The Good Ole’ Boy Extraction Club: The Pseudo-Patriotic and Pervasively Patriarchal Culture of Hydraulic Fracturing (Why Breast Cancer is the Canary in the Fracking Coal Mine)

Enclosed is a Susquehanna University presentation of parts I-II of a longer research paper I will be posting in segments here and on Raging Chicken Press over the next two weeks.

The title is: The Good Ole’ Boy Extraction Club: The Pseudo-Patriotic and Pervasively Patriarchal Culture of Hydraulic Fracturing (Why Breast Cancer is the Canary in the Fracking Coal Mine).

The first section of the paper profiles the links between fracking, benzene exposure, and breast cancer with particular focus on the egregious failures of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to protect the public health–including women’s health. With recent revelations concerning the failures of DEP reporting, the manipulation of water testing results, and new policies that transfer responsibilities from DEP water-testing agents to higher level administrative appointments, Michael Krancer and Scott Perry, the public health is even more endangered. With DEP’s fresh disclaimer that they will not be responsible for insuring that the industry’s reporting is honest, thorough, and timely, it can only be concluded that we are that much more endangered by an agency that not only colludes by omission in patent fraud, but actively abets an industry whose practices generate the conditions of cancer. This is what I mean when I refer to “genocidal profiteering.”

The second section profiles the aftermath of Riverdale with particular emphasis, again, on the  failures of DEP to act on behalf of citizen’s complaints concerning the potential exposure to asbestos at the former Riverdale Mobile Home Community during the demolition of the park–and while three families were still living in the park. I endeavor to spell out the specific connections to gender and economic class with respect to asbestos exposure, the responsibility of Aqua America/PVR in the failure to obey federal statues that require testing for friable asbestos, and the failures of DEP to follow up to insure that demolitions stopped during the investigation demanded by a citizen.

The paper is a work in progress that includes as addition section III which explores two intimately related concerns of mine: (a) the recruitment of charitable organizations like Susan B. Koman by the fracking industry in order to greenwash and genderize what I argue is a fundamentally masculinist and patriarchal enterprise–mineral and metals extraction, and (b) the recruitment of women like Kathryn Klaber, Nicole Jacobs, and Rachael Colley as spokeswomen for the industry to similar ends.

I’d like to offer great thanks to Karol Weaver of the history department of Susquehanna University for inviting me to contribute to the fine tradition of their Women’s Studies program, and I’d like to thank Paul Weaver for the excellent work he did–and very speedily–on this YouTube.

  • We met at the Riverdale site during the fight back re: fracking. I am responding in relationship to your description of the authoritarian and
    patriarchal belief and orientation of the extraction culture. In political analysis siting these connections are vital and productive. It appears to me that everyday dialogue addressing feminist concerns are less and less in the public view but restricted to women’s study/academic programs. As with racism the deeper underbelly of oppression and its consequences most often remain subtle and silent.

    Just another quick not I am active in Rochester N.Y. with a grass roots community education group with the agenda of creating a movement to make fundamental changes in education and the corporate agenda to privatize. The City of Rochester has one of the highest rates of concentrated poverty in the state. The segregation of people is amazing. We are fighting the absolutism of
    standardized testing, racism, and working on organizing around a series of principles developed by the community at large to changed education. Connecting local progressive grass roots organizations with those at the higher education level is valuable for such a movement. Bonnie

  • Already made a comment.

  • Hi Bonnie,

    Thank you very much for your comments, and pleasure to meet you. I agree–these connections are vital to our understanding of what’s going on with respect to fracking, and I have barely scratched the surface of the analysis that needs to be done from a feminist, anti-racist point of view. There is SO much more to say. One example: THAT the “crisis response” security guards dispatched at the beginning of the raid on Riverdale were all pretty hefty African American men from outside the state–but that their on-site boss was a white guy–is NO accident. Aqua America certainly knows that this strategy was likely to be the most intimidating to the protesters–except that they grossly miscalculated the protesters. Unlike the decision-makers at AA, WE were not racist bigots. That they dispatched these gentlemen was very telling about their worldview. Moreover, that every single one of the state police officers were white is also NO accident. The contrast between the security guards and the state police was as striking as their relationship to each other was predictable: the state police through the white security guard boss running the show to evict the protesters. And, as you know, WE among the protesters came in many colors and cultures.

    This stark contract is reproduced at construction sites. For example, at the Janet Hock Road site that I regularly photo-document includes a number of hispanic workers each deployed on the hardest of labors–the lifting, moving into place of heavy pipeline–men far away from home, and working under dirty and difficult conditions for uniformly white bosses….

    You might be interested to know that I am very involved in the resistance to the corporatization and privatization of higher education in Pennsylvania–especially as an active union member of APSCUF. Several of my pieces here at RCP deal specifically with this issue, and one of them (The Industrialization of PASSHE), deals specifically with the relationship between fracking and the corporatization/industrialization of Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education schools.

    Please let me know if I can be of any use to you in Rochester. My aim in the presentation I did for Susquehanna is to take it–and the photographs of places like Riverdale–on the road. If you’d like to see the series of photographs from Riverdale (or any of the other relevant items in the talk), please look to my Facebook Photo Albums–about 50 of them. I’ll be posting the paper from the Susquehanna presentation in full as a set of three shorter pieces here and at Shaleshock over the next several days.

    w 🙂

  • This is absurd. DEP should do something about it because it is their job to make sure that everyone is safe from harmful chemicals in the community. Health and safety should be the main priority of people no matter what the situation.

  • Pingback: The Good Ole’ Boy Extraction Club: The Pseudo-Patriotic and Pervasively Patriarchal Culture of Hydraulic Fracturing (Part 3) | Raging Chicken Press()

  • Pingback: Sustainable Shale Development: The “Middle Ground” That’s Newspeak for Fraud | Raging Chicken Press()