If you’ve been paying attention to the news at all lately, you’ve probably heard a fair bit about fracking. So what the frack is fracking? Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is a means of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas well drilling. Once a well is drilled, millions of gallons of water, sand and proprietary chemicals are injected, under high pressure, into a well. The pressure fractures the shale and props open fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out of the well.
The ongoing debate over hydraulic fracturing for natural gas boils down to: energy companies want to drill, while people concerned about drinking water supplies and the effects of drilling chemicals on human health do not.
Yesterday, New York Gov. David Paterson signed an executive order to halt the controversial natural gas drilling process until July 1, 2011. But it’s only sort of good news. While a moratorium is better than nothing at all, it’s certainly no guarantee of a well-protected environment.
And it’s not just New York that has to worry about it. Fracking is happening right here in our own backyard. The potential drilling threatens the entire region and many others across the country, as exposed by the documentary Gasland…
Watch the trailer:
“The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a “Saudia Arabia of natural gas” just beneath us. But is fracking safe? What do you think?
Here at Osprey, we love that we can step right out our backdoor into the red rock of Southern Utah to play. In our humble opinion, we’ve got access to some of the best backpacking, biking and climbing this great nation has to offer — and we’re determined to keep it that way. At the end of the day, you’ve got to take action to protect your own playground… And Keep it Wild!
Every summer the manufacturers and retailers of outdoor equipment converge on Salt Lake City for the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market – an event that this year drew an estimated 20,000 people. SUWA partnered with the Conservation Alliance to participate in the Keep It Wild day which paired environmental groups with outdoor gear manufacturers to take action to protect our natural resources. SUWA was generously hosted by Osprey Packs, and in their booth at the show we collected over 300 postcards written by folks who were asking the Obama administration protect wild Utah. Participants also posed for photos with “Flat Ken,” a likeness of Interior Department Secretary Salazar who has the power to protect over 6 million acres of redrock land now vulnerable to oil and gas drilling and off-road vehicle abuse. The day was topped off with a party hosted By KEEN Footwear, celebrating a day of conservation advocacy at the show.
Here at Osprey Packs, we love our wild salmon! And that’s why we’ve been a long-time partner with Save Our Wild Salmon, a group working to recover wild salmon on the Snake River. Well, this week they need some help!
The Obama administration is poised to make a decision this week that could change the fate of endangered species in this country. On May 20, the Administration will release a federal salmon plan that will do one of two things for endangered wildlife: protect the Endangered Species Act, or weaken it. A decision to weaken the ESA for the West’s iconic Columbia and Snake River salmon could send an ecological ripple across the country — affecting every endangered species in the nation.
And the situation doesn’t look good. Instead of charting its own path, the administration is working off an illegal Bush administration plan for endangered salmon.
Because they return to the biggest, highest and best-protected habitat in America, endangered Snake River salmon are slated as the West’s best chance to save salmon for future generations in an environment threatened by climate change. These cold, crisp waters of spanning three Western states — Washington, Oregon and Idaho, will remain cold under warming climates, protecting these one-of-a-kind salmon with a one-of-a-kind habitat. Making the wrong decision on these rivers would effectively dam (pun fully intended) these salmon to extinction.
The Columbia-Snake Rivers may not be in your own backyard, but the effects of this decision certainly will be.
PHOTOS courtesy Matt Leidecker
There are three things I love in my life — skiing, surfing and biking, well, I guess I’d have to add coffee and my fiance, but that is another story. Anyway, I’m a damn lucky person, as I not only get to work hard to save our snow and our planet, but I also get to play hard at those sports, while working to protect them. Interestingly enough, just before this shot for the interview, we had another one of those crazy dust storms, as you can see in this photo. Most of the dust is from NE Arizona — check out http://www.snow.utah.edu/ for more info. Tom Painter, the Director of the Snow Optic Laboratory has found that the big dust storms in recent years have caused almost a 50-day earlier melt than years without dust. The culprit? Overgrazing, development and most likely increase extreme weather from climate change.
Just a few days ago, I hosted a journalist who came to Crested Butte to do a story on me for Wintersport, the largest Dutch ski magazine. The photo above is me taking her up Crested Butte Mountain Resort, so that as a non-skier she could see the double-black terrain that I love so much.
Right after the interview, I headed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to start my Global Cooling Tour — riding 330 miles self-supported to Washington, DC for Earth Day, 2010. This year I am joined by some fellow planet-saving folks from KEEN footwear, who will join me for my meeting with Senators. My big push this year is showing Republican and Democratic Senators how a 30% reduction in emissions can be save money and jobs, while also promoting energy independence. I am also heading to the White House, to meet with Obama’s head of Governors.
Ultimately, I hope to meet with our President someday soon, as it was clear in Copenhagen that the current administration believes that meaningful solutions to climate change are expensive. Any Osprey fans out there with connections?
I’ll end this evening with a video to show our first day on the trail. Any Osprey fans out there on the C&O towpath, send me a shout out on Facebook! Thanks Osprey for making my Global Cooling Tour possible.
Ride to DC – Day 1