Cook: How do you say, ‘I’m sorry?’

“Shale Shocked” is the caption beneath the picture of a beached whale, “shale” referring to the oil-and-gas industry’s use of sonar cannons to locate stretches of earth where offshore deposits might be present. Towed behind boats, the monster cannons send down pulses of sound that reverberate beneath the ocean floor and rebound to the surface, where hydrophones capture the results. They’ve been used in the Gulf of Mexico and along the shores of Alaska, destroying marine life and the fisheries that depend on it. From dolphins to turtles to small fry, all is annihilated. As for whales, which use sonar communication to stay in touch with their own kind, the unrelenting booms destroy the links to the whales’ pods.

On the Eastern seaboard, industry wishes to use sonar cannons on waters stretching from Florida to Delaware. Notwithstanding strenuous protests from fisheries, environmentalists, and the tourism industry, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management wants to make sure industry gets its way. President Obama has consented to the scheme. Though the congressional moratorium on offshore drilling is in effect until 2018, industry wants to get a head start on future leases by sounding out potential sites. Fisheries, horrified at the impending demise of their livelihood, seem powerless against decisions that appear to have originated in the White House.

That President Obama has assented to an expansion of fracking shows that EPA’s attempt to limit coal’s greenhouse gases is but window dressing. The president merely takes from Peter to pay Paul. Now the industry has set its sights on the coastline of California as well. Although a moratorium exists on new oil leases offshore of California, old leases that should be retired are reignited with dangerous fracking technologies. More than half of the platforms in federal waters off the coast of California dump their wastewater into the ocean.

“Coal to gas is a meaningless transition,” commented Sandra Steingraber at a recent a teleconference of scientists concerned over President Obama’s contention that natural gas is our “bridge fuel.” Bridge to what? The president’s so-called clean-power plan will only accelerate construction of gas wells, intensifying their notorious methane leaks. EPA’s hundreds of pages never once suggest reining in methane (the unburned natural gas), relying on an old report instead of the 2013 IPCC report. Another scientist, Bob Howard, ventured that the agency was “obviously under great pressure from the White House.” He noted that President Obama is “tight with the gas industry.”

via Cook: How do you say, ‘I’m sorry?’.