Mike Pence and his brother Greg have a LUST problem, which might be a deadly sin for their neighbors

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Ronnie Vincent / Flickr Mike Pence Boring5...
Ronnie Vincent / Flickr

You know the list — Pride, Greed, Envy, Sloth, Wrath, Gluttony and Lust.  The  seven deadly sins en.wikipedia.org/… .  Well, Vice President Mike Pence and his brother Greg share a family legacy of LUST. Mike Pence is known to fear being alone with any woman to whom he isn’t married www.washingtonpost.com  While that is more than a little disturbing, it isn’t Pence’s only LUST problem.

At one time the Pence family was in the service station / truck stop /convenience store business — Mike’s father and then his older brother Greg (now  a candidate for brother Mike’s former congressional seat in southeast Indiana’s 6th district) –  ran Kiel Brothers Oil Company.  Mike worked there as a kid and profited from the business.

What began as a local  fuel distributorship, expanded to become a regional gas station and convenience store operator. At one time the Pence family owned or leased about 200 ‘Tobacco Road’ service stations in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. 

Greg Pence was the company president from 1988 until  2004 when Kiel Bros. filed for bankruptcy. The Pence’s failed gas station business left behind $150 million in debts along with a lingering toxic waste nightmare. More than 85 of those old Tobacco Road gas stations had leaking underground storage tanks (LUST).  Some of those stations have uncompleted LUST cleanups dating back as far as 1992. 

That LUST problem continues to this day — but the taxpayers are now on the hook for most of the bill for the Pence’s LUST www.chicagotribune.com/….  The Red voting groundwater drinking neighbors of those Pence gas stations are also impacted by this debacle.  Given the consequences of tainted drinking water in Flint and Detroit — I wonder if LUST will become a political issue for Mike and Greg Pence iwww.nytimes.com/….  

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What goes down In the ground may come back up again

In the 1990s, before widespread use of ethanol,  gasoline was often oxygenated with MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether), an additive used to promote more efficient combustion and reduce smog en.wikipedia.org/….  The EPA mandated  the use of oxygenating gasoline additives in some areas to promote better air quality.  It was an idea with unintended consequences.  

MTBE was one of the more popular additives and it worked in the intended way to reduce air pollution from auto exhaust, but the vapors were not healthy to breath at the pump and there was and still is another problem.  MTBE is readily soluble in water and gas stations back in the Kiel Bros days, they didn’t have any secondary containment for their underground tanks or pumps www.law.cornell.edu/….

When the MTBE enriched fuel leaked – from pinholes in the underground tanks or corroded fittings or when fuel spilled during refilling or overfilling the underground tanks or when cars and trucks spilled fuel on the ground during fill ups at the pumps  — the spilled fuel that didn’t evaporate found its way down into the ground — and some of that MTBE laced fuel is now in the groundwater — where the MTBE spreads.  Groundwater that the neighbors of those Pence gas stations now drink — and will continue to drink for years and years and years. 

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Whose monitoring or testing your well water?

Mike’s political clout as a radio talk show jock, Republican congressman, Indiana governor and now VP may have helped the Pence family dodge some of the enormous remediation liability for those leaking tanks and pass off some of the cost for the 85 stations with LUST problems onto taxpayers, but the problems don’t just go away because the stations are closed or under new ownership.  That highly soluble MTBE in the groundwater doesn’t breakdown in the environment — it just spreads and dilutes and keeps spreading.  

So how bad is MTBE? — we don’t really know, but a little goes a long way.  Kentucky banned MTBE in gasoline in 2002, Illinois Sept 24, 2004 (revising earlier bans in 6/24/02)  Indiana on  3/14/2002  nepis.epa.gov/…  Shortly afterwards Kiel Bros. went bankrupt.

Governments have offered some advice should you suspect there is MTBE in your well water — Here is what NY State suggests.

What should I do if gasoline oxygenates are detected in my drinking water?

The presence of a fuel oxygenate in a private water supply suggests that there may be a spill nearby. The exposures resulting from environmental contamination are generally lower than exposure levels that are known to cause health effects. However, if oxygenates are detected in your water, you can take practical steps to minimize exposure to these contaminants. These measures could include using bottled water for drinking and cooking, increasing ventilation during bathing and showering, as well as reducing the duration of bathing and showering. The specific steps you should take to minimize exposure depend on the specific oxygenate and the level of the contamination.  www.health.ny.gov/…

The good news is that if MTBE finds it way into your well water,  you’ll probably know it because of the gasoline smell and taste, so you can then follow the NY State recommendations — ( like the folks in Flint, you to can follow the ‘let them eat cake” en.wikipedia.org/… model) — just drink bottled water and shower less often with a window open!?

I’m not sure how MTBE in your well water will affect your property values but it can’t be good.  MTBE might not make you too awful sick — at least not right away — which turns out to be a good thing cause the cleanups may not be completed any time soon under Trump’s EPA and Mike Pence and his soon to be congressman brother Greg are probably going to try to take away your access to affordable health insurance after the midterms.

The cost and consequences of groundwater pollution are big issues and are not limited to the Pence brothers former family business by any means. There are no easy fixes for the Lust problems like those caused by the Pence family gas stations. One way or another we’re all gonna pay, but in Pence’s America, a business can declare bankruptcy and walk away from much of its future liabilities www.gdldlaw.com/…— but down the road, if you and I get sick as a consequence — and  if we can’t afford the cost of treatment, we may find it tougher to easily escape from those debts.

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