Shale gas is viewed as a cleaner, cheaper alternative to conventional fossil fuels. Granted, unconventional gas burns 30% more efficiently than coal, but the process used to get it out of the ground is far from clean. Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’ has been causing quite a stir in the US in recent years, particularly in north-eastern states such as Pennsylvania as the dangers related to the exploration and development of shale gas have made their way into mainstream consciousness. Perhaps this is what prompted the $25 billion Canadian global oil and gas company, Talisman Energy to publish a 24-page coloring book for kids explaining the merits of shale gas extraction. Talisman is hoping to ‘educate’ kids on the fun and exciting world of fracking by introducing them to ‘Talisman Terry, your friendly Fracosaurus’.
Fracking is used to extract shale gas reserves trapped in porous rock formations hundreds of feet below the Earth’s surface. The colouring book is being targeted at children in Twin Tiers, a cluster of counties on the New York/Pennsylvania border where Talisman Energy has developed more than 100 wells over the last ten years. There is currently an ongoing dispute in the area between gas companies and regulators over the distribution of permits to drill.
In the coloring book, the same plot of land doesn’t look much different in the “Before Drilling” and “After Drilling” illustrations. Then Talisman Terry churns out various lines dumping industrial-sized vats of sugar over the topic, such as: “Natural Gas is a clean-burning fossil fuel. It is one of the cleanest, safest, and most useful of all energy sources.” Come on, Terry? Really?
“We’re going to take our company’s focus to where it should be,” said Natalie Cox, spokesperson for Talisman Energy USA, to Fox News (I’m sorry to have to reference Fox but maybe its the only damn news station that actually gave these people some air time!). “We’re not going to continue to dispute the intent of a children’s coloring book. There’s two sides to every story, but it’s not something that we’re going to be disputing . . . it’s an activity book for young children.” Yeah, and the activity is being tricked by a multi-billion-dollar energy firm who should really know better.
I mean, do they honestly think they can get away with providing such an imbalanced account of fracking to America’s children? What’s worrying is that it will be the parents who give these coloring books to their kids. Soon kids’ calls for bouncy castles and paddling pools will be replaced by the shrieking sound of: “Mommy, mommy can we have a hydraulic fracturing plant in the back yard? Perleeeease?”
You can see the whole cartoon here.
Via Guardian UK