|Photo: Sacred Stone Camp|
One of the harsh realities of the Obama administration, despite a public commitment to address the threat of the atmosphere's rising carbon load, is the record expansion of the domestic oil and gas industry by way of drilling and fracking, greater than ever in our history. This is being done in the name of "energy independence," a strategy that Obama called "all of the above." Expand it all - solar, wind, sure, but the real ticket in this global economy was to get at our own oil and gas reserves. And that meant developing the technology to go after the hard-to-get stuff, the carbon stuck in shale rock or deep under the seas or all mixed up in the sands we call "tar" sands because what this is really is tar, not sand, and needs to be extracted and refined into a synthetic fuel.
And to get that stuff extracted and then moved to refineries and to market, the other thing needed was infrastructure - more and more infrastructure. More pipelines, bigger refineries, larger export platforms, super-tankers for ocean carriers, more rail cars, more frac sand mined from the rich sand hills of western Wisconsin.
One result is a real dirty mess wherever the expansion is underway, grave costs to the natural environment, irreparable damage - the boreal forests of Alberta, the poisoned water from the fracking process, the stripped sand hills, gone forever, the sites of hundreds and hundreds of pipeline spills.