Politics Magazine

Why Does Water-Poor Texas Allow "Fracking" ?

Posted on the 05 June 2014 by Jobsanger

There may be many states in this country that do not have to worry about water -- but Texas is not one of them. Many parts of the state are still in the throes of a severe drought, but that is not the main cause of Texas' water problems -- that has only added to those problems. Those water problems existed before the drought, and they will continue to exist after the drought has ended.
The sad fact is that Texas cannot sustain its current population with clean water far into the future -- and since Texas is one of the fastest growing states in the nation, population growth makes the problem worse each year. A conservative estimate says that by 2060 Texas will be short by 1.1 trillion gallons of water of what would be needed to sustain its population. A more realistic estimate is that Texas will be 2.7 trillion gallons short.
The legislature threw a few million dollars at the problem in the last legislative session, but no one thinks it was anywhere near enough to solve the growing water problems. Even the State Comptroller, Republican Susan Combs, admits we are not doing enough to solve the problem -- and she calls for more spending on all fronts -- conservation, desalinization, water projects, and the development of new technology to extract and clean more water.
To me, this brings up a question. With the water problems being faced by this state, why is it not doing more to protect the ground water we currently have? Specifically, why do we continue to allow the gas companies to engage in fracking (the pumping of water and poisonous chemicals into the ground to force hard-to-get natural gas to the surface)? While all tracking operations may not poison or pollute ground water reserves, we know for a fact that many tracking operations do damage ground water (sometimes polluting them so much that the water can produce a flame when lit with a match).
The gas companies have engaged in a huge campaign and lobbying effort to disguise what they are doing with their fracking operations -- getting laws passed to hide what chemicals are being used and denying that those chemicals can possibly get into the ground water. But common sense and past pollution due to fracking tells us otherwise. Why then is Texas, a state with widely recognized water shortage problems, continuing to allow the giant gas companies to engage in fracking -- putting our precious reserves of ground water in danger of pollution?
The question, of course, is a rhetorical one. Anyone with even a passing familiarization with Texas politics knows the answer. Texas government has long depended on money from gas and oil production, and too many Texas politicians, especially the Republicans (who control the state government), get huge campaign donations from the companies doing the fracking.
Those politicians know Texas has serious water problems, and they know that fracking endangers the ground water in Texas -- but they have made the greedy and stupid decision to support the giant corporations instead of protecting the ground water resources we currently have. They have put their own desire for campaign dollars over what is in the best interests of the citizens of Texas.
This will not change as long as the Republicans control the state government. They never met a corporation they wouldn't support -- even those who pollute the air, soil, and precious water of Texas. We need to fix this in November -- by voting the GOP out of power.
(NOTE - The image above was found at the website texasceomagazine.com.)

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