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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

August 28, 2014 Deep Water Fracking Next Frontier for Offshore Drilling

Source: Bloomberg

Energy companies are taking their controversial fracking operations from the land to the sea -- to deep waters off the U.S., South American and African coasts.

August 27, 2014 Fracking link to birth defects probed

Source: Sun Herald

NEW YORK — The first research into the effects of oil and gas development on babies born near wells has found potential health risks. Government officials, industry advocates and the researchers themselves say more studies are...

August 26, 2014 Fracking The Anti-Fracking Movement: The Inside Story Of The Foundation Behind The Activist Campaign To Discredit Natural Gas

Source: Forbes

Dan Fitzsimmons remembers that blustery day in March 2011 when he traveled to the offices of the Park Foundation in Ithaca, New York, asking for help. He was hopeful and a little desperate. The landowners he represented in the...

August 25, 2014 Danger Beneath: 'Fracking' Gas, Oil Pipes Threaten Rural Residents

Source: NBC News

Aconstruction boom of pipelines carrying explosive oil and natural gas from “fracking” fields to market -- pipes that are bigger and more dangerous than their predecessors -– poses a safety threat in rural areas, where they...

August 24, 2014 Desert residents fear fracking dangers might outweigh the benefits

VOXXI - The îEPAî has conducted research on five new well sites from Pennsylvania, Colorado, Texas, and North Dakota, testing the îwatersî around them. îEPAî investigators have already gathered...

August 21, 2014 Despite Compromise, Colorado’s Fracking Fight Rages On

Source: ThinkProgress.com

GOLDEN, COLORADO — An 11th-hour compromise brokered by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) to keep contentious oil and gas measures off the November election ballot may simply delay the day of reckoning for both sides in the...

August 19, 2014 UK energy dependence – five hidden costs expose truth about fracking

Source: The Guardian

The vision of an energy-independent Britain, free of the clear and growing problems of overseas fuel dependency, is deeply alluring. That is one of the reasons I set up a solar energy company 15 years ago. Today, Putin's Russia,...

August 19, 2014 Fracking could threaten air quality, workers’ health, latest report says

Source: Washington Post

Maryland’s latest report on the impact of proposed natural gas exploration in the western part of the state said drilling could pose a threat to air quality and workers in a region that is ecologically pristine.

August 18, 2014 Fracking protesters superglue themselves to environment department

Source: The Guardian

Anti-fracking protesters have superglued themselves to the doors at the main entrance of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), campaigners have said. The activists from the Reclaim the Power camp at...

August 15, 2014 America's fracking dilemma: Not in my backyard

Source: CBS Money Watch

Fracking isn't only fueling the current energy boom in the U.S., it's also firing up concerns about whether it can be used successfully without creating a long-term environmental and economic threat to the communities and regions...

Displaying results 31 to 40 out of 1076

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • RT @CRAG_Coona: RT @NoFrackingNI love Chris O'Dowd! Great to see him on board! Stop #fracking worldwide! #csg #shale #tightsands http://t.c…
    01:07
  • RT @SteveFilipovic: France & Germany are Progressive Countries & they banned #Fracking! We're handing #bcpoli over for No Job's? No Revenue…
    01:06
  • RT @RT_com: ‘#Fracking loophole’ allows drilling companies to use unregulated toxins – report http://t.co/Og6TeGnCsG http://t.co/6bYsK1lwh0
    01:05
    salman riaz
  • RT @SteveFilipovic: France & Germany are Progressive Countries & they banned #Fracking! We're handing #bcpoli over for No Job's? No Revenue…
    01:04
    Porwigle
  • RT @nutiva: What's your stance on fracking? http://t.co/1ieNWeOXAr #fracking #contamination #farmers http://t.co/gI6LuLwX87
    01:04
    Positively Joan
 
 
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