O! Ye Briny Deep: Fracking vs. Nurse Carver

Donna Carver, an Ohio nurse and environmental activist, has taken a stand against the use of “brine” on the grounds of her local county fair.

What is brine? It’s a euphemism for oilfield waste. She’s petitioned the body governing the fairgrounds to cease using it. According to Carver, the study claiming the product is safe was based on only one year of research. The study concentrated on the use of “brine” as a de-icer on little-travelled roadways. The fairgrounds use it for “dust control.”

A few of the inorganic compounds found in the brine include arsenic, barium, lead, mercury and uranium. A few of the organic compounds include benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene. The health effects these components can cause include leukemia, neurological disorders, respiratory system irritation, cancerous tumors, birth defects and other developmental disorders.

via Letter to the Morrow County Fairboard Executive Committee Members – Frack The Media.

Dear reader, what does “brine” connote to you? To me it does not connote anything but the irrefutable Good bestowed on the world by pickles, that all-American half-sour, general-store, vegetable version of Apple Pie. Shucks, with all the fuss about fermentation and so forth, it’s even got  a new-age shimmer of simplicity and health about it. Brine. Use it for your pickle, use it for a turkey. Heck, it even carries a swashbuckling bravery in its salty little syllable:

Come listen to me story
 Of ships so proud and fine
Of captains and of fishermen
 All from the Maritimes
Great carpenters and craftsmen
 Who worked with skill and pride
Built mighty ships of the bluenose line
 to sail the ocean widecho: The Bluenose Line,  the Bluenose Line
     Fastest ships in all the world
     To plow the stormy brine

I’d need more chemistry under my belt—enough to decipher this scholarly paper about contamination of groundwater in Morrow County by oilfield waste would be nice.  Nonetheless, I think I’m coming down with a parody.

Come listen to me story
Of the Morrow County Fair
Of  4-H calves and human kids
Who went a-playing there....

Carver seems, from the little I’ve read, to be another angry parent. Notice I didn’t say “just another.” She’s another mother out front. If we’re there, or if we’re going there, it’s not because we’re having fun; it’s fueled (you’ll excuse that) by a very specific kind of desperation.

“Out front” is not where I’m happiest. It’s just where I’ll have to be if we’re going to restore a realistic hope of a livable earth. I’m getting ready to swashbuckle, harness outrage, and channel incredulity. It might just  turn the tide on corporate doublespeak, lobbyism, and the seas of red tape that conspired to get us to the current sorry state of human and environmental health in the first place.

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