A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Beware the Power of Persuasion

Brace yourself. The energy companies are currently trying to convince us through a barrage of television ads that there's no danger to our water supply from fracking and tar sand pipelines. It's a not so subtle effort at persuasion. Don't be fooled. These people are not your friends.

A currently running Conoco Phillips ad, for example, shows a small group of college students telling their designated "emotional" friend how utterly safe it is to bring up natural gas from below the water table for our use. "I'm listening," the young woman says. One of the students suggests he plans to snag a job with an energy company when he grows up. Are you convinced? Based on what these 20 somethings are telling us, there's no chance of Conoco Phillips polluting our drinking water through fracking. And no chance that the muck they plan to force into the ground and back to the surface again will pollute our land when they store it in waste ponds for years. Who says so? The experts at the energy companies, of course. (Don't ask them about a recent coal ash spill into Lake Michigan, a spill caused by the collapse of a retaining wall holding a large quantity of coal ash being stored long term. Things like that don't happen.)

There's another ad making the rounds involving a rodeo. We're all being taken for a ride by the environmentalists, or so the story goes. Additional regulation of well-meaning energy companies will only cost jobs and raise energy costs. Cute little puffing bulls. They've gotta be telling the truth. AP must be lying when they say that inspectors stumbled upon a 30-foot crack in a nuclear containment building and other abnormalities at an Ohio nuclear power plant last week. Apparently they don't usually look in those spots, but they've got things well in hand. We're all safe. Really. Well, not really.

Just think back on our recent power outage. Remember how they lied to us about when the power would be restored. Remember that Pittsburgh power workers ended up having to come to fix our lines and restore power. We never saw a JCP&L vehicle in the area for a week.

JCP&L's own audits point to a lack of investment in trimming tree branches over its lines and replacement of old poles as significant reasons for why so many of us lost power in the October snow storm, according to an excellent article in NJ.com. In other words, cutbacks in routine maintenance saved money on their bottom line and the hell with us; more money for stockholders is all that matters to energy companies. Heaven help us all if that had been a pollution event. 

Corporations aren't people. You can't persuade me.


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