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Thu Feb 6, 2014, 11:34 AM

 

Diary of a Dying Country



Pumps in the Midway Sunset, an oil field operational for over a century, near Fellows, California.
(Photo: Jim Wilson / The New York Times)


Diary of a Dying Country
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Thursday 06 February 2014

As crude a weapon as the cave man's club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life - a fabric on the one hand delicate and destructible, on the other miraculously tough and resilient, and capable of striking back in unexpected ways. These extraordinary capacities of life have been ignored by the practitioners of chemical control who have brought to their task no "high-minded orientation," no humility before the vast forces with which they tamper.

- Rachel Carson, "Silent Spring"


It has been snowing all day here, the biggest storm of the season to date. There is at least a foot piled atop the stacked cordwood outside my office window, the trees are frosted, and everything is white and silent save for the hiss of flakes coming to rest. I am not one of those people who detests winter; in fact, I adore it, because it is beautiful. What I see out my window in the fading light of this late afternoon reminds me, again, how truly gorgeous this country is.

And then I remember that it is being wrecked, poisoned, denuded and ruined for money, and I want to go outside and sit in the snow and listen to it as it buries me until I am gone from this country that would do such harm to itself, brazenly and without restraint, for profit.

On Tuesday afternoon, Duke Energy in North Carolina released a press statement announcing that somewhere between 50,000 and 82,000 tons of coal ash, which created some 27 million gallons of water polluted with heavy metals and other poisons, had been accidentally dumped into the Dan River, near the towns of Danville and Eden. Eden, because God, or Fate, and definitely the coal industry have a vicious sense of humor. Duke Energy waited 24 hours to report the spill. They may not have said anything at all, but a security guard noticed an unusually low water level in what is called an "ash pond," which is where this crud is stored. That low water level means most of the poison had escaped into the river by the time it was discovered.

The Dan River is a source of drinking water for the region, as the Elk River was in West Virginia when the coal industry dumped poison there a few weeks ago. According to EcoWatch, "The spill is the equivalent of 413 to 677 rail cars of wet coal ash poured into a public drinking water source. If a freight train full of this toxic waste had derailed, there would have been immediate notification and quick news coverage in order to inform and protect the public." It appears at this point to be the third largest coal ash spill in American history.

This is what coal ash looks like:



By Tuesday afternoon, the Dan River had turned completely grey.

(snip)

The 30-day period for public comment on the Keystone XL pipeline project has officially begun, and if you have a mind to, you can speak your mind on the matter here. Click the blue "Comment Now" button in the upper right corner and speak your piece.

I would not in any way presume to tell you what to say or how to say it, and I offer no guarantees that commenting on that site will be anything other than a waste of time; the damned pipeline is half-built already, the State Department has blithely brushed off a mountain of extremely unsettling environmental concerns, so I am pretty much convinced that the president is going to approve this thing even if God appears before him in the Oval Office and denounces the project with brimstone and fire. The president doesn't work for God, and he sure as hell doesn't work for us. He works for the energy industry that is turning this indescribably beautiful country - this indescribably beautiful world - into a parched, poisoned wasteland.

Speak your mind anyway, if you feel like it. Unlike the energy policies that are filling the rivers and the air with poison, drying up the water out West while making the tap water back East flammable, speaking your mind does no harm. Who knows? They may even listen. Stranger things have happened, and you still have time, because the seas have not risen to reclaim us.

Yet.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/21691-william-rivers-pitt-diary-of-a-dying-country

17 replies, 2855 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 17 replies Author Time Post
Reply Diary of a Dying Country (Original post)
WilliamPitt Feb 2014 OP
The Blue Flower Feb 2014 #1
mstinamotorcity2 Feb 2014 #2
KoKo Feb 2014 #3
marions ghost Feb 2014 #4
ctsnowman Feb 2014 #8
CrispyQ Feb 2014 #5
L0oniX Feb 2014 #6
Name removed Feb 2014 #7
calimary Feb 2014 #10
L0oniX Feb 2014 #16
mac56 Feb 2014 #9
WillyT Feb 2014 #11
Pretzel_Warrior Feb 2014 #12
WilliamPitt Feb 2014 #13
KoKo Feb 2014 #14
Quantess Feb 2014 #15
panader0 Feb 2014 #17

Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 6, 2014, 11:53 AM

1. Done

Thanks for the link.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 6, 2014, 12:05 PM

2. I must admit I am not with the Keystone XL Pipeline either!!!!

Too many times Companies have used their technological savvy and developed the ultimate in a product or sales pitch. Its only later that we deal with things like what are the Safety precautions in place in case of accidents??? How does an accident impact the environment??? Drinking Water sources??? Humans??? And my biggest concern, Disposal??? We develop a lot of products with no safe Disposal methods. This is my vision of American technology when we can break things down to its least harmful components and dispose of it properly or return it back to where it come from or recycle into new products.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 6, 2014, 12:15 PM

3. Thanks Will...and the rest of your article at "Truth Out" is well worth a read...



Also the Petition Link.. (Like you...I have reservations of it doing any good...But maybe this "one time" there's a chance.)

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 6, 2014, 12:34 PM

4. "Accidentally" dumped...



Thanks for the spotlight on this, Will.

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Response to marions ghost (Reply #4)

Thu Feb 6, 2014, 01:34 PM

8. Exactly!

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 6, 2014, 01:06 PM

5. So difficult to read with the image of your lovely little Lola at the top.

Seventh Generation has been replaced with Quarterly Earnings Per Share.

The only conclusion I can come to is that the rich think they will always be insulated from incidents like this. I realize that they have a bigger cushion, but when we poison it all, & I believe we will, how much comfort will their dollars be then?

I followed the link & left a comment, FWIW.

~kick

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 6, 2014, 01:23 PM

6. Why do you hate 'merica

 

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)


Response to Name removed (Reply #7)

Thu Feb 6, 2014, 01:39 PM

10. Welcome to DU, Strix!

Glad you're here. It's scary, isn't it? My husband was lamenting the willful ignorance of the teabaggers and other assorted wrong-wingers and GOPers - "they're going to ruin this country." My response was - "they're going to ruin the entire planet!"

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Response to calimary (Reply #10)

Sat Feb 8, 2014, 05:39 PM

16. Elvis has left the building.

 

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 6, 2014, 01:35 PM

9. Done.

Thanks.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 6, 2014, 02:15 PM

11. K & R !!! - Hey Will... Did You Catch This:

 

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 6, 2014, 02:27 PM

12. you are really negative. must be the New England winter.

 

have a Coke and a smile.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 6, 2014, 05:19 PM

13. Up

 

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 6, 2014, 08:07 PM

14. Another Kick ...Go to the "Truth Out Link" to get the full article.

It's Pitt's writing at it's most profound. And I recommend this as a person whose not always had the best of relations with WP...but he's doing some really good writing and it's worth a watch. Writing from the HEART is in short supply these days...but is truly what we need for our SOULS SURVIVAL... Some might disagree...but those of us who do GET what he's saying are listening to his voice. Folks can evolve through their lives...

Just saying..

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/21691-william-rivers-pitt-diary-of-a-dying-country

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 6, 2014, 10:18 PM

15. K & R

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Sat Feb 8, 2014, 05:48 PM

17. kick

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