Injection well opposition grows

Injection well opposition grows

A small but mighty group of people gathered at Emporia State University on Tuesday to express their opposition to the injection well application filed with the Kansas Corporation Commission.

Quail Oil and Gas filed an application for an injection well in Morris County. The proposed wastewater injection well would be located in the southwest portion of Morris County near Burdick — 14 miles as the crow flies from the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.

The proposed well has drawn a particular amount of attention and opposition because of its location. ESU geology expert and distinguished professor James Aber said the well “directly overlies a buried basement uplift known as Nemaha Ridge, which is flanked on its eastern side by the Humboldt Fault zone with multiple, parallel faults trending generally north-northeast.” He added that the Humboldt Zone has historically been seismically active.

Some of those in opposition to the injection well gathered in the Union Square on the campus of ESU Tuesday to educate others about the risks of injection wells and encourage others to express their concerns as well. Attendees carried signs proclaiming, “Once you frack you can’t go back,” “Don’t FRACKture our community,” and “No drills in the hills”.

“I’m opposed because there is always a chance the toxins could get into people’s drinking water,” ESU student Jessica Parks said. “I think that is a very bad thing because I don’t want that to effect the animals or the people in the Flint Hills.”

“I’m opposed to the injection wells because if there is even a minimal chance it could affect our community with earthquakes, that is enough reason to be opposed,” ESU student Emily Velazquez said. “Injection wells create more risk of harm than the benefits of having them.”

The demonstration was organized by the ESU Greens and the Flint Hills Stewards. The Flint Hills Stewards is a community group which formed to promote responsible stewardship of resources in the Flint Hills and surrounding areas. The group was born when Quail Oil and Gas filed an application for an injection well in Morris County. Five concerned women — Cindy Hoedel, Elexa Dawson of Chase County, Karla Jo Grimmett of Morris County, Kathy Kelly of Kansas City and Chase County, and Regina Compernolle of Kansas City — filed protests with the Kansas Corporations Commission to express their objection to the proposed injection well.

Hoedel first voiced her opposition to the injection well by sending a postcard to the Kansas Corporation Commission. She was advised it was the first request for a hearing the KCC had ever received on a postcard. On Tuesday, she was handing out postcards for others to write to the KCC to share their views. More than 80 postcards were written and sent to the KCC following the event.

“The public comments period is open from now to the hearing date on June 15,” Hoedel said. “All people have to do is send a card expressing their opposition to the injection well with their name and address for it to be counted.”

Letters or postcards can be sent to the Kansas Corporation Commission, Conservation Division, 130 S. Market St. #2078, Wichita, KS 67202.

Grimmet encouraged others to educate themselves on the risk associated with injection wells. She said there are various risks to consider — increased earthquake activity and potential contamination of fresh water supplies.

Since filing protests with the KCC and requesting a hearing regarding the application, the Flint Hills Stewards came to the realization they would need legal counsel. Dawson explained the hearing process is complicated. She said community members can help in several ways.

“Immediately they can contact the Kansas Corporations Commission and express their concerns,” Dawson said. “Additionally, they could donate to our legal fees. We did find after our pre-hearing phone call that we were going to need legal counsel — that the bureaucratic process was going to be overwhelming. We bit off more than we could chew — we didn’t know what we were getting into.”

Estimated legal fees are $10,000 and the group has formed the Flint Hills Stewards Legal Fund at So far the group has raised $6,200.

The public hearing regarding the injection well application is June 15 in Wichita.

My Election Confession: I Voted for Jill Stein.

It would be an understatement to say that the 2016 presidential election result was disappointing, but I want to clarify the stance that I had going into the election and the electoral strategy for which I advocated. I do not by any means regret voting for Jill Stein instead of Hillary Clinton. Kansas is a red state and we all knew going in that Donald Trump would win its six electoral votes. If you think that Hillary Clinton had a chance here, then I have a homework assignment for you. Hint: it involves math. Look at the results for Kansas. You will find that Donald Trump won by a margin greater than the votes for Jill Stein and Gary Johnson combined.

It was my suggestion that progressives in deep red states should vote with their conscience because a vote for Hillary Clinton would be a waste in those states. My vote for Jill meant much more than only a symbolic nod to the candidate who best represented my political beliefs. The ultimate goal was for her to earn 5 percent of the vote which would have secured federal funding for the Green Party in the 2020 presidential election. That would have made Greens better equipped to hold Democrats accountable by forcing them to take strong progressive stances on an array of issues or risk losing many more votes to the Green Party in future elections. If more progressives in red states like Kansas had only recognized this simple truth, that 5 percent would have been easily achieved.

What was much more apparent to many voters was that Hillary Clinton is the epitome of the political establishment. It was well known that she had given paid speeches for Wall Street bankers and that she had called the Trans Pacific Partnership the “Gold Standard” before flip flopping on the issue in order to compete with Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary. The emotional reaction that thousands of voters had in the key states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin led to a misguided vote for Donald Trump as a means to prevent a Clinton presidency, and it worked. There are certainly things to which we should assign blame for this result, but do not blame third party voters. Blame the electoral college. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but still lost the presidency under this outdated system.

Blame establishment politicians in the Democratic Party who promoted Donald Trump because they wanted an “easy win” for their empress, Hillary Clinton. The emails released by WikiLeaks show that certain Republican Primary candidates were referred to as “Pied Piper candidates”. The DNC also conspired to rig the primaries in Hillary Clinton’s favor. They disenfranchised “no party preference voters” in the California primary by giving them provisional ballots, many of which were not counted. They scheduled the Democratic debates in a way that would minimize voters’ exposure to Bernie Sanders’ message. None of this was done to benefit the American people. If the DNC cared about the average American then they would have been impartial and would have allowed the Democratic process to be carried out without distortion.

The result of their misdeeds has been horrifying. Say it with me now: President Elect Donald Trump. The election of this monster sends a very clear message from the American people. This was a rejection of establishment politics and a call for populism. For many of the people that voted for him, it did not matter that he was a bigot, misogynist, loser, whatever you want to call him. All that mattered to them was that he was “anti-establishment”. If Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic nominee, the American people would have had a better non-establishment choice, and one with a positive favorability rating.

Last but not least, blame the corporate media who seemed to think that Hillary Clinton was a shoe-in. They could not have been more wrong. Networks like MSNBC and CNN do not practice real journalism. Their only purpose is to prop up the establishment. They have no incentive to do real investigative journalism that can shake up the status quo because they benefit from the status quo. We need to stop watching that crap. Find another news source that is independent and not reliant on corporate funding. I would recommend Democracy Now!, PBS, Vice News, NPR, or any of the other news sources listed on the Kansas Green Party website.