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AUGUST 12 - AUGUST 20, 2014

Billionaire Pegula to Own Buffalo Bills? Fracker's Fortune has Sordid History

By James Hufnagel

August 12, 2014

Ken Saro-Wiwa

The two wealthiest men in Western New York, Terrence Pegula and Jeremy Jacobs, Jr., both got rich running businesses that have had extremely damaging impacts on society.

Presently head of the family dynasty that founded Buffalo-based multinational fast food conglomerate Delaware North Companies, Inc., Jacobs' net worth is estimated to be in excess of $3.1 trillion. Delaware North's unwholesome fare, generally consisting of high caloric, sugary drinks and fat-laden fried finger foods, is purveyed at stadiums, parks and resorts around the world.

Like Jacobs, Terrence "Terry" Pegula made billions of dollars by also, essentially, poisoning the multitudes.

King of the Pennsylvania frackers, Pegula was in on the ground floor of the innovative natural gas drilling process known as "fracking", which spurred a modern-day gold rush, or gas rush, in the Marcellus Shale fields of the Keystone state.

Fracking, of course, is the industrial practice of extracting natural gas by drawing millions of gallons of freshwater from lakes, rivers, streams and ponds, shipping it in tanker trucks to well sites where chemicals, many classified as carcinogens, are added and the mixture is blasted down the well. Most of the toxic water regurgitates back up, now carrying petrochemical waste as well as radioactive compounds from deep rock layers, and is diverted to large holding ponds which often leak, or pumped into more tankers and hauled away to be disposed of in earthquake-causing injection wells.

The industry's own internal studies reveal that 6-7% of well casings fail within days and 50% fail over 30 years, resulting in contamination of nearby water wells and the local water table by methane and other volatile organic pollutants. Radioactive and other frack waste products have been found in Pennsylvania streams (resulting from since-banned disposal at water "treatment" plants) along roads and streets (where salty frack waste is used as a de-icer) and assorted fields and lots where it is still occasionally illegally dumped under cover of darkness.

Fracking explained simply

The Pennsylvania countryside is now subject to non-stop heavy truck traffic, while roughnecks imported from Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma fill the bars, brothels and jail cells, the nighttime sky is lit constantly by flaring wells, and leakage of gas from the entire system of wells, pipelines, compressor stations and storage tanks hastens the onset of global climate change.

In 1983, Terry Pegula borrowed $7500 from relatives and founded East Resources, a drilling company. He sold his company to Royal Dutch Shell for $4.7 billion in May of 2010. While engaged in the fracking industry in Pennsylvania for those 17 years, Pegula lavished hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions on pro-fracking politicians, including Gov. Tom Corbett, who refused for years to tax wells or gas production or regulate drilling in any significant way.

Royal Dutch Shell is best known, among those who pay attention to such matters, for its involvement in what is known as one of the worst abuses of human rights and miscarriages of justice of the last 50 years.

Ken Saro-Wiwa was a writer, TV producer and environmental activist in Nigeria, home of extensive Dutch Shell oil operations, when he was arrested on fabricated charges of incitement to murder certain oppositional political chiefs. He had for some prior years been leading a non-violent campaign against Dutch Shell's pollution of tribal air, water and land. After a sham trial, he was hanged, with several other activists, by the Nigerian military government in 1995.

Witnesses against Saro-Wiwa later stated they had been bribed by Dutch Shell lawyers with offers of money and jobs to testify against him. In 2009, Dutch Shell settled outstanding lawsuits claiming that the company had manipulated the Nigerian justice system to convict and hang the men, and paid an out-of-court settlement of $15.5 million to the families of the wrongfully accused and the tribal entities whose land was despoiled by Dutch Shell.

If Terrence "Terry" Pegula prevails in the bidding process and succeeds in purchasing the Buffalo Bills, he will pay with money derived from his ruinous operations in Pennsylvania, as well as with proceeds from the sale of his company to Dutch Shell, which were realized through the suppression of the Nigerian people, the plunder of its resources and destruction of its environment, and the brutal and unjust execution of Saro-Wiwa.

Some NFL players of African-American descent might not be too happy if the scenario plays out this way, but the other owners probably won't much mind. After all, they tolerate an owner who insists on keeping the name "Redskins". Besides, a couple of years ago Pegula bought the Buffalo Sabres with his frack money, to little protest, although admittedly that organization and its fan base are overwhelmingly white.





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