Hydro-Fracking Company Nixes New York State Kids’ Coloring Book Propaganda

07/14/2011 3:30 PM |


Talisman Terry was just your friendly neighborhood “Frackosaurus” who liked to explain why natural gas is “clean” and how drilling for it allows your family to live comfortably. Talisman Terry was also a coloring-book cartoon created in 2009 by Talisman Energy, a Canadian oil and gas company, for the children of Twin Tiers, an area on the New York/Pennsylvania border that is home to more than 100 Talisman oil wells [the Guardian]. But today, after continued media pressure (including Stephen Colbert’s portrayal of the character committing suicide by lighting a cigarette in his flammable shower), it looks like Terry’s gotten the industry axe.

Here’s a highlight from Natalie Cox, Talisman’s spokesperson, while the company was still trying to defend Terry as something that wasn’t completely nauseating and heinous:

“Let’s keep in mind our audience. If you’re talking age 9 or younger, you can’t get into the questions like, ‘What is in fracking fluid?'” said Natalie Cox, the firm’s head of U.S. communications.

“If we were making a presentation to the governor in Harrisburg, we’d get into technical details. But we wouldn’t give him a coloring book, either.” [via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Oof, yeah, those technical details. It’s certainly beyond a 9 year-old’s comprehension level to question what the flip is going on when the water coming out of your sink can be set on fire.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a way of extracting natural gas from the earth by shooting jets of sand, water and chemicals into Marcellus Shale rock deposits in order release pockets of the trapped fuel. The problem occurs when fracking fluid contaminates the groundwater—like this Duke University study showed when it found methane levels 17 times higher in the groundwater near Pennsylvania fracking wells than groundwater elsewhere. Then there’s the whole greenhouse gas emissions thing (you know, melting the Arctic ice cap, acidifying the oceans, contributing to rising sea-levels and extreme weather), in which ecologist Robert Howarth’s Cornell University study published in May of this year found that because of the emissions released in the process of extracting and then burning, “shale gas is worse than conventional gas and is, in fact, worse than coal and worse than oil.”

But even though Terry might be dead, fracking is alive and well. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (supported by Governor Andrew Cuomo), released their hydro-fracking recommendations on July 1, and despite strong opposition, supported fracking in the New York State part of the Marcellus Shale Formation. And it’s not like this is following Pennsylvania’s major fracking spill and blowout in late April that led to the EPA discovering three contaminated water wells in the aftermath or anything. Not at all!

At least now Terry can be added in remembrance to the child propaganda hall of fame. Still, Julius Streicher’s Nazi-era illustrated classics (like Never Trust a Fox in His Green Meadow and Never Trust the Oath of a Jew) will probably always take first prize for that category’s most f!@#$% up shit.