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Radioactive Waste Dumped by Oil Companies Is Seeping out of the Ground in North Dakota

Published: January 24, 2014
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Source: AlterNet

There have been 300 oil spillages in the state since 2011, and now that toxic waste is coming back up.

After oil companies and state executives in North Dakota hid the news from the public that nearly 300 oil spills occured between 2011 and 2013, radioactive toxic sludge is brimming back up to the surface, bubbling forth from the ground and mixing with fresh water across the state. 

In late 2013, the shale oil industry in North Dakota received national attention when a train carrying explosive "Bakken" oil derailed and exploded near the city of Cassleton on December 30. Eighteen rail cars attached to the train also spilled 400,000 gallons of crude oil--one of the biggest spills ever recorded in the United States.

The train accident, along with the hundreds of other spillages over the last two years, were symptoms of the hydraulic fracturing fever that has gripped the North Dakota since 2006, when a petroleum geologist discovered a massive oil field producing from the Bakken rock formation deep beneath the western part of the state. 

The state is now the number two oil producer in the country behind Texas, and it is producing about a million barrels of oil a day. Environmentalists say the speed of the boom has not only encouraged sloppy practices that lead to spills, but have also resulted in a proliferation of illegal chemical dumping in landfills and fracking wells. 

"What goes up must come down. There's going to be chemicals rising up from these wells," said Scott Skokos, a field organizer for the Dakota Resource Council, and environmentally-minded landowner collective, said to Unedited Media. 

Radiation testing has confirmed that the sludge secreting up from fracking wells is a mix of corrosive chemicals used in hydaulic fracking and a substance dubbed TENORM (Technologically enhanced normally occuring radioactive material).

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