Brown takes heat on fracking


On Thursday Oct. 17, more than fifty people gathered in front of the Parc 55 Wyndham Hotel in downtown San Francisco to protest Governor Jerry Brown’s reception of an environmental award. 

Every year, the BlueGreen Alliance hosts its Right Stuff Awards dinner to honor prominent individuals promoting a sustainable environment and economy. This year, they selected Governor Jerry Brown as a winner in the government category. The choice enraged environmentalists, who congregated where the awards dinner was being held to voice their indignation.

Brought together by several collaborating organizations, including Idle No More and Gathering Tribes, the protesters blocked the entrance to Parc 55 as they awaited the governor’s arrival. Bearing signs with messages such as “Jerry Brown is Not BLUE or GREEN,” they yelled to drivers who honked horns in support as they sailed past.

They were upset by Brown’s support for Senate Bill 4, which he signed into law in September. SB-4 is California’s first legislation regulating hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking, which involves shooting massive amounts of water and toxic chemicals deep into the earth to crack rock formations and release otherwise trapped oil and natural gas deposits.

Widely viewed as flawed legislation that is far from what environmentalists had in mind when they called for the practice to be regulated in California, the bill allows fracking permits to be approved as long as oil and gas companies publicly disclose which chemicals are used in the process. The legislation also requires groundwater and air quality monitoring before operations begin. Environmentalists fear that SB-4 will lead to a dramatic expansion of fracking in California, by allowing access to the state’s vast Monterey Shale deposit, estimated to hold 15.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

“This award from BlueGreen is a travesty,” declared protester Steve Ongerth, after a flash mob of young people danced to the song “Toxic” by Brittney Spears, dressed in shirts spelling out TOXIC while donning surgical masks.

In the past several years, Governor Brown has accepted at least $2.49 million in financial donations from oil and natural gas interests. Environmentalists point to these donations as an explanation of Brown’s refusal to impose a moratorium or an outright ban on fracking, despite pressure from a statewide coalition of organizations calling for such protective measures.

They also blame him for the changes made to SB-4 in the final week before the bill was voted on, which followed intense lobbying by oil and gas interests. The amendments substantially weakened restrictions on fracking by removing some of the bill’s tougher regulations and diluting language intended to ensure that new wells go through adequate environmental review.

“Jerry Brown has sold out the California public for his own self-serving interests. He made a deal with the devil,” said protester Pamela Zuppo of 350 Bay Area. “This is a fracking bill gone wrong. It is referred to as a regulation bill, but it is not. It is an institutionalization of fracking bill and it’s the destruction of our democracy.”

When he signed SB-4, Brown said it “establishes strong environmental protections and transparency requirements,” but added that he plans to seek additional changes next year to clarify the new requirements. So far, details remain sketchy on what areas of the bill will actually be addressed.

At the last minute, activists learned that Brown would not be attending the event to accept his award in person. When this was announced, the crowd of protesters let out a cheer.

But environmentalists who remain concerned about fracking are keeping the pressure on. On Saturday, Oct. 19, activists from, Food & Water Watch and the Center for Biological Diversity held a march and rally in downtown Oakland to call on Brown to ban fracking.

“Over the past year, Governor Brown has gone against the wishes and best interests of Californians — the majority of which oppose fracking — and has clearly stated his support for the dangerous drilling process, said Food & Water Watch Northern California Organizer Tia Lebherz.

“By doing this he is embarrassing himself and putting his legacy and our state's future at risk."


become dinosaurs themselves...!

Posted by jslkfdrgh on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:46 pm

step up with your dimes and nickels to play!

Posted by jslkfdrghde on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

Expect many more obfuscatory posts like this one.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:59 pm
Posted by gloufdgki on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

Give us a $%#@-ing break already with your blatant denial of the disastrous environmental consequences of injecting KNOWN-CANCER CAUSING agents (e.g., Benzene, et al.) into the VERY WATER TABLE the People and Commerce depend on.

What, if you purchase real property in CA that contains Benzene (i.e., or other hazardous "pre-fracking" fluids), you are liable for clean up costs under CERCLA…but you seem quite content to just inject the same hazardous materials into the ground because (drudown, I can write this) "it could lead to more energy independence"?

That is about as logical as spending $4 trillion to invade Iraq over phony WMDs, i.e., when less onerous, more fiscally prudent means of State Action are available.

Watch 'Gas Land' and educate yourself.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 4:19 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

and gasland 2 is actually more concise and better informed by new data

Posted by vlkj on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

The demand for revenue and jobs is just too great. Revenue is another word for taxes, by the way. Taxes that feed our social services, from free milk for kids in the ghetto to pre-natal care for unwed mothers and right on down the line. Ask the people whose land the drilling in on-it can be a possible boon, and it's quite likely better than going offshore, which is going to accelerate as well. Have the women in that photo ever even seen a drilling rig or a pipeline? Are they aware that right up there with social media, facebook, etc, energy exploration is a bastion of the small guy- the entrepreneur? Venture capital at its best? Do some research, unbiased or at least on the buy side. Don't just latch on to whatever is coming from the anti-fracking vested interests. Some of these people depend on the hysteria for their livlihood.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 8:56 pm

And that movement is growing larger and stronger every day.

This, combined with the fact that fracking operators have vastly overstated potential tappable gas supplies in order to speculatively game the natural gas market, means that fracking has a very dubious future and that investing in it is a fool's game.

Environmentally, fracked gas is a disaster.

Economically, fracked gas is a ponzi scheme.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 9:27 pm

That State is currently booming, and it is all because of safe, clean fracking. Eat your heart out.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 8:33 am

Ask the residents of Lac-Mégantic (those that are still alive) or the residents of Pennsylvania who depend on bottled water for their drinking needs because fracking has permanently poisoned their groundwater.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 9:13 am

If you want clean water, then pay to live in Aspen.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 9:53 am

Maybe that's another vast right-wing cover-up?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 10:47 am
Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

Wasn't that a train derailment? Did the fracking goblins sabotage the tracks?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 11:29 am

We need a world revolution to kill the rich, eat them, and grab all their assets.

Who is with me, Eric, racer and marcos? For galactic dominance!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 11:49 am

transporting shale oil from fracking.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:37 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

have exploded and incinerated a town, so it makes a difference, fossil fuel cheerleader.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:58 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

Pretty much everything below this post is troll nonsense.

Read on at your own risk....

Posted by hkuhs on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:44 pm

"There Is A Global Uprising Now Halting Fracking In Its Tracks
And that movement is growing larger and stronger every day."

Eric is moving to Bismarck any day now to lobby against fracking in North Dakota!

He is so dedicated!

Posted by Lilli Racer X on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

He wouldn't know an oil rig if he tripped over one.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:56 pm

You got to love them, or least hope their parents do.

Now that it costs $8 for just a couple fingers of Bourbon, the local bars don't have the same cachet with clutches of pensive and argumentative intellectuals sitting around the table solving all of the world's problems.

But at least Brooks is heading to the Dakotas where he can do some good. So I guess they're not all lazy losers.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 5:08 pm

day debating philosophy with a bunch of other hopeless slackers and talking about how much better the world would be if only they could get off their asses.

Posted by anon on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

Has Eric ever had a real job? Working at the university bookstore before being fired for organizing a revolutionary Trotskyite cell doesn't count.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 5:37 pm

He maybe delivered pizzas on a fixie while at college.

Posted by anon on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 5:51 pm

Nothing personal bro', but let me guess..? You ride a fixie, may or may not have a driver's license, dropped out of college because you were unchallenged,hang out at the Zeigeist but usually only have enough for at the most three beers, love to remind people you're paying 50% or less market rent on your rent controlled apartment, hate the Google buses, hate encroachment by the techies, have zero savings, consider yourself a "real" San Franciscan, have never worked a nine -to-five, couldn't fix a leaky sink to save your life, have no idea what upstream, mid-stream, or downstream define in the energy sector. How many did I get right? Keep on keepin' 'da man!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 10:48 pm

I'll let you stew over which one it might be, because frankly, even if all twelve were true, it wouldn't have any impact or bearing whatsoever on my expertise, abilities and accomplishments.

I know lots of people who have lots of those qualities, who are all very good and effective organizers and human beings.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 11:13 pm

How do you explain the lack of warming in the last 16 years, even as CO2 levels have continued to rise? Is it just god's will, or whatever the equivalent of god's will is in the climate change religion?

Posted by Chromefields on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 6:32 am

There are important ideological dogmas to be repeated over and over.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 8:34 am

Just because 23.5% of the residents in California are below the poverty line, and just because fracking in California would provide tens of thousands of middle-class jobs, mostly in poor and Latino rural communities, is no reason to support fracking!

There is no need for middle class jobs - that's why we have welfare and food stamps!

Posted by Lilli Racer X on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:00 pm
Posted by Bonehead racer barrier on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

"welfare and food stamps." Otherwise, someone might be stringing you up about now.

What percentage of these "middle class jobs" are going to the residents of these poor and Latino communities? Let me guess, less than 25%?

What percentage of the profits will stay in the community after the resources are gone? 1%? 2%? Those numbers are probably to high.

Who will pay for the externalities? Taxpayers, that's who.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:30 pm

Oilfield jobs pay well, but are tough and demanding. Right up the alley for Latinos, but I doubt that a lot of San Francisco white liberals would be interested in getting their hands dirty.

I can't see a lot of Bay Area yuppies moving to San Benito County for work...

Posted by Lilli Racer X on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:46 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:52 pm

Whenever there's a big boon in CA building houses, or logging timber, or mining gold, or paving new roads, the vast majority of the jobs are often taken by workers from other states. Vast pools of highly productive, relatively low-skilled workers travel throughout the US, moving from one hot development location to another. And you can bet a lot of the better jobs will be taken by current ND workers who have recent experience. If CA workers are unemployed for long periods, when there are fair opportunities in the state if they're willing to move, it's unlikely the fracking industry will employ too many of them. Instead, another 100,000 people will move to CA and no new housing will be built for them, and rents will increase, congestion will increase, and of course pollution will increase from the increased driving and fracking activity.

Australians, Chinese and Russians are keen on extracting their minerals and polluting their country. Maybe the fracking industry and its itinerant workers should go here instead of CA.

My faint hope is that the environmental organizations tie up Jerry Brown in court for so long that he'll be long gone before any significant fracking activity happens in CA. By then we may have clearer answers about how toxic and polluting the industry actually operates.

The other answer was better: just increase taxes on family wealth over $10 million and redistribute it. Then the need for 40-hour work weeks disappears.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:37 pm

"And you can bet a lot of the better jobs will be taken by current ND workers who have recent experience."

Here's a clue - ND is rapidly expanding - they need a bigger labor force than they already have, not smaller.

"The other answer was better: just increase taxes on family wealth over $10 million and redistribute it. Then the need for 40-hour work weeks disappears."

We can just all exist on welfare! Party time! Who needs paid work?

Of course, once we've taken all they money from wealthy people, what will we do? In the long run, we are all dead.

Posted by Lilli Racer X on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:49 pm

tax-and-spend politicians gets them in his sights.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:54 pm

if the right wing successfully defunds food stamps and other income supports.

The poor will starve until they give the rich a haircut right above the shoulders.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:59 pm

armies to keep you at bay. I feel sure you'd have been happier in Russia 100 years ago than America today.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:19 pm

There's a thought.

Of course in the US it's more likely they'd be used for the troublemakers rather than for the elites who control the politicians, the police, the military and now the NSA that sees our every movement and reads our every word. I suspect my head would end up rolling around somewhere near Market and 6th St.

But Ghandi, Martin and Mandela we're right - there's no need for violence. We just need to tell the current elites and their politician handmaidens that their services are no longer needed. Silicon Valley is supposedly creating a Utopian offshore island somewhere, free from tax and regulations. I'm sure they'd accept the other elites and politicians as respected guests to thank them for their years of service and servitude. We could be gracious too and pay for their safe passage.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:26 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

worked as a dishwasher.

He helped beat two colonial powers in wars.

You suck up to the wealthy and still can't enter their ranks.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

actually get on and start one? Ho Chi Minh didn't win by ranting endlessly on a website that hardly anyone reads.

Posted by anon on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:55 pm

* Courtesy of the writers of The Wire, and voiced expertly by one of Obama's favorite TV characters, Omar. It's now an enduring part of the US lexicon, alongside other favorites such as, "Can't we all just get along?" Sorry Rodney (RIP), we can't when the politicians and elites and police are organized to repress the lower and middle income groups and deliberately concentrate society's wealth into the upper echelons.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

I feel liberated to live in a nation so free and so full of opportunity.

Posted by anon on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 5:25 pm

Weill & Brecht nailed the Burger King Revolutionary Syndrome in 1928:

(1928) Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill

You people can watch while I'm scrubbing these floors
And I'm scrubbin' the floors while you're gawking
Maybe once ya tip me and it makes ya feel swell
In this crummy Southern town
In this crummy old hotel
But you'll never guess to who you're talkin'.
No. You couldn't ever guess to who you're talkin'.

Then one night there's a scream in the night
And you'll wonder who could that have been
And you see me kinda grinnin' while I'm scrubbin'
And you say, "What's she got to grin?"
I'll tell you.

There's a ship
The Black Freighter
With a skull on it's masthead
Will be coming in

You gentlemen can say, "Hey gal, finish them floors!
Get upstairs! What's wrong with you! Earn your keep here!
You toss me your tips
And look out to the ships
But I'm counting your heads
As I'm making the beds
Cuz there's nobody gonna sleep here, tonight
Nobody's gonna sleep here

Then one night there's a scream in the night
And you say, "Who's that kicking up a row?"
And ya see me kinda starin' out the winda
And you say, "What's she got to stare at now?"
I'll tell ya.

There's a ship
The Black Freighter
Turns around in the harbor
Shootin' guns from her bow

You gentlemen can wipe off that smile off your face
Cause every building in town is a flat one
This whole frickin' place will be down to the ground
Only this cheap hotel standing up safe and sound
And you yell, "Why do they spare that one?"
That's what you say.
"Why do they spare that one?"

All the night through, through the noise and to-do
You wonder who is that person that lives up there?
And you see me stepping out in the morning
Looking nice with a ribbon in my hair

And the ship
The Black Freighter
Runs a flag up it's masthead
And a cheer rings the air

By noontime the dock
Is a-swarmin' with men
Comin' out from the ghostly freighter
They move in the shadows
Where no one can see
And they're chainin' up people
And they're bringin' em to me
Askin' me,
"Kill them NOW, or LATER?"
Askin' ME!
"Kill them now, or later?"

Noon by the clock
And so still at the dock
You can hear a foghorn miles away
And in that quiet of death
I'll say, "Right now.
Right now!"

Then they pile up the bodies
And I'll say,
"That'll learn ya!"

And the ship
The Black Freighter
Disappears out to sea

Posted by Lilli Racer X on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

morning muffin and a cup of hot chocolate.

Posted by anon on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:59 pm

Gun-owning conservatives are quaking in their boots at the thought of your revolution, comrade!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 5:27 pm

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