The Fracuppiers

fracuppiers - Tom Shepstone reportsTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW

There is, perhaps, no better term than fracuppiers for the sort of individuals who now define the anti-gas, anti-fracking, anti-progress movement.

Our guest blogger and frequent commenter, Karen Orlando, who also publishes a blog called Outside Now, has coined a phrase of exceptional perception as to the true nature of so many of the opponents of natural gas infrastructure development today. She calls them “fracuppiers” and what wonderfully descriptive term for them.

“Fracuppiers” captures the fraudulent nature of the groups, which typically consist of well heeled sons and daughters of wealth with no obligation to earn a living and a fervent desire to be noticed, which they seek to satisfy by phony attacks on the wealth that allows them this luxury.

fracuppier utopia Isola_di_Utopia_Moro

Thomas More’s Utopia

“Fracuppiers” also captures the religious true-believer nature of the movement, which is not about the environment or safety or anything like that, but, rather, a blind faith in a utopian vision where they serve in the role of Plato’s guardians. There are many of them out there and they attract attention well out of proportion to the percentage of views they actually represent.

Some are fringe types who always been around and others, like Maya van Rossum (the Delaware Riverkeeper), Thomas Linzey of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund and Joseph Minott of the Clean Air Council operate under the facade of respectability demanded by elitist funders such as the Heinz, Park and Rockefeller families. What they all have in common is the fact they came from lives of comfort and, therefore, feel compelled to demonstrate their bonafides in the struggles of daily life. The only way to do that, without giving up what they have, is to engage in causes that draw attention to themselves. Scratch a fracuppier and you find an egoist.

Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 4.55.14 AMJohn Abbe, who we profiled the other day, offered a perfect example of the fringe type. He was arrested the other day in Watkins Glen for blocking the gates to Crestwood’s facilities up there in opposition to the company’s plans for propane and natural gas storage.

Sandra Steingraber was also there and arrested again as part of her long-running “Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee” campaign. She does a great handcuffs pose for these events (photo to right) and one can imagine it will be part of her next book, where she plays the heroine. No doubt she’ll write it from her natural gas heated house in Trumansburg, NY, on the fringe of the fringe known as Planet Ithaca.

Then, there is her husband, Jeff de Castro, a sculptor and art restoration specialist, who was also arrested as part of the “We Are Seneca Lake” blockade.

The story reporting the arrest of de Castro indicates 10 people altogether were arrested that day. All but two lived outside the Seneca Lake watershed, raising an obvious dilemma. After all, if you can be from Oregon and Omaha and still call yourself the “we” in “We Are Seneca Lake” then every reader of this post is similarly entitled, including me. And, as a new member of “We Are Seneca Lake,” I say proceed full speed ahead with those Crestwood plans and may they include cutting off the gas supply to Trumansburg and Ithaca with a redirection of the flow to Buffalo, which obviously needs it a lot more than them about now.

The opposition is focused, of course, not on propane or storage but, rather, fracking; their all-purpose generic term for natural gas development. It is this they really oppose because they mistakenly believe shale gas is a threat to their utopian vision of a world run on renewables, which serves as their prospective “heaven on earth” for these true believers. Fracuppiers feel threatened. The utopian world where they get to play masters is, in their closed minds, challenged by inexpensive and plentiful shale gas and, therefore, must be destroyed.

20120223-Plato Anselm_Feuerbach_002

Plato’s Guardians

We see a similar dynamic on Karen Orlando’s turf, where the Rockaway Pipeline is the focus of fracuppier wrath. This very biased blog post by Karla Ann Cote, for example, serves up one bit of distortion after another, offering the following:

“The opposition fears that this pipeline will bring natural gas retrieved using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to New York City.”

If New York City residents fear tracked gas, it’s due to nonsense such as this. The fact is that most of the natural gas New York City is now using is already “retrieved using hydraulic fracturing” and has been for some time because it comes via pipelines such as the Millennium, which pulls it directly from the Marcellus Shale fields, stores it temporarily at Crestwood’s Owego, NY storage site, and then pushes it to the Big Apple as needed. The major pipelines serving the metro area are all delivering fracked gas because the south to north flow of conventional gas has largely been reversed with the booming Marcellus and Utica production.

Perpetuating the myths that tracked gas is somehow dangerous and that New York City can have its gas and be anti-fracking, too, are the work of fracuppiers such as Karla Ann Cote who, unsurprisingly, is an Ithaca College grad (where Steingraber is on the faculty) bringing everything back to the point of beginning.

The fractivist movement is filled with “occupy” types who are now targeting natural gas infrastructure, having pretty much lost the battle over hydraulic fracturing itself (they still don’t have a case anywhere in the US where it has contaminated a water supply). They have shifted to pipeline and storage battles but the war, for them, is still one against fracking in the generic sense and one for an unachievable utopian vision that would drive attention and power (the political kind) to themselves. That, in the end, is what its all about for them – nothing else. Meanwhile, we trudge forward delivering them power of a different sort; a good deed that never goes unpunished by their foolishness.

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7 thoughts on “The Fracuppiers

  1. Pingback: The Fracuppiers | ShaleNOW

  2. The story reporting the arrest of de Castro indicates 10 people altogether were arrested that day. All but two lived outside the Seneca Lake watershed, raising an obvious dilemma
    Wow! I’m impressed! Too bad Cuomo couldn’t make it.

  3. Pingback: Josh Fox Tells Three More LiesNatural Gas Now

  4. By their logic, Californians are We are Seneca Lake, and I proclaim, on behalf of this State’s 44 million residents (nobody else will) whole-heartedly support for Crestwood and is mid-stream and pipeline operations. Additionally, this State supports the contracting of seasoned, oil and gas trial lawyers, on percentage fee basis, to sue the Heinz, Park and Rockefeller foundations for fraud with malice, slander and defamation, corporate sabotage and malicious interference with certain businesses, deleterious attacks against reputation and standing of targeted corporations, economic waste and tortuous interference with State and local government jurisdiction and regulatory powers. The fracuppiers that have co-conspired with such foundations should also be named in the class-action suit. Then we can have a discussion about American Justice (or to a fracuppier, “justice” means just-us).

    • Were do I sign? I would like to know when the aliens from Planet Ithaca officially landed and took ovdr the world since they seem to think that they speak for all of us puny earthlings.

  5. I see a similarity with what plant scientist Richard Ziegler recently said in the Wall Street Journal about a different techonology (GMO technology)– specifically that “it has become a casualty of the anticapitalist ideology of the environmental movement.”

    Ziegler sees that connection himself as he also says this: ” If you’re not tied to the science and the facts, you can say just about anything.” and in that quote he has included antifracking activism.

    The rockaway pipeline project activism which is by default fractivism has through and through for more than two years been unmoored completely from science and fact and nothing sums it up more than it actually being people saying anything.

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