This column (October 2023), though well written, is a real headscratcher for me. Fracking for oil in shale is bad, but de-watering is good?
De-watering is the process used in fracking or extracting minerals (lithium, cobalt, copper, nickel, graphite) from mines. Extracting lithium requires 500,000 gallons of water per metric ton, while copper requires about 100,000.
We should rejoice in our “power”?
Tell that to farmers, both domestic (Nevada) and in the so-called “Lithium Triangle” which includes Chile and Argentina, where groundwater for communities and livestock is being depleted for extraction of minerals. Where is the farmers’ “power” as their protests fall on the deaf ears of government? Bolivia will be next, as it has the most underdeveloped lithium reserves.
The Cortez Hills project in Nevada has lowered the water table 1,200 feet through de-watering, or artificial draining of aquifers. The aquifers could take 100 years to replenish, affecting streams, wells, watersheds and wildlife. Residents of Lander County have been promised by the mining companies, “We’ll put the water back.” However, the water is put back in a different place, not where it was drained, because it’s physically impossible to do so.
Green energy in many cases is as detrimental to the environment as the fossil fuel industry and there is an agenda to push it forward no matter what the cost to farmers, community water access and worldwide water sources in general. Many of the above-listed minerals are from drought-stricken countries and arid regions, which makes the green push even more questionable.
I don’t see much difference between driving a gasoline-powered car or a battery-powered car. I would rather give the “power” to farmers and communities whose livelihood is based on clean, available water. Green energy robs those people of that power.
Victoria Nelsen, Lakebay
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