You really have to wonder why EnergyfromShale.org recently placed two slick advertisements in the Daily Camera, showing idyllic scenes of a man fishing, with a strategically placed fracked well in the background. Can fishing, requiring fresh, flowing water, exist side by side with toxic, fracked oil wells? This is in North Dakota, home of the biggest domestic oil patch, where tens of thousands of wells are flaring natural gas, visible from outer space.
Flaring natural gas raises atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, contributing to global warming. Can our planet afford to get any warmer? It seems apparent that warming has contributed to severe drought in North Dakota and the rest of the high plains, leaving everyone very thirsty, while the oil and gas industry continues to destroy precious water by fracking. What about the people, the livestock and the farmland of North Dakota, all suffering the ill effects of an industry gone wild?
The Shilke family, highlighted in The Nation, had 32 fracked oil wells within three miles of their home. The result: a water well contaminated with a brew of toxic chemicals and health issues for Jacki Shilke and her husband, including chronic lung pain, unexplained rashes, loss of fillings in their teeth, body pain. Doctors diagnosed Jacki with neurotoxic damage and constricted airways. Five of her prized Angus cows dropped dead and now they can no longer sell their cattle.
Is this a vision of Nirvana? This story plays out over and over again throughout the oil patch in North Dakota — from cities overrun with man camps and crime, to millions of truck trips disintegrating their roads and billions of gallons of water being destroyed. Is this a wonderful legacy? Or is it destroying our life support system?