Couple of folks left New Mexico the other day, driving east through Texas, and stopped for the night at a motel in Odessa. The motel guy gave them a key to their room and a supply of bottled water. “Don’t use the tap,” he said, “not even to bathe or shower.” The travelers wished he had told them this before they registered. The Motel guy shrugged and flashed what my midwestern neighbors used to call “a shit-eating grin.”
“Wouldn’t have mattered. All the motels got the same problem. We’ve got a water situation here,” the motel guy said.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality found that the water is contaminated with chromium. Independent environmental scientists traced the contaminated water to the facilities of Schumberger oil and gas, one of the Permian Basin’s big fossil fuel, drilling, fracking, testing and equipment companies. Schumberger insists it isn’t their chromium. “The source is likely an adjacent site unrelated to our facilities.”
Felicia Acosta, who lives nearby, doesn’t care whose chromium caused her water to turn yellow, then green, she just wants it to stop. “I’ve got rashes on my arms,” she said. ““Stomach problems, a lot of stuff that my doctor doesn't know where it's coming from.” Darrell Moody says his property values have plummeted. “"I have emphysema and other health problems," Moody said. " I've got some bad headaches.”
Welcome to Life in the Divided States of Trumpistan.
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Oh, you can’t drink the water in Odessa, Texas,
You can’t drink the water down Midland way,
‘Cuz somebody’s chromium has laced it with poison,
If I was a Texan I’d move out today.
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The government of Trumpistan has declared that construction will resume on the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline. Construction on both had been halted by the Obama administration because of the threats they pose to the environment, especially the water supplies of dozens of communities along the routes. Protests against the Dakota pipeline by native American tribes have won support from all over the world.
The lines are especially dangerous because they would move diluted bitumen from the tar sands of Canada, highly toxic substances so thick that they can only be moved at extremely high pressures, which makes the pipes more susceptible to rupturing. At a point near Baker, Mont., the pipeline would take on crude from the Williston Basin, whose characteristics are like those of the Permian Basin that surrounds Midland.
And so, Steel City and Cushing, Lincoln and Patoka, and all the other towns along the way, you are Odessa, you are Flint. You are f-, f-, fracked.
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A voice that sounds like Sean Spicer’s blares from the loudspeaker:
Attention, citizens of Trumpistan! Attention! Pay no attention to the lies coming from the nasty media. Ignore them! Your water is perfectly safe to drink. Take many baths, many showers. Yellow is a beautiful color. Green is even more beautiful. If God had intended water to be clear He wouldn’t have made the oceans blue, would He? You know we would not lie to you. Drink the water. Pretend it is Kool-Ade.