Sometimes we listen intermittently until our name is called. When I discovered that there was a hydrofracking injection site well in the middle of the gas explosion in Sissonville, my name was called, and I am listening intently.
It took the terror of having my 6-year-old niece being locked down at Flinn Elementary School near the explosion site for several terrifying hours before I knew I needed to do more than simply listen.
In my quest to find the truth, I discovered some alarming facts. Even though there are three hydrofracking injection site wells where toxic hydrofracking waste is dumped in Sissonville (one within 400 feet of Maranatha Church, another near the former Sissonville High School), the hydrofracking injection site well located in the middle of the Sissonville gas explosion was apparently a well-kept secret. Kanawha County Commissioners and the senators and delegates in my district had no idea that there was an injection site well there.
When I specifically asked the Department of Environmental Protection if there were injection site wells near the area of the gas explosion in Sissonville, the response was, "right in the middle of it."
These sites are pumped full of dangerous chemicals that will eventually seep into our underground water supplies. Like putting red dye in a clear glass of water, the water is changed and can never be restored to its original state. When these injection site wells fail, which even industry scientists concede they eventually will, it can render the underground source of drinking water undrinkable forever!
Why aren't state elected officials protecting West Virginia?
While other state, county and municipal elected officials are protecting their citizens, West Virginia legislators are making it easier for the hydrofrackers to dump their dangerous waste material from West Virginia and other states into our communities! While New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania are busy passing legislation and ordinances to protect their citizens, the WV Legislature is offering bills that remove the responsibility of the hydrofrackers from telling citizens what fluids are being injected into our communities.
As recently as March 19, the Baltimore City Council banned the treatment, disposal and discharge storage of fracking wastewater there. This wastewater contains not only the chemicals used in Fracking fluid, but also harmful natural contaminants from deep underground that are carried to the surface. Chemicals used include benzene, xylene, ethylene, glycol, and 2-butoxyethanol and have been linked to cancer and negative effects on the nervous system, kidney and liver, according to commondreams.org.
As early as 2003, injection site explosions have been killing people. Even though the gas explosion in Sissonville did not kill anyone, there are recent deaths in West Virginia as a result of the oil and gas industry.
What causes good people to become reckless legislators?
As I visited the Capitol recently for the first time in nearly 20 years, I found myself stunned by good people (people whom I served with in the state Senate) making really bad decisions! These honorable people passed fracking legislation that lacked adequate protections for West Virginia and her people. The financial stability of West Virginia communities, the future of our drinking water, the health of our citizens and long-term reconstruction costs have all been placed in jeopardy!
Good people becoming reckless legislators is usually the result two things:
* Not knowing what sources of information to trust.