“Hello, my name is Talisman Terry, your friendly Fracosaurus. I am here to teach you about a clean energy source called Natural Gas.”
In an effort to target children in the unconventional gas debate, Calgary’s Talisman Energy has released a coloring book starring the company’s new spokesman, Talisman Terry. The Fracosaurus narrates the production cycle of unconventional gas, presenting a utopian picture of the fuel source that has galvanized communities around the world concerned over threats to water and health from gas drilling.
Following Talisman Terry, children are simplistically introduced to the complex issues of unconventional drilling, pipeline construction and land reclamation. Presented in before, during and after drilling images, the gas drilling process is introduced as a gentle engagement with a natural environment. Post-drilling, a fountain-like rainbow appears in the distance and an eagle soars over an innocuous-looking wellhead.
Not surprisingly, there is no mention of hydraulic fracturing, for which the authors offer this substitute: “Because natural gas is lighter than air, it will rise up to the earth’s surface when it is set free from underground rocks.”
There is no mention either of Talisman’s poor drilling track record.
The Post-Gazette reports that the coloring books are handed out at company picnics in Pennsylvania where last year alone the Department of Environmental Protection cited Talisman for 150 drilling violations.
This is a fraction of Talisman’s abysmal drilling record overall. An additional report released by the non-profit Clean Water Action found Talisman responsible for 153 environmental violations in the Marcellus Shale in 2010, the second highest for any drilling company.
Between 2008 and 2010, Talisman was cited for 65 violations in Pennsylvania, where the company operated 121 wells, according to a report released by the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association.
Talisman is also responsible for several serious contamination incidents of public land in Pennsylvania. The Department of Environmental Protection fined the company $3,500 after a routine inspection found the company discharging toxic flowback fluids into a nearby ditch which connected to a branch of Sugar Creek.
The DEP fined Talisman an additional $15,506 for spilling used fracking fluid into an unnamed tributary that drains into the Tioga River, a cold water fishery. In a separate incident, the DEP charged the company $24,608 for a large diesel fuel spill, between 50 and 200 gallons, that contaminated farm land in the Armenia Township of Bradford County. The spill contaminated 132,000 gallons of water and 3,800 tons of soil.
After a well blowout occurred in Tioga County, spewing toxic wastewater into the surrounding public forest, the DEP cited Talisman for numerous environmental violations. The blowout, considered by some critics to be a ‘release’ rather than an accident, caused Talisman to suspend its North American unconventional gas operations for eight days.
This kind of child-directed industry PR is nothing new, as we saw with Encana’s cupcake gas well.
Hopefully these children will grow up to hold companies like Talisman to their own publicized standards, rainbows included.