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.
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.