Produced Water: Salt the Earth, acrylic on hardboard, 16"x20"
Produced Water: Salt the Earth is about the devastation of lands by the brine left over from oil drilling. This brine, known as “produced water,” has twice the salinity of ocean water and is laden with toxic heavy metals. Produced water leaks into streams, lakes, and underground aquifers, killing plant and animal life and rendering water undrinkable. Lands denuded of vegetation by produced water are called “brine scars” and are common throughout Oklahoma on tribal lands, particularly the Seminole Nation, parts of which have been described as resembling the surface of the moon. Produced water from the oldest oil wells represents the largest problems. Many of these wells were abandoned and are know as “orphan wells,” with no known party fiscally responsible for the environmental havoc they are still wreaking today.