Fracking Fairy Tale

This drinking water is fracked!I’m worried there’s going to be a mad dash to natural gas now that people have been reminded how dangerous nuclear power is by the nuclear disaster in Japan. I’m not a fan of nuclear power, but don’t want to see us jump from the frying pan into the fire either — particularly the “fire” known as fracking (aka hydrofracking or horizontal hydraulic fracturing).

With easy-to-get gas supplies dwindling, the gas industry has hit upon this new mix of technologies to get at less accessible deposits buried deep in the ground, trapped as bubbles between layers of shale. The method involves building an L-shaped well and injecting millions of gallons of highly pressurized water mixed with thousands of gallons of chemicals into it to cause underground explosions that release the gas from the rock. The gas flows back up the well along with much of the fracturing fluid and additional toxic substances picked up along the way, including radioactive materials.

Industry claims fracking is safe, gas is clean and using more gas to fuel our economy is a solution to global warming.

But that’s a fairy tale. Fracking has been linked to drinking water contamination, air pollution and adverse health effects to people and animals around the country — from Wyoming to Colorado to Texas to Pennsylvania. And a new assessment by the Environmental Protection Agency finds that gas’ advantage over coal in terms of greenhouse gas emissions is vastly lower than previously thought.

Now the gas industry wants to frack in the New York segment of the Marcellus Shale, including in the New York City watershed and Delaware River Basin. Not only is this a beautiful natural area, encompassing both small rural communities and wilderness, it is the source of drinking water for more than 15 million people. A moratorium on new wells is in place through the spring but then the fracking could begin. If you’re a New Yorker, write Governor Cuomo to ask for a full evaluation of the risks before fracking can proceed.

And wherever you live, keep up with the issue and support better regulation because fracking is affecting people across the U.S.


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6 Responses to Fracking Fairy Tale

  1. Linda J Solomon March 28, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    What a rotten shame, that we always find out about the dangers lurking in and out of products, services, processes, etc, after the fact; the fact that it/they are harmful to us in some manner or form! It is only, after the fact, that we find out from people/groups like you/yours; that we are in jeopardy in some way! I’m living with MS, and wonder sometimes, if in my 63 yrs. of life so far, that it is because of just living in our toxic environment and being a sensitive person; might be the reason why I’m living with MS. Thank you for the information, but not sure what to do about it. Whatever way these cos./corps. choose to do a task, doesn’t matter to them how they do it, as long as they get it done; and they make a profit! They couldn’t care less about its impact on human beings or wildlife at all! Unfortunately we have little or no control, and have to live with it; like it or not! ugh!

  2. Carolyn Straub March 28, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    Someone ought to stop these boneheads. There is nothing else to say. Professionally speaking, fracking is selfish and stupid.

    On Nov. 2, we voted in 85 or so conservative Tea Party legislators to the U. S. House of Representatives, including the Koch Brothers, pro drillers from Kansas.

    The public is responsible for either staying home and not voting on Nov. 2, 2011 “because it was a small mid-term election” or, if they voted, for listening to the terrible ads supported by the Citizens United Supreme Court case allowing businesses to have unlimited spending for airway political campaign ads supporting Tea Party conservatives.

    It’s impossible to compliment about fracking. Buttermilk Falls in upstate New York destroyed? Is this a sci fi movie?

    If you won’t vote/don’t know your proposed legislators, especially members of the Tea Party – then you deserve fracking. Now it must be stopped and opposed. The GOP/Tea Party is not for you: it is for business.

    Get it?

    We live out in northern California where few Republicans were elected or re-elected despite the campaign din.

    The rest of this country is very hard to figure out – we have our problems, but no one votes Republican in majority.

    Stop the fracking. Now.

  3. Andrew Zeiler March 29, 2011 at 3:23 am #

    Fracking is not a new story in western Colorado. It’s been around for quite a few years. I read about it in High Country News years back as they described catastrophic effects on peoples wells and homes.

    I read an article by Terrry Tempest Williams (in’03?) about thumper trucks trashing the environment in Castle Valley, Utah in search of places to drill, and I now presume frack.

    I now live in La Plata county, Colorado, frackiing country. Of course BP and Williams will not reveal the ingredients of their fluids as they claim it is proprietary. So far our well is ok but I live in constant fear of this pollution of my water.

    These guys don’t care about us and don’t play by any rules but their own. Many locals defend them because they provide jobs. Recently they were given permission to drill wells closer together which means more fracking fluids into the earth.

    BTW where does the Sierra Club stand on this? They seemed to like T. Boone Pickens advocacy of natural gas a while back.

  4. Mary Capron April 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    My husband and I live in the lower Delaware River Valley. We recently watched the movie Gasland which documents the impact of fracking on drinking water, public health and the environment.

    The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) issued natural gas development regulations late last year, preparing the way for gas drilling to begin as early as this summer.

    Currently the EPA is studying the impact of fracking on public health etc and expects its results in late 2012. If the DRBC would continue the current moratoriam on gas drilling it would allow for consideration on the EPA results.

    The commission is currently accepting public comment as they consider how to proceed. DRBC will accept written comments through April 15, 2011, at 5pm. by the following 2 methods:

    Electonically via the National Park Service’s public comment page:

    Paper submission mailed or delivered to: Commission Secretary, DRBC, P. O. Box 7360, 25 State Police Drive, West Trenton, NJ 08628

    Let’s make our voices heard to protect our natural resources and ourselves.

  5. trish April 27, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    our water & wells in Pavillion, WY have already been terribly polluted by fracking & it’s taken EPA years to agree on anything to do about it & we wait! – I see very little movement other than talk going on and in the mean time people are force to use bottled water and wells/ land/ graising are ruined in many places.

  6. Thomas April 28, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    There clearly needs to be disclosure about the chemicals that are being pumped into the ground – these unregulated cocktails are a scandal. I do think, however, that there is current hype conflating a number of issues. Fracking generally takes place well below the water table, and in any case must be seen relative to other methods of producing energy. I am not thrilled by it, and certainly want to see regulation about what gets pumped into the ground combined with adequate testing, but I’d rather we don’t shut this down and force what – ANWR drilling, more radioactive waste from nuclear power plants etc? While we develop renewable sources, natural gas is cleaner than many other options as an energy source and should not be ignored.