To explore Waller Creek and environs is to live intensively in the modern world and at the same time to be aware of how brief an instant modernity has been with us; how brief an instant, indeed, the human presence has been here in any guise to contemplate a very old set of surroundings. […]
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 […]
So I made the drive from Odessa, Texas to Ruidoso, NM. On the way I passed several landmarks of note regarding energy/environment in the Southwest. The first was the site of the new Waste Control Specialists’ plant that disposes of low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) - the only commercial facility in the United States licensed to dispose of […]
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.
Driving through Texas Hill Country in the center of the state I am always reminded of how pretty it is, especially when viewed from the enhanced comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle. The rolling hills outside of Austin tumble lower and lower giving way to a semi-arid steppe and widening sky. On either ends of Hill […]