*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
Republicans have long claimed that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exists to destroy America and retard the unrelenting flow of money into the fossil fuel industry’s coffers; despite it was Republicans who created the agency. By now some Americans are aware that the Koch brothers’ dream of dismantling the agency is closer than they could have dreamed because a Russian operative in the White House pledged to “dismantle” the EPA; a pledge he appears rushing to fulfill with an anti-EPA oil man as the agency chief. Republicans attempted to destroy the EPA barely five years ago under authority of the Koch brothers, but with a happy fascist in the White House, their dream is reaching fruition.
So, it was only temporary good news that the EPA finally released a report confirming that the oil industry practice of “fracking” is not only responsible for earthquakes, infertility, miscarriages and birth defects, it poses a very significant threat to Americans’ drinking water. The EPA had held back from verifying what most people were already aware of because they were limited in having access to the facts on fracking’s adverse impact on drinking water.
Now, in what will most certainly be the EPA’s last report on a serious health risk due to the oil industry’s practices, the agency reported that fracking does adversely affect Americans’ drinking water. Of course this is no revelation; particularly when “tap water near some fracking wells has become flammable,” two Pennsylvania families won a court case over fracking poisoning their water, and scientists found arsenic in water sources near fracking operations.”
According to the director of Environment America’s Stop Drilling Program, Rachel Richardson:
“[The] EPA’s report confirms what experts and the science show: that fracking operations put our drinking water at risk. That families from Colorado to Pennsylvania have had their water contaminated from fracking should be evidence enough, but today’s report confirms: fracking puts our water at risk.”
According to the EPA report, there are six different ways fracking produces “more frequent or severe” impacts on Americans’ sources of drinking water:
“Using large volumes of water in arid or water-stressed regions; spilling the chemical-laced water; faulty injections that fail to contain the water; injections that go directly into water supplies; failure to treat the wastewater before it is released; and disposing of the wastewater inadequately.”
The EPA reported that it took so long to document the obvious because there were,
“Data gaps and uncertainties limited EPA’s ability to fully assess the potential impacts on drinking water resources both locally and nationally. The understanding of the potential impacts from hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources will continue to improve over time as new information becomes available.”
That is either an inordinately hopeful, or incredibly ignorant, assessment of the EPA being involved in gathering or receiving any “new information” on the fracking, or any other, threat to drinking water going forward. Here’s a newsflash to whomever wrote that pathetic statement; Trump’s EPA, the agency Trump and the Koch Congress want abolished in its entirety will not be investigating the oil industry or find any additional information about the many health hazards of fracking to drinking water or the air.
The fine folks at the EPA certainly understand that their incoming leader is not only a fierce advocate for more oil and gas development, his only claim to fame is being the greatest opponent of the EPA’s “agenda;” identifying and reducing environmental health risks to American citizens. There will be no new investigations and only a fool would believe otherwise. And, the idea of any government scientific data being allowed to exist is a fantasy that Trump and the Kochs guarantee will never happen.
There are various reports that Russian hand puppet Trump, like oil-man George W. Bush before him, will mobilize his oil industry cabal disguised as an administration cabinet to immediately begin “redacting” all manner of scientific data from NASA, NOASS, EPA, and NIH showing the dangers of fossil fuel operations on Americans’ health and its impact driving climate change.
Americans can forget any concept of an agency devoted to protecting their health from environmental hazards whether those hazards are from oil, gas, coal, fracking operations or toxic waste dumping. This incoming government is made up predominately of fossil fuel and anti-environmental protection advocates and industry campaign cash beneficiaries. And with the Koch brothers co-owning the government, it is safe to say that nearly every decision going forward will hinge on its monetary value to big oil; the rest of the administration’s agenda will be driven by the monetary worth to dirty Donny Trump.
It is likely true that this report by the EPA on the dangers of fracking, or anything for that matter, to Americans’ water supply or air, is the last one Americans will ever see or hear about; at least for the foreseeable future. It is also likely true that whoever was responsible for deciding to release the warning or results of the data will not be employed with the agency for very much longer; not with an oil industry devotee running the EPA.
Apparently, this dangerous state of affairs is precisely what the voters wanted because Trump made no secret throughout the campaign that “dismantling” the EPA was high on his list of achievements early in his administration.
Sadly, with a Republican Congress heavily indebted to the oil magnate Koch brothers, and a cabinet flush with oil industry employees, the only reporting Americans can expect to see about the EPA will be how an agency tasked with protecting Americans’ health was rapidly and unceremoniously eliminated because voters want the country to go in a different direction according to the will of the Kochs and their fossil fuel industry cohort.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.