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Truth About Fracking

“Fracking” is the hydraulic fracturing process that involves injecting liquids into shale deposits deep underground; the intent is hydraulically fracture rock formations and release oil and gas found there. The process is accompanied by “horizontal drilling,” a relatively new process that enables drillers to get to shale deposits in a direction other than straight down from the drilling rig.

As a growing number of energy companies pursue this process to get to formerly-unavailable energy deposits deep in the earth, local communities are becoming more familiar with fracking and are responding to the practice. The growing public debate – at both local and national levels -- is in part about getting at domestic fossil fuel sources and lessen dependence on important oil and natural gas. And about creating new jobs and economic benefits in the regions where shale drilling takes place.

In some instances after the private property owner signs leases with oil and gas companies the after effects – the presence of drilling rigs, pumps and the like appearing on leased private property, at times too close to dwellings – has caused issues with landowners. To be sure, some landowners are happy to accommodate drillers and enjoy a cash stream of royalties. Farmers and ranchers look forward to these new revenue flows to cushion economic blows due to weather, downturns in commodity prices, or in 2012, and the possibility of reduced federal subsidies.

But other individuals and community leaders are looking not so positively at the presence of oil and gas drilling on their land and in their community.  And this is especially true in areas where public and private water supplies may be threatened by sloppy processes, as has occurred.

Also, public land leases are being sought, which raises the level of debate in certain regions…”who” actually owns public lands such as parks, preserves and sanctuaries that may have shale deposits beneath the ground?  What is the right of the public to be involved in decisions regarding leases?

Lately with media stories looking more closely at fracking, the public awareness of the liquids being pumped into the ground under pressure are also raising alarm – liquids used may or may not include hazardous waste chemicals, diesel oil and other unwanted substances in the local ecosystem.  Greater transparency on the part of the industry would address these concern. Chemicals used in fracking can and may have entered public water supplies. (Mostly, we are told, possible because of improper cementing just below the ground where there are water tables present.)

Questions are being raised about the potential impact of fracking on human and animal health, on agricultural products (including surface crops as well as grape vines and other deep-rooted plant life).

Naturally, oil and gas industry leaders have responded, usually with arguments the growing need for domestic oil and gas resources, and the jobs that fracking will create or preserve (you’ve no doubt seen the advertising on national and local TV by industry associations).  There is much less public communication from industry about the safety of fracking processes and the steps companies are taking to protect the ecosystem.

Energy industry experts point out that done properly, fracking should not affect water tables as the shale levels are deep beneath the ground; also, most chemicals used are not toxic waste.  There are pro and con arguments about these positions.  The fact is there are thousands of fracking wells drilled in the USA and in other countries.

The public debate on fracking in the USA now involves state regulatory officials, members of congress and other elected officials, public health professionals, environmentalists, academics, civil society organization leaders, industry oil and gas executives…and more. 

The regulatory framework to oversee fracking is not necessarily clear. Recently The New York Times reported on the growing focus in Congress on fracking in a recent series.   Part of the publication’s concerns are about permitting fracking near New York City’s upstate water supplies – in December 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo is considering a “yes” or “no” in allowing fracking in New York State’s section of the Marcellus Shale deposits.  Public rallies in upstate New York State areas attracted hundreds of local citizens in November, reflecting the local concerns about the practice.

Proponents of fracking were encouraged by the nomination by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences nomination for the 2011 Academy Awards (the “Oscars”) for the anti-fracking documentary, “Gasland,” which is about fracking and human and community impact in the Marcellus Shale area (stretching through Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and into New York State).

This Hot Topic focus has been expanding as energy companies step up efforts to find new sources on US lands – mindful of exogenous events such as the cut-off of Middle East or other foreign oil that would put pressure on all sides as the nation’s leaders in the public and private sectors seek alternative energy sources.

The editors are collecting comments on Fracking (and other Hot Topics) from a wide range of sources in a best attempt to help our readers access as many views (perspectives) as possible.  We welcome commentary on fracking, especially from local civic leadership, and from industry managers.  Send comments to: info@accountabilty-central.com

 

December 1, 2011

 

 


Featured Fracking Commentators

Michael P. Benard Columns
Speaker, Writer, Coach on Communications Issues
Blogger on Property Rights & Energy Industry
Former Director, Communications and Public Affairs, and Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company

Latest on Truth About Fracking

November 14, 2017 Warmer weather, rising non-OPEC output threaten oil market balance

Source: Reuters

LONDON - Global oil demand growth looks likely to increase more slowly over the coming months, as warmer temperatures cut consumption, which may tilt the market back into surplus in the first half of next year, the International...

October 30, 2017 Boss of British chemicals giant claims bans on fracking are ‘madness’ and would deprive downtrodden areas in North of England of billions of pounds

Source: This Is Money

Bans on fracking are ‘madness’ and would deprive downtrodden areas in the North of England of billions of pounds in investment, the boss of a British chemicals giant claims.

October 23, 2017 Onshore energy sector in last-ditch fracking plea to MSPs (UK)

Source: The Scotsman

The onshore energy sector has made a last ditch plea to MSPs urging them to reject the fracking ban warning it will damage Scotland’s reputation for scientific innovation and cost 3,000 potential jobs.

October 16, 2017 Op-Ed: Studies show hydraulic fracturing is safe – in Texas and all over the country

Source: MRT.Com

Ms. Leeder’s claim that “long-term studies on the impact” of hydraulic fracturing on water systems “are not available at this time” is simply not true. Researchers have investigated that topic for years, and their studies...

October 2, 2017 Facebook, Twitter and Google have two weeks to turnover anti-fracking ads to a House Russia investigation

Source: CNBC

A U.S. House committee investigating whether Russia has tried to influence U.S. public opinion on fossil fuels asked Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet on Wednesday to turn over information about Russian entities that may have bought...

September 5, 2017 Fracking's impact on groundwater lingers in northern Pennsylvania

Source: Pressconnects

The well water at Ken Morcom and Kim Grosso's house in Dimock, Pennsylvania is laced with so much explosive methane that a Pennsylvania environmental regulator who went there to collect samples this summer decided it would be...

August 28, 2017 Brexit has led to shift in tone on fracking, says Ineos boss

Source: The Scoysman

Community opposition to fracking has softened because of concerns linked to Brexit, according to an Ineos director.

August 22, 2017 Another Nail in OPEC’s Coffin: Fracking Old Wells Dropping U.S. Breakeven Points Further

Source: The New American

Ed Morse, Citigroup’s head of commodity research, told a Bloomberg television audience last week that OPEC’s position “is not sustainable over a long period. In the end, the markets are going to win, and [the winner] is going to...

August 17, 2017 UK fracking may produce less fuel than claimed, says geologist

Source: The Guardian

Fracking for oil and gas in the UK may produce much less fuel – and profits – than has been mooted, according to research based on seismic imaging of the country’s underlying geology.

August 11, 2017 Fracking New Mexico: BP Just Found 'Significant New Source of U.S. Natural Gas Supply'

Source: EcoWatch

Earlier this week, BP announced it had discovered what it is labelling a "significant new source of U.S. natural gas supply" in New Mexico in the Mancos Shale, just across from the Colorado border.

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Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • RT @2MilesUnder: Fracking’s NOT a joke. https://t.co/lZUADK3sQD Comment on forum at https://t.co/XMs39FMnLT #fracking #antifracking #media…
    08:38
    Olivia Torres
  • RT @Revelator_News: The Unexpected Ways #Fracking Affects Air Pollution https://t.co/W0Lbz2oS5f
    08:37
    Stardust
  • RT @natalieben: #ineosvthepeople What's it all about? #democracy #fracking https://t.co/L6vthVb17D https://t.co/kk2UFjZoWR
    08:37
    John W. Stallings
  • RT @HaikuVikingGal: Why are #fracking companies are allowed to do this crap? Maybe the answer is in Gordon Wilson's reports 😏 #bcpoli http…
    08:34
    Paula
  • RT @ruthhayhurst: Government sidesteps call for "urgent" debate on #fracking and climate change + more oil/gas news in #Fracking Week in P…
    08:31
    Chris Sutton
 
 
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