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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

January 15, 2015 Fracking in New York Would Not Have Been as Lucrative as in Pennsylvania

Businessweek - According to a recent report from Bloomberg îNew Energy Financeî, the shale formations under New York âdo not appear as economically viable as the parts of those formations that underlie...

January 14, 2015 Obama Wants to Crack Down on Fracking Emissions

Source: Mother Jones

President Barack Obama will unveil a new plan to cut methane from America's booming oil and gas industry ahead of the State of the Union address, in an attempt to cement his climate legacy during his remaining two years in the...

January 12, 2015 97% of fracking now operating at a loss at current oil prices

Daily Kos - The grade settled at $50.04 a barrel. Thatâs below the break-even price for 37 of 38 U.S. shale oilfields, according to Bloomberg îNew Energy Financeî. Shale oil fracking and Canadian tar sand is...

January 9, 2015 Fracking’s future is in doubt as oil price plummets

Source: Boulder Weekly

There’s no doubt that U.S.-based fracking — the process through which oil and gas deposits are blasted from shale deposits deep underground — has caused a revolution in worldwide energy supplies.

January 8, 2015 New Research Links Scores of Earthquakes to Fracking Wells Near a Fault in Ohio

Source: NY Times

Not long after two mild earthquakes jolted the normally steady terrain outside Youngstown, Ohio, last March, geologists quickly decided that hydraulic fracturing operations at new oil-and-gas wells in the area had set off the...

January 8, 2015 11 North Texas Earthquakes In Around 27 Hours

Source: CBS Dallas-Fort Worth

North Texas has been rattled by 11 earthquakes in just over one day. The latest one took place just before 10:00 a.m. and measured 2.7 in magnitude. Another quake about 90 minutes earlier registered in at a 2.6 in magnitude

January 6, 2015 Are volcanoes the energy source of the future?

Source: CNBC

The Reykjanes Peninsula, a finger of black rock jutting out over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge from Iceland's southwestern coast, has long leveraged its unique volcanic geology into economic opportunity. Its spectacularly carved...

January 6, 2015 Plummeting oil price casts shadow over fracking's future

Source: The Guardian

There’s no doubt that US-based fracking – the process through which oil and gas deposits are blasted from shale deposits deep underground – has caused a revolution in worldwide energy supplies

January 6, 2015 Colorado regulators increase fines for oil, gas drilling violations to comply with new law

Source: The Republic

DENVER — The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on Monday increased the maximum fine that drilling companies could face for violating state rules to $15,000 from $1,000. The fine is the highest allowed by a law the...

January 6, 2015 Fracking in Ohio caused a magnitude 3 earthquake in 2014

Source: UPI

According to a new study, a small town in Ohio that previously didn't experience earthquakes experienced 77 in March of 2014.

Displaying results 31 to 40 out of 1147

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • RT @LondonArtCritic: #fracking inspires #art. @SamPeacockArt's opening at @CuriousDuke http://t.co/MaRe5AIwNE
    00:54
  • RT @Jarrapin: Electoral disaster for NSW Nats: farmers and regional folk turning to Labor to protect them from #CSG & #fracking http://t.co…
    00:54
    Michele Cochrane
  • RT @MAHAMOSA: 2 huge stories on #fracking undisclosed by big media->http://t.co/SDxo9wiyk8 via @HuffPostGreen #green #earth #environment #n…
    00:53
    michael ratcliff
  • RT @MAHAMOSA: Don't be fooled by #bigoilcommercials! -> Hydraulic fracturing a/k/a #FRACKING kills our #Earth. #climate #CO2 #environment #…
    00:52
    Etzio
  • Nova Scotia to ban fracking: http://t.co/583lk5h0Ix http://t.co/L64YsNqDa1 #environment #fracking
    00:52
 
 
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