Pact with devil? California farmers use oil firms’ water by Veronique Dupont, July 3, 2015, YahooNews
An efficient solution to a historic drought, or an environmentally risky pact with the devil?
That’s the question being raised by critics about Californian farmers who irrigate their crops with waste water supplied by oil companies, in an arrangement slammed as dangerous….
Driving into the parched region around Bakersfield, in the western US state’s fertile Central Valley, it is evident how closely the agriculture and oil industries are related.
Lines of orchards stand near fields of oil wells stretched out as far as the eye can see.
Eighty percent of the state’s oil production and 45 percent of the farming industry is concentrated in a single county, Kern County, said Madeline Stano of the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment.
With temperatures frequently exceeding 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in the summer, water is in scarce supply.
After four years of record drought, farmers can no longer pump water from rivers whose levels are dangerously low.
Drawing from the water table is also increasingly difficult: more than 1,000 wells have dried up in the region.
In a bid to diversify supplies, the Cawelo Water District, a cooperative financed by local farmers, has for 20 years used waste water from oil companies. [The new “organic?”]
Abby Auffant, spokeswoman for oil giant Chevron, explained that crude comes out of the ground mixed with water, from which it must be separated. Separating the water from the crude is a process that actually benefits oil firms, according to Stano. “It’s hard for the oil industry to get rid of, so it’s a win-win for the oil companies” when they are able to sell the [toxic waste]
water, she said.
Chevron’s Kern River operation sells some 500,000 barrels of waste water per day to the Cawelo Water District, which currently gets 50 percent of its supplies from the oil company.
The water is cleaned [???] by a filtering system [there are many toxics in industry’s “produced” water that do not get filtered out, not even by reverse osmosis] and piped to a reservoir where it is combined with supplies from other neighboring oil plants, [ Multi-Toxic brews intentionally mixed so that no company can be held liable for poisoning food and people or destroying farms?] before being mixed with fresh water and then distributed to some 90 local farms and vineyards.
– A legal practice –
The farmers pay about $33 per acre-foot (1,233 cubic meters), compared to up to $1,500 for the same quantity of fresh water [Are the oil companies desperate to get rid of their toxic waste?] , said David Ansolabehere, head of the water distribution cooperative.
The practice is entirely legal: Chevron and rivals including Occidental Petroleum Corporation have a permit to sell their [toxic waste]
water. They have it tested by a third-party firm and then supply the results to California authorities. “We’re in compliance with all the testing requirements,” said Auffant. [The type of “authorities that for years knowingly allow oil and gas companies to illegally inject their toxic waste into drinking water aquifers? As regulatory as AER “Conflict of Interest” Chair Gerard Protti swilling beer in a Synergy Alberta stunt?]
“There’s a petrochemical content in our… permit and we have always met and been under it.” [Carcinogen and sperm altering benzene with your salad anyone? Brain damaging toluene (in Rosebud hamlet drinking water) laced “organic” cherries?]
… “It’s an experiment that the state of California and the oil industry performs without consumer consent,” Stano said.
“In Chevron’s own report we found benzine and acetone, which are carcinogenics” in the water sold to farmers, she said, claiming that the tests also fail to detect other dangerous chemicals.
“There has been a gentleman’s agreement to promote deregulation,” she added.
Santo denounced a “lack of state enforcement and oversight (and) blind faith in the industries for a long time.”
… Almonds, grapes and other agricultural produce are not evaluated apart from their pesticide content, Ansolabehere admitted. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
Drilling mud includes a number of additives to maintain the fluid at desired viscosities and weights. Some additives may be caustic, toxic, or acidic.
Feed benzene, petroleum hydrocarbons, acetone, methylene chloride to your loved ones? In California almonds, artichokes, olives, garlic, broccoli, nectarines, canned tomatoes, celery, apricots, strawberries, cauliflower
Is Encana’s 2012 waste dumping (above photos) at Rosebud compliant?