Fracking’s Toxic Impact on Texans

Written by 

The Lone Star State’s ruthless energy industry is leading a toothless government agency in a merciless stomp on the windpipes of rural Texans. Thanks to an eight month-long investigation by the mighty multimedia trio InsideClimate News, the Center for Public Integrity and The Weather Channel, we now know that a massive but relatively obscure (until now) fracking operation to extract oil and gas from the Eagle Ford Shale is spewing an alarming cocktail of contaminants into the air and the lungs of rural Texans while government agencies stand idly by, unable or unwilling to intervene.

The report documents one instance after another in which residents suffered significant health problems and found their homes rendered nearly uninhabitable by the noxious fumes. While the energy boom has undeniably proven to be a windfall for some of the local residents, it has destroyed the quality of life for many others; along with severe headaches, nausea, breathing problems and other physical ailments, some lifelong residents can no longer sit on their porches because of a sickening stench and find a greasy residue coating their car windshields. Farmers can’t let their livestock graze anywhere near the wells for fear they’ll be poisoned. One farming family lost all six of its work dogs, who died a mysterious, agonizing death after vomiting and scratching themselves bloody. (The vet ruled out the obvious suspects such as rat poison or antifreeze, but a necropsy was too expensive, so the family will never know the exact cause of death.)

All these concerns are routinely dismissed by the energy companies as aberrations or exaggerations from anti-oil agitators. And the government agencies in charge of monitoring air quality give lip service to the notion that they’re making an honest effort to enforce existing regulations. But the investigation revealed a long and disheartening pattern of oversight so apathetic that it borders on catatonic, thanks to budget cuts and the corrupting influence of the Texan oil and gas cabal.

The fallout from the Eagle Ford fracking is a particularly egregious example of what happens when the energy industry runs amok, but communities all over the U.S. are coping with their own fracking calamities. Earlier this month in Pennsylvania, an explosion at a Chevron fracking site near Bobtown left one employee missing and presumed dead and started a fire that burned for five days.

As with their Texas counterparts near the Eagle Ford shale, dozens of Bobtown residents complained about headaches, nausea, skin rashes, foul odors and foul waters, as well as sickened pets and livestock. But Chevron, unlike its unapologetic Texas colleagues, acknowledged the harm that it had done the community. To make up for all that unpleasantness, Team Chevron compensated the good folks of Bobtown by giving them gift certificates redeemable at Bobtown Pizza for a “Special Combo” – one large pizza and a two-liter drink, good until May 1.

Some people are questioning the wildly inappropriate nature of this gesture, but I’m going to give Chevron the benefit of the doubt, because I think I know who is to blame for this social media debacle. It’s gotta be Siri. Some muckety muck in Chevron’s PR department dictated a text to some poor flunky saying “send a peace offering to bobtown,” and Siri mangled the message so that it read “send a pizza.” I give ‘em an ‘A’ for effort, and an ‘F’ for fracking.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

142 comments

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Carole R.
Carole R.2 years ago

thanks

Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm2 years ago

Parsing words is the only thing you are good at David. Everything you state is NOT the truth. In fact hadly ANY of it is true. It has the image of truth but not truth itself. Give it a rest.

Cletus W.
Cletus W.2 years ago

And if it weren't for his imbecility, David F. should recall my having similarly disciplined him in a previous thread for the very SAME lie.

The problem with the political form of Tourrettes syndrome is that the same lies are blurted indiscriminately, even after they have been proven as lies.

Cletus W.
Cletus W.2 years ago

David F. reads and blindly believes the WSJ. And so what does that tell you about the WSJ?

The parroted info. from the WSJ in David F.'s post is -- surprise, surprise -- MISLEADING. While there is no doubt that fracking has added to the volume of accessible natural gas, the numbers quoted from the WSJ as being the sole result of fracking are FALSE. New drilling operations, as well as the price reduction and the family savings, were NOT solely as a result of fracking. It is an obfuscatory lie to claim so....and thus spake the WSJ and David F. LIES and LIERS. The funny thing is, in terms of the limited statistics that the WSJ and David F. were trying to promulgate, there was no need to lie: fracking has had a beneficial effect in those limited areas. The problem with the rightwing underbelly is that, habituated to constant lying as they are, they are too stupid to stop lying when they really don't need to.

Dumber than moldy cheese.

Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm2 years ago

THe minute you mention Karl Marx and socialist in a post you lose ALL credibility David. ALL

Charles S.
Charles S.2 years ago

I can't access the previous comments either . I sent Care To, and they said they are looking into it

Valerie K.
Val K.2 years ago

Janice T., yes I can't access the previous comments also.

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson2 years ago

Cannot access 130 comments. Is anyone else having this problem.

Rebecca S.
Rebecca S.2 years ago

maybe someday we will see that not all regulations are bad and we need a lot more for some things!!