Native American

Native American

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fracking St. Tammany - why I say, not in my backyard, not in my parish, not on my planet.

The more I read, the more I am convinced that fracking is "safe" like smoking was safe; like thalidomide was safe; like agent orange was safe. Safe for whom? In each of those cases, billions were made by a few at the expense of thousands of lives before the sheer weight of the devastation could no longer be denied. Then, finally, came the acknowledgment by those who should have protected the public from the beginning that, not only was it not safe, but the evidence of the threat had been there all along.

In the case of fracking, we are talking about the "safety" not of the individuals who voluntarily expose themselves and their property to it, but of our water supply. And by "our," I do mean, all of us. Not just this community, but our country and the world. Clean water is fast becoming the most valuable commodity of our time. Just ask Texas, Colorado, and California.

We in south Louisiana, surrounded by water, deluged by it almost every summer afternoon, take water for granted. We take so much for granted. Have we learned nothing from the past? Do we really want to wait for the evidence that fracking is destroying water supplies to become so overwhelming that it can no longer be denied, even by the oil and gas industry? It's frightening to me to guess at how much worse it has to be before we wake up. Again, look at, and I mean really look, at what's going on in Texas and California as they are beginning to realize how much of their clean water they have sacrificed in the name of profits and the assurances by oil and gas that fracking is "safe."

The rhetoric of "economic benefit" and "responsible natural resource development" has put us in a trance from which we must awaken before we experience first hand that you can't drink money, no matter how much of it you've made off of fracking, or anything else for that matter. Sure, you can buy it with your wealth, but only if it exists to be bought.

Wake up, people. Please, wake up. Unlike the deaths and injuries caused by smoking, thalidomide and agent orange, to name only a few, this devastation cannot be eradicated with money judgments, apologies, and television commercials. Once our water is contaminated, the only thing that will repair it is time. I'd guess a few thousand years. And even if I could live that long without clean water, who, especially here in south Louisiana, the sportsman's paradise, would want to?