If one wishes to see wherein the capitalist termites hang out – who’d rather most citizens of the U.S. gets cancer but are unable to afford medical treatment- look no further than the bastion of reactionary finance: The Wall Street Journal. Thus, we behold Holman Jenkins, Jr. diatribe yesterday, blasting Matt Damon, U.S. movie goers, as well as Jeffrey Skoll (one of the luminaries behind the film ‘LINCOLN’) in his pro-fracking column “Good Will Fracking”.
According to Holman Jenkins Jr.:
“A shadowy Canadian billionaire coupled with Mideast oil interests sponsor a Hollywood propaganda movie aimed at luring Americans into throwing away their (energy) deliverance: shale oil”.
Of course, little Holman Jr. is wrong here, as there’s no nefarious conspiracy to hoodwink anyone but to do an end run around the American corporate Wurlitzer to get the word out about the bad energy deal posed by fracking and shale drilling. I already went into the pitfalls of fracking two blogs earlier, and shale oil drilling falls in the same dumpster. The reason: Both require more high efficiency oil to extract much lower efficiency energy. In the case of fracking the costs are in terms of pumping water under high pressure to extract gas and oil, thereby contaminating massive volumes of water as well as running up millions of dollars in extraneous pumping costs. The tradeoff in terms of cost-benefits is roughly 2 barrels of high EROEI (energy returned on energy invested) oil for one barrel of low EROEI oil or natural gas (when all the ancillary costs are factored in – including future health costs from drinking fracked water).
Shale oil, meanwhile, consumes roughly 1.3 barrels of high EROEI oil for 1 barrel of low EROEI oil, one reason the state of Alaska halted it (apart from its massive environmental destruction) some 8 years ago.
Not content with his slanders here, Holman Jr. goes on:
“They co-opt a name brand Hollywood movie star to be the useful idiot of their nefarious plot: except the poor schmuck actor is Matt Damon…and he’s making a real movie, albeit with its typically stupid Hollywood plot that doubles down on the conventional evil oil company stereotype.”
Except it’s not a stereotype! Check out any earlier blogs, including on the wazoos behind the Keystone Pipeline, and how its evil backers haven’t come clean on the weakness, vulnerability of the pipes and the potential for massive leaks and environmental damage. People in Colorado Springs, now facing the fracking monster of their own, are not sanguine that 20 million gallons a weeks of their precious water stands to be consumed and contaminated to get fracked gas. The costs of this so-called energy independence will be stupendous as the Springs and other communities face massive increases in prostate, breast, liver, kidney and pancreatic cancers. Costs that will likely break the bank!
And Matt Damon a ‘useful idiot’? Puh-leeze! I’m sure Matt would be elated to hear such rot, given a useful idiot on the WSJ staff (like Holman Jenkins Jr.) made it! Also, let us understand Matt willingly cooperated with the venture, after familiarizing himself with the dangers of fracking and shale oil development. (And, btw, everyone seriously interested, ought to see the documentary ‘Gasland’, to see just how bad the situation is.)
Little Holman is correct about one point, that the social fracturing over fracking actually began in neighborhoods, e.g. in Ohio and Pennsylvania, when a certain clique of neighbors accepted having their lands bought out for fracking while other neighbors – who refused – had to watch helplessly as drilling overcame their homes with all the nasty consequences.. (Including foul tasting water).
But that doesn’t remove the fact that the energy-oil companies were behind spreading the cash to buy out as many neighbors as possible, to the detriment of all others- who then had to watch as home values plummeted. Were the neighbors who remained pissed? You best believe it!
Holman then is right on his last remark too:
“What makes fracking fascinating is precisely the quotidian fact that, in every way, we are inclined to celebrate economic progress except when it disturbs our own familiar scenery and routines.”
Yeah right, Holman! Especially when such “disturbance” - from drinking fracked water- includes cancers of the pancreas, kidneys, prostate, liver, and breasts. Now – you can run that same line past all the future cancer victims over the coming decades. Just be sure you have another ditzy answer when they demand you help pay for the cancer treatments fracking caused!
For the rest of us, we will gladly thank Matt Damon for being part of an important film! As for Holman, I already crunched a rotten tomato into the paper displaying his column, regretting only I that couldn't have tossed it at his head!