Interest groups and lobbyists have negatively impacted the community and environment in West Texas. They work hard to obtain permits and licenses that allow their organizations to carelessly dispose of waste and engage in pollutant-generating businesses and activities. Harold Simmons spent millions lobbying for his waste disposal site in West Texas from 2013 to 2014. He gave state candidates $3.4 million during the 2013 elections and succeeded to secure state approval for Waste Control Specialists’ site (Henry, 2013). The site gained approval and Simmons is further lobbying to increase its waste amount and radioactivity levels. The oil drilling activities have increased air pollution within the Permian Basin but lobbyists have ensured that only a few monitoring stations are operating in the area. Overall, interest groups representing these large companies are causing a menace in West Texas and will eventually affect the entire world through climate change.
While oil extraction cannot be environmentally friendly, there are ethical steps organizations can take to conserve the ecology. Examples include water conservation through recycling and reduced usage, prevention of ethane and oil leaks, and auxiliary processes improvement (Chamberlain, 2020). Another solution is to ensure oil extraction wells are properly plugged to prevent the release of dangerous chemicals into the environment. Oil and gas companies must clean the area around a well and seal it with cement once drilling is complete.
The Permian Basin will experience negative impacts while the state reaps economic gains. Aldern et al. (2021) highlight the effect of abandoned wells that are not plugged properly. They leak produced water, methane, and other harmful chemicals into the surrounding. Hence, the environment will be destroyed beyond habitable levels and residents will be exposed to related illnesses. If the government does not do the cleanup and plugging, eventually, the West Texas region will be vacated and desolate.
Aldern, C., Collins, C., & Sadasivam, N. (2021). Waves of Abandonment. Grist. Web.
Chamberlain, K. (2020). Worsening air quality in Permian Basin ‘cause for concern’. NM Political Report. Web.
Henry, T. (2013). Why oil and gas lobbyists were big spenders this season. NPR. Web.