Texas’s Toxic Rivers: Fracking Chemicals Seep Into Waterways After Floods

© Flickr / WildEarth GuardiansEven as US environmental regulators are reluctant to declare fracking a widespread water pollutant, a new study of water in Texas’ Barnett Shale area reveals "incredibly alarming" levels of contamination, with fracking the prime suspect.
Even as US environmental regulators are reluctant to declare fracking a widespread water pollutant, a new study of water in Texas’ Barnett Shale area reveals incredibly alarming levels of contamination, with fracking the prime suspect. - Sputnik International
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The floods Texas has experienced recently have inundated oil wells and fracking sites resulting in the flushing of oil and fracking chemicals into local rivers.

Fracking drill rig - Sputnik International
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Emergency management officials in Texas have mobilized the Civil Air Patrol to photograph possible oil spills and leaks around the flood regions where a catastrophe could be in the making. Many environmentalists and residents have expressed concern that recent floods have deluged fracking sites, spreading oil and the chemicals used to turn shale into oil and is now depositing them into waterways and even possibly drinking water.

Texas is the home to America’s petroleum industry where companies engage in shale fracturing — more commonly referred to as “fracking” — seen by many ecologists as destructive to the environment, mostly for the industry’s use of harsh chemicals.

Photos show oil-sheen as well as plumes flowing from tipped tanks and fracking sites that were inundated with rainwater during March’s flooding of the Sabine River.

Hydraulic fracking site - Sputnik International
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“That’s a potential disaster,” Dr. Walter Tsou, a former president of the American Public Health Association, told the El Paso Times. “Cattle that drank the fracking fluid actually died an hour after drinking it. There are potential carcinogens that can lead to leukemia, brain cancer and other endocrine disruptors that can affect premature births.”

Critics are additionally concerned that the state’s commission will continue to fail to hold oil and gas companies responsible for such incidents given that commissioners receive more than half of their campaign contributions from that industry. 

Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association, dismissed the concerns

“Oil and natural gas companies utilize the latest technologies to establish and maintain safe operations in any weather condition,” Staples told the El Paso Times. “ Operators who do not comply with regulations or remediation directives should face enforcement and can lose their permit to operate in Texas.”

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