It’s a visually busy site, but please examine their points on the immediate right panel.

That’s physical evidence.  For me, there is no way a Boeing 757 went into a 16’ hole and disappeared.  That’s geometry.  Of course ... hem ... ha ... oh, yes, the plane melted so it did not leave any wreckage; no tires, no tailwing, nothing.  Huh?  Those 6-ton titanium alloy engines—made to take heat—melted?  Before or after the plane supposedly hit the wall?—because there’s still glass in the windows where the engines would have impacted.  For a good review (about 10 mins) of Pentagon images presented with an ominous flair (you might want to control the sound level), see  This video, though dramatic, outlines elements of critically important argument.  As you know, plane crashes leave fragments of the plane strewn around, except on 911.  For aviators weighing in on evidence, see

There’s tons of additional evidence to call into question the official 911 version, but I have tried to be concise here.  PLEASE NOTE!  This is not “in the past.”  The call to reinvestigate 911 is quite pertinent, and is trying to get on the ballot in NY (my emails tell me; I’m in CA).  It is quite contemporary with the Obama vs. Cheney exchanges.  It is overabundant in the political rhetoric in today’s campaigns, where 911 is evoked to rationalize all kinds of murderous behavior and fascist politics.  Today, hoy, now.

Thank you for your attention.  And thank you for your clear and insightful work!

Peace, Shalom, Salaams!

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By Levon, May 26, 2009 at 9:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Industries have been getting exemptions to environmental laws for decades.  From cosmetics to gasoline. Most cosmetic formulas are not known and gasoline has dozens of
cancer causing compounds in it.  Ever wondered why gas stations stations are not required to post signs saying that gas is hazardous and the fumes should not be inhaled and to wash thoroughly if it comes into contact with the skin. If they did, people would seriously freak. As they should. But if you don’t see the bodies coming home from the war zone then you are not reminded of it’s cost.

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By lance-a-little, May 26, 2009 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

To Jimmy Jaguar:  you act as if there is some dishonesty in the fact that locals who stand to lose from gas development, because they don’t own mineral rights, oppose it.  I would look at it the other way around:  the bad actors are those landowners who, because they expect to get rich from drilling, are willing to expose their neighbors to the risks of tainted water and air.  And those risks are very real; perhaps you should do a google search to read about Dimock PA and the groundwater contamination there, or Sublette County, WY, where a 28-mile plume of tainted groundwater was discovered last year.  And sorry, but financially interested locals are probably not the best informed when it comes to evaluating the risks of toxic pollution; the fact that Grampa had a well near his house and he didn’t die from it is not proof of safety.  For a bit more information in this regard, see the information regarding natural gas development on the website of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange—

Add to this proven record of toxicity the fact that even the most rural parts of the East tend to be more densely populated than those parts of the West where drilling has occurred most intensively, and you have a recipe for disaster on a much larger scale.  This is particularly true in the Delaware River Basin which, as Chris Hedges notes, supplies drinking water to millions of people in New York, New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.

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By Dave Schwab, May 26, 2009 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

Reverend Billy Talen, Green candidate for mayor of NYC, has made safe drinking water a central issue of his campaign. If there’s one candidate you can trust to put people ahead of profits, it’s him. Check out his website at

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By johannes, May 26, 2009 at 2:51 am Link to this comment

The problem is the things we don’t know.

In The Netherlands in the 70 ties, a Chemical industrie pumped his waste, down a pipe of several 1000 meters, zo that it could do no harm, o yes it toke about 6 years and it wash there again but now in een water fowel nature park, wather always gomes to the surface, and so does poisened wather, and other unwanted products.

In France where I live, if you start reading about waste, afther about 5 minits you close the book, other wise you can’t sleep enymore.

I think its not so to say 2 minuts before 12, but its more a quarter past 12, so lets start digging our graves.

Its maby to pessimistic, but if you see all the young people in Europe with cancer, there must be something very wrong.

Thats what I want to say, Salutations.

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By prole, May 26, 2009 at 2:08 am Link to this comment

“A 2004 study conducted by the EPA under the Bush administration ....was used to support the provision in the 2005 energy bill that exempted hydraulic fracturing from federal regulation” - and was also supported by the hope-and-change fracturing senator, Obama who voted in favor of this corporate-sponsored bill, as he did so many others. Anyone who could not see what was coming during the presidential campaign could not have examined corporate handmaiden Obama’s desultory record during his ridiculously brief stint in the Senate, as this and many other actions attest. “Corporations in Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and upstate New York have launched a massive program to extract natural gas” but the publicity campaign to sell the idea to the public and create a mass market has fizzled.  T. Boone Pickens, the former oil magnate with a big stake in natural gas distribution, and Aubrey McClendon, chief executive of Chesapeake Energy, the largest independent natural gas producer in the country, have spent close to $60 million in TV, national newspaper and web advertising to try and sell the so-called Pickens Plan to the general public; but bills introduced in Congress offering tax incentives to automakers and consumers to switch to natural gas vehicles have languished unpassed. With less than one percent of vehicles in the country now running on natural gas, their companies would substantially fatten profits if they could persuade millions of consumers to drive with the fuel — and persuade the government to subsidize infrastructure investment to make that possible. Chesapeake’s aim (teamed up with Pickens) as a company spokesman recently related it is to “try to inspire the consumers themselves to make contact with their legislators and say, ‘Help us!’” Apparently their pleas for mercy are largely falling on deaf ears among the public. In California, Proposition 10, the ballot initiative, which would have created $5 billion in general obligation bonds to promote purchases of compressed natural gas and other alternative-fuel vehicles, went down in a landslide at the polls — despite heavy financial backing from the Texan, Pickens. Not to worry, the rich and powerful may be out of step with the public, but as usual they have friends in high places. Last summer, while still in congress, political-fixer extrodinaire, Rahm Emanuel introduced legislation that would mandate automakers to build 10 percent of their fleet with natural gas fuel vehicles by 2018. It also included tax credits and other incentives and mandates to spread natural gas pumps to filling stations across the country. It never passed but former AIPAC staffer and financier Emanuel - who has also previously endorsed the crafty Pickens Plan - is in a much better position now to push something through, having the ear of the president on a daily basis. Urinetown for sure - where else would you expect a couple of shits like Obama and Emanuel to come from?

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By Night-Gaunt, May 26, 2009 at 12:38 am Link to this comment

“Small amount of waste?” You’ve got to be kidding. That and the fact that it takes an average 5-10 years for one to go on line, and the cost overruns etc. You get the idea? Even if there is a viable means of construction and dealing safely with the nuclear waste it will still be the lag time, cost and maintainance that makes it non-viable. The costs are astronomical and green house gasses are made from mining and processing of the uranium. Hexafloride gas is some 25,000 times the affect of the same amount of carbon dioxide. That and when the nuclear companies can insure their own projects without the gov’t backing them up. [See Price Anderson Act 1957, renewed 2002.]

We could do better outfitting all buildings with solar panels and solar film, better designs and use of power miser devices instead of the power vampire ones we use now. Utilize all of the other choices first then move to some kind of nuclear power. That and control our populations which are too high to sustain. I hate nuclear lovers.

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By niloroth, May 25, 2009 at 11:57 pm Link to this comment

and still the “environmentalists” march to the anti-nuclear power drum beat. 

Sorry, but you can’t be green without supporting nuclear power.  Want an almost 0 carbon footprint, and a small amount of easily contained waste that will actually power a city even at night and when the wind isn’t blowing?  Yeah, that would be nuclear power. 

I F’n hate greenpeace.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 25, 2009 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment

As the earnings go down because the better paying jobs go offshore or out of existence that will be the only place they can afford to shop at. Quite a nice circular system isn’t it?

In a large business dependent corporate culture and economy it behooves them to restrict us from doing more on our own. From growing our own food to generating our own electricity and selling it back to them—-the meter runs in reverse! Not what they want. It isn’t ultra profitable that way. It would be so much better if every structure on the planet was fitted with solar panels and the latest multi-spectrum solar film that is coming soon if isn’t already here. It would lighten the energy load we are already under and it would give the 3 billion very poor a chance for something more.

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By rockinrobin, May 25, 2009 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Capitalism is NOT the PROBLEM: it is EXPLOITATION which is the TARGETING & HARMING FOR PERSONAL PROFIT & GAIN: which our DICTATOR 1 party pretending to be 2:CLAIMED was the way “democracy” worked; it is A CRIME:THIS was the REASON for the so called “housing” crisis: which was ORGANIZED with Wall St & politicians & others WORKING TOGETHER; Hillary was in on the S&L fraud: she was promoted; even got to run for Pres; CRIMINALS are PROMOTED in this CRIMINALLY RUN GOVERNMENT FOLKS: but NOT TO WORRY: the GOV claims IT OWNS THE WATER in the USA: giving it to MONSANTO whom they have GREAT STOCK IN: makers of all those CHEMICALS to HARM you with; so they can get MORE MONEY from the PHARMA owned by ROCKEFELLER 93 per cent; and they ALL have GREAT STOCK IN! at $4 a generic, still get 600,000 times the COST of it; and deliberately misleading, deceiving the AMERICANS is a way of life! Gosh, wonder how many trillions they have in their off shore accounts from all the $ made from us PRIOR to the $4 generics?
Oh, the HEAD of the REP party, when asked WHY 2 parties when the AGENDA of BOTH IS THE SAME: stated: why, the people must have a CHOICE. THERE ya go, Americans; if you EVER UNDERSTOOD DICTATORSHIP you would KNOW what was going on! Oh, its backed up by our “judicial” system: they CALL to find out HOW to RULE!
if you SEARCH rumsfeld & monsanto you will see how the WORLD gave a sigh of RELIEF when charges of RACKETEERING & MORE was filed against TOP POLITICAL FIGURES here in the USA; but not to worry! Rbt GATES stated: there IS no international law! THEY aren’t going to follow ANY LAWS AT ALL folks: contrary to the PRES of the USA speech given for PUBLIC PERCEPTION today;

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By AbuMubarak, May 25, 2009 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

So now you can’t say you don’t know

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By AbuMubarak, May 25, 2009 at 8:09 pm Link to this comment

This stuff gets to be too easy to prove, people do not care because they benefit from the cheap costs.

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By supersnooper58, May 25, 2009 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

RE: Inherit The Wind…..I knew this awhile back but here’s today’s news:,0,3211333.story

yepper, he’s buyin’ it all up as we type….

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By hippie4ever, May 25, 2009 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

Alternatives exist but the corporates don’t want people living a decentralized, off-the-grid existance. Small, cheap wind machines can help take your home off the meter. They’re much cheaper than anything solar, which is unsubsidized & expensive to install. Add insulation, incorporating public transit/walking/cycling into your routine, planning your day. Limiting your urge to reproduce, using less, growing your own—all these alternatives work and are possible.

If we don’t limit our population growth, nature (human or otherwise) will.

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By KDelphi, May 25, 2009 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

Jimmy Jaguar—Yes, but, on the other hand:

What are the Largest Oil Companies on the Planet?
With the ever rising cost of motor fuel in most countries around the world, more and more attention has been focused on the largest oil companies in today’s market. Many people are not entirely certain what are the largest oil companies in the world today.

Before turning to focus directly on the largest oil companies in the world, it is interesting to look at the top ten largest corporations of all varieties in operation in the world today. The top ten corporations in the world today, the ten largest corporations in the world today are

Exxon Mobil
Wal-Mart Stores Royal Dutch Shell
General Motors
Toyota Motor
Ford Motor

Fully fifty percent of the largest companies on the planet today are oil companies:

Exxon Mobil
Royal Dutch Shell

One interesting trend that has been occurring in the past decade involves the merger of oil companies. Indeed, it is because of the merger of the Exxon and Mobile corporations that drove the combined Exxon Mobile to the top of the charts as the largest corporation in the world. Of the five oil companies that dominate the list of the top ten largest companies in business today, three of the companies are merged enterprises. The mergers took place only in the past ten years:

Exxon Mobile
Royal Dutch Shell

Of course you approve of your own wealth, but, what is being discussed is the common good, not just yours.

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By samosamo, May 25, 2009 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

Face it, how will anything get settled or come even close to being put back to right when 6.8 billion people will never become a whole to be as everybody else is, nature was not designed that way and most probably made to correct these situations in this way.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 25, 2009 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

Gov’t in general and the US gov’t in particular has had a long relationship over the centuries with corporations. [Read Gen. Smedley Butler and what he did for corporate America.] Aiding each other in promotion of control of others resources and influence between them. This is no different. Such mega corporations are their own nation. That is their allegiance.

Their “free enterprise” and “trade liberalism” is always from their point of view. From their advantage point. Monopolism and corporate cooperation produces high prices, shoddy workmanship and a decrease in choices from them. Pay is low and costs are high for the purchaser. Good for them is bad for us in this area. Such ideas of monopoly are like music to their ears, or billions in their coffers.

Once they control the essentials they can give us whatever they can foist on us including fake food and contaminated water. They are the most far removed from Nature. A very dangerous thing.

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By samosamo, May 25, 2009 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

Who needs water when we got energy.

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By KDelphi, May 25, 2009 at 10:43 am Link to this comment

Om Bechtel and Bolivia’s water supply ie economy: (some taken from Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine”)

What we are STILL doing in the Southern Cone of Latin America (although we are supposedly holding off on the Panamanian “free trade” Agreement) What we may end up doing in Afghanistan, etc.

FOR 21 years till 1985 Bolivia had been living under some form of dictatorship. In 1984 the Ronald Reagan Administration funded an unprecedented attack on its coco farmers. This cut the source of half of the country’s export revenue, triggering an economic meltdown. Inflation went up to 1400 per cent. It was in these circumstances that Bolivia entered into the 1985 historic elections. Jeffrey Sachs, then at Harvard University, claimed that he could turn around the inflationary crisis in a day. He was invited to develop an anti-inflation economic plan, Sachs advised “sudden shock therapy” to cure the hyper-inflation crisis…. University of Chicago, shaped the bipartisan economic plan prepared according to Sachs’s therapy Bolivia’s entire state-centred economic model was to be dismantled; food subsidies were to be eliminated; price control cancelled; government spending drastically cut. As a result of the shock therapy, a small elite grew far wealthier, while a large portion of the working class was discarded from the economy altogether. Full-time jobs were eliminated. Thousands of kids were undernourished. Families were forced to live in tents. When there were demonstrations against these economic measures and labour leaders went on hunger strike, quasi-fascist measures were used to force the plan.

Please note that this was “bi-partisan”

Sound familiar yet?

The Bolivian Water Revolt
I dont think it was mentioned in the article that Bechtel is suing Bolivian govt for $25 million…

Why Cap and Trade wont work:
James Handley: Obama admin’s plan offers too much to Big Coal and Wall St to meaningfully cut emissions


More at…

What to do:

To save planet, end capitalism, Morales says

From dandelion salad, para-phrase

The capitalist economy’s drive to ever-expanding production created a destructive and unsustainable relationship between human society and the natural world, Morales said.

“The thirst for profit without limits of the capitalist system is destroying the planet. Under capitalism, we are not human beings, but consumers. Under capitalism, Mother Earth does not exist. Instead, there are raw materials.”

This thirst for profit prevents pro-capitalist governments from responding rationally to the climate crisis — despite the immense scale of the threat.

As evidence, Morales cited the response of the US and European governments to the economic crisis. Although by November, they had “allocated [US]$4100 billion to save the bankers from a financial crisis that they themselves have caused, programs on climate change [received] 313 times less, that is to say, only $13 billion”.

The capitalist system “generates luxury, ostentation and waste for a few, while millions in the world die from hunger”. Dire poverty in the global South aggravated environmental problems and the unsustainable use of scarce resources, Morales said.

More forced “help” from the IMF, more “free mkts” and more CAPITALISM, is exactly what the planet does NOT need now. The uS should NOT ‘recover”, it needs to drastically change.

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By Shift, May 25, 2009 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

The perverse insanity of wealthy interests aided by misguided wannabees and purchased politicians is a prescription for the death of life on this planet.  In response Americans seem to say…!

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By Jimmy Jaguar, May 25, 2009 at 9:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Propaganda comes from corporations, comment pages like this one and the biggest propaganda machine - government. Blaming the invasion of Irag on corporations is ridiculous.  The largest U. S. oil company, Exxon/mobile, is only the 17th largest oil company in the world.  All the larger oil companies are government oil companies.  Financially Exxon/mobile cannot compete with the government run oil companies.  Our government chose to enter into a war that now allows them to control 90 plus percent of the known oil reserves not yet producing.  The U. S. government chose to use our military power as a nationalized oil company.  Don’t blame the corporations for the problems established by the U. S. government.  I was born and raised around oil production in Montana and Wyoming.  Much of the information in this article is blown out of proportion or complete fabrication.  Farm and ranch owners in the powder river basin in MT and WY are very happy with the oil companies and their business dealings.  Many grouped together to produce a infomovie to combat the propaganda of radical groups.  The ranchers and farmers that are against any development and the most vocal are the ones that do not own the minerals under the surface they own.  They do not share in production revenues to any great extent and fight any development as a manner of extortion. I suggest their is lies, damn lies and statistics.  One only need be on the ground to see the true facts of most arguments.  Yet the most vocal and aggressive parties most often are not locals or the most informed but the ones pushing propaganda for financial gains.  By the way T. Boone does invest in aqua.  It has most to do population but propaganda makes it about energy production. Production strata at 5-7000’ is a great reach to watershed surface waters. Most of this article is scare tactics. Little is based on “on the ground” facts. I enjoy truthdig very much but find this article relating to the truth only in claim by the author.

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By G.Anderson, May 25, 2009 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

The multi national corporations are killing this planet, and every living thing on it. There are so many toxic chemicals, from Bisphenols, to Glyphosate, 80,000 of them commonly used in the enviornment.

According to the Pig Corporations, these chemcials have nothing to do with the death of honey bees, amphibians, childhood cancers, breast cancer, prostate cancers, or gender bending.

At some point in time I predict there will be a huge sudden die off of humanity, millions of people from a slight mis calcuation in the effects of some enviornmental toxin, as opposed to the slow motion die off of millions of people, we are experiencing now from cancers, and lymphoma.

When that happens, the pig corporations usual tactic of submission by law suit won’t prevent the pay back that’s been long over due.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 25, 2009 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

Well, this sure opens a window on T.Boone Pickens and his loud lobbying and advertising for “Clean Natural Gas”.  One will get you ten he’s invested in water ownership and purification

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By Purple Girl, May 25, 2009 at 7:02 am Link to this comment

Seize back the natural Resources of the US from Multinational Corps who have proven they have no Allegience nor regard for the Country or it’s people.
Why have we allowed these Corps to poach on Public lands- suck out OUR Resources, devastate the area and leave Our citizens victims of their reckless greed.
True Capitalism means you enter the market with the WAres you Own or produce .These Energy Corps are afforded property they do not own to steal resources they are not required to purchase. Lease contracts only cover the property, not the exorbinate amount of Free commodities they extract- if It did we all should be getting our energy needs for free.At teh Very least they should be paying down any debt we incur- Exxon brought Down a record breaking 45 BILLION in profits while they charged US $4.00/gal. Not to mention the cost of operating their crusade to secure more oil fields in the ME through military actions- why the Hell aren’t these Oil Corps footing the bill- since they are the ones keeping it going until the contracts are signed with the Iraq Gov’t to control their oil resources too.
As for Our Free Market model- nowhere does it exclude “We the People’ from acting as a collective Provider of products and services- In fact the intent may have been the exact opposite. When only a Few Family Crests (Logos) own and control the nations resources- that is Not a Free Market.
We will never be ‘Energy Independent’- regardless of the source- as long as the few elite Logos are able to dominate and exclude ‘We the people’ from entering the market place as a competitor.It’s time to level the playing field and once again open the Free market Up to WE the People and make these corps compete within it fairly. Same goes for healthcare. These corps can offer their ‘wares’ and We can offer ours. Let the Market forces determine which will prosper and which will become extinct.

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By John Buoy, May 25, 2009 at 6:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris might consider correcting the reference to the Chesapeake Bay in P 2. While much of the gas drilling is in the Chesapeake (Susquehanna) watershed, the Delaware River flows to the Delaware Bay.

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