Progressive Dems Start Calling Out Polluters and Their Apologists

Toxic Sludge from ‘Fracking’

Dems seek EPA Natural Gas Drilling

Controls on Heels of NY Times Exposé

By Ben Geman –
The Hill

02/27/11 – A top House Democrat is urging EPA to quickly toughen regulation of natural gas drilling following a New York Times report on the discharge of dangerous pollutants into rivers that supply drinking water.

The Times – citing internal documents from EPA and elsewhere – claims that chemicals and radioactive elements in wastewater from gas projects are creating “dangers to the environment and health [that] are greater than previously understood.”

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sent EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson a detailed letter Saturday calling for “immediate action.”

“I am outraged that state and federal regulators were evidently well aware of the risks that the wastewater might pose, but instead chose to adopt a ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ approach to regulation by ignoring them,” writes Markey, the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee.

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The Truth Comes Out: The New York Times Bombshell on Natural Gas ‘Fracking’ Everyone’s Talking About

Drilling Down: Regulation Lax as

Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers

New York Times

Feb. 26, 2011 – The American landscape is dotted with hundreds of thousands of new wells and drilling rigs, as the country scrambles to tap into this century’s gold rush — for natural gas.

The gas has always been there, of course, trapped deep underground in countless tiny bubbles, like frozen spills of seltzer water between thin layers of shale rock. But drilling companies have only in recent years developed techniques to unlock the enormous reserves, thought to be enough to supply the country with gas for heating buildings, generating electricity and powering vehicles for up to a hundred years.

So energy companies are clamoring to drill. And they are getting rare support from their usual sparring partners. Environmentalists say using natural gas will help slow climate change because it burns more cleanly than coal and oil. Lawmakers hail the gas as a source of jobs. They also see it as a way to wean the United States from its dependency on other countries for oil.

But the relatively new drilling method — known as high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking — carries significant environmental risks. It involves injecting huge amounts of water, mixed with sand and chemicals, at high pressures to break up rock formations and release the gas.

With hydrofracking, a well can produce over a million gallons of wastewater that is often laced with highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium, all of which can occur naturally thousands of feet underground. Other carcinogenic materials can be added to the wastewater by the chemicals used in the hydrofracking itself.

Continue reading The Truth Comes Out: The New York Times Bombshell on Natural Gas ‘Fracking’ Everyone’s Talking About

Worker Solidarity Comes To Harrisburg, Too!


‘We Are Wisconsin’ Rally on Capitol Steps Draws 1,000

LARA BRENCKLE, The Patriot-News


Harrisburg’s Patriot-News

Feb 26, 2001

We are Wisconsin rally

Carla Crawford of Pittsburgh yells towards protesters during a We Are Wisconsin rally to show support for the state’s workers. Wisconsin’s governor and Republican legislature are seeking to end collective bargaining for state employees.

Tom Banks of Lemoyne (with flag) shows his support during a "We Are Wisconsin" rally to show support for the state’s unionized workers. Wisconsin’s governor and Republican legislature are seeking to end collective bargaining for state employees.

rally 2 0226 sds

Saying they’re sending an SOS for the American Dream, a thousand people gathered on the steps of the State Capitol this afternoon in support of union workers and the middle class.

Organized by Keystone Progress and dozens of other  organizations, the event was part of a nationwide day of action against efforts in Wisconsin and other states to eliminate collective bargaining for unionized state employees.

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Egypt and the United States – Victims of the Neoliberal Agenda

A revolution against neoliberalism?

If rebellion results in a retrenchment of neoliberalism, millions will feel cheated.
‘Abu Atris’ Last Modified: 24 Feb 2011 17:04 GMT

On February 16th I read a comment was posted on the wall of the Kullina Khalid Saed (“We are all Khaled Said”) Facebook page administered by the now very famous Wael Ghonim. By that time it had been there for about 21 hours. The comment referred to a news item reporting that European governments were under pressure to freeze bank accounts of recently deposed members of the Mubarak regime. The comment said: “Excellent news … we do not want to take revenge on anyone … it is the right of all of us to hold to account any person who has wronged this nation. By law we want the nation’s money that has been stolen … because this is the money of Egyptians, 40% of whom live below the poverty line.”

By the time I unpacked this thread of conversation, 5,999 people had clicked the “like” button, and about 5,500 had left comments. I have not attempted the herculean task of reading all five thousand odd comments (and no doubt more are being added as I write), but a fairly lengthy survey left no doubt that most of the comments were made by people who clicked the “like” icon on the Facebook page. There were also a few by regime supporters, and others by people who dislike the personality cult that has emerged around Mr. Ghoneim.

This Facebook thread is symptomatic of the moment. Now that the Mubarak regime has fallen, an urge to account for its crimes and to identify its accomplices has come to the fore. The chants, songs, and poetry performed in Midan al-Tahrir always contained an element of anger against haramiyya (thieves) who benefited from regime corruption. Now lists of regime supporters are circulating in the press and blogosphere. Mubarak and his closest relatives (sons Gamal and ‘Ala’) are always at the head of these lists. Articles on their personal wealth give figures as low as $3 billion to as high as $70 billion (the higher number was repeated on many protesters’ signs). Ahmad Ezz, the General Secretary of the deposed National Democratic Party and the largest steel magnate in the Middle East, is supposed to be worth $18 billion; Zohayr Garana, former Minister of Tourism, $13 billion; Ahmad al-Maghrabi, former Minister of Housing, $11 billion; former Minister of Interior Habib Adli, much hated for his supervision of an incredibly abusive police state, also managed to amass $8 billion — not bad for a lifetime civil servant.

Continue reading Egypt and the United States – Victims of the Neoliberal Agenda