Fracking and Pringling: Scourges of OC’s Environment


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Man setting tap water on fire, releasing spirit of Curt Pringle

Remember, if YOU try to set your tap water on fire to see whether fracking chemicals have invaded your water supply, and it not only catches on fire but a tiny disembodied head of Curt Pringle appears and glares at you, run! Don’t try to be a hero — JUST RUN!

The redoubtable Adam E. over at our county’s emerging “newspaper of record” Voice of OC has a story out today that ties together two persistent concerns here at OJB — “fracking” and “pringling.”

“Fracking,” of course, is the high pressure insertion of toxic fluid deep into the bowels of the earth in the hope of causing a wealth of hydrocarbons to bubble to the surface for one’s personal profit, which has the unfortunate effect of polluting the environment, particularly the drinking water.

“Pringling” is similar: the high pressure insertion of toxic influence deep into the bowels of county and city government in the hope of causing a wealth of special considerations to bubble to the surface for one’s personal (and one’s clients’) profit, which has the unfortunate effect of polluting the political environment, particularly … well, particularly pretty much everything.

The Voice notes that a Signal Hill Petroleum, an oil company, has obtained drilling permits from the county and is also in the process of obtaining them from Santa Ana, Anaheim, Westminster, Garden Grove, Stanton, Cypress and Buena Park.  But, recognizing that people have concerns (see the movie Gasland for examples), the company tells the Voice that:

“We’re not trying to pull permits. We’re trying to build relationships with each of these communities” and emphasizes that is it” conducting extensive outreach to the political leadership in these cities as the company seeks permits.”

In other words, the company has already begun engaging in the extremely dangerous process of pringling here in Orange County.

[A] source familiar with the situation [says that] the company has engaged in the type of maneuvering familiar to Orange County politics: hiring former Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle to help. Pringle’s lobbying firm, Curt Pringle & Associates, has worked behind the scenes with city bureaucracies to obtain the permits, according to the source.

Telltale signs of damage to the political environment from pringling have already begun to emerge.

Yet some city council members didn’t know about the testing permits until contacted by Voice of OC. And in cities where city councils were given public presentations on the study, the meeting minutes don’t indicate that the purpose of the geophysical survey is to look for oil.

One Buena Park City Councilman Steve Berry is quoted: “We didn’t get much background or information.”  (You’ll have to read the Voice article to see which one.  OJB knows that you’re curious.)  Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait also expressed befuddlement over the purpose of the permit that his city has already passed — a sure sign of the toxic neuro-informational effects of pringling.

OJB will continue to follow both the fracking and the pringling stories in the months ahead.


About Greg Diamond

Worker's rights attorney now moving into "good governance" litigation. North Vice Chair of Democratic Party of Orange County and occasional candidate. Proud to be prolix. Unless otherwise specifically stated, his writings never speak for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. He tries to either suppress or openly acknowledge his partisan, issue, ideological, and "good government" biases in most of his writing here. If you have a question about any particular writing, just ask him about it and (unless you are an pseudonymous troll) he will probably answer you at painful length. He lives in Brea but generally doesn't blog about it. A family member works as a campaign treasurer for Wendy Gabriella in AD-73; he doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. He does advise some campaigns informally and without compensation, although in 2014 he may receive some compensation for campaign consulting and fundraising for the campaign of Jorge Lopez for Orange County Assessor.