Mothers don’t think of it as nagging.
It’s constructive criticism, or bringing children up with values, or teaching them how to survive.
I know, it sounds like nagging, but when I hear my own grown children talking to their children, “There’s an echo in here” when they repeat what they were told, and that means they were listening, right?
So when we read the editorial in this newspaper last Thursday about state hearings on perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) pollution in Hoosick Falls’ water supply, the writer said all the right things about protecting New Yorkers and stopping companies from poisoning our water, air and soil.
Add other recent stories of pollution in Flint, Michigan, and the use of fracking water on crops in California, among a multitude of other reports, and it’s time to get outraged.
Now, I don’t mean to nag, but this newspaper has already printed four opinion pieces by this writer — in 2013, 2014 and 2015 — on the dumping of fracking waste in New York.
They are still dumping in 2016, and nobody from the state Department of Environmental Conservation has stopped them. It’s not as if it’s a secret.
But if you weren’t listening, here are the seven New York towns that are taking an incredible amount of fracking waste from gas drilling in Pennsylvania: Angelica, Auburn, Lowman, Niagara Falls, Painted Post, Syracuse and Waterloo.
These are mostly small towns in agricultural and tourist areas in our state, close to water supplies, vineyards and farms.
We have no idea what the damage is, since the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 exempted petroleum industry drill cuttings, produced water and drilling fluids from its regulations.
And the 2001, the White House Energy Task Force exempted hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act. So nobody is watching.
As of April 2016, according to MarcellusGas.org, upstate New York has absorbed 1.72 million tons of drill cutting waste; 558,222 gallons of drilling fluid waste; 86,524 gallons of fracking fluid waste; 44,157 gallons of produced fluid waste; 23,067 gallons of flowback fracking sand waste; and 288 gallons of basic sediment waste.
That’s a lot of waste.
And if you don’t know the difference between drilling fluid, fracking fluid and produced fluid, it’s all fluid, more toxic than anything you can imagine, and it’s virtually impossible to clean it all up.
This adds up to a total fluid waste dumping of 688,903 gallons of liquid poison in our state since 2008.
It’s difficult to imagine how much these numbers mean. But it can’t be good. And the solid waste dumping, added to the 1.7 million tons of drill cuttings, is an additional 23,335 gallons of fracking sand and sediment, often containing radioactive elements.
And these New York sites are only a few of the total 316 waste facility sites on the list.
Are you angry yet?
When the DEC denied the Constitution Pipeline its permit to continue, the Earth Day decision announcement was as welcomed as it was symbolic.
On this Mother’s Day, how about asking the DEC to take action on the desecration of New York with poisons from other states?
Let’s do Mother Earth (and ourselves) a favor and clean up our room.
Karen Cookson is a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who lives in Sharon Springs and is a regular contributor to the Sunday Gazette Opinion page.