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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

March 16, 2015 Stand up to junk science on fracking

Source: The Hill

America’s smart drilling revolution has bestowed numerous economic and environmental benefits. Innovative entrepreneurs who combined horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing have led to huge increases of domestic energy...

March 13, 2015 Russians Financed The U.S. Anti-Fracking Movement: Oil Tycoon

Source: Forbes

Russians financed the anti-fracking movement in the United States, an American oil tycoon alleged today during the Forbes Reinventing America Summit in Chicago.

March 11, 2015 German gas industry urges decision on fracking rules

Source: Reuters

Germany’s oil and gas industry urged the government on Monday to ensure that new gas fracking rules will support future domestic production and technological development.

March 11, 2015 Oklahoma could be in danger of strong earthquakes

Source: CBS News

For residents in Oklahoma, thousands of tiny earthquakes in the past five years have mostly been annoying. But a new study in Geophysical Research Letters suggests the future could be more dire, with the state possibly seeing...

March 9, 2015 How the Oil Export Ban Chokes the Fracking Boom

Source: Wall Street Journal

Oil is overflowing U.S. storage facilities partly because of the 40-year-old export ban. The wave of bankruptcies and layoffs that many have predicted for the U.S. energy sector may finally be coming, but less because of the...

March 4, 2015 California shuts down oil wells to protect groundwater

Source: Myrtle Beach Online

A dozen wells used to pump oil-and-gas in California's Central Valley have been ordered to stop production to protect underground drinking-water from contamination, officials said Tuesday. The operators of 10 oil wells in Kern...

March 4, 2015 Ohio House bill would ease fracking in state parks

Source: Columbus Dispatch

Gov. John Kasich has used the back door to keep fracking out of Ohio state parks and forests. Now, the legislature is trying a side door to fast-track fracking on public lands.

March 2, 2015 Fracking boosters, foes ponder what’s next

Source: Democrat & Chronicle

The decision has reverberated from the state Capitol down Interstate 88 to the Southern Tier and beyond, leaving Diffendorf, Hamlin and the thousands of others who participated in the often-heated debate on shale-gas drilling to...

February 27, 2015 A lot of fracking questions in Kentucky

Source: State-Journal

While landowners pleaded to senators for a moratorium on fracking during a bill hearing to update regulations on oil and gas production, some later felt silenced at a permit hearing, which could allow the first deep-well...

February 24, 2015 Is Bolivia going to frack 'Mother Earth'?

Source: The Guardian

The momentum is building. Bolivia’s state oil and gas company YPFB announced in early 2013 it would begin studies to identify shale gas deposits, and in November that same year it gave a presentation in Santa Cruz on shale gas...

Displaying results 31 to 40 out of 1182

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • RT @BakkenShale: Oklahoma Court Rules Homeowners Can Sue Oil Companies Over Quakes http://t.co/0t5HlDRnR1 #fracking #oil #oklahoma
    07:55
  • RT @wwwfoecouk: .@David_Cameron doesn't answer @CatSmithMP's #fracking #PMQs. He must respect Lancs decision: https://t.co/m8PxC5lp0u http:…
    07:53
    David Land
  • The Torygraph explains succinctly why the opposition to #fracking in Lancashire was so successful: http://t.co/MaN9qSvtHO #keepitintheground
    07:53
  • RT @Liz_Hutchins: Great #PMQ @CatSmithMP: Will the PM respect views of #Lancashire and not overturn decision against #fracking? http://t.co…
    07:51
    Donna Hume
  • RT @_Joep: .@iharrison333 Congrats on getting #Cuadrilla s #fracking application rejected.. Well done!!
    07:51
 
 
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