Waste Water Disposal: A New Conservative Approach

Today a 5.6 magnitude earthquake rocked the Midwest. It was felt from the Dakotas all the way to the Dallas/Fort Worth Texas area. The epicenter was around Pawnee, Oklahoma.  For those of you who do not know, Oklahoma has replaced California as the earthquake capitol of the United States. Many people feel the state has been too slow in its response to the increase in earthquake activity. There may be some truth in that. However, their slowness in responding has made their conclusions have more merit.

Their conclusions are that the increase in earthquake activity is unmistakably linked to an increase in waste water disposal from the drill sites. Even the oil companies in the area are beginning to acknowledge that this is no longer something that can be denied. The increase in the waste water being pumped into the ground and the natural occurring fault lines that exist in Oklahoma have resulted in a dangerous increase in earthquake activity. It culminated today with one today that has tied as the state’s largest earthquake. Some fairly significant damage has occurred to business and buildings in Pawnee, but thankfully as of this writing no injuries have been reported.

Of course when something like this occurs, the Twitter universe explodes. The Democrats start pointing fingers at the evil Republicans and demands that big government sweep in and save the day. The Republicans began calling the Democrats nuts and deny any possible link between waste water disposal wells and an increase in earthquakes. Neither one is right, a fact that should surprise no one. The amount of people who no longer identify with the Republican or Democrat party is at an all time high. This presents a perfect opportunity for Christian Conservatives to present a radically new (or maybe it is not so radical) viewpoint.

For the Christian, our faith should always come before any political viewpoint. In the Bible we are commanded to take care of the earth God has given us. In fact, in the garden of Eden it was one of God’s first commandments to us. When we allow greed or the worship of money to cause us to misuse or mistreat the earth God has given us, we are not following God’s ways. On the other hand, we are also called to care for our fellow man and the poor. This means that when sweeping government environmental policy is proposed that would hurt working families and/or small businesses we need to propose better solutions.

From a small government point of view, I feel that we should oppose any government policies that protect big business from scrutiny. This is a point I feel is often missed in this debate. We need to demand government honesty and transparency at all times. Conservatives (especially Christian Conservatives) should be on the front lines of exposing any attempts by the government to cover up for corporations whose practices are hurting people and/or their property. Over the last few years I think we can all agree that there is a strong link between big business and big government. This does not mean that all business and corporations are E-V-I-L. It just means we need to be aware that this connection exists and act with this in mind.

If we has Christian Conservatives do not propose a new way, people will continue to adopt the other false narratives that are out there. The divisiveness and anger will continue and more people’s business and homes will be at risk for damage. Moreover, people will look to the government more than they should because no other alternatives were offered.

The first step is to acknowledge that waste water wells are linked to an increase in seismic activity (note I said waste water wells, not fracking. There is a difference). I know many are wary to make this acknowledgment.  Science is often manipulated these days to promote certain agendas. But in this case, the evidence here is pretty consistent. Even those who were initially unsure of a connection have acknowledged it exists.  In today’s political climate, we have to be careful that we do not dismiss the underlying premise of an issue just because the solution proposed is a bad one. For example, both Republicans and Democrats can agree illegal immigration is a problem. The disagreement comes from how to solve it. I believe the issue of environmentalism is the same in this respect.

The second step would be to work with the energy companies to come up with an alternative to pumping water back into the ground. Maybe I am overly optimistic, but I believe when people are given an opportunity to solve a problem together they can usually find a solution (especially when such a solution would save them a lot of lawsuits and bad publicity). Our nation is not what it once was, but we are still a country who has invented more things to benefit humanity than any other. I feel confident that we can find a reasonable and innovative solution that protects our environment without sweeping big government policies that hurt more than they help. It may cost a little more money for the corporations, but in the end it will be better for all involved (including the corporations). But this can only happen if we stop parroting the political narratives out there and remember that we are Christians who happen to be Conservatives. It would not be the first time Christians have led the way in making the world a better place. I would love to see Christian Conservative Environmentalism become a trending movement. It is time that Christians stop strongly identifying with either party in this country and begin to chart our own way.