Why Rick Perry Would Put the World on a Fast Track to Total Meltdown
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Burned trees, charred wildlife, destroyed homes — Texas has endured more than 16,000 wildfires since January, which have consumed over 3 million acres of land. With little rain, the state has become a tinderbox. Bloomberg reports that drought in Texas has resulted in $5.2 billion of agricultural losses ... and still counting. The state climatologist pegged the drought as the “worst single-year dry spell in 116 years,” according to the San Antonio Express-News. The town of Robert Lee in West Texas has seen its water supply dwindle to 1 percent and West Kemp is out of water.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, the new darling of the GOP presidential field, leapt to action. His response to catastrophe?
I, RICK PERRY, Governor of Texas, under the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Texas, do hereby proclaim the three-day period from Friday, April 22, 2011, to Sunday, April 24, 2011, as Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas. I urge Texans of all faiths and traditions to offer prayers on those days for the healing of our land, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of our normal way of life.
All the praying didn’t pay off. The federal government has been forced to declare 213 counties in Texas natural disaster areas, and the drought has already resulted in fish kills and will likely cause an ecosystem-wide ripple of destruction for years to come, affecting everything from plants to top predators, and insects to migrating birds. Ranchers are selling off their herds, residents are using water for the bare minimums of drinking, cooking and cleaning. Towns are trying to drill emergency wells or run pipes to tap neighboring towns that have more water left. Other communities are making plans to truck in bottled water or drink treated wastewater.
In times like these, everyone is feeling the pinch. Well, almost everyone. It seems that the oil and gas industry is doing OK in Texas. No bigger shocker there. Although what may be surprising is how much water is used extracting these fossil fuels, especially when the practice of hydraulic fracturing is used. Fracking, as it is more commonly known, involves ejecting water, sand and chemicals underground with high pressure to access oil or gas that may be in pockets of rock. The American Independent reports:
A report released in July by the Texas Water Development Board estimated that industry uses about 12 billion gallons of water annually for hydrofracking in Texas now, but that demand will grow to 39.1 billion gallons before 2030. ...
Slate Williams, general manager of the Crockett Groundwater Conservation District in West Texas, told a Scripps Howard News Service reporter in June that there just isn’t enough water to go around. “I want them to quit using fresh water for fracking,” he said.
Unfortunately for Williams and so many others in parched Texas there is little hope that Perry will do anything to impede the oil and gas industry. Perry even recently told Iowans they were missing out on fracking and said, “Not one time that I’m aware of has hydraulic fracking impacted groundwater,” ignoring the fact that there are over 1,000 documented cases of groundwater contamination from fracking, included EPA studies dating back to 1987.
Of course, why would Perry bite the hand that feeds him? The governor has raked in over $11 million from the industry, which is why it is no surprise that his response to unprecedented drought and warming in his home state would spur a response like, "We'll be fine. As my dad says, 'it'll rain. It always does.'"