Green and anti-fracking is new marketing plan

The frustration of five Western Slope lawmakers regarding the outdoor company Patagonia’s support for anti-fracking groups in Colorado is understandable, particularly when the CEO of the California company repeats an unproven allegation that fracking taints groundwater.

But we don’t expect that a letter sent from the five lawmakers to Patagonia CEO Casey Sheahan will cause the company to reverse its position. Simply put, being green and supporting environmental causes is a sound marketing strategy for companies that attract young, environmentally conscious customers, as Patagonia does.

They’re hardly alone in that regard. Companies have been giving to community and global causes for a long time, in part to show customers they share their patrons’ desires to improve the world. Even energy companies regularly tout their environmental bona fides these days.

Patagonia has a long history of support for environmental groups, including several in Colorado. Groups that promote bicycling are among the most frequent recipients of its largesse. Patagonia’s giving to such groups dates back more than 35 years, according to the company’s website.

More troubling is the fact that the Fort Collins-based New Belgian Brewing Co., is also helping to lead the charge against hydraulic fracturing. But on its website, the beer company lists natural gas as a key component of its brewing process, although it says it is working to reduce its consumption of natural gas. Moreover, natural gas is listed under the section “Purchased Green Power” on the website.

Large corporations, of course, are as free as individuals to support causes they believe in. But one doesn’t have to ponder long to wonder why fracking is so high on the radar of companies like these, when the natural gas boom made possible by fracking is helping this country to substantially reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide. Reducing emissions of climate-change gases like CO2 is said to be a top priority of both companies.

So, where is their concern for other forms of environmentally harmful forms of energy? Just this week, the Associated Press produced a lengthy report on the problems created by the federal support of ethanol — marginal lands rushed into corn production, heavy use of fertilizers that pollute waterways and an apparent increase in CO2 emissions.

Yet ethanol subsidies have had the support of presidents and members of Congress of both parties, including Barack Obama. Only a few conservation groups have bothered to challenge this form of fuel. And corporations like Patagonia or New Belgium Brewing have not taken it on as a cause.

But then, protecting the farmland of the Midwest doesn’t connect with young, outdoorsy consumers as does stopping drill rigs from operating in the picturesque regions of the West.


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While Charles Ashby’s excellent report (“Company’s entrance into fracking debate upsets Republicans”, November 12, 2013) chronicled the efforts of local Republican politicians to “carry water” for the oil and gas industry, today’s editorial (“Green and anti-fracking is new marketing plan”) exposes the Sentinel’s dubious editorial standards.

Because the Sentinel refuses to disclose the full content of five local legislators’ letter to Patagonia, it remains unclear whether it “repeats the unproven allegation that fracking [never] taints groundwater”, or whether they are “upset” because Patagonia’s factual assertions are not provably inaccurate, or because Patagonia refuses to buy into the familiar propaganda these industry shills (and now the Sentinel) have spouted for years.

Patagonia’s purported “sin” was supporting campaigns for more local control of fracking operations—and nothing could be more “conservative” than local regulation of activities potentially threatening a community’s public health, safety, and/or welfare.

Likewise, there is nothing inconsistent about Patagonia and New Belgian Brewing Co.—which benefit from responsible natural gas development (including fracking)—also supporting efforts to preclude irresponsible fracking, especially within communities.

Presumably, the letter-writers offered no substantiation for their claim that Patagonia’s statements “are not based on any facts about the real world of fracing (sic)” and fail to mention that any such dearth of “facts” is deliberately perpetuated by the industry.

Meanwhile, until Congress repeals the “Halliburton Exceptions” to the Safe Drinking Water and Clean Water Acts, both the EPA and Colorado regulators are prohibited from regulating “fracking wells” as “underground injection wells” as Congress had intended, and/or from regulating potentially toxic “fracking fluids” as the “pollutants” they can be.

The editorial then hypocritically raises the issue of ethanol subsidies to discredit them, when the Sentinel itself has a greater journalistic responsibility to “take it on as a cause” than do those enterprises.

Aw, jeez! Just when I was starting to get excited because elsewhere in the paper one of the Sentinel’s favorite blind squirrels, Bill Grant, finally found an acorn, along comes the editorial phrase “climate-change gases like CO2.”
In the interests of clarity, because the weather (aka “climate”) does nothing other than “change,” I am reluctant to ignore such a knowingly deceptive marketing brand name. Additionally, CO2 is PLANT FOOD, for crying out loud. Greenhouses and florists buy it to make their plants grow better. Plants would benefit from a 300% increase in the Earth’s CO2. So “greenhouse gases”, a favorite marketing phrase of climate alarmists and other fear mongers, either needs to start excluding CO2, or be tossed into the waste basket of history’s scams. It is the basic nature of chemical elements and compounds to seek their most stable form. And since the Earth and it’s atmosphere are immense compared to humans, logic and intellectually honest scientific inquiry and observation would seem to be more useful than greed-based fear mongering.
Energy is not a left-vs-right issue. It’s a centralization-vs-decentralization issue. It’s a sustainability-vs-unsustainability issue. The only reason it sometimes appears as “Left versus Right” is because the disordered folks who like to obtain their wealth by manipulating government into stealing the labor of the productive classes via controlling the fraudulent and blatantly unconstitutional interest-bearing debt-as-money currency supply get their power by dividing and conquering the ignorant and gullible while simultaneously centralizing entire economies into a giant nebulous gazillion-dollar global ball from which they can hopefully steal trillions without being noticed.
I say give free market forces and science a chance to work. That’s something we’ve never done. There have always been subsidies and special interest legislation benefiting one “side” or another. Witness “the Right’s” oil depletion allowances. Witness “the Left’s” cronies at Solyndra. Witness the ongoing currency war.
It is logical to note that there is a finite amount of fossil fuels, which means the intelligent thing to do is start maximizing our use of renewable energy and get serious about developing energy sources less exhaustible than fossil fuels before we run out.
As the trendy saying goes, “thing globally, act locally.” That means a good place to start is to maximize our use of by far the cheapest and most effective energy source: insulation. It might also be nice if we humans could use what is jocularly referred to as our “intelligence” and technology to construct homes and other structures which lasted longer than the mortgage payments.

P.S.: Since I can’t control “global warming”, I have no quarrel with the Earth warming and cooling as it has done for countless millenia. I just don’t want bloated manipulative fear mongers such as Al Gore and his “leftist” patrons, benefactors, myrmidons, acolytes, fans and assorted fellow travelers getting rich off of tax-based scams and irrational panic.
To all you “Chicken Little” weather alarmists out there (and their panicky fans), if you absolutely insist on being terrified by things pretty much outside of your immediate personal control, think on this: the Earth’s sun is supposedly going to supernova on us in about two billion years. That’s means the Earth will turn into a literal cinder. Boy, that’s real “global warming”! That also means we only have two billion years to learn how to live on one of the 40 billion other Earth-like plants in the Milky Way Galaxy. If that’s not enough, you can always sweat “The Asteroid” or the Texas-sized pile of trash — (a direct result of centralization) — floating around in the Pacific Ocean.
For you so-called “leftists” and other so-called “Eco freaks” out there — the most idiotic, rude and combative of whom have actually been known to publicly demonize scientists who are so-called “climate skeptics” as being “climate cranks” (God bless their fuzzy little heads and hearts!) — that also means wind, hydro and tidal energy resources aren’t useful for powering warp-speed space ships even though I believe it is eminently logical to maximize them here on Earth ASAP.
Because I have every bit as much “compassion” as you do, I really do “care” just as much about the Earth and her environment as you do. That’s why I’m studying aquaponics, permaculture and internal-combustion-to-electric conversions instead of running around crying, “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” As Mohandas K. Gandhi once famously said, “you have to BE the change you want to see in society.”

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