In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions, thence also of gates, doors, doorways, endings and time. Janus is usually depicted with two faces with one reflecting on the past and the other seeking the future.
Frackorporation would like to reflect on 2015 and see what 2016 may hold for us.
Many times we tend to look at the obstacles in our way and become discouraged. Overcoming these obstacles once seemed impossible; in 2015 we overcame many of them.
- Drilling in the Arctic has been frozen until 2017. Environmental groups hailed the move. “The Obama administration finally made the right choice for the Arctic and our climate future,” said Friends of the Earth Climate Campaigner Marissa Knodel. “Today’s announcement marks a significant step in the right direction, but it is disappointing that current market conditions and lack of industry interest — not a safe climate future — moved the administration to action.”
- Exxon-Mobil and other fossil fuel corporations were revealed to know about the impacts of climate change since the 1970s. Instead of addressing the threat, Exxon-Mobil and others poured money into climate denial campaigns and lobbying. New York Attorney General has begun an investigation into what did they know and when did they know it.
- The Paris 2015 Conference of Parties (COP21) on Climate Change made significant strides in pledging to reduce emissions by more than 50% in 15 years. This is a start, and now the real work begins.
- Pope Francis released an Encyclical on the Environment recognizing climate change has serious implications and calling on individuals to act.
- The seven-year battle against the Keystone XL pipeline was won in 2015. Defeating such a major project also marked the first time activists have been able to draw a line in the sand against an oil industry that had been seemingly immune to such campaigns.
- While fracking and drilling have been something that happens somewhere else to most Americans, the growing industrialization with pipeline infrastructure is reaching into previous unaffected communities. This is creating more grassroots and community groups to form and oppose it. People are educating themselves about the process of permitting, and what it means to them. They have turned their attention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
In January 2015, FERC’s former chair, Cheryl LaFleur, told attendees at a National Press Club lunch, “Pipelines are facing unprecedented opposition from local and national groups including environmental activists. These groups are active in every FERC docket [record of agency activities] … at our open meetings demanding to be heard, and literally at our door … so FERC won’t be able to work. We have a situation here.”
According to a survey prepared by Black & Veatch Insights Group entitled 2015 Strategic Directions – US Natural Gas Industry Report, 74% of the respondent cited delays by opposition as the most significant barrier to construction of pipelines. The Black & Veatch report stated expressed concerns where FERC has seen everyday citizens become unexpected interveners in routine filings.
- Adoption of wind, solar and other green technologies with many US businesses moving towards a true clean and affordable energy sources. Solar installations grew by 59% in 2015.
- Despite the drop in oil prices, demand for fossil fuels has not significantly increased to slurp up the glut. The International Energy Agency (IEA) which advises developed nations on energy policies said the global oil glut was set to worsen in the months to come.
With the glut of oil and natural gas, fossil fuel corporations are having a difficult time making profits. Drillers are desperate to find places to store and sell their product and this has created a pipeline construction and export terminal boom.
This boom has and will create more grassroots and community groups to oppose it. The PennEast pipeline currently before FERC saw over 1,500 Motions to Intervene.
The Kinder Morgan Tennessee pipeline, from Pennsylvania through New England as over 500 Motions to Intervene (MOI) filed so far. Deadline for MOI is January 6, 2016. However, problems with FERC’s computer systems, and holiday shutdowns prevented many people from filing MOI. This is resulting in a call to extend the deadline.
We expect mobilization of grassroots and community groups to grow with every mile of a pipeline.
2015 saw the fossil fuel industry successfully squashing the implementation of a severance tax in Pennsylvania.
Republican majorities in both houses maintained their protection of drillers from fair taxation. The budget impasse partially resulted from Gov. Tom Wolf’s effort to finally place a fair tax on the value of natural gas extracted from beneath the commonwealth. But their fealty to the gas drillers was so great that it preempted help for resident landowners.
This brings us to looking at the 2016 elections. All eyes are on the presidential candidates. While the election of a new president is important, even more important are the races for the US Congress and Senate, as well as Legislative races within state governments.
A President or Governor may command the bully pulpit, but it is the legislature which passes bills that land on the President or Governor’s desk.
Voting is the act of the PEOPLE. It’s up to us to create the government we need – not the one we deserve by staying home.
If we wish to change the laws, we need to change the lawmakers.
Frackorporation declares 2016 the Year of the PEOPLE. This means being involved, join a group, educate yourself on the issues, and most of all Get Local and Be Vocal!
© 2016 by Dory Hippauf