Firm holds steady in its opposition to fracking process

A month after five local legislators called on national outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia Inc. to end its support of bans on hydraulic fracturing in natural gas development, the head of…


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Energy development supporters should boycott all Patagonia products.

Kudos to Charles Ashby and the Sentinel for finally revealing the full text of the insipid letter from five Republican state legislators to Patagonia’s CEO Casey Sheahan (“Firm holds steady in its opposition to fracking process”), along with Sheahan’s apt demurrer.

As Jim Spehar chronicles (“Hard positions and hard feelings; both sides are sinners on fracking”), the fracking “debate” is fraught with misinformation – as that letter proves.

Thus, State Senator Steve King, et al., falsely claim that Patagonia’s informed “position is not based on any facts about the real world of fracing”, implying that these political hacks and industry-supported shills have somehow acquired superior expertise.

Likewise, King, et al., falsely assert that “[f]racing is a proven technology that our state regulatory agency has determined does no harm to the environment or to the water table”.
At best, fracking is a rapidly evolving technology, the actual and/or potential harms of which to the environment and/or water table have not yet been indisputably proven.

As Spehar suggests, fracking’s advocates routinely rely on a disingenuously narrow definition of “fracing”, ignoring the impacts of a more inclusive inventory of the overall process.  Nevertheless, even “our state regulatory agency” has adopted a panoply of fracking-related rules – precisely because fracking chemicals are indeed hazardous.

Moreover, no one can be fully “aware of the technical details of” fracking – because of the “Halliburton Exceptions” to the Safe Drinking Water Act (exempting fracking wells from regulation as “underground injection wells”, as Congress originally intended) and the Clean Water Act (exempting fracking fluids from EPA regulation as “pollutants”).

Most revealingly, these hypocritical “conservatives” question Patagonia’s concern for “real people”, while opposing its support for “real people” seeking to restrict fracking within their local communities – at least until the entire process is subject to adequate, un-exempted, scientifically-based state and/or federal regulation.

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