As I approach Midland, Texas from the southeast the rolling hills give way to large, engine-revving trucks, their menacing grills reflecting the setting sun into my rearview mirror. The asphalt beneath my white Toyota Corolla seems to be melting into the petroleum-laden ground from which it had emerged: Not even the road was prepared for […]
Yesterday I had the opportunity to go for a plane ride around the Odessa area with a member of GARDAP (Gardendale Accountability Project). The 45-minute flight opened my eyes to many new things – not least of which being the queasiness induced by rapidly circling small oil spills.
Yes, the most exciting moment came when we unexpectedly flew over an oil spill just south of Odessa. You can see in the picture how close it is to a landowner’s residence. For more images see GARDAP’s post.
On the flight I saw the proximity with which oil rigs can be put to homes in unincorporated townships in Texas, such as Gardendale. There are literally derricks in people’s backyards as close as 100 feet from their homes.
One of the most unsettling things I saw was a pit full of water to be used for fracking. West Texas is already suffering serious water shortages and these immense reservoirs of clean water go not to people or agriculture, but to freeing fossil fluids thousands of feet underground.
I leave you with an image of a well being drilled. The brown inner pit is the mud discharge that comes up from the earth. The outer moat that looks almost black is the drilling mix, which includes untold chemicals. Often this mixture is left on the owner’s property when the drilling is done. Only a liner separates it from mixing with the earth and groundwater that many residents use for drinking.
Last year was the hottest and driest on record in Texas. There were 90 days of 100-degree heat in Austin. The Texas drought of 2011 was the driest 12-month period on record, by a large margin. The state is just beginning to emerge from under the deep red blotch that consumed it on precipitation maps. […]
Midland, Texas - hometown of George W. Bush and the hub of the current Permian Basin oil and gas boom. Since the mid-1980s, when a surge in energy prices fueled Midland’s growth, the area has struggled. But now with the increased use of fracking and other means of reaching unconventional oil and gas resources, the region […]