Unlike a wildfire or tornado, West Virginia is facing a disaster from which there is likely no recovery.
From judges that cancel a hearing and allow the waste to be put into our aquifers, to President Obama claiming natural gas is a “bridge to clean energy”, with almost unlimited funds, horizontal hydrofracturing (hhf or fracking) is being promoted, and its enormous damage hidden, in every imaginable way and at every government level.
Natural gas is not a bridge. Rather, it is reducing US support for clean energy technology, allowing other nations to control that growing market. Moreover, it is dirtier than coal because of the many leaks during production, its potency as a greenhouse gas and the tremendous amount of diesel fuel used.
Meanwhile, permitting frackers to dump hhf waste into drinking water is monstrous. These radioactive fluids contain heavy metals and endocrine disrupters that destroy immunity and impede body functions.
Clueless operators produce an average of five million gallons of this toxic waste every two to five years per well. And West Virginia is the recipient of such material not only from the over 1,200 hhf wells here, but also from those in other states plus 53,000 vertically-fracked gas wells.
This flood of poison, having nowhere safe to go, is being dumped in West Virginia wherever possible. Calling it “deicer”, the WV Div. of Highways puts it on roads. Truckers have been spotted pouring it into tributaries to rivers used for drinking water. It is injected into abandoned coal mines which sometimes serve as reservoirs. It is reported to be spread on mountaintop removal sites, and legally, is put into creeks.
Though extremely corrosive, frack waste is stored in dangerously under-regulated tanks whose whereabouts and contents are kept secret by the WV Health Dept. due to “terrorism”. It is also left in “evaporation ponds” and is going into the water table from pits above perforated rock--and from more than seven hundred-fifty leaky, abandoned gas wells across the state.
Now it has been discovered that the drilling mud, thought to be benign, is also toxic; while frack-waste in tanks increases in radioactivity five-fold in fifteen days. When even some of this contamination reaches our water supplies, we will pay for it with our health. And once poisoned, aquifers cannot affordably be restored.
Far from reigning in polluters, however, protective agencies are helping them. The WV Dept. of Environmental Protection has adopted the EPA exemption of all gas and oil field wastes from hazardous classification. Presently, by law, hhf waste cannot be tested for toxins or radioactivity and it is handled and stored as if it were only brine. The WV DEP has sponsored state regulations shielding fracking from public scrutiny. Moreover, this agency ignores flagrant gas industry violations, and recommends waste disposal options that by-pass safe drinking water requirements. Fracking is also exempt from all major federal environmental laws.
Due to collaboration between industry and government, we are apparently now a sacrifice zone. In West Virginia, fracking is expected to expand exponentially when pipelines to export terminals are completed.
For documented verification, please go to www.mountainpartywv.com, “dumping facts”. If you seek information elsewhere, please beware that academic studies, for example, reflect substantial natural gas grants and investments, that industry advertising is very profitable to the media and politicians receive large natural gas campaign contributions. Again, there is seemingly unlimited money backing hydrofracking. But also please be aware that, together, informed citizens can correct situations. Otherwise this dire issue would not be concealed.
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