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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

July 15, 2014 States With Fracking See Surge In Earthquake Activity

Source: Huff Post

States where hydraulic fracturing is taking place have seen a surge in earthquake activity, raising suspicions that the unconventional drilling method could be to blame, especially the wells where the industry disposes of its...

July 15, 2014 Anti-fracking protesters arrested in U.S. capital

Source: Reuters

Two dozen protesters were arrested in Washington on Monday while demonstrating against hydraulic fracturing and the U.S. gas industry's push to sell "fracked" liquefied natural gas abroad.

July 11, 2014 Exxon feels targeted over fracking

Source: Denver Post

Exxon Mobil Corp. is fighting criminal charges over a wastewater spill in Pennsylvania with an unusual defense, contending that the state's attorney general has improperly singled it out in a bid to stop fracking.

July 10, 2014 Shale Seen Shifting Flows at America’s Biggest Oil Port

Source: Bloomberg

For more than 30 years, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port LLC has been a symbol of U.S. dependence on foreign oil, pumping Nigerian and Saudi Arabian crude from the world’s biggest supertankers into underground storage caverns...

July 7, 2014 Don't Fear 'Fracking,' Fear The Horrid Illusion That Revived Fracking

Source: Forbes

In 1980 Julian Simon famously bet modern Malthusian Paul Ehrlich $10,000 that five commodity metals chosen by Ehrlich (he selected copper, chromium, nickel, tin and tungsten) would decline in price by 1990. Simon’s point was that...

July 7, 2014 Germany to Draft Anti-Shale Fracking Rules on Public Opposition

Germany plans to adopt regulation that will rule out shale fracking for the foreseeable future. The government wants to ban hydraulic fracturing in shale rocks and coal beds at depths less than 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) and...

July 3, 2014 How fracking foes are killing N.Y. jobs

Source: Daily News

My hardworking, fair-minded liberal parents raised my sisters and me with a healthy sense of sympathy for the poor and the voiceless. So I can’t help but feel for the denizens of upstate New York, where a long-faltering economy...

July 3, 2014 Fracking sucks money from wind while China eclipses US

Fuel Fix - New investments in renewable energy sources declined 5 percent in North America last year to $56 billion, the lowest since 2010, according to Bloomberg îNew Energy Financeî. By comparison, North American...

July 2, 2014 Scotland Holds Billions of Barrels of Shale Oil, Report Says

Source: Bloomberg

Scotland may have billions of barrels of shale oil buried under its most densely populated areas, geologists said today. Scotland’s central belt, running between Glasgow and Edinburgh, may have 6 billion barrels of oil in...

July 1, 2014 Anti-Fracking Win in N.Y. Court May Deal Blow to Industry

Source: Bloomberg

New York’s cities and towns can block hydraulic fracturing within their borders, the state’s highest court ruled, dealing a blow to an industry awaiting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision on whether to lift a six-year-old statewide...

Displaying results 31 to 40 out of 1048

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • RT @100_Dias_Largos: El Ministro de Industria, con su séquito del @ppcantabria, defiende el #fracking en Cantabria. @nachodiego q opinas? h…
    16:58
    #SOSRACING
  • RT @gaslandmovie: The evidence is in, so ban fracking   - NY Daily News http://t.co/o7BkG8uejl @nygovcuomo @zephyteachout #fracking
    16:58
  • RT @gaslandmovie: The evidence is in, so ban fracking   - NY Daily News http://t.co/o7BkG8uejl @nygovcuomo @zephyteachout #fracking
    16:57
    WhoIsGovt
  • RT @llantrithyd: The evidence is in, so ban #fracking   http://t.co/5xucbBW6sw #shale gas #cbm”
    16:57
    WhoIsGovt
  • RT @gaslandmovie: The evidence is in, so ban fracking   - NY Daily News http://t.co/o7BkG8uejl @nygovcuomo @zephyteachout #fracking
    16:57
    On yo face
 
 
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