Yves here. Although this intense focus on fracking may seem a bit wide of Naked Capitalism’s usual beat, you’ll see how the approaches used to cover up environmental damage, via lobbying and by weakening oversight to the point of near non-existence are similar to those used in finance. One of the bizarre assumptions that Abigail Field mentions is that chemicals “that are not expected to be consumed” are considered “innocent” as in safe, until proven guilty. Thus if all sort of industrial nasties that were never meant to be foodstuffs wind up in your water, the onus is on the victim to establish that it is hazardous. It’s hard to find strong enough language to decry this sort of reasoning; “corruption” doesn’t seem adequate.
By Abigail Caplovitz Field, an attorney and a freelance writer. She writes news for Benzinga.com and others, and posts a new blog every Sunday morning at Reality Check. Jointly posted with Reality Check
America is struggling with at least three major environmental policies: fracking, Keystone, and climate change. Climate change needs its own post. This one focuses just on the first two, which are so critical because of their potentially devastating impact on our water (again, setting climate change aside.)
The debate on whether to frack or not, whether to build the Keystone pipeline or not, focuses on jobs v. environment. The claims are two: the jobs will be many and good paying (and implicitly, there’s no alternative source of such jobs) and the environmental consequences are overblown because both fracking and oil pipelines are safe (or could be done safely.)
Both are flawed. Sure, these projects will create large numbers of good paying jobs, and we desperately need such. However, they are not the only way to get such jobs.
Building and restoring decrepit infrastructure is an easy way to generate good jobs. And we could invest in cleaning up contaminated soil and water too–the Superfund list is quite long.
Second, the track record of contamination and secrecy shows that both fracking and pipelines are currently done in ways that produce large amounts of contamination and have very high contamination risk profiles. (See below, after the corruption examples)
Let’s assume, however, that it is possible to frack and pipe oil in a way that poses very very little risk to our water supply. Do we have any reason to believe that is what will happen as fracking expands?
The answer is no, because of the corrupt relationship between industry and government at all levels. Americans cannot trust industry to act safely on its own; Americans cannot trust the government to ensure industry acts safely.
In such a situation: catastrophic risk profile, and inability to manage risk effectively, the only sane option is to not run the risk at all.
In short, unless and until Americans can trust that state and federal environmental regulators have the rules, culture and budget to ensure industry is operating safely, we must stop fracking’s expansion and we must reject Keystone.
Seeing the Corruption
An encyclopedic recitation of all evidence of government corruption in the environmental context would require a book. Below I highlight two recent examples from the coal industry, to illustrate what and how it happens.
First a housekeeping note: what I mean by “corruption.” I mean both something personal and something policy.
On the personal level, I mean people gaining money or power in exchange for enacting and enforcing public health policies that prioritize industry profits over clean water (or clean air and clean soil) and the health impacts dirty water, dirty air and dirty soil have.
On the policy level I mean the fact that such policy exists is a res ipsa loquitur case that the personal corruption is occurring.
Last, I’m not suggesting that industry’s viability is irrelevant to policy making; just that the pro-industry skew is so extreme it cannot be explained except through underlying corruption.
West Virginia and the Freedom Industries Spill
Freedom Industry’s January 2014 spill of a chemical into the drinking water used by about a third of West Virginians shocked locals and will have unknown but possibly quite serious consequences overtime.
Evan Osnos documented the back story to the spill for the New Yorker, a tale big coal’s cementing of power in West Virginia. The article is a compelling read, but here are the key bits for this post’s purposes:
MCHM—[the primary chemical leaked]—is part of a chemical bath that the mining industry uses to wash clay and rock from coal before it is burned.
Doesn’t sound like something I’d want to drink.
There are more than eighty thousand chemicals available for use in America, but, unless they are expected to be consumed, their effects on humans are not often tested, a principle known in the industry as “innocent until proven guilty.
How safe does innocent until proven guilty make you feel? How do you like the idea of being confronted with a chemical in your drinking water and not knowing just how bad it is?
…the [leak] site posed an immediate problem: it was a mile upriver from the largest water-treatment plant in West Virginia. The plant served sixteen per cent of the state’s population, some three hundred thousand people—a figure that had risen in the past decade, because coal mining has reduced the availability and quality of other water sources, prompting West Virginians to board up their wells and tap into the public system.
Note: an industry leak threatened the public water supply West Virginians had turned to because prior pollution wrecked their well water.
Does the “expected to be consumed” part of “innocent until proven guilty” consider the risk of consumption via pollution? If it does, why didn’t we know the risk profile of a chemical stored in tanks next to a river just upstream from a major drinking water treatment plant?
[West Virginia] has become a standard-bearer for pro-business, limited-government conservatism. The day before the chemical spill, the governor, Earl Ray Tomblin, delivered his State of the State address, criticizing federal environmental regulators… Tomblin, a conservative Democrat elected in 2011, cut corporate taxes … For the second consecutive year, West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection would take a 7.5-per-cent cut in state funds, dropping to its lowest level since 2008.
It’s very hard to protect the public without the money to do the job.
Things have been so poorly regulated in West Virginia that:
In 2008, the Charleston Gazette discovered that in a nearly five-year period coal companies had self-reported around twenty-five thousand violations of the Clean Water Act, but the D.E.P. had not reviewed the reports or issued a fine.
Can you imagine admitting you violated the law 25,000 times and never getting in trouble for it? Can you imagine relying on an agency like that to protect your drinking water from fracking or oil pipeline leaks? Indeed, it’s so bad that
In 2009, four environmental organizations petitioned the federal government to take over enforcement of parts of the Clean Water Act in West Virginia; they described the state’s regulatory system as approaching a “nearly complete breakdown.”
Also in 2009
… federal investigators from the Office of Surface Mining wrote that West Virginia had become so lax in its enforcement of coal-mining pollution regulations that “the consequences for violating the law, even when the violations are intentional, willful and blatant, are not significant enough to be a deterrent.
Nonetheless, nothing came of the petition to have the feds take over enforcing the Clean Water Act. How safe does that make you feel? Think the feds have your back if your state doesn’t?
This lax enforcement is not accidental; it is a direct result of policy set by Governors and legislators who directly benefited from, or were threatened by, the industry:
…Joe Manchin, the governor from 2005 to 2010, “said that when the industries see the D.E.P. coming onto their property he wanted them to feel comfortable.” Manchin, a Democrat, had prospered as a middleman who helped coal mines sell to power plants and other users. Once in office, he repeatedly advised the department to shift its emphasis from enforcement to “compliance assistance.” …
In 2010, Manchin left the Governor’s Mansion and ran for the U.S. Senate. …The American Chemistry Council, the leading industry group, spent two hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars on advertisements praising Manchin as the “Senator for Our Future.”…On his Senate financial disclosures, he has reported income of more than three million dollars between 2009 and 2012 from Enersystems, a coal brokerage that he owned. (It is now run by his son.)
“Senator for Our Future” of undrinkable water, perhaps.
But it’s not just Manchin.
The West Virginia legislature has proved vulnerable to the forces of outside influence. In the nineteen-eighties, coal companies converted part of the top floor of a hotel into a Coal Suite, where lawmakers could enjoy an open bar, a buffet, card tables, and private areas.
Today, the Coal Suite is gone, but, unlike in a majority of states, West Virginia industry groups and their clients don’t have to report how much they spend. In 2010, the Pacific Research Institute compared state laws on transparency in politics—the requirement, for instance, that a lobbyist disclose its spending on behalf of a client. West Virginia tied with Nevada as the least transparent in America.
Heck, who cares how much lobbyists spend on behalf of their clients?
The Democrat John Unger, a pastor and former Rhodes Scholar who serves as the majority leader in the state Senate, told [Osnos] that he has identified three steps by which lobbyists win the coöperation of his peers. “First, they try to wine and dine you. Then they try to set you up. And then they try to threaten you.”
“Set you up?” [Osnos] asked.
“Set you up in the sense of getting something on you so that you become beholden to them,” he said.
Industry punishes those who dare buck them:
In 2012, a coal-industry lobbyist asked Larry Barker, who was the chair of the House Energy, Industry, and Labor Committee, to advance an industry-backed bill out of his committee. Barker declined, and the meeting adjourned.
Afterward, Barker told me, a lobbyist “walks over and crowded me with his shoulder, kind of back to the corner, where there was nobody there but me and him. And I’m looking up at him, and I said, ‘What is it?’ And he said, ‘What’s it going to take for you to run our bill?’ And I said, ‘I want to look it over. I want to let the attorney look at it, I want the union to look it over.’”
“He said, ‘This is the last meeting. You can call a special meeting and put this bill on there.’ And I said, ‘Well, now, why do you think I would do that?’ He said, ‘Because we want it.’ We, meaning the coal industry. ‘We want it. Period.’”
“I said, ‘Well, we’ve reached a deadline. If I’m still here next year in this same position, if this is a good bill, I promise you I’ll run it in the first meeting next year.’ He looked me in the eye and he said, ‘That will be too late for you.’” […]
That fall, a first-time candidate backed by the coal industry challenged Barker and defeated him.
Don’t you feel safe and secure now, knowing that people who dare defy industry can be pushed out of office by industry’s deep pockets? Aren’t you confident that fracking and the Keystone pipeline will be pursued safely, with tremendous focus on potential public health impacts?
And although much is not known about the safety of the leaked chemical, note:
The company that made MCHM, Eastman Chemical, of Tennessee, had tested it on laboratory animals and given it a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration rating of “hazardous.”
Sounds super safe to me!
Dr. Gupta, the head of the [local] health department [said that he and his family were not drinking tap water]. The water at their house still had an odor….[Osnos] asked if there were any outstanding scientific questions, and he laughed. Then he said, “What is the metabolism and excretion of this compound in humans? Does it accumulate? Where does it accumulate? What is the carcinogenic potential? What is the teratogenic potential? What does it do to home pipes? How does it interact, if at all, with other compounds in water, such as chlorine? Does it form harmful or harmless products?”
Good ol’ innocent until proven guilty at work!
There’s much more in the article, read it when you can.
New rules designed to protect coal miners from black lung, which has been sharply rising, were announced April 23, 2014. As the Center for Public Integrity reported, the new safety standard was lower than labor and environmentalists wanted, but the Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, and Joe Main, the head of the Mine Safety Administration, touted the the new rules’ closure of existing loopholes.
From the Center for Public Integrity report:
Under existing rules, miners wear pumps that collect samples of the amount of dust in the air, but coal companies get to average five samples, meaning some miners could be exposed to dangerously high dust levels as long as they are balanced by lower exposures to other miners. Samples are taken over an eight-hour period, even though many miners now work 10- or 12-hour shifts.
Nice–assess safety based on an 8 hour average that didn’t reflect actual worker exposure. But it gets worse:
When an inspector is conducting sampling, companies are allowed to operate at half of normal production levels, generating less dust than likely would be present at full production.
So the average based on a short shift is further low-balled by cutting production in half. And this counts as a test?
When MSHA does issue a citation, companies often have been allowed to avoid fixing the underlying problems for weeks or even months, potentially leaving miners exposed to high dust levels.
Wait–even with the test rigged to be an artificially short sampling of artificially low dust production and averaged to minimize the chance of a high test result, the companies still fail tests and MSHA issues a citation?
The new rule allows MSHA to issue a citation if any individual miner’s sample is too high, mandates sampling over a full shift, requires companies to operate at 80 percent of normal production levels during sampling and gives the agency authority to order quick fixes of violations and step up enforcement efforts at mines that appear to be cutting corners.
Much better, but why operating at 80 of normal production levels? Why not a real world test?
Miners have long described what they viewed as rampant cheating of dust samples. Documents and interviews with current and former miners have revealed practices such as supervisors placing pumps in clean air or tampering with pumps after sampling.
Wow, nothing says ‘we don’t give a s–t about our workers’ more than stuff like that. The new rules require continuous monitors, which “should make such practices much more difficult, Main said Wednesday.”
No wonder black lung has been increasing. And again, we’re supposed to have faith that industry, unregulated, will protect us? Or that our governments as currently composed will? Not likely. Seems the best that can happen is closing egregious loopholes after tremendous health impacts have already been documented.
1. When the chemicals get in drinking water, people get sick.
Consider the $3 million awarded to a Texas family poisoned by fracking. For a more humorous presentation, see Aasfi Monvi’s Daily Show take.
2. Fracking destablizes the ground by causing earthquakes.
(At this point in the national policy discussion, it’s deeply misleading to say it’s not fracking, it’s the disposal well, that causes the quakes. When people think about fracking–whether to have it or not–they mean the industry as a whole, not the component parts of the process. It doesn’t matter if the fracking industry is causing the quakes at the start or end of the process. Unless and until the industry disposes of its waste in a way that does not cause earthquakes, it is fair to say “fracking” causes quakes.)
Fracking has been found to cause (or at least be strongly correlated with) earthquakes in at least Ohio (see here too), Oklahoma, Texas,and Kansas. Indeed, the injection wells pose enough risk that earthquakes in distant countries have triggered quakes at well locations, as this article explains.
What’s the big deal, given that these quakes are generally small? First, there’s no way of knowing they’ll stay small; each earthquake relieves stress but may build stress elsewhere on a fault. Second, earthquakes can change groundwater flow by producing new cracks in bedrock or changing the compactness of soil.
The ground water flow impacts of earthquakes are normally studied in response to big earthquakes. However, when you consider that source of the quake is pollution-laden water, the risk is clear: how can anyone really know where the dirty water will end up?
3. Only the companies know what’s in fracking chemicals. (One company, Baker Hughes, announced this April that it would voluntarily disclose all ingredients in its fracking fluid. Other companies say they will continue to use the trade secret exceptions.
How safe do you feel now? What’s in the fracking chemicals can make you sick, but we don’t really know what they all are, and we don’t really know where they’ll end up.
4. Home values
People whose properties are impacted by fracking pollution lose a lot of value.
5. NYC’s water supply.
More than 8 million people get water from upstate New York, piped untreated into New York City. Governor Cuomo is considering allowing fracking in NY. Here’s a look at where “initial” fracking is likely to be. Note it shows the key shale is in the watershed and that initial fracking (if approved) is expected to include areas near it.
Do you think that if fracking companies contaminate NYC’s drinking water supply they will pay for the treatment plant to clean it up?
This post is already very long, so rather than highlight the risks of the Keystone pipeline, see here for starters, which explains:
Catastrophic spills of tar sands crude in Mayflower, Arkansas and Michigan’s Kalamazoo River illustrate just how risky tar sands pipelines are. The inevitable spills from tar sands pipelines poison waterways, disrupt communities, make residents sick, and decrease property values. The unique chemical makeup of tar sands oil causes it to sink in water, making it particularly difficult to clean-up. The spill that occurred in the Kalamazoo River three years ago still hasn’t been cleaned up, and the total cost of redressing the devastation will top $1 billion.
Given that Keystone XL runs right over the Ogalala aquifer, one of the most important sources of water in the Midwest, the risks of contamination are enormous. Just one spill from the Keystone XL pipeline could destroy a water source on which hundreds of communities and thousands of ranchers and farmers rely.
So. Put aside for the moment the fight over whether or not it is technically possible to frack and pipe tar sands oil in a way that poses very very little risk to drinking water. Assume for the sake of argument that both can be done safely (ex-climate change.)
They won’t be.
Industry, and our governments as currently composed, won’t keep our water safe; they will put our lives, and our ways of life, at risk. In this context, the only way to manage these risks is not to run them.
This is an issue which deserves much more exposure than what it is being given today in states. I sit on a Township Planning Commission which is concerned with the invasion of its area whether it be with noise pollution from a state run rifle range operating from 8AM till dusk wreaking havoc with former Vietnam veterans who suffer from PTSD or other veterans. I was asked to serve on a committee to draw up ordinances to control the waste stream resulting from fracking. We had to abandon our efforts as the State of Michigan, “Pure Michigan,” had passed legislation which made it impossible for communities to regulate the waste steam resulting from fracking. It was already impossible to regulate where fracking occurred as legislated by the state. The state has a Republican legislature, and governor. Fracking presents many environmental issues which are unacknowledged by state governments.
You will find that other states (OH IIRC) have similar legislation. It’s appalling.
I don’t know if it showed up in Links, but there’s been an encouraging development here in Nebraska.
In short, the state judge ruled siting pipelines was the Public Service Commission’s job, and couldn’t be legislated to our Tea Party governor and part time Legislature. Little matter of the state constitution.
Good news that a) there won’t be a midnight fait acompli b) it’s a delay, and time’s on the side of the angles c) the PSC really is independent, and strongly technical in bent.
Their web site
Good for public input.
On the side of the angels. Damn you Spellcheck.
Rolling Stone reported last week that WH sources say Obama will reject Keystone. The White House is disputing this, of course.
“Exactly how the president has weighed the decision on Keystone is a closely guarded secret in the White House, known only to a few senior advisors like Valerie Jarrett and Dan Pfeiffer. But it’s no surprise that I was told recently by members of the administration that the pipeline would, in fact, be rejected. “If the president is really serious about his legacy on climate change, he can’t have that and approve Keystone,” an Obama insider told me. “The only question now is the timing of the announcement.”
Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/obamas-last-shot-20140423
Chris Hayes reported last week that 80% of remaining fossil fuel must be left in the ground to avoid catastrophic consequences. 80% is worth $20 Trillion. The 1% won’t walk away from that kind of money. If Obama rejects Keystone, the oil will be railed and trucked to our refineries. The Canadians don’t want the tar oil shipped west across their country. Their middle class is doing just fine, median wages climbing 20% since 2000 to surpass the US.
Do you have a link to the Chris Hayes article? I missed it if it was on NC.
Chris Hayes has a weeknight show on MSNBC.
lol don’t I feel like an idiot.
The corruption is wholly from the Left: They do not want a prosperous and free USA. Period.
1) there IS NOT CLIMATE CRISIS. None. There is no scientific proof , as opposed to a conjecture, whatsoever. None. There is no true “scientific” in the true and actual sense of the word to support it. Rather we have politicized pseudo scientics pushing a statis agenda at the beheist of their Left wing politic masters.
2) There is no serious “environmental threat” to fracking. None. Again, the Left are merely using this as an excuse to try to shut down the development of our resources to keep the kulaks in line.
3) Likewise, the delay of the Keystone pipeline cannot be excuse on an rational economic or environmental basis. Again, it is merely another attack on the reasonable development of our national resource. There is absolutely no excuse for not approving this. Few things could be more obvious
The Left hate this nation and hate Western Civilization. They will do anything to destroy it so long as they fell that that can rule over its survivors in the ruin. The so-called environmental movement has been wholly taken over by hard core Marxist of various stripes.
Along with this mob, a viper pit of opportunist and political sponsors. patrons and clients have gather round to pick what spoils they can out of the patronage of the Democrat Party. Thus it ever is with Democrat “crises” from Wilson’s “war Socialism” through to today’s AGW fraud.
That is it. There is no moral basis to any of the “environmental crisis”. None whatsoever.
The problem is the Left and their corrupt political machine: the Democrat Party.
Scarcely a thing that comes out of the the so-called “environmental movement” is an honest concern with “the environment”. They are incapable of even being honest to themselves. At best they are sick in the mind and souls; at worst they are traitors.
It appears that this sight is neck deep in “useful idiots”. Get over it and see who your enemy is. Stop regurgitating ther cant and agitprop. Stop imagining that you have some deep insight into this. You are being played for fools.
Gulag for you.
The principal customs of paid trolls are so bizarre. Imagine how truly sick this person must be.
There is a percentage of right-wingers for whom no fact is real. Nothing is allowed to disturb their delusional world. Give up trying to reason with them.
Re Keystone: I watched the Congressional hearings, looked at the independent studies, and read the section of the State Dept. report dealing with jobs and the economy. The oil will be sold to China and India. The jobs created are temporary and there are only a handful of permanent jobs. No such thing as it creating 42,000 jobs as claimed–it’s 42,000 existing business that benefit for the few months that the pipeline is built in their vicinity!
Yet Republicans claim Keystone will make us energy independent and create 42,000 jobs–all blatant lies. They lie about climate change too (no surprise there).
They are using that same kind of logic at the EPA where GM foods have to be found harmful to citizens first before they’ll do anything – leaving the onus on those being invaded by genetic modifications to prove harm. They err on the side of commerce rather than like in Europe where they err of the side of safety. That’s been the story of America for the last 20 years and that’s why we’ve fallen from being #1 to 3rd word country status in most areas. Oh but we’re still #1 in the amount of prisoners. Commerce for the sake of commerce alone is holding this country back from any real progress. A captured system retarding growth for profits.
There was an unusual alliance of “cowboys and indians” protesting in D.C. this weekend. They set up tipis in the Washington Mall. Nice pictures at Vice:
RWer’s deflect all arguments regarding the Keystone: see the State Department report. So I started to read it. And as long as you just breeze through it and look at the pretty graphs and do not thinking all will be well. Oh wait.
The study classified Oil Spills for a decade – there were 1600+ and ‘only 4%” were judged to be large. Uh oh – MATH. 160/yr * 0.04= 6+ / yr. Is everyone good with that ONLY Large Oil Spills per year. And buried within this report is at least one of the Chemicals used to facilitate the flow – Benzene – Everyone OK with benzene being added to the atmosphere for Oil that will never be used in the US?
And then there is the Bloomberg piece that explicitly details that the big scheme is that Gas Prices Rising is part of the Big Oil Plan.
I say sue the frackers and their chemical suppliers blind; it’s a fitting fate. If you drank scotch and you went blind, could you sue the company? Bet yer ass. Who cares if the recipe is patented. Patents are not a license to murder people for gods sake. On this very note today in ENEnews there is an article about long time 20+ years) workers at Hanford in Washington state (Nuclear site long decomissioned but not cleaned up) who were made ill not from radiation but from chemicals used in the clean up. That one will be covered up as well.
I’m guessing here, but tar sand product can be diluted/upgraded to a greater extent to mitigate some of the nasty spill characteristics of the stuff. Compared to fracking, the dilemmas of bitumen look more like engineering problems. Too bad the political economy leaves everyone with a healthy skepticism or even cynicism as to whether the right money and people are allocated to the problem.
I think the oil patch is overdeveloped…so has the supply of product has created a fait accompli case for pipeline construction?
Justice delayed is justice denied. Using this simple political rubrik, it is quite easy to believe that Keystone XL is dead. Living in Philadelphia, I have seen hundreds of tanker cars of crude on the railroad tracks in the holding areas in Farimount Park, approaching the I 76 rail tracks, crossing the river and heading to enormous S. Philly refinery complex of many different companies that have been there for over a century. Along the Delaware, the heaviest use of this fresh water port has been oil imports for decades. And now, natural gas is displacing old refineries, old coal plants, as it is ready to be consumed here and liquified for export as well. The Koch bros and other heavy hitting oil businesses lusted for the Bakken crude, but did not support Obama. My conclusion is simply that the oil has been coming in for years, to the benefit of the upper MId West and North East refineries and the Texas/Gulf oil interests are being told to pound sand.
To me me, it is never a question of the powerful doing much of anything good, but how much of what they are doing that may coincide with some benefit to me, in the strange bed fellows politics of temporary mutual interests. A lot of union jobs are being preserved by not moth balling these old refineries or re adapting them to gas. There is also the question of coal. The interests of the booming natural gas business requires that some how, the gas has to be absorbed by a market to realize the profit potential of fracking. Just getting it out of the ground does not mean it has make its way to market and be traded for cash. To absorb the tidal wave of natural gas, it seems that coal is being squeezed out of the mix. 40% of the electricity is generated by coal and that would be a great market for the NatGas.
Plus the brownie points for being the “Green Alternative” to dirty coal. Half of the coal in the country is produced by just 5,000 miners from the huge open pit mines of the West. The rest of the coal comes from the death traps along Appalachia, providing 85,000 jobs, mostly union. I am not sure who will be sacrificed to the NatGas industry, but it seems, natural gas lends itself better to labor costs not only in extraction, but also transportation and distribution.
So, while punishing his enemies in the South and the Koch Bros, and getting the patina of making a tough political decision in killing the XL, looking environmental, and stabbing the coal industry in the back in favor of crude by rail and NatGas for electricity, the Obama administration accomplishes a lot by delaying and delaying. It allowed for all of the tar sand crude to be brought to market by the the rail roads and sent East to his supporters, still generating jobs and really hurting investors, just hurting the ones he wanted to and natural gas gets to be sent to market in place of coal. It is coincidentally fortune favoring Obama’s administration, not deep abiding love of clean air and water that keeps the Western aquifers clear of the disaster from the XL. If there were not enough Tier 1 Railroads linkages to oil refineries on the East Coast and NatGas facilities already here, in the case of the huge municipal utility, the Philadelphia Gas Works, and others, the convenience of the delay would have to be attributed to pure spite of denying the South and Koch Bros. But alas, there were other opportunities to absorb the money making tar sand crude and fracked gas. Some fossil fuel interests had to be shafted to make that work and it looks like the losing end is a result of that, and not love of Mother Nature.
This sounds like an illustration of Banger’s “war in heaven” theory. Hopeful if true.