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By Banning Fracking Ban, Texas Picks Gas Drillers over Local Democracy


#1

By Banning Fracking Ban, Texas Picks Gas Drillers over Local Democracy

Jon Queally, staff writer

In what environmental campaigners and the people of the small town of Denton, Texas are calling a clear example of fossil fuel interests trumping the will of local residents, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday signed HB 40 into law thereby undermining a local ordinance, approved overwhelmingly by voters during last year's election, which banned fracking in the community.


#2

Please read this Sierra Club report on the pending negotiations over a TTIP energy chapter.

This kind of local, state and national laws are part of a longstanding "cover up" strategy to deny Americans knowledge of the supranational policy chilling effects of trade deals - there has to be a non trade deal explanation for all trade deal effects for the media.

What I am saying here, is that the CURRENTLY PENDING AND IMMINENT trade deals and trade policy have the effect of giving a trade body a right to fine the country huge amounts of money -

Although trade deals as far as I know cannot change US laws, they can create a chilling effect whereby they nonetheless remove important things from the ability of Presidential action state and local laws to change, without a huge risk of triggering a suit in a stacked corporations only court, which we would invariably lose. Americans still seem to be unaware of the existence of this problem.

However, if a phony state law exists, that will likely prevent the media from being able to discuss the real block which is the trade deal, such as TTIP.


#3

The fascinating thing to me about this piece of legislation is that it is fascist in design and implementation. How is this law different from Mussolini using state power to force workers and families to capitulate to state control over their lives? I also wonder at the tea-party supporters so opposed to government intrusion into our lives? Where is their outrage at the state overruling the voting population of Denton? It is remarkable to see such blatant disregard for the will of the people.


#4

Hopefully a constitutional challenge to HB 40 is in the works.


#7

The party of self-governance for millenia, the Republicans now prohibit self-governance.

The revolution has already happened.

It was fought to reverse civilization.

They are winning in both dominant US political parties, and the GOP leads.

But Obama's drone wars and his chronic wars against nature keep the Ds in the running for that leadership.


#8

briefing for a descent into hell


#9

Exactly right. This is the action of a DICTATORSHIP. And if it goes all the way to the supreme court how do you think they'd rule. Then it becomes entrenched to be used across the country.


#10

So when and how is all this globalized insanity going to stop?

Anyone got a plan that doesn't involve violence, but will, non-the-less, relegate fascism and the power of money to the trash bins of history? Bring it on now - the planet is dying if you haven't noticed.


#11

Alito, Thomas, Roberts are all very conservative in their judicial temperment on these types of issues. Scalia and Kennedy are more nuanced but follow the Chief Justice most times. All were appointed by Republican Adms. which had a Texan in, or adjacent to, the Oval Office. Texas is the oil and gas capital of the world. Old age may not be any consolation here, because the likes of Breyer and Kagan are pretty milquetoast, too. If the Rs take the White House in 2016 you'll see Sen. Cornyn make sure this temperament changes; for the worse, I fear. Judges are cheap in Texas and there's plenty of them to pick from. They're like club calves at a Texas county fair in this regard.


#12

From what I have seen of the Tea Party, they do not want government intruding on them if it is for issue having to do with environment or equality or medical care... or any "liberal" or "progressive' issue.... if it for freedom to make money anyway you can.... they are for it.....
There is a neighbor of mine... who I was speaking to the other day... .he's 37.... he had put in a garden a few years ago... he and his wife....so, walking past the other day, I asked if they were going to do so again... he said no... We began to talk... and within a couple of minutes... I said something about climate change... and he didn't seem negative, but I asked if he would like to join me in a Green Party meeting and he pointed to his T-Shirt ( which I had not even noticed)....It was a "Don't Tread on Me" , shirt... I said, "Well, I'm nt even sure what they really stand for... and before I finished my sentence.... he said "....and they are not going to take our guns." .. .WE did continue to talk.. and as I mentioned hw neighbors will have to learn to depend on each other..... he said, "WEll, I have a friend who is a prepper,
but I told him, Dude you go ahead and prep... but if I need something, I'm going to go get... I'm not prepping." His logic was if he does... someone will come and take it... soo.....
I hold no hope that Tea Partiers... will become enemies of corporate rape....


#13

The TTIP trade deal makes their planned huge expansion of fracking and drilling an international law, taking it completely out of the hands of all American legislators, Senators, Congresspeople, state legislators, local towns.

TTIP even takes the ability to reverse the fracking and drilling and exporting of the resultant gas out of the hands of the President!

Thats why they need these state and national laws pretending to block local laws -its to hide this!

And of course, the courts that decide how much of the taxpayers money to award corporations for any violation, they are stacked for the corporations too.

There is no appeal! This is how Obama is being hypocritical- He's pretending to be for the environment, but he's undermining his and his successors forever's powers so that they will just be figureheads. The real power will be in the hands of many global Corporations.

TTIP and TISA also threaten the science we need to protect our health!

Disinvestment (privatization) represents an attack on independence of the science of medicine - science which is being used to expose adverse health effects of dangerous endocrine disrupting and toxic chemicals. This began with the 1990s WTO-GATS trade pact which made some very little known but crucial changes to society's stated goals in the fine print of GATS.

GATS Article 1:3 is the source for a definition which is used in TISA and TTIP, to define the scope of their mandatory privatization campaign, and it should not be.

Rejecting GATS is the place we should start, as GATS is already existing and hanging over the countries that have signed on to it, such as the US. Article 1:3 - by means of a two part test, defines the scope of what can be considered to be "services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority" and not a "nonconforming" "monopoly" that is framed as stealing corporate profits.

Citation:

"For the purposes of this Agreement…

(b) 'services' includes any service in any sector except services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority;

**(c) 'a service supplied in the exercise of governmental authority' means any service which is supplied neither on a commercial basis, nor in competition with one or more service suppliers."**

(emphases added) (See discussion here)

GATS was the beginning of a very serious block on US government ability to set policy and its standstill also forbade subsequent creation of new public services (forbidding new public health care, housing, public works corps, and educational initiatives, and committing the signatory nations, especially the US, to privatizing our existing ones. This imperatie lurks like an unseen hand behind many otherwise inexplicable policy decisions, and its something that they feel they must cover up for that reason.)

GATS intent was also to globalize these areas but that part was frustrated so now that is being re-attempted by TISA.

GATS started the process towards privatizing higher education (and science) The real attack on education is in TTIP and especially, the secret TISA which will incrementally make it FTAillegal to give the people free education if there is even one charter school or private college in a country.

That will make new scientific information scarce because colleges likely will incrementally be forced to become privatized

This process is occurring because TTIP and TISA have the effect of further entrenching a truly horrible "agreement" from the 1990s, the WTO "General Agreement on Trade in Services" which commits countries to a goal of total disinvestment from many public services, forcing their privatization and then, their globalization. (Its not unlikely that TISA will shift ultimate power to decide which national laws may be seen as trade barriers to WTO jurisdiction in the future because global services firms (whomever is the otherwise qualified lowest bidder) will likely staff the former public services in countries without strong national labor laws, like the US.)

Is a situation likely to occur where a very strong financial incentive will exist to push staffing of energy related jobs towards globalization?

That already has happened in the Middle East. The increase in international services contracting has to be bilateral, on at least some level but that may be accomplished by other commitments.

So, I do not know if the fracking jobs will be globalized under TISA's likely new procurement rules, or if if US companies would get to do energy contracts in trading partners under these new globalization rules, if we then might have an obligation under trade deals to let the global firms from low regulation countries bid for and then perform contracts they won here in the exact same sectors. (presumably at a far lower cost)

But that very much bears looking into by experts.


#14

Unfortunetly, Texans got what they wanted. When you hire people like their politicians, this is what you get. See how simple this is? Hire an American politician and you get someone fulfilling their American dream, wealth.


#15

Yes what you say is guaranteed: the plutocracy will protect their turf. That is why voting too does not change anything. However, challenges to insanity may be educational for a class of people by exposing the system (yet again), especially for those people who have high regard for its "integrity".


#16

Having just flown over Houston and been through Midland numerous times,sludge pits and aging tanks are quite visible from the air. It is also quite obvious that NO One is even looking at the toxic long lasting affects of Big Oil's regular operations.

"commercially reasonable" in practice is "Terminate the Indigenous People"


#17

Ain't Texassistan a wunnerful place ta live. Reminds me of Italy prior to WWII. Their National Guard is going to be real busy.


#18

It does not appear to be any more than the pathetic attempt to relieve the stress Monsanto and Lilly Miller are putting on agriculture or the TPP is going to wreck on our economy. The Corporatists are on a roll and we are getting crushed.


#20

They may not be able to (ban fracking). ISDS is already in effect between the US, Canada and Mexico in NAFTA.

Have you heard of the Lone Pine ISDS suit between a US company and the government of Canada, against Ontario for banning fracking along the St Lawrence River?

Did you know TTIP also "bans fracking bans", for good?


#23

One can only hope that this will backfire and rile up folks throughout Texas to the point that corporate-owned TX state government asshats are kicked out of office and the legislature shifts far enough towards sanity to ban fracking throughout the state (since the state just gave itself the right to do that...).


#24

No, the whole point of putting drilling and fracking into TPP and TTIP (TTIP's energy chapter) treaty is to turn on the spigot so the energy industry can make the huge profits they would sell selling it to Asia - and using ISDS, make it an irreversible international thing. One only has to look at the 50 billion euro fine in Yukos to see why California would not be able to turn off the spigot even when it runs dry. WTO rules demand they sell it to the highest bidder, even if that is on the other side of the world.


#25

Those who do not know or understand the issue in Texas often make statements like some of those above, such as this one:

" Though it applies to all municipalities across the state, the effort to pass the measure was largely seen as a way to combat the stunning victory by the people of Denton who made international news in November by approving their local anti-fracking ordinance in a politically right-wing state dominated by the fossil fuel industry."

The truth is that HB 40 was NOT written about Denton, but rather about Dallas' very restrictive drilling ordinance which passed in 2013, shortly after the Legislature had adjourned its session. It was not until this year that industry and the politicians it owns had the opportunity to enact a state law to combat what Dallas did. They went to work on overturning Dallas' ordinance almost immediately after it was passed. That is why HB 40 does not specifically overturn Denton's ban, but rather generally overturns ordinances in Dallas, Southlake, Flower Mound and other places that enacted tough ordinances that the industry opposed.

Denton's ordinance banning frac'ing did not even come about until November, 2014, right before the Legislature went into session for this year. It is great that Denton wants to feel important, but little Denton is NOT the impetus for HB 40. It would have come about even if Denton had taken no action at all.