At last week’s town hall meeting in Presque Isle, Maine Governor Paul LePage closed out the event with a jaw-dropping claim that using “2015 mining technology”, aka fracking, doesn’t pollute. A link here to a few articles that dispute his statement.
- LePage: There’s a billion dollars of gold, in this county, according to the geologists in the state of Maine. I’ve never seen too many people lose money on gold and there are jobs.
Woman in audience: They lose money on the clean up after the pollution.
LePage: No. If- That is correct, if you use 1950 mining techniques, but if you use 2015, you don’t. We can argue that all day long.
Same woman: Do you have an example-
LePage: The point is-
Same woman: Do you have an example of a mine that does, that, using 2015 technology, that does not pollute?
LePage: Every single uh, fracking mine, uh, every single fracking, uh, operation in the country does not pollute.
(Incredulous laughs, loud murmurs)
LePage: We can argue it all day long, but the point is, you’re one billion dollars more.
Man in audience: Don’t drink water in Pennsylvania.
LePage press secretary Adrienne Bennett: (quickly) Right. Everybody, thank you all very much for your time, I encourage you to grab a booklet if you don’t have one already and again, thank you for your time.
Here is a letter published today in the Bangor Daily News in response to the governor’s claims.
Out of mind
Gov. Paul LePage’s recent response to a question about oil and natural gas production using a technique known as “fracking” stunned me. While stumping for his budget proposal at a town meeting in Presque Isle, the governor stated there were more than $1 billion worth of gold deposits under Aroostook County. One attendee pointed out that the cost of controlling mining pollution might exceed the value of the gold extracted. The governor disagreed, defending his opinion by claiming the fracking industry does not pollute.
Here is the exchange, as reported by the questioner, Ms. Shelley “Chicky” Mountain:
LePage: “There is a billion dollars worth of gold in this county.”
Me: “It will cost more than that to clean up the pollution they leave behind.”
LePage: “Maybe if you are using 1955 mining technology, but not with 2015 technology. There is no pollution with modern technology.”
Me: “Do you know of any mines using 2015 technology that have not polluted?”
Me: “Where? What mine?”
LePage: “Fracking. Every single fracking operation in this country does not pollute.”
The governor’s ignorance about the environmental impacts fracking is scary. Fracking uses enormous quantities of clean water, adding chemicals to make it “slippery.” Once used for fracking, the water is unfit for anything else. It must be treated or injected underground for our children and grandchildren to drink.
For the governor, the dangers of fracking truly are “out of sight, out of mind.”
UPDATE: As presumptive 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Ohio Governor John Kasich will be in Maine tomorrow and holding a press conference with Paul LePage, this seemed a good question to put forth on Twitter.
It was reported last summer in Youngstown that a business owner was sentenced to over 2 years in prison for repeatedly instructing his employees to dump toxic fracking waste into Ohio waterways.
- Between Nov. 1, 2012 and Jan. 31, 2013, employees of Hardrock Excavating LLC, which provided services to the oil and gas industry including storing fracking waste, made over 30 discharges of fracking waste into a tributary of the Mahoning River. Sixty-four-year old Benedict W. Lupo, then-owner of Hardrock Excavating, directed his employees to dump the waste, which included benzene and toluene, under the cover of night into the waterway.
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency on-scene coordinator Kurt Kollar was among the witnesses. In his testimony he said, “There was no sign of aquatic life, whatsoever,” in a tributary right after the fracking waste discharges, the Youngstown Vindicator reports.
According to previous reporting by The Vindicator, Lupo’s lawyers said he ordered his employees to carry out the illegal dumping in order to keep them working because the company’s wastewater wells had been shut over connections to earthquakes.
Yeah- because fracking isn’t just disastrous for our nation’s waterways, but has also been conclusively linked- in Ohio- to earthquakes.
A series of 77 earthquakes in Ohio — including one strong enough to be felt by humans — was caused by the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, scientists claimed in research published Tuesday in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA).
Small earthquakes have been attributed to fracking in Ohio before. But those earthquakes were all too small to be felt. Tuesday’s study is the first time scientists have attributed a larger earthquake to fracking, the process of injecting high-pressure water, sand, and chemicals underground to crack shale rock and let gas flow out more easily.
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