I’d like to address two subjects and would ask some individuals and groups to redirect their efforts on one subject and am requesting help from everyone on another.
First is an environmental issue. I have worked in the oil and gas industry since 1984. I have worked on wells in old unreclaimed strip mines and in reclaimed strip mines. I have been involved in cleaning up several minor oil spills. I know of many old wells that were “swabbed” (a process removing fluid — oil and brine — to enable the well to produce more gas) onto the ground for 30-plus years. Grass now grows around these wells over the old oil deposits. This process is no longer legal. I do not remember the specific agency but Ohio Department of Natural Resources or Division of Forestry has tested the water in our area streams and given them a “healthy” rating. Hydraulic fracturing has been commonplace since the ’70s.
With or without human help, Mother Nature will heal “minor” infractions on her surface, usually in a relatively short time. I believe the groups and individuals opposing drilling and mining should look a little deeper, direct your efforts to a broader cause. What happened in Japan with an earthquake, a resulting tsunami and a nuclear reactor should make us think. How many hundreds of square miles are uninhabitable around that site? There are at least a dozen nuclear plants that are potentially upwind of us. Where do they store or dispose of the waste? I don’t believe Yucca Mountain is permitted to store it anymore. How many hundreds or thousands of square miles would become uninhabitable around and downwind of one of these sites should the unlikely, but possible, earthquake hit there?
I would ask individuals opposing the strip mining, would you oppose it if it were your land and you had the opportunity to have a portion of your property that was unusable and an eyesore to have that land restored to a usable, more valuable piece of property and make money doing it? Have you been to The Wilds animal sanctuary? It sits on reclaimed strip mines.
The second subject is of a political nature. I believe we should support the people in the Occupy Wall Street arena. I have heard many say they (OWS) should go home, take a shower and get a job. I say, “What job?” Since NAFTA was passed, all jobs have gone overseas. These people are our voices to the real economic problems we are faced with.
To all readers, please go to tucsoncitizen.com. Read an article by Charlie Reese originally printed in the Orlando Sentinel in 1985, modified and reprinted in 2008 titled “545 vs 300,000,000.” This article spells out how 545 elected officials control what the rest of us get for our tax dollar — it is a must read.
Also, please go to rollingstone.com then “politics.” Look up “The Great American Bubble Machine” by Matt Taibbi. This article spells out how Wall Street has manipulated our economy, infiltrated our government with the resulting deregulation to make literally stealing from you and me perfectly legal. Another must read. I recently read where one Wall Street company was fined $60 million for profiting in the billions for improper trading. Really!? That’s like stealing $1,000 and being fined a nickel. Who wouldn’t want that deal?
If one breaks into my house to steal my possessions, I have the right to defend myself with force if necessary. What rights do I have when Wall Street manipulates stocks, causing me to lose 40 percent of my retirement while they profit in extremes?
I am not advocating any violence, but you and I sure as hell better start to fight the politicians and Wall Street, whose hands are obviously in our politicians’ pockets. Call and write all our elected officials and demand that Wall Street be regulated, that politicians be regulated, that corporations pay their fair share of taxes, that loopholes be closed, that lobbyists’ donations have limitations, that our laws be made simple and clear and bills aren’t hidden in the fine print.
Support Occupy Wall Street. They are our voice. Let your voice be heard. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve had enough politics as usual.
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Baringer is a resident of Guysville.