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A Fracking Murder Mystery


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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
12 November 2010, 5:49 PM
Controversial gas drilling technique hits primetime television

Art imitated life on CBS's hit crime show CSI last night. The episode, titled "Fracked," delved into the water-polluting form of gas drilling in which millions of gallons of chemically-treated water are blasted into the earth to extract gas from underground deposits.

The episode summary goes like this:

Two men are murdered right before exposing a natural gas company for poisoning residents in a farming town, and the CSIs must discover who is responsible for their deaths.

It's fiction, of course. But parts of the plot line were lifted straight from the headlines: poisoned wells, flaming faucets, sick people, dying animals, silenced residents. The scriptwriters even took care to include expository dialogue explaining how hydraulic fracturing is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Very true. And very scary.

Watch the full episode here.

Spoiler alert: ConservoSolutions, the fictional company which CSI detectives explain pioneered the process of hydraulic fracturing, ends up looking pretty guilty.

Funny, because Halliburton—the actual company that pioneered hydraulic fracturing—was issued a subpoena (PDF) by the Environmental Protection Agency just this week after it refused to disclose the water-polluting chemicals it uses in the process.

That's a detail the fictional industry representatives are also trying to keep secret in the CSI episode. Company-sanctioned murder aside, the parallels sure start to stack up.

Also on CBS, 60 Minutes is going to be taking a look at the gas drilling boom on Sunday 7 p.m. ET/PT. If you tune in, let us know what you think in the comments field.

The preview looks quite lopsided in industry's favor. Let's hope the full piece gets the facts straight: It certainly would be a shame if CBS's more realistic depiction of hydraulic fracturing ended up airing on its hit crime drama instead of its storied news magazine show.

Update:

I'm not going to lie. The first few minutes of the 60 Minutes episode (unfortunately titled "Shaleionaires") made us wince. Witness the loving close-ups of a brand new Cadillac purchased by a Louisiana gas leaseholder with his royalty check.

"I like the color," correspondent Lesley Stahl gushes. "Champagne?" 

"Gold mist," the leaseholder corrects her.

Barf.

But the second part of the episode ditched the car commercial shtick and got down to business, showing the dark side of the gas drilling boom: accidents, safety violations, air pollution, water pollution. A very telling moment comes at minute 9:41 when Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon plainly states "You don't want to drink frack fluid."

That's right, I don't. Which is precisely why this practice should be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Watch the full episode here and let us know what you think in the comments field.

"AMERICA the... RUEfull"

Oh beautiful for spacious skies ( heavily polluted...the Clean Air Act? Where....?)

For amber waves of grain ( Monsanto modified)

For purple mountains majesty ( imploded by coal companies and bank investments)

Above the fruited plain ( more genetically modified crops. Rachel Carson warned us)

America, America, a DIS-grace,( can't you see?)

And crown ( the corporately- industrial- complex) with killer- hood

From sea to oily sea.****

There's a new film out called "GASLAND" that everyone should see if they want the truth about "Fracking". It's a documentary from a young man who was approached by Halliburton to lease his land in Pennsylvania for Natural gas extraction. He couldn't get straight answers fromthe company so did his own nationwide search and interviewed peiple who have lost their health and livelyhood because of Fracking. Go on line and search "Gasland" or gasland the movie....it's a real eye openner....but no surprise,,,it's Haaliburton after all and satan is at the helm....Dicky Chaney......

It's time for the general public to understand just how much of a hand big business has in running this country. They have many polititians in their pocket. They have deep pockets and can spend all they want now thanks to the Supreme Court ruling. They play very dirty .. pretending to be grass roots and looking oh, so innocent. When in doubt, follow the money. Watch health insurance, pharmaceutical companies, oil, gas and coal. If the press doesn't have the gumption to do an expose, maybe the TV shows will get it done. Someone, please expose these practices for what they really are. The last 4 years has been nothing but 'spin' as the big corporations sought to protect their back ends. Sadly, the general public bought it hook, line and sinker. Wake up, America. That sheep in your field might just be a wolf.

We know of several people that are rightly afraid to drink our water due to local fracking.

@ddwills: It's called a plutocracy (like the late 19th Century), and it's going to get worse. I'm lucky enough to have retired and have a place in Costa Rica - my wife and I are going to relocate there. Good luck to y'all. Peace.

Maybe its time someone became a vigilantie and took out the very bad people who try to sicken the weak.

Eaiser said than done. But we are all trying very hard.

What company has found the misery of war in Iraq and Afghanistan profitable? What company invented "fracking" and has had its heavy equipment in northeast PA drilling wells, in the same area as Dimmock, PA, where incidents of pollution have been common? What company has been part of the ongoing (and it is ongoing) disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, due to negligence as far as cement used is concerned? And what company does the Board of Pensions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have investments in and won't screen, because the company makes money the church needs? Answer: Halliburton. My thought: put Halliburton out of business!

Haliburton is a corporate criminal. Their entire management team should be tried for criminal activity of MANY kinds. That includes Dick Cheney too.

I hope that these people have some exceptionally good health insurance. Unfortunately, money cannot buy good health.

I am stunned - each and every time I read about fracking - that our government is not protecting the people and our environment from this practice.

Halliburton has a history of criminal activities, as exemplified by their participation in the war between the US and Iraq:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- Halliburton cannot justify why it billed the Pentagon for $1.8 billion of work in Iraq and Kuwait, the Wall Street Journal reported today, citing a new Pentagon report. Pentagon accountants said they are uncertain as to why Halliburton's KBR unit billed the Pentagon $1.8 billion for the expenses, which represent 43 percent of the $4.18 billion the company billed the Pentagon for logistics work in the Middle East, the Journal said.

Why are we, the people, voting in politicians that enable Halliburton to continue their criminal activities - now exemplified by a supeona from the EPA? Why are politicians, elected by the people, allowing people to become sick, with their homes and drinking water ruined, and ignoring this whole nasty issue?

The politicians don't work for us. They work for the corporations and the rich people who fund their campaigns. We the People is now We the Money.

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