This bit of information might not seem like a big deal in this part of Texas, given our decided lack of surface water — but it is.
Environment Texas — an Austin-based environmental awareness group — says the Lone Star State is the second-worst polluter of water of all 50 states, trailing only Indiana.
The Texas Tribune reports: “Texas polluters released about 16.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals into waterways in 2012, second only to Indiana, according to a report released Thursday by Environment Texas, an environmental advocacy group based in Austin.”
OK, if you’ve been along the Gulf Coast, seen the Houston Ship Channel, or the Intracoastal Waterway, or perhaps driven along the Neches or Sabine rivers you’ll appreciate the findings released.
To be candid, they give me the heebie-jeebies.
The Tribune reports further: “And in terms of a measurement that compares pollutants according to how toxic they are, Texas is without rival. According to the report, Texas produced 34 million “toxicity-weighted pounds” in 2012 — 30 times more than the next state, and more than double the rest of the country combined. Almost all of that toxicity comes from one source: the Dow Chemical Company plant in Freeport.”
In an odd way, these findings make me even more glad to have left that part of the state for the drier region way up yonder.
I lived in Beaumont for nearly 11 years with my wife and sons. My boys boogied away from there to attend college in the early 1990s. My wife and I moved to Amarillo in January 1995 and learned that our water supply comes from deep underground. Our water supply isn’t immune from pollutants, but take it from me, you have to wonder what flows from the many refineries and petrochemical plants into the surface water downstate along those major waterways.
Those plants aren’t the worst polluters. No. 1 is the Pilgrims Pride chicken processing operation in East Texas, according to Environment Texas. According to the Tribune, the plant “dumped 2.8 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the Tankersley River in Northeast Texas, the report says. Most of those toxins were nitrates, chemicals found in fertilizer that can cause infant health problems and oxygen-depleted ‘dead zones’ in waterways.”
So, a word to the wise is in order. Are we monitoring our Panhandle feed lots carefully enough?