If a fossil fuel could still have animal magnetism, natural gas would be the sexiest of them all. Not only is its intrinsic attractiveness at the root of the unfolding and still unresolved price and supply conflicts between Russia and the Ukraine, it''s arousing conflict everywhere it can be found and exploited. The Marcellus Shale formation in upstate New York is a case in point. More than a dozen companies have filed 77 applications to drill, many hoping to take advantage of a new boring technique, but critics of hydro-fracking fear that it could jeopardize New York City''s singularly pristine water supply. If the city ended up having to filter water that now goes unfiltered, the capital cost could go as high as $20 billion.
Across the country, in Utah, disputes over gas exploitation are pitting the movie star and indy film impresario Robert Redford against CORE, an organization representing African American interests that goes back to the Sixties. It seems a blast from the past as well as a harbinger of things to come. The Congress of Racial Equality originated in the black power movement, but subsequently, Roy Innis aligned it with the Republican Party and business interests. Today, Jan. 14, CORE sponsored a press event to publicize its claims that restricting development of natural gas in Utah''a predominantly Mormon state not known for its black population''would threaten supplies of affordable gas to African Americans living in Chicago.