We need to talk about Oklahoma. Like “Orange is the New Black,” Oklahoma is the new California when it comes to earthquakes. Oklahoma experienced more than 1,000 quakes last year measuring at least 3.0 in magnitude, which is up from just two earthquakes in 2008! As a result state legislators have decided to drop the state bird, the scissor-tailed fly-catcher, from its license plate and replace it with an image of crumbling buildings.
Unhappy about being displaced, the birds got the last laugh. A few minutes before the big quake in November they left en masse. The clueless humans just hung around and watched their houses crumble to the ground. One of the birds left a note that read: You can take your stupid license plate and shove it! Maybe one of the prescient birds should be Director of the EPA.
The Department of Tourism capitalized on this increase in earthquakes by creating a new advertising campaign. “Come to Oklahoma: It will rattle you to your soul.” Knowing that religion sells, they hope tourists will flock to Oklahoma searching for a soul searching, religious experience. A very poignant ad, given the increase of praying when the earth is rumbling below your feet, buildings are shaking and your car gets sucked into the earth. Perhaps God did make his way to Oklahoma, or maybe all the earth shattering shaking is caused by fracking?
In fact, seismologists are certain that this drastic increase in earthquakes is caused by what the oil and gas industry calls the Fracking Revolution, which ultimately may come to be known as the Okie dissolution.
So what does former Attorney General of Oklahoma Pruitt, “The Don’s” pick for head of the EPA, think of all this. For starters, his 2014 re-election campaign was led and funded by Harold Hamm, who has made statements like: “Every onerous regulation puts American lives at risk” and “Every time we can’t drill a well in America terrorism is being funded.” That is certainly an interesting spin on it all. Personally, I don’t think the casualties from terrorism will approach the devastating impact and consequences of allowing a climate change denier like Pruitt to put his stamp on things. But what do I know–I believe in science!
As Attorney General, Pruitt remained silent and did not use his office to represent any of the people who were impacted by the quakes; by not taking up any of the suits that resulted from injury and loss of property he was willfully complicit with the frackers. This is one nasty fox in the hen house. The cynicism of the appointment and the danger of its consequences astound! It is like hiring someone who is a known child abuser to take care of your child.
Pruitt also sued to overturn the EPA’s Mercury and Toxic Standards. As Attorney General, he refused to release public records regarding his office’s interactions with the oil and gas industry. Thankfully, an Oklahoma judge just ordered the release of these records, stating that Pruitt’s refusal to release them was in violation of his duties. Umm, I wonder what they will discover? With his confirmation hearing about to start, let’s hope a few Republicans grow a moral compass and delay the hearings until the information is disclosed; unfortunately, I fear that the shelves of the Washington stores that carried are eerily empty.
Of course, “The Don,” The Deregulator-in-Chief, who unabashedly claims that climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese, just loves, loves, loves, his pick to dismantle the E.P.A., oops, I mean run it. So what does “The Don” think about all the earthquakes? Does he think it’s just the earth doing a little boogie woogie? The great businessman has devised an innovative jobs program for Oklahoma. He is calling it “The Great Strap Down.” He has proposed building numerous Velcro and magnet plants. The plan is to create specialized magnets and Velcro for every home; this will enable residents to secure their possessions so that when the quakes come, and their house is in shambles, they will be able to find the toilet paper. That’s important–because if you wind up shitting your pants in terror, you definitely don’t want to have to look too hard to clean up your mess.