Money makes compromise soooo much easier

So, The Texas Tribune had a festival last weekend, sponsored by ANGA. If you’ve not seen their really awesome commercials, they’re the people who want you to believe (BELIEVE, DAMN YOU!) that gas from shale rock formations that have been broken up under extraordinarily high pressures with a combination of water and really toxic chemicals is completely safe and that the chemicals used and the gas itself will not migrate into other geological strata, like ones that carry groundwater.

Never mind that there’s an enormous and growing amount of evidence that gas extractions cause earthquakes and massive problems with drinking water for folks on well water near a gas field. Problems like water that catches on fire and smells like dry cleaning fluid coming from a well in the middle of rural Texas, not the Cuyahoga River.

As part of this Festival, the Tribune wanted to have a panel about natural gas that featured four people with the industry or tied to it and Sharon Wilson, a noted and respected critic of the industry. When she objected to the lopsided nature of the panel, hilarity ensued.

I saw I was the token enviro on the panel, but I’ve been a turd in the punchbowl before. I did want to know how the panel would be structured, and if I would have an opportunity to correct their misinformation.

I sent back the following email:

I am quite surprised that your panel is so unbalanced. I would like to get more information on how this panel will work. I don’t mind being the token environmental person as long as I have an opportunity to give my vast experiences living in the gas patch and working with people who are suffering from natural gas drilling that is too close to their homes.

The next thing I know: I received a phone call from the festival coordinator notifying me that I was uninvited to participate. Maybe they would find a more suitable panel for me sometime. Ouch! But, on second thought, I reclaimed my weekend and shrugged it off to the influence from T. Boone Pickens, one of the festival’s financial backers.

Now, I understand that someone has to pay the bills and I’ve been trying for years to get liquor, cigarette and gambling companies to advertise on McBlogger (you know, I just feel comfortable advertising things I use or enjoy). So, don’t think I’m coming from a holier than thou, ‘commerce can go fuck itself’ place. But the Tribune loaded a panel with industry and folks with financials ties to the industry which doesn’t smell good, then tried to cover the stench with one activist who started asking questions about equal time and was summarily dismissed from the panel. Uh huh.

Most of us learned a long time ago that spraying floral air freshener after voiding doesn’t replace the smell of shit with roses, it just mixes and creates an entirely new fragrance, that of shit-roses. Maybe next time the Tribune will think a little more about actually balancing their energy panels, rather that trying to deodorize them.

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