Local politics, the county, and the world, as viewed by Tammy Maygra
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Fracking Is Poisoning Water And Food

California feeds the majority of the nation. California farmers produce almost half of the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the U.S., including the vast majority of olives, grapes, avocados, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, tangerines, almonds, pistachios and many more food crops.

But some of these crops are being grown and irrigated with wastewater from oil drilling and fracking and the state of California is letting it happen, in fact California is supporting this health hazard. As California's drought continues and crops are being affected ---Big Oil is taking advantage of the farmers and the water shortage which Big oil has caused by fracking in the first place. The farmers are desperate for water and Big oil is cashing in by selling them oil wastewater from their filthy fracking operations. This practice is being allowed despite the fact that no complete independent testing has been completed to insure that our food is safe from the hundreds of toxic chemicals known to be used in oil extraction and fracking.

Hundreds of chemicals are used in oil extraction, and some of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, kidney failure and liver damage. We don't know what the levels of these chemicals are in the water, or if they are accumulating in our food
. There has been no action taken to protect the farmworkers who are potentially exposed to these toxins on a daily basis as they handle and harvest the food products.

While this wastewater is treated, only recently has the state begun to update water testing standards beyond decades-old rules that pre-date modern oil extraction and fracking. The wastewater smells like oil, and independent testing has confirmed the presence of oil, and toxic substances including acetone and methylene chloride. Two California water districts currently allow for the use of oil wastewater from drilling operations for crop irrigation, and plans for the expansion of this practice are currently underway.

The reason more oil companies are trying to get into the game is not because they are worried about the production of food but for their own individual reasons. Because of the risk of groundwater contamination, the state of California has been tightening the rules for disposing of wastewater by injecting it underground. So since they can't inject this wastewater underground, oil companies want to give it to our farmers instead. Again big oil is not doing anything because they are concerned for crops and water shortages but for their own monetary gains.

The fossil fuel industry whose product is driving California's drought in the first place is allowed not only to continue oil extraction that worsens climate change and pollutes the scarce water, it is allowed to sell that polluted water back to farmers to be used to grow the food that feeds half the nation. By allowing fracking period--- we are putting all Americans at risk once again for corporate America's profits. Are we going to allow corporations over people on this very important issue? I sure hope not. For decades America has allowed corporations to pollute our air, our water, and our soils so they can continue to make huge profits. I understand some people believe we need these corporations for jobs which I agree with but if we are going to allow companies to function then we need to make sure that our people are safe, our food sources are safe and that our environment is protected from the corporate practices which has no regard for anything except for corporate profits.

California needs to stop allowing fracking which has caused the water shortage in the first place and California needs to put a stop to the contamination of the water and crops. Just because there are some areas to put contaminated water in holding ponds does not make this practice the correct thing to do. We should not allow our water to be contaminated at any cost by any practices.

Everyone should be concerned no matter where they live about ground water contamination, and fight to keep it from happening. Water is a precious commodity that everything depends on to thrive, let's take a proactive stance on protecting our water before the problem gets out of hand, it is easier to stop a problem than try and correct it after the fact.


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