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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

April 2, 2015 How Much U.S. Oil and Gas Comes From Fracking?

Source: Wall Street Journal

Hydraulic fracturing has unleashed vast new quantities of crude oil and natural gas. The percentage of fuel flowing from shale-rock compared with traditional oil and gas fields has been steadily rising. But lackluster energy...

April 1, 2015 ND to join Wyoming lawsuit against federal fracking rules

Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota, whose oil riches have been unlocked by the use of hydraulic fracturing, said Tuesday it will join Wyoming in a lawsuit challenging a new federal rule requiring more information about the process...

April 1, 2015 German cabinet imposes high barriers for fracking

Source: Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet signed off on a draft law on Wednesday that imposes an effective ban on the controversial technique of fracking for shale gas. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves blasting...

March 30, 2015 Methane in drinking water unrelated to fracking, study suggests

Source: Science Magazine

Fracking doesn’t appear to be allowing methane to seriously contaminate drinking water in Pennsylvania, a new study finds—contrary to some earlier, much publicized research that suggested a stronger link. But the lead authors of...

March 27, 2015 Recent Trends In U.S. Land Drilling Market: Re-fracking, Growing Well Inventory, Lower Rig Count

Source: Forbes

The tight oil boom in the United States has been largely responsible for the present turmoil in the global oil markets. Average annual production growth in the U.S. has stood at about 1 million barrels per day over the last four...

March 25, 2015 Lord Smith 'hugely sceptical' of fracking for shale oil in the UK

Source: The Guardian

Former environment agency chief says environmental case for shale oil in the UK is much tougher to make than for shale gas and calls for a single regulator

March 25, 2015 Lifting German fracking ban 'unlikely to boost volumes'

FE Trustnet - Lifting a ban on fracking in Germany is unlikely to have any significant impact on the country's domestic gas production in the foreseeable future, îFitch Ratingsî says. The ratings agency says obstacles...

March 24, 2015 U.S. sets first major fracking rules on federal lands

Source: Reuters

The Obama administration’s new rules governing fracking on federal lands drew swift criticism from all sides on Friday, with green groups calling the measures “toothless” and the energy industry slamming “unnecessary” regulation...

March 20, 2015 Obama administration to issue rules for fracking on public lands

Source: SF Gate

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is set to issue the first major federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing on Friday, with new mandates targeting oil and gas wells on public land.

March 18, 2015 Fracking opponents push statewide ban

Source: Tallahassee Democrat

Activists gathered Tuesday at the Capitol to push for a bill that would ban fracking in Florida and speak out against legislation they say would lay the groundwork for the controversial form of natural-gas extraction to occur.

Displaying results 31 to 40 out of 1192

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • RT @Frack_Off: BARTON MOSS ANTI-#FRACKING ARRESTEES APPEALING CONVICTIONS - SHOW YOUR SUPPORT! - http://t.co/20JelgDmXz http://t.co/P9YIy5t…
    02:06
    shell mellor
  • #Amnesty Report Visualizes #Israel's #War #Crimes https://t.co/lhDDH7r9Jb #BDS #GAZA #FREEPALESTINE #NHS #BBC #GMO #FRACKING
    02:05
  • RT @PiersVerstegen: Great News! Alcoa pulls out of #fracking in the #Kimberley #Perthnews http://t.co/vvJJ7EG3Oe http://t.co/6j5f0Wjmi3 htt…
    02:04
  • RT @abcnewsNT: Opponents of #fracking question funding of NT arts festivals by energy giant Santos. http://t.co/FoslY5WEOi http://t.co/teXN…
    02:03
    Therese edwards
  • RT @Frack_Off: BARTON MOSS ANTI-#FRACKING ARRESTEES APPEALING CONVICTIONS - SHOW YOUR SUPPORT! - http://t.co/20JelgDmXz http://t.co/P9YIy5t…
    02:03
 
 
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