The Stream, February 26: Mexico Greenlights Exploratory Fracking Wells
The Global Rundown
Mexican regulators allow the national oil company to drill exploratory fracking wells for natural gas. A New Mexico dairy faces financial ruin following PFAS contamination of its herd. Malaysia’s national water agency considers a water-efficiency labeling law. The world’s biggest groundwater deficit is in northern India, researchers find. Google asks South Carolina regulators to triple its groundwater allowance for an expanded data center.
“This has poisoned everything I’ve worked for and everything I care about. I can’t sell the milk. I can’t sell beef. I can’t sell the cows. I can’t sell crops or my property. The Air Force knew they had contamination. What I really wonder is, why didn’t they say something?” — Art Schaap, a dairy farmer in Clovis, New Mexico, lamenting the loss of his livelihood. PFAS chemicals that flowed underground from nearby Cannon Air Force Base contaminated his wells and then his herd. Schaap is dumping 15,000 gallons of milk a day and plans to cull his herd of 4,000 cows. New Mexico Political Report
By the Numbers
1.5 million gallons: Amount of groundwater that Google would like to pump per day to cool an expanded data center in Berkeley County, South Carolina. After a public outcry, Google backed away from the plan last year, which would triple the volume it currently pumps. But earlier this month, Google resubmitted its application to state regulators for the same 1.5 million-gallons-a-day allocation. Post and Courier
Science, Studies, and Reports
The world’s biggest depletion of groundwater is occurring in the northern plains of India, according to research from an Indian Earth science group. Researchers know that much more groundwater is pumped from beneath India’s northern states than filters back into the aquifers. But they do not know how much accessible groundwater remains. Times of India
In context: Groundwater Scarcity, Pollution Set India On A Perilous Course
On the Radar
Mexico’s government will allow the national oil company to use hydraulic fracturing to search for natural gas, but access to water will complicate any plan for commercial production. Petroleos Mexicanos will drill eight exploratory wells in the state of Veracruz, on the Gulf Coast. Mexican law grants higher priority water rights to farming and ranching than industrial use. Most of the country’s oil and gas reserves are in the dry northern states. Bloomberg
In context: Water Scarcity Could Deter Energy Developers From Crossing Border Into Northern Mexico
In hopes of driving down household water use, Malaysia’s national water regulator is drafting a law to require certain consumer goods such as washing machines to come with a water-efficiency label. The law will also compel developers to install water-conserving fixtures in new buildings. Straits Times
Brett writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States. He also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States(2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014). He received the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service Award in 2018. Brett lives in Seattle, where he hikes the mountains and bakes pies. Contact Brett Walton
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