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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

February 20, 2015 New York Towns Want to Secede and Join Pennsylvania

Source: US News

A handful of towns located in New York’s Southern Tier think they have a better friend in Pennsylvania – and are hoping to secede. According to reporting from WBNG-TV, 15 towns that are part of the Upstate New York Towns...

February 18, 2015 Ohio Supreme Court: State controls fracking

Source: Cincinnati.com

Certain local zoning laws can't be used to supersede Ohio's state-level system for regulating oil and gas drilling, a fiercely divided Ohio Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

February 16, 2015 Tiny Quakes Linked to Fracking Raise Risks, Geophysicist Says

Source: NBC News

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Small earthquakes shaking Oklahoma and southern Kansas daily and linked to energy drilling are dramatically increasing the chance of bigger and dangerous quakes, federal research indicates

February 13, 2015 Fracking will be allowed under national parks, UK decides

Source: Guardian

Fracking companies will be allowed to drill horizontally under national parks and other protected areas if the wells start just outside their boundaries, after the government rowed back on its earlier acceptance of new...

February 11, 2015 High levels of benzene found in fracking waste water

Source: LA Times

Hoping to better understand the health effects of oil fracking, the state in 2013 ordered oil companies to test the chemical-laden waste water extracted from wells..

February 10, 2015 Drillers Take Second Crack at Fracking Old Wells to Cut Cost

Source: Bloomberg

Beset by falling prices, the oil industry is looking at about 50,000 existing wells in the U.S. that may be candidates for a second wave of fracking, using techniques that didn’t exist when they were first drilled.

February 10, 2015 Hey, California: Oklahoma had 3 times as many earthquakes in 2014

Source: Public Source.org

Earthquakes are synonymous with California to most Americans, but West Coasters might be surprised to learn they’re far from the new center of the seismic landscape in the United States. Oklahoma recorded more than three times as...

February 9, 2015 Protesters march in Oakland, push for Jerry Brown to ban fracking

Source: SF Gate

Thousands of antifracking activists took to Oakland’s streets Saturday to call for Gov. Jerry Brown to change his stance and ban the controversial practice, which uses large amounts of a pressurized water mixture to crack...

February 6, 2015 Water quality issues discussed at Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association annual meeting

The Advocate - The project got started several years ago through the efforts of the nonprofit îUnitedî îStatesî îBusiness Council for Sustainable Developmentî, said Susan Fernandes, manager of...

February 5, 2015 Earthquakes continue to affect Oklahoma energy companies - text/video

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An Oklahoma energy company has been ordered to shut down a wastewater injection well due to concerns that it may be causing earthquakes, a state official said Wednesday

Displaying results 31 to 40 out of 1170

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • OFFSHORE #FRACKING is dirty, dangerous, & mostly unregulated. How long will @BOEM_DOI & @BSEEgov put oil profits over #oceans? #unfrackcal
    13:02
  • RT @Pragmactivist99: LOOK: #fracking protesters storm into @SpectraEnergy office, demand they #STOPSPECTRA http://t.co/VHiumVszmn
    13:02
  • Hi @RTaylor_LibDem Thanks for your comments on #fracking. Posted here: https://t.co/Td39lC3uz7 @edballsmp - care to add your comments? #gp
    13:01
  • Join me and sign the petition supporting SB 166, a ban on #fracking in FL: http://t.co/0TocWPzIqo #pfla #ecoFL
    13:01
    Styles
  • #Florida #Fracking.... Bad for our #ecosystems bad for the future bad for all but #bigoil! https://t.co/DP7HQEJVrZ
    13:01
 
 
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