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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

September 12, 2014 Fracking and Earthquakes: The Risk Is Clear. Who Pays Is Not

Source: Daily Finance

The energy industry in the U.S. has surged in the past decade thanks to advances in technology that have allowed companies to extract vast quantities of oil and natural gas from sources once deemed too difficult or expensive to...

September 11, 2014 Cheapest U.S. Gasoline Since 2010 Set to Get Cheaper

Source: Bloomberg

Drivers across the U.S. enjoying the lowest pump prices for this time of year since 2010 will probably see further declines as refineries benefiting from the shale boom produce record amounts of fuel.

September 11, 2014 Natural gas exports set to take off as Energy Department approves two new projects

Source: Fortune

U.S. regulators have approved construction of two plants for exporting natural gas, potentially to lucrative markets in Europe, Japan, Taiwan and other parts of Asia.

September 10, 2014 DEP releases updated details on water contamination near drilling sites

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania regulators found an array of contaminants in the roughly 240 private water supplies they said were damaged by oil and gas operations during the past seven years.

September 10, 2014 Cuomo: No ‘emotional’ fracking decisions

Source: Capital New York

ALBANY—Moments after casting his primary ballot this morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he will not make an “emotional decision” on fracking. “You can have academics and scientists with research stand up and argue passionately...

September 9, 2014 Bad News for Obama: Fracking May Be Worse Than Burning Coal

Source: Mother Jones

If you're a politician, science is a bitch; it resists spin. And a new set of studies—about, of all things, a simple molecule known as CH4—show that President Obama's climate change strategy is starting to unravel even as it's...

September 9, 2014 Shale energy is reviving US manufacturing

Source: Bakken.com

Despite a nationwide downturn in the industry over the past several years, manufacturers in or near shale drilling states are actually experiencing growth thanks to the increasing demands of oil and gas production companies....

September 8, 2014 Nova Scotia To Ban Fracking: ‘We Need To Respect The Trust The People Have Put In Us’

Source: ThinkProgress.org

Nova Scotia plans to introduce legislation to ban fracking this fall, Energy Minister Andrew Younger announced Wednesday. Younger told the CBC the ban won’t be permanent, but he didn’t have a timeline for when it might be lifted....

September 7, 2014 WRI: Shale oil, gas face tight competition for water

Oil & Gas Journal - Governments and businesses trying to develop tight oil and gas resources could face intense competition for water that would be used in hydraulic fracturing, the îWorld Resources Instituteî...

September 5, 2014 Limited water presents challenge for natural gas fracking

Source: LA Times

Extracting natural gas for energy from shale rock deep underground requires lots of water, but much of the world's shale gas is in regions where water is already scarce, including part of California, according to a study issued...

Displaying results 31 to 40 out of 1093

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • RT @RTUKnews: #Fracking toxins may be as dangerous as tobacco, asbestos & thalidomide – UK chief scientist http://t.co/VXLkudkdKu http://t.…
    18:53
    Sophie Kovalevska
  • RT @AndreaLeon: RT @StopCSG: UK govt's scientist compares #fracking to asbestos and thalidomide. Damning stuff. #CSG http://t.co/ZduVAex3…
    18:51
    Ruby Turner
  • RT @DeSmogBlog: #Fracking is expensive and relies on a high global price of #oil. So what does plummeting price of #oil portend? http://t.c…
    18:51
    V. Jobson
  • RT @PositivelyJoan: Maryland Governor O'Malley Is Ready to Allow Fracking in His State http://t.co/Jonrcmbzc8 via @ecowatch #fracking
    18:51
    Irish eyes
  • NEW: #fracking industry #chemical storage #violations - #COGCC fails to identify operator/facility in database - PICS http://t.co/dKcyAS0EUL
    18:51
 
 
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