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Oil Drilling on Wyoming Reservation
10 Dec 2012
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Description

In "Loophole Lets Toxic Oil Water Flow Over Indian Land," Elizabeth Shogren of NPR reports appalling news from Wyoming:

The air reeks so strongly of rotten eggs that tribal leader Wes Martel hesitates to get out of the car at an oil field on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. He already has a headache from the fumes he smelled at another oil field.

Martel is giving me a tour of one of a dozen oil and gas fields on the reservation. These operations have the federal government's permission to dump wastewater on the land — so much that it creates streams that flow into natural creeks and rivers. And this water contains toxic chemicals, including known carcinogens and radioactive material, according to documents obtained by NPR through Freedom of Information Act requests.

The fumes hitting Martel's nose are hydrogen sulfide, which can be deadly. So Martel makes sure the wind is at his back before walking over to a pit the size of several tennis courts. Pipes are emptying dirty brown water that came up from oil wells into the pit, which is completely covered in goopy black oil.

Tags
Journalism Challenges Community Cross-Cultural Energy Environmentalism Health Indigenous Local Preservation Rural - International Rural-Urban Activism Article/Commentary Interview/Profile Politics/Policy Research/Survey Video Activist Government/Policy Worker Journalist Native American Midwest Wyoming
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