When this months Fortune magazine arrived, I looked at it with loathing.
“The United States of Natural Gas” proclaimed the top story. “How the new 100 year supply of shale gas is reviving the American economy” was the subtitle. That is news. I wasn’t aware that the economy was actually reviving. I am aware that so far it hasn’t gotten worse. “Plus” they tease “Why oil giant Exxon loves natural gas.”
Those of us who pay attention to things other than American Idol or Survivor or Jay-Z or whatever the distraction-of-the-month is no longer expect much from “journalists”. Fortune lived up to these expectations. I don’t know if Brian O’Keefe lost and had to write this piece, but it couldn’t have been more disingenuous. Especially the story on Rex Tillerson, Exxon’s CEO. He’s a really great guy, confident and laid back. He only gets upset when you mention those pesky environmentalists.
So far as I know, there is no place currently where you can check a box that says “environmentalist” on it and everyone’s definition of that word is the same. Nevertheless, into a cave is where “those people” with their “unrealistic safety expectations” when drilling through thousands of feet of rock, flooding the drill site with a brew of hundreds of chemicals and lots and lots of water, and then, once the gas has been removed, disposing of that brew(60% of it comes back out)belong. Because, really, what could go wrong?
And Gasland? The award nominated documentary gets a quick paragraph, dismissed with “the veracity of some of the film’s content was later challenged.” Wow, that’s fantastic. “Some.” What specifically? Not mentioned. Challenged by whom? Not defined. Whew! Artful Dodger to the rescue!
Apparently, the CEO of “America’s most profitable company” thinks he should be allowed to do whatever he damn well pleases. Because he can. In fact, he’s got powerful friends.
Exxon receives lots and lots of government provided tax subsidies so it ain’t that hard to be both profitable and arrogant when Uncle Sam has your back.
The lack of brain power is evident in Tillerson’s incredulity that frackers should be forced to prove that their methods, processes, and materials are safe and their activities won’t despoil the air or water. Air and water are crucial to survival, so it seems logical that one should be required to prove this. Not to Rex. He commands us to get thee to a cave.
But that isn’t even the whole picture. Because even if they could prove it, would you believe them? Shell, Exxon, BP, they’ve all lied about their safety failures, oil spills, or anything else someone might get a notion to hold them accountable for. Their word is worth nothing. If history proves anything, it is that safety corners are always cut and that nothing matters except profitability.
And yet, they keep on fracking.
None of this made it into the magazine piece of course. It was pure shilling, rah rah PR, nothing to see here folks.
There is no letters to the editor section in Fortune magazine. There is no one listening.