Monthly Archives: December 2009

It’s Possible to Drill Safely, If We Demand It

Something tells me that if I tried to pump 40,000 gallons of diesel fuel and chemicals into the earth, I’d get hit with a whopping fine — and rightly so. Yet that’s exactly what happens at each and every hydro-fracturing natural gas well, and the energy industry wants to erect hundreds, if not thousands, of these things across New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

But it turns out they don’t have to use diesel fuel and dangerous chemicals. There are green alternatives that sharply reduce the risk of contaminating groundwater. There are also ways to prevent accidental spills of fracking fluid, use less water, cut down on methane and CO2 emissions and better treat waste. But the industry will only employ these methods when forced to by the government.

Pro-Publica is out with an excellent story about ways hydro-fracturing for natural gas can be done far more safely. Government needs to step up; here’s how.

Domestic natural gas production could be good for the environment, the economy and national security, but only if it’s done right. Done wrong, it will be bad for all three.

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Jack Gartside, 1942-2009

Jack Gartside has died. He was a brilliantly innovative fly designer and great writer who may end up being best remembered for being photographed using a big inflatable giraffe as a float tube on a striper flat. Gartside was dead serious about fishing and fly-tying, but went about his life with a mischievous twinkle in his eye. He was intellectual and irreverent but also kind and gentlemanly. And he invented some dynamite flies: the Gurgler, the Sparrow, the Soft-Hackle Streamer, to name a few of the most famous.

I met Jack a couple of times and thought the world of him. He gave a talk at the Albany, N.Y. Trout Unlimited chapter a few years back and introduced a new pattern, made with the soft feathers from a hen’s backside. Chain-smoking all through his slide show in a hotel meeting room, he called his fly the  Chicken Poop and told us how effective it was and why. There was no reason not to believe every word.