Sunday, April 17, 2011


I guess a word to the wise would be not to eat fish or wildlife that live near an oil well that has been hydrofracked or in the area where hydrofracking has occurred. Most likely, the only way you would know is if there was visible well activity in the area. In many parts of Texas, it's silly even to ask if there is oil or gas well activity in the area, because there will be. Certain parts of the state don't have much oil, but many parts do.

This is yet another big bummer about our environment.

It used to be that the Big Bend area of Texas was heralded as the most unpolluted area in the nation. I know it's the most off-the-grid in some locations, and in the nineties while hanging out there with Mrs. El Fisho the air was clean and tasted sweet, like air I remember from my childhood when visiting the country.  But visiting recently, a few years ago, the air was still acrid and smokey from whatever huge smoke cloud had blown into the Big Bend area and gotten trapped by the mountains. It was still nicer than the city, but it wasn't what it was.

I remember reading at the time all the who-ha about the smoke, which was really a serious problem, and there were several theories where it came from. I'm not sure I ever found out which theory prevailed, if one did. But I remember thinking at the time that there are a lot of folks living in Brewster County and thereabouts who are chemically allergic to almost all man-made substances and products and basically live in primitive adobe dwellings and dugouts to have any kind of symptom free life at all. I recall wondering how these hyper-sensitive folks made it through that crisis.

And so yesterday I was extremely dismayed to learn that oil hydrofracking, which is the injection of gallons of water, sand and unbeknowingst to me before now, chemical additives into rock to release oil and gas deposits. Read a great story here at the New York TImes

The long and short of it is that Texas gets a lot of this action and has for years. These companies have been injecting all kins of nasty crap into our water tables and in some cases, have no idea what they were injecting. Many of the known materials are hazardous or carcinagens. Yipee skippee.

A congressional inquiry into hydrofracking, as said in the Times:

...also found that 14 of the nation’s most active hydraulic fracturing companies used 866 million gallons of hydraulic fracturing products — not including water. More than 650 of these products contained chemicals that are known or possible human carcinogens, regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, or are listed as hazardous air pollutants, the report said.

and the times article had this little gem about some of the chemicals used in Texas: 

Companies injected large amounts of other hazardous chemicals, including 11.4 million gallons of fluids containing at least one of the toxic or carcinogenic B.T.E.X. chemicals — benzene, toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene. The companies used the highest volume of fluids containing one or more carcinogens in Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas.

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