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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

September 29, 2014 Water scarcity concerns grow from use of fracking

Source: Des Moines Register

With all the recent news about the use of new technological innovations in hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, you’d think that methods have been introduced to use less water for fracking.

September 26, 2014 America's Energy Outlook Is Fracking Great, For Now

Source: Forbes

It’s not news that America is undergoing an oil and gas boom. Or that the boom has been brought to us by the dedicated efforts of dozens of independent oil companies working to perfect the one-two punch of horizontal drilling and...

September 25, 2014 Fracking not as bad as you fear, panelists say; some activists disagree

Source: OC Register

Don’t worry, fracking won’t harm you. That was the underlying message from a six-expert information session about the controversial oil drilling technique Tuesday night at Cal State Fullerton.

September 23, 2014 Siemens Makes $7.6 Billion Bet on Fracking in U.S.

Source: NY Times

The German engineering conglomerate Siemens already makes a range of products for the American energy sector, including gas turbines and equipment for generating electricity from wind.

September 22, 2014 Fracking’s Greatest Myth: BUSTED

Source: Wall Street Daily

According to the Ceres Investor Network, of the 40,000 fracking operations put in place over the past three years, three quarters are located in areas where water is scarce, and nearly 55% are in areas experiencing drought

September 19, 2014 U.S. green groups urge methane rules for oil and gas industry

Source: Reuters

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must act to rein in methane pollution from the oil and gas industry, environmental groups said on Thursday, warning that failure to set federal standards would undermine other Obama...

September 18, 2014 Fracking Bans Enrage Coloradans Sitting on Energy Riches

Source: Bloomberg

Mineral owners left out of the energy boom in Colorado and other states are mobilizing to fight local fracking bans they say are depriving them of billions of dollars in oil and natural-gas royalties.

September 16, 2014 Study: Faulty gas wells, not fracking, pollute water

Source: USAToday

Faulty wells, not deep underground fracking, is the main reason that natural gas extraction from shale rock has contaminated drinking water in parts of Texas and Pennsylvania, says a study Monday by researchers from five...

September 15, 2014 Fracking or Drinking Water? That May Become the Choice

Source: NBC News

Fracking for oil and natural gas—or having enough water to drink. That's the possible dilemma facing a number of countries including the United States, according to a new report released by the World Resources Institute last...

September 12, 2014 Fracking and Earthquakes: The Risk Is Clear. Who Pays Is Not

Source: Daily Finance

The energy industry in the U.S. has surged in the past decade thanks to advances in technology that have allowed companies to extract vast quantities of oil and natural gas from sources once deemed too difficult or expensive to...

Displaying results 31 to 40 out of 1103

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • TU @NYGovCuomo #NY protecting OUR #water sources & banned #fracking! If only #PA @GovernorCorbett @WolfForPA wld do same. #Delaware #River
    17:40
  • RT @BobbyHertz: WHAT A WEEK! #NY bans #fracking! Obama dishes on #KeystoneXL! #BristolBay gets protected! #Chevron cancels #Arctic drilling…
    17:40
  • RT @BobbyHertz: WHAT A WEEK! #NY bans #fracking! Obama dishes on #KeystoneXL! #BristolBay gets protected! #Chevron cancels #Arctic drilling…
    17:40
    821
  • Out-of-control #fracking well forced more than 24 families from their homes and may explode! https://t.co/HNC8S3uA4k http://t.co/RBR6O4AyT5
    17:40
  • RT @juliewassmer: @FFNYorkshire Thanks to @RTUKnews for inviting me to speak tonight on #fracking & in support of @talkfracking action http…
    17:40
    Griff Monkeyboy
 
 
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