Friday, September 25, 2015

Food And Water Watch apparently now thinks the Port Ambrose LNG import proposal might be a genetically modified organism in need of a label

What Eric Weltman and Alex Beauchamp of Food and Water Watch think is a crowd of people (hint you can count on both hands) and what they think of fracking and GMO"s disguised as their fight against the Port Ambrose LNG facility

One way to identify what people are really trying to say no matter what it is that their campaign purports to be about is to read the signs they wave. Literally. Food and Water Watch has long been on a misinformation campaign about the Port Ambrose LNG import proposal. According to them of course the project is secretly an export proposal and all the agencies looking at the paperwork are just too dumb to figure out what Eric Weltman and Alex Beauchamp divined without looking at even a shred of paperwork. Making Port Ambrose a secret and conspiratorial export project in the summer of 2013 provided a convenient excuse for Food and Water Watch to protest fracking on Long Island. Port Ambrose equals fracking equals climate change apparantly according to the photo above oh and also maybe the ships that pull up to deliver the gas are secretly GMO seeds too.

Apparently now that fracking has been banned in NY, Food and Water Watch's misinformation campaign on the Port Ambrose LNG deepwater port still won't stop as someone likely has given them money to fight fracking somewhere else. Its hard for me to understand how Food and Water Watch actually gets funding from anybody these days at all or how people can take this group or its leader, Wenonah Hauter, seriously . Then again I'm sure lots of people take the New York Sierra club groups seriously too and their track record on the Port Ambrose project is equally atrocious.

In today's other fun fracking news, Ted Glick of Beyond Extreme Energy and other groups (entertainingly he is currently employed as the national coordinator for a group called Chesapeake Climate Action Network) admits to being a "very dizzy and light-headed" guy. He's currently down in Washington DC on a fast protesting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissions practice of "communicide"( communicide to the non-initiated means FERC's approving new natural gas pipelines) and thinks his mental fuzziness might be attributed to his lack of food.

I would diagnose him with frack fever.

He's not alone. Lots of environmental leaders and progressives have become confused about natural gas in the last few years. They think its worse than coal.

More nuts in the news and nutty news: Susan Van Dolsen starring in "High Pressure- the pipeline that could destroy New York State"

Susan Van Dolsen, in the documentary "High Pressure: the pipeline that could destroy New York State"

Susan Van Dolsen, founder of SAPE, the acronym for Stop the Algonquin Pipeline took a turn on the other side of the camera and starred in the recently released oh so subtly titled "documentary" High Pressure- The pipeline that could destroy New York State airing currently on The Guardian. Not so long ago as part of a project known as Love New York Don't Frack It Up she produced a video about the rockaway pipeline that was mostly fictional and the video promoted a conspiracy theory created by antifracking activists and other environmentalist-- that the currently proposed Port Ambrose import project is an export project.

Brandon Lavoie makes a documentary one can watch on The Guardian. The filmmaker lives in Brooklyn which is not that surprising to me.

I wonder how many people Susan Van Dolsen and friends would like to take down with them. I doubt that Brandon Lavoie has any idea what it is he actually has captured with his "documentary".

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Notre Dame Chooses Faith, Science and...Natural Gas Now

While Pope Francis' visit to the United States as well as the recent release of his encyclical "Laudato Si', On Care for Our Common Home" with its focus on climate change has inspired at least one Catholic legislator to consider boycotting his upcoming address to Congress , others like Notre Dame's Rev. John I. Jenkins appear like the Pope to be more at ease reconciling their faith with science. A recent USA Today article demonstrates how Notre Dame, inspired by the pope, is choosing faith, science.... and natural gas.

The brief article discusses how the Pope's concern about climate change has prompted Notre Dame to commit to completely saying goodbye to coal in generating electricity on campus. Apparently, the University had already reduced their coal use substantially by switching to cleaner burning and more climate friendly natural gas, but will improve on those efforts by using even more natural gas in the short term, as well as investing $113 million in renewable energy projects.

“Notre Dame is recommitting to make the world a greener place, beginning in our own backyard,” Jenkins said in a statement and both natural gas and renewables are some of the tools the University has chosen to embrace in order to cut its carbon footprint by more than half by 2030. A SouthBend Tribune article explains how Notre Dame is acting on clean energy goals by:
1. Phasing out all coal use in the next 5 years
2. Opting instead to use natural gas in newer higher efficiency combined cycle combustion gas turbines to produce both electricity and steam
3. Investing in hydroelectric, geothermal and solar projects.

Apparantly I'm not that only one who's looked down at the stove and thought of the sun and flowers upon seeing the blue flames of natural gas as it would seem Art Director  Mike Powell  has too.

In news of an opposite nature, I just learned via the most fraudulent people I know (artists and activists who call themselves the Sane Energy project) that progressive radio's Patti and Doug Wood (apparently local environmental leaders) will be hosting a misinformation radio session on the Port Ambrose LNG IMPORT proposal airing on WBAI tonight. The title of the broadcast? "The Insanity of the Natural Gas Export Plan" where it appears the radio hosts will by broadcasting lies to the public about non-existant "giant export terminals located off Long Island and New Jersey."

As I asked once before, exactly when did progressive come to mean totally upside down or regressive? Patti and Doug Wood are scheduled to talk nonsense on WBAI tonight--their theme the Port Ambrose import proposal, a nearly three year old proposal which lots of antifracking activists and groups, environmentalists and progressive for some reason keep choosing to lie to the public about among other things

Here is something I absolutely did not expect three and half years ago when I began following the Rockaway Pipeline project. I did not expect the path would lead to finding myself at odds with certain people who call themselves environmentalists or progressive.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hilary Baum- Just One of the Influential Foodies Against Fracking Effecting Energy Policy

Back in the day, let's call "the day" circa summer 2012,  Chefs for the Marcellus founder Hilary Baum acknowledged that “We all cook with gas. We all use gas,” , according to an op-ed in the Daily News. The op-ed was about a Chefs for the Marcellus fundraiser and the headline read quite aptly  "Look Who's Cooking With Gas". The op-ed was even more aptly subtitled "From an anti-fracking group, hypocrisy of the first order". An excerpt from the op-ed follows:

"The only thing more delicious than the menu was the irony, because many if not most of those dishes were cooked over the bright blue flame of natural gas."

Hilary Baum wears more than one chef's hat in the fight against fracking, photographed with Bill McKibben, via a screenshot of Chefs for the Marcellus facebook page

According to the Hill, influential foodie Hilary Baum  of Chef's for the Marcellus, an organization whose website is no longer functional, is functional, also believes that public lands very far from the Marcellus shale should ban fracking, as in lots of places out west. The recent Hill opinion piece was about "The Protect Our Public Lands Act", a bill introduced into the current Congress that would ban fracking on all public lands. Unsurprisingly Ms. Baum, like many anti-fracking organizers or founders of organizations, leads or plays a role in more than one group. In other words she appears to be one citizen with extraordinary influence. 

The American Sustainable Business Council lists Ms. Baum's
  background as including "artisan food production, marketing, restaurant procurement, farmers’ market operations, and community supported agriculture," which leads me to believe that energy markets, natural gas production and distribution, and land management by federal agencies in the United States aren't necessarily her area of expertise. Apparantly this lack of expertise is no big whoop for the American Sustainable Business Council as she is credited in the Hill as directing their "Rethinking Fracking campaign".  

Last summer, lifestyle journalist Betsy Andrews, the former executive editor of Saveur magazine now the current editor at large of Organic Lifestyle magazine, gave a very big thumbs up to a Chefs for the Marcellus benefit per a link provided by RVD communications on social media. "Fracktails" were the attraction at this event at the Back Forty. RVD describes themselves as a  boutique hospitality PR and social media firm based in Brooklyn with "close ties to the media elite" in New York City on their website. I will leave it up for interpretation exactly what that might mean.

How does or did the influential foodie position on fracking square with NY farmers' position, on the subject? Well according to an article in from December 2013, it is at odds with the NY farm bureau the very people in NY state who grow some of the food that is cooked in restaurants. "NY farmers reject anti-hydrofracking position at Farm Bureau meeting" was the headline then.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Josh Fox and Friend's Interpretation of What Democracy Looks Like

There's a popular chant in activists circles that goes like this, "Show me what democracy looks like, This is what democracy looks like". Presumably it means that democracy requires participation, including some of the staples of activists and movements like the mass march or a small protest, a chant, and civil disobedience. In the rockaways however it appears that to Josh Fox and friends, including Zephyr Teachout, democracy looks like something much closer to theatre, the circus, a PR campaign or something Samuel Clemens might have written about rolling into town on a steamboat. The image above is a screencapture of a form of social media: a tweet, which is a modern form of communication, to Governor Cuomo from Josh Fox and Gasland. The picture that's part of the tweet is supposed to be representative of the rockaways, a peninsula with a population of approximately 130,000 people according to wikipedia, "demanding" offshore wind not LNG. The "community" is apparantly making this demand at a performance of A Solar Home Companion, which is described by Fox and Solutions Grassroots as:

"Lightly parodying NPR/Garrison Keillor’s popular “A Prairie Home Companion” the show is like an old fashioned variety show, with music, stories, film sequences, and Americana but with a new twist: this show teaches it’s audience how to go renewable and how to organize for a sustainable future."

It's not a picture of a very large gathering.

One could interpret what the anti-fracking battle is about by analyzing a Truthout's headline of an interview with Gasland director Josh Fox from 2012. One interpretration could be that this great fracking battle is really about who the American backyard or your backyard, your property or town belongs to. Is it Mr. Fox, and by extension the movement that he is a part of, or you or a larger group of people? There are people no doubt living in the southern tier of NY and in other places where the battle is being waged, who might see the war in this way. The anti-fracking movement has framed this battle in the press and other places as a fight for the American backyard between the community and the gas industry. It's David vs. Goliath. It's "the people" vs the corporations or the people vs big gas and big oil. In reality the great fracking pipeline war in real life looks like people battling other people.

If you asked me, in the rockaways, brooklyn and long island, the anti-fracking battle has always been about who will represent the interest of your community when it comes to your parks, your environment, your ocean, the climate, your energy choices and on and on. In a way the battle really has been about democracy, what it looks like or should look like or what's best about it.

The antifracking movement, or to be precise some people in it, spent years lying to the public about the rockaway pipeline project. They spoke over local stakeholders even going so far as to completely erase them from any narrative on the rockaway project's history and then they spent two years lying to reporters, politicians, the Coast Guard and people in communities all over Long Island, Brookyn Queens and Manhattan about the Port Ambrose proposal as well. In their preferred form of government, apparantly the only voices that matter are their own.

Is this What Democracy Looks Like?