Is Regulating damage the answer to a happy, healthy and safe future?

PUBLIC NOTICE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT SCOPING MEETING

‘Price Canyon Oilfield Project (Freeport McMoran Oil & Gas)’ notice attached. WHEN: The meeting will be held Wednesday, February 19, 2014 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. WHERE: The location of the meeting will be at the South County Regional Center, 800 W. Branch St., Arroyo Grande, California. They are going to talk about how much damage frackers can do to the environment and what the privilege will cost them.   Its called pay to play. Nothing new.

Price canyon after Freeport?

It is a very good thing that there are those that do attend these meetings and ask questions. I am not one of them.  At the same time this public notice came to my attention another story about a similiar public hearing taking place in LA came up. They are both about Freeport-McRoRan Gas and Oil.

What I find so extraordinary is that one is a hearing before Fracking (SLO ) and the other is about a hearing after Fracking (West Adams) and the questions being asked are exactly the same. Who’s in charge? It is a little disheartening but at the same time an affirmation that our rights based ordinance is the right thing to do. Why? Because it gives us a right to sue the oil companies for violation of or right to Clean Water and Air. Regulations give the oil companies the right to violate our right to clean water and air.

I am sure the good people of West Adams attended all the public hearings before and asked all the right questions. But now many years later they are back complaining about all the broken promises, violations of the rules and regulations and misinformation that is making their lives miserable.

People, communities don’t have a right to sue for damages and therefore are at the mercy of regulatory agencies to do their bidding for them. That’s what all these hearings are about.

The Oil companies have a right to frack, pollute, rape and pillage at our expense with Loopholes, exemptions and immunities. Without a law asserting our right not to be fracked,  all we have a right to do is beg and plead with the regulatory agencies to, at the very lest look into the damages fracking is causing. They can’t ban it or even stop it, all they can do is regulate the level of harm and fine, penalize  them for going over the legal limit of harm.

These poor people in West Adam  are getting fracked and never had any warning of the unintended consequences. They are desperate. All they want is for it to stop. They are discovering and we should pay close attention to this, that once permission is granted in the form of permits to frack or explore or expand there is no way to revoke permission at least in a timely manner.

It can take years and indeed it has for many of these folks to get any resolution or remedy to all the violations but only if they can prove a violation has even occurred. You would think poisoned ground water, fire-breathing wells, dumps, spills, explosions, sick kids, dead animals, gag orders  would qualify as a violation but that is not how it works.

So just to be clear. This public  hearing is about granting permission, conditional perhaps and with certain stipulations but nonetheless granting permission that will not be revoked if there is a violation of the regulations. They get to keep dumping and spilling and polluting, careless disregard for the rules and regulations because they were just told  “be careful with your operation  or we will cite you for  and give you a stiff fine.”

Even the regulatory agencies don’t have a right to sue for violations. That burden is put on the individual property owners, homeowners, businesses, farms, which of course haven’t got a leg to stand under current laws, rules and regulations. Fracking is legal. So, trying to prove they are doing something illegal and expect to get restitution is all but impossible and the process will bankrupt you either way.

Our County wide Community Bill of Rights and Water Protection Act gives us and our partner, Mother Nature, legal standing and the right to sue the oil companies for violations of our right to clean water, clean air, and a safe and healthy environment for now and in the future. lawsuits are the order of the day. This guarantees we, the people and Mother Nature can sue if our rights are violated. This i a game changer. This evens up the score and cuts out the middle men and  Loopholes.  It’s our land, our water, our air, our oil and we have a right to say NO!!  There will be a lawsuit when this ordinance goes into effect but it will us suing the oil companies for even thinking about using trespassing on our right to a clean, healthy safe environment.

PXP, original operators of the Price canyon oilfields, was bought up by Freeport-McMoRan Oil and Gas. FMOG is a multi-billion dollar transnational corporation that has been in business over a 100 years. KCET reported Freeport’s reputations was so bad that, in 2012, they were nominated for “Worst Corporation on Earth” at the Public Eye Awards in Davos.Freeport has a reputation for misconduct and hellish environmental violations.

Is a company’s reputation taken into consideration upon the permitting process?  NO it isn’t. Even when we are talking about them moving in and sharing the same air, water and space we are all depending on and are using right now, their past deeds are not a consideration.   Forgive me for not believing for one second that they are going to turn over a new leaf and be outstanding neighbors.

Just saying folks that if in fact we can’t take their reputation into consideration at this point and we are being asked to just ignore their past then we have conceded our right to complain or call foul down the road. Evidence of this fact is what is taking place at the LA hearings in West Adam right now.It is not the planning, zoning, air quality control board, water boards or California Coastal Commission’s job to do background checks on businesses. All they need to do is verify that the company applying for a permit  has a valid current business license to operate.

And as we all know for a fact even the worst companies with the worst environmental records and reputations NEVER get their business licenses revoked. BP is going strong so is EXXON, CHEVRON, SHELL, all associated with major disasters. The worst that can happen to them if an ‘accident’ happens  is they are issued citations, not even a cease and desist order, just pay the fine and go about your business. Sure lawsuits are flying all over the place, lawyers get rich and still the birds and wildlife in the gulf are dying.  Oil is still oozing in Prince Williams Alaska from the Exxon Valdez spill  and here in San Luis Obispo county Avila Beach oozes oil from the spill in the late 1990s. Unocal began the cleanup of decades old oil seepage discovered years earlier from corroding pipes under the township, and which had caused a massive and toxic oil spill under the town. They razed the town.

Tank farm explosion  in San Luis Obispo April 1926 , 8,000,000  barrels of oil spilled, burned, escaped into the creeks, rivers, underground. Its a toxic waste area. “Nearly a century has passed, and we are still dealing with contamination issues,” Garcia a Chevon spokesperson said.

So what to do? Only one thing to do. It is our job, our duty, our responsibility to assert our right to life as only clean air and water can provide. And how do we do that? With a game changer. A rights based Community Bill of Rights and Water Protection ordinance that’s how.    But time is running out. Every public hearing gets Freeport closer to their goal of occupying our communal life support systems, air, water and soil.

Our goal is a countywide ban on Fracking and every city, municipality that sends a letter to the Board of Supervisors calling on them to agree to a adopt a countywide ban on fracking is getting us one step closer to our goal to KEEP the FRACK OUT of SLO.

Arroyo Grande has taken the first steps to getting their letter from their City Council. They are doing it!!!   MEETING IN ARROYO GRANDE FEB. 25, 2014 . The address for the AG City Council meeting is 215 E. Branch St. (Village of AG, across the street from Gina’s and Rooster Creek restaurants. ) It was formerly the fire station and has a large, 6 foot diameter clock on the outside of the building.  Meeting time is promptly at 6pm. Tuesday, Feb 25th. Map  Show up, show support, wave hands, don’t have to speak, being there is a big big deal. Let’s raze our collective selves every time a city takes the bold stand to call on the BOS.

Calling on Gov Brown to Ban Fracking before we have actually done it ourselves in a way seems like passing the buck especially if we really expect him to do it. Which I don’t expect he will. I hope I am wrong.  What is preventing us from getting letters from 5 cities, CSD, to the Board of Supervisors before we leave on March 15 to call on Brown?

Three other counties in the State have already committed to countywide bans slated for  the Nov. ballot. They will be protected from any renegade fracking operation wanting to stake a claim while under all the protections of  federal exemptions and absent State regs.  It’s a free for all out there right now and it is like they don’t exist and are invisible until something goes terribly wrong and then

it is too late.

And don’t forget the Nipomo spur extension. They want to bring in Tar Sands Oil from Canada by rail road cars instead of a pipeline.  Above ground, below ground, its all dangerous and we can live without It.  Regulating doesn’t make it safer but banning does.

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