Today in OMFG WE ARE SO FUCKED news, Elizabeth Royte enlightens us with an excellent long piece at The Nation about our food supply in the wake of Big Oil’s fracking juggernaut through millions of acres of previously productive farmland. In Fracking our Food Supply, we get a glimpse of a dystopian nightmare of blighted landscapes, animals with strange diseases, and once-pristine waterways that no longer freeze in subzero temperatures:
Ever since a heater-treater unit, which separates oil, gas and brine, blew out on a drill pad a half-mile upwind of Schilke’s ranch, her own creek has been clogged with scummy growth, and it regularly burps up methane. “No one can tell me what’s going on,” she says. But since the blowout, her creek has failed to freeze, despite temperatures of forty below. (Testing found sulfate levels of 4,000 parts per million: the EPA’s health goal for sulfate is 250 parts per million.)
Schilke’s troubles began in the summer of 2010, when a crew working at this site continued to force drilling fluid down a well that had sprung a leak. Soon, Schilke’s cattle were limping, with swollen legs and infections. Cows quit producing milk for their calves; they lost from sixty to eighty pounds in a week; and their tails mysteriously dropped off.
Sounds downright evil. And sure enough, there it is: that distinctive, noxious stench of sulfur and methane:
By design, secrecy shrouds the hydrofracking process, casting a shadow that extends over consumers’ right to know if their food is safe. Federal loopholes crafted under former Vice President Dick Cheney have exempted energy companies from key provisions of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts, the Toxics Release Inventory, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires a full review of actions that may cause significant environmental impacts.
There’s also a nifty graphic accompanying the article:
So far, under considerable public pressure New York governor Andrew Cuomo has held to a temporary ban on fracking in the state, where sustainable and organic farms abound and locavore food and wine culture is thriving. Unfortunately Mr. Cuomo seems to have grand political ambitions, so my money’s on him flat out caving to these motherfrackers. You know, like a good Democrat.