Dear EPA and Fracking Friends: His Water Smells Like Lighter Fluid

Water: A Powerful Resource

I love water. Instinctively, we know how important water is for our survival.

Unfortunately, another example of corporate preference is winning over a person’s basic survival needs. Corporate fracking techniques are under investigation by the EPA as some homeowners fear turning on their water faucet. History shows that investigating does not equal solutions, on all levels of government protectors: local, state, national, and international.

CBS reported on the EPA’s results of the controversial fracking and water testing  in Pavillion, Wyoming:

A few years ago I wrote a piece focusing on the precious resource of water as we managed the drought conditions across the globe. Smart conservation was the solution to nature’s lack of flow of water. The EPA generated social mitigation campaigns and enlisted corporations and rewarded them for producing water efficient products.

The issue of corporations poisoning our water in their pursuit of profits while manufacturing their product is something that we should expect EPA to not only investigate, but put a screeching halt to as the latest shade of corporate greed is exposed.

EPA, you have our two thumbs up to put the stop sticks out on fracking if the data shows a drastic degradation of basic drinking water due to corporate misfeasance.

If the science shows a pH level equal to chlorine bleach coming out of a family’s kitchen sink, isn’t it EPA’s duty to lead the charge in making the corporate violators cease from destroying our water source?

Looking further into two policies under the EPA’s watch, it’s not difficult to identify a dual-duty conflict of interest:

  • Energy Policy Act: The Energy Policy Act was passed in 2005, as an update to the ’92 Act, to deal with the growing energy crisis. The Act sets up loans and incentives for companies and governments to identify alternative sources of energy. It authorized research into alternative energy, provided incentives for oil drilling, increased the amount of ethanol to be mixed with gasoline, and extended day-light savings time as of 2007.

 

  • Summary of the Clean Water Act 33 U.S.C. §1251 et seq. (1972)

    The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. The basis of the CWA was enacted in 1948 and was called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, but the Act was significantly reorganized and expanded in 1972. “Clean Water Act” became the Act’s common name with amendments in 1977.

    Under the CWA, EPA has implemented pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standards for industry. We have also set water quality standards for all contaminants in surface waters.

    The CWA made it unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters, unless a permit was obtained. EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls discharges. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES permit; however, industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters.

Conflicts of interest bog down the problem-solving process.

This reminds me of the conflict of duty within regulating agencies I observed while completing my graduate degree at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The FAA’s dueling duties to protect the safety of the flying public and also to promote flying to the public cause a quagmire to public safety campaigns, such as requiring all passengers to be properly restrained during flight.

Babies-in-arms get a “pass” when it comes to the law of physics during sudden air turbulence. The federal regulations still allow parents to hold their baby in an airplane traveling 150+  miles per hour. Fortunately, state laws do not allow parents to hold their baby in their arms while traveling in a car or truck at any speed.

Sans a rocket science degree, I predict we can all see the conflict between regulations and science. And as the CBS sound bite provided by the Wyoming Governor with a wait-and-see approach implies, big corporate brother is standing close by to watch this water conflict so it can regulate its way through one smelly misfeasance.

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One Response to “Dear EPA and Fracking Friends: His Water Smells Like Lighter Fluid”

  1. Rietz says:

    STEM education is fundamental to our country’s success. Thanks for writing about it.

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