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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 5, 2014 Report: Fracking likely to exacerbate water shortages

Boulder Weekly - Itâs a bad combination, according to a recent report issued by îCeresî, a nonprofit devoted to promoting corporate responsibility and îsustainabilityî leadership. The report,...

March 3, 2014 Voices From the Shale: "Boo-Hoo" Award for Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson Property Rights Emerge as Growing Issue; Could Tillerson be a Property Rights ‘Illiterate’?

Source: Mike Benard, featured commentator

A recent Wyoming Supreme Court decision noted the shale gas "gold rush" has triggered the law of unintended consequences for energy industry executives and government regulators where property rights are concerned.1 [more]

February 26, 2014 Trading Water for Fuel Is Fracking Crazy

The Epoch Times - A recent report, Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Stress, shows the severity of the problem ... create jobs and build the economy than holding an everything must go sale on our precious resources. In the longer...

February 25, 2014 Colorado limits fracking emissions

Source: abqjournal.com

DENVER – Colorado regulators approved groundbreaking controls on emissions from oil and natural gas operations after an unusual coalition of energy companies and environmentalists agreed on measures to counter worsening smog.

February 24, 2014 BLOOMBERG VIEW: Fracking doesn't have to leave us parched

Source: Sun Herald

Among the environmental worries posed by hydraulic fracturing, including the release of methane into the air and contamination of groundwater, one has recently escalated: the concern that the enormous quantities of water used in...

February 21, 2014 Gas Appeal: Why the U.S. Is the Envy of China

Source: Bloomberg

China has revolution envy. The world’s largest energy consumer wants a natural gas boom to match the speedy transformation in the U.S., where shale gas production more than quadrupled between 2007 and 2012. President Barack Obama...

February 21, 2014 Chevron Continues to Rally Amid Fallout from Pennsylvania Fracking "Boom"

Source: Equities.com

Ever since the ExxonMobil (XOM) Valdez tanker disaster that spilled hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound, major integrated oil and gas companies have come to accept that public opprobrium is...

February 20, 2014 Raising health and air quality concerns in Texas’ fracking frontier - text/video

Source: PBS NewsHour

As shale and natural gas fracking booms in South Texas, a new report raises unsettling concerns about possible related health risks and poor air quality. The Center for Public Integrity collaborated with others in examining...

February 19, 2014 Oklahoma Wonders Why The Earth Is Shaking

Source: Time

No strangers to nature’s fury, Oklahomans grow up accustomed scorching heat, blizzards, wrecking-ball thunderstorms and tornadoes. What they don’t see a lot of are earthquakes, which have been rattling the Sooner State with rare...

February 18, 2014 All-Alaska Gas Pipeline Will Spike America's Energy Boom

Source: Breitbart.com

America’s energy boom is about to take another huge leap forward as the State of Alaska is on the verge of approving the $50 billion All-Alaskan Gas Pipeline (AAGP). The massive project will transport “stranded” North Slope...

Displaying results 31 to 40 out of 973

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • RT @mikaminio: Campaigns oppose #fracking in #Algeria #Tunisia & #Egypt as activists target Algeria Energy Minister http://t.co/12alU84uFC …
    05:35
  • RT @Askgerbil: @mikebairdMP Two processes for obtaining more natural gas - w/out the cost of #CSG drilling or #fracking: http://t.co/GQB90r…
    05:35
    Mark Plackett
  • RT @PlatformLondon: “Gaz de schiste – c’est fasciste!” – Don’t #Frack #Algeria http://t.co/unB6rrC5cx @mikaminio blogs about Monday's #frac…
    05:35
  • RT @faysdz: #Algerians in London protest against shale gas and the lack of a national debate #Algeria #Fracking #Algérie http://t.co/pVg7Gy…
    05:35
  • RT @BartonMoss: Vote for us in the Observer Ethical Awards 2014 Local Hero category! #bartonmoss #fracking http://t.co/n7cugw7JG4
    05:34
    Ken mck
 
 
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