Last March, the Oklahoman announced it was creating a new energy beat “to provide deeper and more insightful coverage of one of the state’s largest industries.”
At the time, we cautiously took the Oklahoman for their word. Maybe the expanded coverage really would lead to less PR fluff and better reporting on the industry that drives and controls our state’s economy.
So far, the results have been pretty good. Just check out this deep and insightful story in Friday’s paper about the first anniversary of FrackFocus.org, an industry created website where companies must disclose the fluids used in fracking:
For those who want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, Texas’ new hydraulic fracturing disclosure law falls short. The Texas Legislature passed the law in 2011, hoping to allay fears that oil and gas drillers are contaminating groundwater with toxic chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process. As of Feb. 1, companies must report some of the chemical ingredients in their fracking fluids to a website, FracFocus.org…
“It’s to be deceptive,” Wilson said. “It’s to lead us to believe they are using these minuscule amounts of chemicals.”
Instead, each chemical should be reported in a parts per million or parts per billion format, said Wilma Subra, a Louisiana chemist who helps communities take on industrial polluters. That’s the same standard that regulators and scientists use to evaluate risks to the environment and human health.
Even more important is what’s not disclosed. Think of the mix of fracking fluids—water, sand, and a host of chemicals—as a recipe. Citizens and environmental groups want the whole recipe, each ingredient and its precise amount. But the new law allows frackers to withhold chemical components deemed trade secrets. A review of the 25 most recent disclosures, totaling almost 1,300 ingredients, found that trade secrecy is claimed for about 15 percent of the chemical components reported to FracFocus. That’s a “huge flaw,” Subra said.
Another blind spot is that operators aren’t required to test wastewater they may use instead of freshwater. So-called produced water may contain benzene, heavy metals and volatile organic compounds. The law also allows operators to keep secret the amounts of any chemicals not regulated by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In one instance, the Observer found formaldehyde listed as an “additional ingredient” with no further explanation.
“The bottom line is we will never be able to assess the risk until we have full public disclosure of all the chemicals used,” Wilson said.
We’re just kidding. That article didn’t appear in the Oklahoman. It’s actually an excerpt from an article about fracking that appeared in the March issue of the Texas Observer. The Oklahoman would never publish something like that. Here’s the real article:
Remember Dippin’ Dots? It was that overpriced, novelty ice cream you’d get on the family vacation to Six Flags or random trips to the mall with your grandparents.
Well, the ice cream maker filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy this past November, but to the joy of diabetics everywhere it has recently been purchased / rescued by Oklahoma City “businessman” Scott Fischer.
An Oklahoma firm has agreed to buy Kentucky-based Dippin’ Dots Inc. out of bankruptcy for $12.7 million.
The local company, which is funded by private capital, already has paid a $2 million deposit as part of its deal to buy the marketer of flash-frozen ice cream, according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Kentucky.
Oklahoma businessman Scott Fischer, president of the new Dippin’ Dots LLC, said he is looking forward to working with the ice cream firm’s 165 employees in Paducah, Ky. He said the company’s operations and management will remain in Paducah.
“We are committed to ensuring that Dippin’ Dots reclaims its status, not as a novelty of the past, but as the ice cream of the future,” Fischer said in a statement.
Dippin’ Dots is the “ice cream of the future”… if the future is 1994 and everyone rediscovers the adolescent urge to eat overpriced ice cream pellets out of plastic baseball cap cups. I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Seriously, who would pay $12.7-million for this company? Dippin’ Dots is so popular they have 2,400 Twitter followers. In case you care, Steve Lackmeyer has more followers than them. That can’t be a good sign.
Anyway, I decided to do some research on the local “businessman” who bought the company. His name is Scott Fischer, and surprise, surprise, he’s a trust fund baby. Here’s a pic:
Hello, people of the internet! It’s something of a melancholy Monday morning, what with the tragedy in Woodward over the weekend. A sad reminder that as much as we take severe weather for granted and embrace the spectacle of it all, it is genuinely life-and-death that we are dealing with; beyond the drinking games and bedazzled weather ties, life is at risk and severe storms must be respected. If you’d like to help the people of Woodward, I’d suggest donating to the Red Cross. Their website is here. And, since this is the twitter post, follow Red Cross spokesman and former Channel 9 newsguy Rusty Surette here. TLO wants to send it’s best wishes to those in Woodward.
With that, we’ll get to week’s tweets after the jump.
Yesterday, I received an email from an Ogle Mole informing me that he was going to shoot some video of Sweet Brown for a website he was working on. Little did I know that this would happen:
It’s official. We have nothing left in life to accomplish. I’m ready for one of tomorrow’s killer maxi-wedge grinder tornadoes to sweep me away and take me to blogger heaven.
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