Produced Water is Barreling Our Way, Unchecked; Trump Wants to Cut Funds for Testing

Sometimes the news is so perplexing. Today we begin with our Oil Conservation Commission trying to ease regulations on produced water. And Trump wants to make COVID go away by cutting testing. Finally, a Sarah Cooper video spoofs Trump outrageously.

After today’s post, we offer three videos — one on Trump’s military police invading Portland and threatening to come to a city near you soon. Is this preparation for what happens on Nov 3? We conclude with Sarah Cooper of TikTok fame. She is amazing. She lip syncs to Trump statements and her facial expressions are hilarious. Great stuff. Read on.

Tuesday, TONIGHT! July 21, 6:30-8 pm, Redistricting & Gerrymandering in NM. Panelists will be Senators Gerry Ortiz y Pino and Mark Moores, along with Dick Mason, NM League of Women Voters, and Kathleen Burke, Fair Districts New Mexico. For decades, legislation that would create an independent redistricting commission has run into a brick wall every year. What’s up with that? At first glance, it would seem that we now have the opportunity to get it done: Democrats in charge of everything. Learn why this may not make a difference. Find out how gerrymandering has diminished the political power of communities of color. Find out who is pulling the strings to prevent an independent redistricting commission.

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Produced Water Speeding Into Our Future, Unchecked

In June, we wrote a post that described the new partnership between ExxonMobil and New Mexico State University to conduct research into how produced water can be treated and used. We worried that things were moving very fast and that it was troubling to have ExxonMobil lead the research.

Now a report from WildEarth Guardians discloses that the Oil Conservation Commission has announced a plan to revise regulations governing produced water. From WildEarth Guardians:

“At the end of June, the state’s Oil Conservation Commission announced it intends to amend its regulations to make it easier for the oil and gas industry to transport and use its toxic waste while drilling and fracking.”

Worse, the proposed regulations would even authorize the dumping and discharge of this waste outside of oil and gas producing regions.

Certainly there is precedent for dumping produced waste, as it has been done to control dust in Pennsylvania as well as to melt highway snow and ice. But studies indicate that this kind of use can generate problems. From the NY Office of Legislative Research, we find:

“In its evaluation of New York’s environmental impact statement on High Volume Horizontal Fracking (HVHF), the EPA recommends against spreading both types of wastewater on roads because it could violate the Clean Water Act. The EPA notes that produced water (production brine) may still contain chemicals used in the fracking process and also have higher concentrations of natural contaminants, given its prolonged contact with the shale formation. It also states that levels of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) vary widely, even in the same well, and that each truckload of wastewater, rather than simply the well, would have to be tested to be sure that its NORM concentrations are acceptable for spreading on roads.”

OLR Report: “State Policies on Use of Hydraulic Fracturing Waste as a Road Deicer”

A recent Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report also identified potential risks of wastewater disposal from fracking operations. The council is a Washington, DC-based environmental advocacy organization. The report notes that fracking wastewater (both flowback water and production brine) contains pollutants and NORM that can be toxic to humans and the environment, and spreading wastewater on roads increases the risk that pollutants will wash into water bodies or groundwater. Though states generally permit only production brine to be spread on roads, the NRDC states that the distinction between flowback water and production brine is unclear and even production brine can be dangerous because of high NORM levels.

But there is more to be concerned about beyond WildEarth Guardian’s report on OCC’s proposed easing of regulations governing the use and dumping of produced water. As Kendra Chamberlain reported in her NM Political Report article, “Alleged produced water dumping highlights difficulties in holding oil and gas accountable,” it is clear that even under the current rules, the oil and gas industry is dumping fracking waste without permits or regulation and the state hasn’t got the resources to prevent it. The NM Political Report outlines how difficult it can be to know when illegal dumping occurs:

“If we don’t have proof of it happening, it’s very hard to move forward with a violation,” Adrienne Sandoval, director of the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department’s Oil Conservation Division, told NM Political Report.”

NM Political Report: “Alleged produced water dumping highlights difficulties in holding oil and gas accountable”

In early March however, a rancher alerted the OCD of a dumping incident in which the rancher believed produced water was being dumped on state trust lands and a road in Lea County. 

“Luckily it was caught by someone locally,” Sandoval said, adding that the individual “took recordings of it while it was occurring.” The trucking company responsible for dumping the water has claimed that the water they were hauling was fresh water. While it is entirely possible that the trucker does haul fresh water, it is not exactly common to dump fresh water. What’s more, subsequent to the rancher’s dumping claims, soil testing showed that produced water had been dumped there.

“We hear anecdotal stories from the southeast in particular that this happens quite often,” Sandoval said. “The problem is, unless someone catches it happening, takes video or pictures, captures the truck’s license plate, all those kinds of things, then we don’t have enough evidence to move forward. There’s a lot of remote areas in the southeast portion of New Mexico. There are a lot of places this can happen where no one is around.”

NM Political Report: “Alleged produced water dumping highlights difficulties in holding oil and gas accountable”

Sandoval went on to point out that without evidence, they can’t fine anyone and relying on individuals to see the dumping limits ERD’s capacity to fine those dumping produced water. As a result, she said the department is looking at other options for monitoring dumping.

“We are looking to modernize the division and use more technology in what we do, such as using satellite imagery, so that maybe that type of data could substitute for an actual person witnessing it,” Sandoval said. 

NM Political Report: “Alleged produced water dumping highlights difficulties in holding oil and gas accountable”

So, we have ExxonMobil leading the research into how to treat, regulate, and use produced water; we have an Oil Conservation Commission that wants to loosen regulation of an already unbridled gas and oil industry; we have reports from NY and Pennsylvania of produced toxic water being used to de-ice and to reduce dust; and we have gas and oil operators dumping produced water now without permits.

All of this is brought to you by OUR DEMOCRATIC PARTY LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP. Indeed, it was Speaker Egolf who on a Retake radio interview on KSFR spoke of the Produced Water Bill as “the greatest environmental bill in NM history.” I can think of a far better way to preserve our water. And it would really be the greatest environmental bill in NM History: The “Keep It in the Ground Bill.”

Trump Being Trump:
Easy Way to Reduce COVID Cases, Stop Testing

Isn’t there someone in the White House who can take Trump aside and explain how stupid his thinking is that by reducing testing you will reduce the number of COVID cases. By that logic, we should stop doing mammograms because if breast cancer isn’t detected, it won’t exist. But it appears that at least some Republicans are getting uncomfortable with Trump’s stance. From the Washington Post:

“Cases and deaths are now both rising again, including in many red states,” Sam Hammond, a policy expert at the right-leaning think tank the Niskanen Center, told the Post. “Senate Republicans have asked for funding to help states purchase test kits in bulk. As it currently stands, the main bottleneck to a big ramp-up in testing is less technical than the White House’s own intransigence.”

Washington Post: Trump administration pushing to block new money for testing, tracing and CDC in upcoming coronavirus relief bill

And Biden’s campaign is underscoring this appalling policy.

“Donald Trump is turning his back on his most important responsibility to the American people because, in the words of his own advisers, he ‘doesn’t want to be distracted by’ the worst public health crisis in 100 years,”  said Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates.”

Washington Post: Trump administration pushing to block new money for testing, tracing and CDC in upcoming coronavirus relief bill

You can’t make this stuff up.

Do You Feel Safer With This Kind of Police “Protection?”

Three House committees offered this statement about Trump’s approach to use of federal troops to “quell” peaceful protests.

 “The legal basis for this use of force has never been explained—and, frankly, it is not at all clear that the Attorney General and the Acting Secretary are authorized to deploy federal law enforcement officers in this manner. The Attorney General of the United States does not have unfettered authority to direct thousands of federal law enforcement personnel to arrest and detain American citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. The Acting Secretary appears to be relying on an ill-conceived executive order meant to protect historic statues and monuments as justification for arresting American citizens in the dead of night. The Administration’s insistence on deploying these forces over the objections of state and local authorities suggest that these tactics have little to do with public safety, but more to do with political gamesmanship.”

The letter went on:

“This is a matter of utmost urgency. Citizens are concerned that the Administration has deployed a secret police force, not to investigate crimes but to intimidate individuals it views as political adversaries, and that the use of these tactics will proliferate throughout the country. Therefore, we ask that you commence your review of these issues immediately.”

The Secret Police, Unmarked Vans in Portland:
NY, Chicago, Philadelphia Next

It is becoming clear that Trump’s only path to a second term is to foment urban protests, disseminate fake news about terrorists and extremists, and challenge the integrity of the election. He is setting us up for a vote of us vs. them and then when “us” wins decisively, he has refused to state he’d abide by the voters’ decision. These are scary times. The video below captures unbridled police action across our nation.

We Should be Concerned, But We Also Need to Laugh….Well Worth a Few Minutes of Your Time

The first video is an interview with spliced bits from Sarah Cooper. It is very worth your review. She is tremendous.

This is only a bit over one minute, but her facial expressions are tremendous. What a creative worman!!!

In solidarity and hope,

Paul & Roxanne



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6 replies

  1. On our last return from Texas we decided to drive north on Rt 285, through the “oil patch’, from I-10. Never again! Not only is it dismal and slow with only 2 lanes & lots of trucks turning on & off, but we felt unwell from the methane everywhere. This should be MUCH better managed/ controlled. But as my husband says, “follow the money” …. Improving the environmental impact has a tough battle to fight.

  2. Don’t agree that we need to laugh. This is dead serious stuff. In place of humor, read the history of the Third Reich and how Trump’s actions mirror those of the Nazis in the early 1930s. I have serious problem with the Left, in that this type of thing leads me to believe that people really aren’t serious in the end. And, frankly, what could be more serious than the US becoming Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia?

    • I couldn’t possibly disagree more. I guess you have the option to spend your life never seeing any humor in the world, but frankly I feel life would be insufferable without laughter. I will continue to include great music like that from Playing for Change and great humor from folks like Oliver, Colbert, Stewart and Pryor. It is easy for you and those who agree with you to skip past any levity we include.

  3. We need humor. Some don’t need it that much.
    But what we really need the most is to stop obsessing about Trump and begin to look at everything that is being done behind the smoke screens he creates.
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/07/22/oxfam-america-calls-tax-pandemic-profiteers-fund-covid-19-recovery-and-common-good

  4. Let’s swing the terminology. It is not “produced water”, some magical benefit of the benevolent oil industry! It is PRODUCED TOXIC WASTE.

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  1. Our Son’s Report from Portland, Produced Water Hearing Thurs & a Look Back at a Week of Action – Retake Our Democracy

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