When a team of researchers at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi combed through Railroad Commission records several years ago, they found more than 50 permits allowing conventional oil and gas drillers to discharge oil field wastewater, known as produced water, into creeks and streams near the Eagle Ford shale basin in South Texas.
Although produced water contains naturally occuring toxins such as ammonia and radionuclides and also sometimes toxic drilling chemicals, the permits relied on companies self-reporting the contents. In their 2021 paper, the researchers found the permits allowed 700,000 gallons annually of untreated oil field wastewater to be dumped into small creeks and tributaries that cattle drank from.
While the health and environmental effects of these discharges have never been studied, Texas regulators are moving forward to allow more discharges of oil field wastewater from conventional drilling and fracking into bodies of water before what scientists consider a thorough risk assessment is completed.
And now we must worry about toxins from the fire in Maui.
Smoke is known to cause cancer.
Toxins are everywhere and somehow humanity has survived.
Yes, we should try to minimize exposure. The bottom line is still living is hazardous to your health!!
The industrial policies will be evolving for the next two centuries if not longer. People die for no reason but avarice.
Not surprisingly, I have been to Freeport. Quite a site on one side of the freeway, one chemical plant after another. Food for thought. We went over a bridge over either the river or a canal in Freeport. On one side, was a sea gate to keep storm surge out. On the other side of the bridge was a fleet of shrimp boats. Guess where the schmutz that flows down the river and the canals from Dow goes? Into the Gulf, and into the shrimp that we eat.
I’d be very surprised if that statement is true. The EPA is effective in regulating chemical plants. They invest in treatment plants to avoid pollution. Those plants require testing and monitoring. Results are reviewed. Fines get levied.
Environmental laws are from about 1970. Billions were spent by the chemical industry to comply. Many plants were closed or consolidated as a result.
I would be very surprised if Dow Chemical is not in compliance. And there are probably public records of their inspections somewhere. Often by state regulators or by US EPA.
Simple solution: Require the oilfield waste to be dumped at the residences of the Board of Directors of the oil companies (wherever they are located).
dead zone extending out from mouth of the Mississippi River is thought to be from fertilizer runoff. I do not eat much of any seafood from the Gulf of Mexico, I do not have any faith in the environmental oversight of the States on the Gulf, but it appears agricultural runoff is also a big problem, not just refinery and chemical plant pollution.
The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone (carleton.edu)
" What Causes the Dead Zone?
The dead zone is caused by nutrient enrichment from the Mississippi River, particularly nitrogen and phosphorous. Watersheds within the Mississippi River Basin drain much of the United States, from Montana to Pennsylvania and extending southward along the Mississippi River. Most of the nitrogen input comes from major farming states in the Mississippi River Valley, including Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Nitrogen and phosphorous enter the river through upstream runoff of fertilizers, soil erosion, animal wastes, and sewage. In a natural system, these nutrients aren’t significant factors in algae growth because they are depleted in the soil by plants. However, with anthropogenically increased nitrogen and phosphorus input, algae growth is no longer limited. Consequently, algal blooms develop, the food chain is altered, and dissolved oxygen in the area is depleted. The size of the dead zone fluctuates seasonally, as it is exacerbated by farming practices. It is also affected by weather events such as flooding and hurricanes."
I recommend this book. It’s a first hand experience of the daughter of a TX shrimper family, who realized the TX coastal estuaries were being polluted, destroying her family’s livelihood.
She traced the pollution to a chemical company that had bribed the TX L&Ss.
In the 1980s.
I am well aware of the many practices that go on in the real world. That includes companies that dump stuff on the ground and then disappear when caught. Or pay someone off.
Chemical companies are well aware that they are a capital intensive business. They have lots of assets tied up in their billion dollar plants. Lawyers know that. And know where the deep pockets are.
So most major companies know that breaking the rules does not pay. They try hard to comply. And if they can’t are likely to shut a plant down rather than risk big liabilities.
Dow Chemical is the largest US chemical company. I’d be surprised if they are out of compliance.
That does not stop muck rakers from smearing the whole industry with the same brush. There ought to be a law. They should be sued for libel.
And what is your solution to that problem? Stop using fertilizer? Let us all starve?
They are talking about microbes that let crops make their own fertilizer. That has been a research goal forever. Finally they have some they are willing to talk about for corn. But one suspects they only replace some of the fertilizer.
I worked for one of the largest miner of fertilizer materials. Its a forever business because mother nature decided that plants require nitrogen, potash and phosphate. No one knows how to change that.
Its not too surprising that those same materials also cause algae to grow. Stopping runoff is a good idea but how?
“And what is your solution to that problem? Stop using fertilizer? Let us all starve?”
In my own clumsy way, lol, I was supporting your point in the previous post that the pollution in the Gulf was not all caused by the petro-chemical plants.
I like to eat, and I very much know how much more expensive organic produce is compared to non organic produce in the grocery store, so I am not advocating a banning of fertilizer.
Can farmers spray it more economically ? I’m sure they try, because it definitely isn’t cheap. But there is no denying that fertilizer runoff from the land and rivers and streams that are in the Mississippi watershed are causing a dead zone that extends out into the Gulf. I do not have a solution to the problem, but I hope that Big Ag is working on it.