Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Reasons why we fail: PERMITTING & REGULATING

Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Reasons why we fail: PERMITTING & REGULATING

I was talking to a county legislator tonight,
(Update 2016, I will now tell you it was Mario Nirchi -- BH)
who seems to take his job pretty seriously
to work in the public interest.

He was one of the few people asking tough questions
at a committee meeting about hydrofracking.

We were discussing the treatment of
fracking-flowback fluid,
at the Huron campus in Endicott.

Some components of the frack waste are:

1: radioactive solids which must be dealt with
2: VOCs which either evaporate (probably) or are captured (quite difficult)
3: salts (again presenting a disposal problem)
4: heavy metals

The best they can do is either

1: dilute it, then dump it
2: distill or condense it (concentration) then dump

(Dumping for either of these could be into surface water,
land spreading, shallow burial e.g. landfills, or deep injection)

or maybe:
3: incinerate it (dumping into the air)

any of which produce several nasty toxic by-products,
and are energy intensive.

These profit-seekers are really devious
and have actually learned how to take
some toxic industrial products and

4: Dump them in the food supply!
(No kidding! e.g., whey)

Lastly, they can
5: store it indefinitely in tanks

But it is a fact that all tanks eventually fail and leak.

What else can they do?

6. Shoot the toxic waste off into space?

We can't make this waste go away like magic!
There is no way to presently
dispose or treat this massive quantities of the
highly toxic waste product
s of fracking, which could be on
the order of Hundreds of Billions of Gallons in NY alone.

Even at a facility like Huron Campus in Endicott.
We want "throw it away"
but there is no "away".
There is only "here".

This waste simply MUST end up in our ecosystem eventually.
This is inevitable!
This is plain to see!

So when an Endicott "private business" offers to be a processing plant
for toxic wastes, we are saying that Endicott will be an
importer of these wastes, and these wastes will end up
in our air, water, and soil, locally,
or down stream and down wind.

But we are all downstream and downwind.

So the county legislator starts telling me about how all the
emissions are permitted and strictly regulated.
And the dumping occurs at facilities which
are permitted and regulated.

As if this was really OK!!!

I stood there in utter disbelief, not knowing what to say.
So came home and wrote this.

This is what I wanted to tell him (...and YOU!)

Here is
The problem with Permitting and Regulating:

My teachers at CELDF Democracy School
taught me an amazing truth:

With the regulatory system,
and to a large degree, even with the courts,
we are being herded into chutes and pens,

right towards our captor's bolt gun.

We have been subjected to a game
from which we cannot win.

The game is rigged,
utterly against us.

Note Well:

I am NOT saying "we cannot win".

This bears repeating:
WE CAN WIN!!!!(I am saying it is difficult to win THEIR game.)

There are lots of things we can do
to take our power back.

Freedom comes partly
in understanding how the game is rigged.

The game I am talking about is
a) regulation, and
b) permitting

So, I've been to quite a few public meetings lately
relating to Shale Gas Hyrdo-Fracking,
and I've seen a strange dynamic repeated
time and again:

First, I know and am in contact withHUNDREDS of people
who are desperately anti-fracking.

At the EPA hearings
speakers were consistently 2:1 against drilling!
Of the people with an opinion on the matter,
Use caution. Not now, why so fast, etc.
33% say Drill, Baby Drill.
And I believe these numbers are growing.


Yet, I attend these government meetings
and very few people (if any)
who sit on these committees
ever says anything negative about the plan,
or urges any restraint!!!

It's just go-go-go!
drill baby drill!
bring on the BONUS PAYMENTS baybee
"hey it's inevitable"
--we might as well do it safely--

Why is this?

The reason for this is
that we have given a frame
for viewing government
as being unable to stop extractive industries
and industrial pollution.

We have been told that
the function of government is as
Permitting and Regulating agencies.

They PERMIT extractive industries
(mines, oil+gas+coal, factory farms)
and they REGULATE pollution.

Read this very carefully
because this is really at the core of
this major mind trick:

In this way, they legalize extractive industries

and they legalize pollution.
The game of Permitting and Regulation is a Con Game,
a Mind-Trick of Mental Manipulation & Misdirection.

OK, were you watching carefully?
Did you see how we robbed you of your democratic process?
It's under one of these three shells!
Can you guess?
Nope, sorry, not that one....

It's OK, we're going to explain the trick in detail....

Let's look at "permitting" first.

Notice that the word "permit"
is ambiguous in English.

A permit can be a piece of paper issued by some authority
and, when we have permitted activity ,
well, this activity is proper, allowed, just fine, and "OK by me!".

So when you ask the guy
with the big truck
who is dumping solvents into the river,
what the hell he is doing,
he responds, "Hey, it's OK!
This is permitted activity!"

And he pulls out a piece of paper
and waves it around.

SO, this is a bit of psychological warfare
which has been played upon us.
The piece of paper means that "it's OK!"
...nothing wrong with the activity!

The person working in government says,
"my job is to issue permits".
They think about their job this way.

If they don't issue permits, they ain't workin'.
So the think they must issue permits,
and this then makes the activity "permitted",
meaning "OK" and acceptable

So these good people working in government,
our friends and neighbors,
have had a devious mind-trick played on them
and us.

Do you see how devious it is?

Now let's look at "regulation".

Let us recall that regulation began in 1887
with the creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC).

The Railroads owners were called ROBBER BARRONS
because they were doing all kinds of nasty things,
abusive price schemes, using slave labor,
not giving all people carriage, etc,

and then using various kinds of bribes of politicians
and newspaper reporters in order to purchase consent
for all the nasty things they are doing.

Kind of like how the Gas and Oil industry works today!

So there was widespread opposition to the railroads.
And there were congressional hearings. So the
railroad tycoons worked out a deal with the government,
the creation of the first federal regulatory agency,
the ICC, with the task of regulating "fair rates"

Note that the ICC was basically the idea of the Railroad tycoons,
it was a solution they could be happy with.

So from the beginning of the days of regulation, it was not
about "industry should not be allowed to do such-and-such",
but only how much of the bad activity is permissible.

And this is what we have with industrial wastes.
It's not "we shouldn't dump this toxic stuff ANYWHERE!"
and it's not "we should create this waste to begin with!!!",

no no no

it's only "how much dumping of solvents into the river is permissible"?

This is the frame we have been given,
and many many good people do not question it.

We need to begin to question this frame.
Repeat this message to all the legislators everywhere:

  • Not all activity which might be permitted SHOULD be!
  • This activity is NOT inevitable!
  • We all can do what we can to stop this unsafe activity!
  • YOU have a duty to protect our water, air, and COMMON LANDS!

It is time for all good people to awaken now.
We need all good people working on this issue NOW.

This is the time for a new Constitutional Convention.
We have to get back to first principles.
Wait... What do we stand for again?

Oh yes, something about PROTECTING THE COMMONS! ....
the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness ...
and that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.

... stuff like that...

------------- epilogue --------------
At the start I said,
Understanding the Game helps get free from it.

This is only true to a small degree.

Yes, ignorance is the root cause,
however, for most people
knowledge is not enough.

To really get free, it takes practice.

A practice of compassion, joy, kindness, and non-attachment

Peace + Courage to you all,

No comments: