ScissorTales: A fracking fixation in Vermont
BANNING hydraulic fracturing in Vermont? That's like banning offshore drilling in Oklahoma. And we don't mean “offshore” in our man-made lakes.
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Vermont, which is 9,615 square miles surrounded by reality, is poised to ban fracking indefinitely even though the state has no exploration activity for which fracking would be an issue. Better safe than soggy with the supposed ill effects from fracking, right?
Folks in the Green Mountain State don't mind getting their petroleum products from places where fracking isn't banned. They just don't want fracking within the state should the demand arise. Vermont has no proven natural gas reserves, says a report in stateline.org. But a shale formation in the northwest corner of the state has potential.
Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, is expected to sign a bill that bans fracking until at least 2016. By then, we expect, Vermonters will still be getting fuel produced in other states that don't ban fracking but may instead regulate the decades-old activity.
Fracking is the new whipping boy for environmentalists. Vermont seems to have more of those per capita than anyplace but Berkeley or Boulder. New Yorkers have bought into the fracking demonization and resisted efforts to benefit from exploration in the way Pennsylvania has.
Nothing is wrong with stringent oversight of fracking, but an outright ban seems a bit much. In Vermont, it's also a bit moot and may remain so at least as long as deep sea fishing is rare in Oklahoma.
The age-old problem of families buying a cute puppy only to find the full-grown version unmanageable, and then dumping him in the country, is apparently an issue with horses as well. The Wall Street Journal reports that horse “dumpouts” in rural areas have surged due to the tough economy. As a result, “wild” herds are growing unmanageable, leading to calls for reviving horse slaughter plants in several states, including Oklahoma. Animal rights activists are appalled, but those dealing with the animals say that not enough people are able to take in abandoned horses, which often struggle to survive in a wild herd. While no one likes the idea of killing a horse in a slaughterhouse, that's a better fate than slow starvation or the painful death that occurs when a horse is struck by a car — another increasing problem thanks to the dumpout trend.
The cold war heated up in Edmond this week with a red scare that was really a red herring. Small but vocal opposition to a plan for Edmond to partner with a city in Russia focused on the city's past as part of a communist regime rather than the present post-Soviet Union era. Russia has its problems and Russian President Vladimir Putin deserves the title of “strongman.” Nevertheless, the good folks of Edmond, OK, and Engles, Russia, have no reason to distrust each other or worry about the United Nations Agenda 21, a favorite boogeyman of the right-wing fringe. Edmond city councilors unanimously approved a sister city agreement with Engles, ignoring pleas from the fringe to avoid ties linking a city in this red state with one in the former red nation.
With her signature on the bill this week, Gov. Mary Fallin made Oklahoma the 25th state to allow handgun owners to openly carry their weapon. The bill, Fallin said, “sends a strong message that Oklahoma values the rights of its citizens to defend themselves, their family and their property.” That's really never been in question. And no sweeping changes are likely to occur once the law takes effect Nov. 1. The law allows those who are registered to carry a concealed weapon to do so openly if they choose. How many will make the switch? Our guess is not many. Fears that open carry will create a “Wild West” atmosphere were always overstated — it hasn't happened in the 24 other states. But opponents in the Legislature who asked how approving this bill would benefit Oklahoma had a point, too. Open carry won't drive commerce or industry, but it might produce a few votes for some members in November.
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