The present right wing obsession with EPA as the enemy has created a number of ugly sights. Some of them are the destroyed landscape that fracking has produced. The other is the political faction that will promote the most obvious lies to excuse decrying the population that prefers scenery to fumes. It’s almost funny to watch the results, here with Rand Paul insisting that asthma is the result of clean air, and pollution its cure.
Long, long ago and far, far away, the land we’re now fracking had lots of space and scenery, and, as schoolchildren, the now-aging population sang about ‘purple mountains’ majesty’ without a sneer about tree hugging. Along came the family car with its network of highways, and we started to ruin it.
When the auto industry was young, it was necessary to choose the fuel that all of us would use to power the new mode of transportation. Whale oil was getting a bit shaky, vegetable oil interfered with food production, but beneath the earth there was this slimy waste product nobody wanted, it was cheap because it was a nuisance.
Texans knew of the oil that lay beneath the ground in the state for decades, but this was often seen more as a problem than a benefit because it hindered the digging of water wells. Rancher W. T. Waggoner, who later became an influential oil businessman, struck oil while drilling for water in 1902, and was quoted as saying “I wanted water, and they got me oil. I tell you I was mad, mad clean through. We needed water for ourselves and for our cattle to drink.”
The auto manufacturers tooled up to use fossil fuels. On the side, oil drilling became another boom, and wells obliterated whole communities as people discovered that instead of dirt farming, they could drill in their dirt. Read the rest of this entry →