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NY Times Article Asks Whether Oil Drilling and Wheat Farming Can Coexist

1 min. read

Can oil drilling and wheat farming coexist?  An article in the New York Times explores that question. Although it doesn't arrive at a definitive conclusion, the article certainly raises areas of serious concern.  Here's a passage which illustrates what we're talking about:

...more oil means more drilling, resulting in tons of waste that is putting cropland at risk and raising doubt among farmers that these two cash crops can continue to coexist.

A private company is trying to install a landfill to dispose of solid drilling waste on a golden 160-acre wheat field across the road from Mike and Kim Sorenson’s farmhouse. Although the engineers and regulators behind the project insist that it is safe for the environment, the Sorensons have voiced concern that salt from the drilling waste could seep onto their land, which would render the soil infertile and could contaminate their water, causing their property value to drop.

“I’m concerned not if it leaks, it’s when it’s going to leak over there,” Ms. Sorenson, 42, said.

[...]

Landowners who lease their acreage see a reward, while neighboring farmers often protest the potential harm to their pastures. Farmers here complain that state officials promote policies that help the energy sector grow rapidly with little regard for the effect on their livelihoods.

In stark contrast, putting up wind turbines on farms (for wheat or other crops) earns money for the farmers while doing no environmental damage whatsoever.  Which would you prefer?