This morning’s news is nothing short of an environmental double whammy.
As reported in the May 30 edition of the Charlotte Observer, legislators in North Carolina hustled through legislation this week that will greatly accelerate hydraulic fracking in the state. They squashed environmental concerns about the practice, stifled debate, and held no actual public dialogue (beyond the back room talks with fracking companies that were virtually allowed a blank sheet to write the regulations). All about jobs, the Republicans say, and energy independence. Never mind that North Carolina holds negligible amounts of natural gas.
If the potential damage to ground water (overblown, says the GOP) isn’t enough, legislators have made it a crime (a misdemeanor rather than felony as was first proposed) for anyone to disclose the actual chemicals pumped below ground in a process that pulverizes gas-laden rock. Republicans, riddle me this: if you say the process is not inherently dangerous, what’s the harm in the release of the chemical products? The legislature has also decreed that testing of groundwater will be lessened. Also removed from the control of cities is any sort of fracking regulation (I thought Republicans were all about local control?). The bottom line is fairly simple: companies get to abuse the soil and what’s below it, and citizen health gets screwed. Once the anonymous chemicals are injected into the ground, there ain’t no putting those liquid genies back in the bottle.
That same issue of the paper holds an even more disturbing revelation. The Associated Press reports “Species of plants and animals are becoming extinct at least 1,000 times faster than they did before humans arrived on the scene …” At fault: mankind in our incessant drive to control all we survey.
The lead author of a new study says “We are on the verge of the sixth extinction. Whether we avoid it or not will depend on our actions.” Mankind has already been taking action, but not of the good variety. “Species are disappearing from Earth about 10 times faster that biologists had believed,” according to Paul Pimm, the lead author of the study.
The prior five mass extinctions were all the result of giant meteor strikes. Perhaps we can round up the climate change naysayers/mankind-is-sovereign-over-all-species snobs (and the fracking supporters) and plunk them in the general vicinity where the next rogue meteor is supposed to collide with earth.
That’s an extinction I wouldn’t mind.