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Fracking’s Toxic Impact on Texans

Fracking’s Toxic Impact on Texans

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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.

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4:50AM PST on Feb 19, 2015

thanks for sharing

9:16AM PDT on Mar 15, 2014


7:24PM PST on Mar 5, 2014

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.

5:27PM PST on Mar 5, 2014

Mr. or Mrs BoZo, you just said nothing except to call me your routine obnoxious names in order to impress your Peers, then agree that fracking is good after I pointed out the facts. You are far to confused to prove anything, your last post is typical proof. Everything I say is the truth.

11:09AM PST on Mar 5, 2014

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.

11:00AM PST on Mar 5, 2014

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.

9:19AM PST on Mar 5, 2014

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

8:09PM PST on Mar 4, 2014

Democrats like BoZo the Cletus, revere the State media propagandist instructing them that fracking is so bad. Yet fracking clean natural gas has single handed replaced coal use in US power plants by 23% since 2011. Proportionately reducing coals sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions by the same. Environmentalist that desire to protect the planet should be supporting this relatively new deep earth technology. There far to many gullible “useful idiots” (Karl Marx) that believe whatever they hear on the socialist networks.

8:09PM PST on Mar 4, 2014

From 2003-08, shortly before the fracking revolution took hold, the price of natural gas averaged about $7.20 per million BTUs. By 2012 after new drilling operations exploded across the U.S.—from West Texas to Pennsylvania to North Dakota—the increase in natural gas production had slashed the price to $2.80 per million BTUs.
Thanks to the lower price for natural gas, families saved roughly $32.5 billion in 2012. (That's 7.4 billion MMBTUs of residential use of natural gas times the $4.40 reduction in price.) The windfall to all U.S. natural gas consumers—industrial and residential—was closer to $110 billion. This is greater than the annual income of all of the residents in 14 states in 2011. The poor thank big oil, even though they don’t have a clue why.

3:26PM PST on Mar 4, 2014

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

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