The sickening heedlessness of the contemporary fossil fuel industry is highlighted by the revelation that Scottish driller Dart Energy – with 22 coal bed methane wells in planning in Scotland – is also exploring for gas “not a stone’s throw” from the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, Poland.
It is perfectly possible Dart is drilling under the death camp itself – in Scotland the company’s underground boreholes are due to reach up to 2km long.
As recent scientific evidence shows potential climate change of up to 6 degrees, the recklessness of the gas industry knows no apparent bounds. It even takes it toll on those involved.
In a blog by Dart Energy Executive Eytan Uliel, the 30 year old writes of a visit to a Dart site near the death camp in January of this year: “about two kilometres down the road, with the smokestacks of the (Auschwitz) crematoria still visible in the distance, we turned into a side-lane, and then into a field, and there we were: at the drill site for the next gas well.”
The millionaire gasman’s blog (titled “The Road Warrior) goes on: “I was struck by the horrific irony of it all: not two kilometres from Auschwitz where countless Jews, including most of my maternal family, were gassed, here I was, second generation Holocaust survivor, inspecting a site for a well that would ultimately provide, of all things, gas to the good citizens of modern-day Oświȩcim. I seriously wanted to be sick.”
“Sleep didn’t come easily that night. I kept thinking of the gas well located not a stone’s throw away from the gas chambers of Auschwitz.”
Dart’s activities in Poland are by no means illegal. But they illustrate the drillers insane drive to extract as much as possible – and damn the consequences. That Uliel continues in his job despite his obvious angst is testament to the willful blindness prevalent in much of those who work in the gas industry.
Dart’s operations in Australia have poisoned the groundwater. Operator like Dart often use hydraulic fracturing which is equally controversial. Yet – as the case of Auschwitz clearly exemplifies – environmental concerns and local communities must be subordinated to the profit motive.
The extraction of gas from under a world heritage site such as Auschwitz is also morally repugnant. The fact that Uliel is of Jewish extraction only makes the this sorry revelation more poignant. It is a sad indictment of the fossil fuel industry and the reckless ‘drill baby drill’ culture that is seemingly out of control.