On c-span: Greg Palast voiced his criticism of globalization, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. He is the author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: The Truth About Corporate Cons, Globalization and High-Finance Fraudsters, published by Plume. He responded to audience telephone calls, faxes, and electronic mail.
The drought in California is bad news for residents, farmers and authorities—but not for Chevron, which is making a killing by selling treated oil-field wastewater to the state. It wouldn’t be the first time Chevron had engaged in shady environmental activity that resulted in a killing, both financially for Chevron and literally, in that case, for some Ecuadorian citizens.
The Chevron water is being sold for irrigation purposes, not personal consumption. That’s because it would likely not be safe to drink the millions of gallons that the oil giant recycles daily. But irrigation water is, of course, intimately involved with agricultural products, Which raises the question: can it be dangerous to consumers, even if it’s not consumed directly?
Toxic Chemicals and Oil Found in Chevron Water
The non-profit group Water Defense tested the wastewater and the results are alarming. The analysis revealed high levels of the potentially dangerous chemicals acetone and methylene chloride.
The water also contained oil, despite assurances that it would be filtered out.
“All these chemicals of concern are flowing in the irrigation canal,” said Water Defense’s chief scientist Scott Smith, in an interview with ThinkProgress. “If you were a gas station and were spilling these kinds of chemicals into the water, you would be shut down and fined.”
With California contemplating expanding the wastewater program to other companies, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, experts warn that the toxic chemicals used in the production of oil may eventually end up in the human food chain.
The Times noted that one of the samples Smith collected in California showed levels of methylene chloride four times higher than those he found in a river contaminated by a a tar sand pipeline spill in Arkansas, an event that resulted in evacuations. …