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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 14, 2013 The Facts on Fracking

Source: Op Ed NY Times

OPPOSITION to fracking has been considerable, if not unanimous, in the global green community, and in Europe in particular. France and Bulgaria, countries with the largest shale-gas reserves in Europe, have already banned...

March 13, 2013 California Fracking Bills Seek To Regulate Controversial Practice

Source: Huff Post

California legislators have introduced a flurry of bills that would put controls on a controversial oil drilling technique that many critics charge has been left largely unregulated. Lawmakers have become increasingly concerned...

March 12, 2013 Cuomo criticizes strategy, focus of pro-fracking groups

Source: Poughkeepsie Journal

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday criticized the strategy employed by groups who favor hydraulic fracturing, saying their lobbyists should spend more time educating the public and less time focused on “hallway chatter.”

March 11, 2013 New York Fracking Study Results Likely Years Off

Source: Huff Post

ALBANY, N.Y. — A health study cited by leading environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as pivotal in helping persuade Gov. Andrew Cuomo to hold off on plans for limited gas drilling is likely years away from conclusions about...

March 10, 2013 New York Assembly Passes Two Year Fracking Moratorium, Senate Expected to Follow

truth-out.org - In a roll call vote of 95-40, the New York State Assembly has passed a two-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), the toxic horizontal drilling process through which oil and gas is procured that's...

March 7, 2013 New York Assembly Votes to Ban Fracking for Two More Years - text/audio

Source: WNYC

The New York State Assembly has approved, by a 95 to 40 vote, a two-year moratorium on hydrofracking in New York. While it’s unlikely to be passed in the Senate, the action reflects state lawmakers’ growing worries about...

March 7, 2013 Fracking Industry Conflicts Of Interest With Regulators' Watchdogs Concerned

The Huffington Post - After facing heat from fellow residents of Red Wing, Minn., over his ties with an industry group intent on increasing frac sand mining in the state, the town's mayor, Dennis Egan, announced this week that he...

March 6, 2013 Are You Faking Your Fracking Knowledge? Here Are Six Good Sources

Source: Huff Post

People across America are talking about the effect hydraulic fracturing (often called "fracking") is having on our food, water and health. But even if you don't have time to read all the reports and articles, you are probably...

March 4, 2013 AP: NY Fracking Held as Cuomo, RFK Jr. Talk Health

Source: ABC

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo came as close as he ever has to approving fracking last month, laying out a limited drilling plan for as many as 40 gas wells before changing course to await the findings of a new study after...

March 4, 2013 Frack No! Organic Consumers Oppose Pro-Fracking Scientist as Head of U.S. Department of Energy

Common Dreams - on March 2 â 4 in Dallas, Texas. The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The...

Displaying results 341 to 350 out of 1028

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • Chevron: no plans to end #fracking agreement with #Ukraine http://t.co/O9nB4lYt4E #MH17 What you're not being told: http://t.co/MKTUfSAjkm
    20:32
  • RT @DealResources: Fracing’s Renewable Benefit: Geothermal Energy? #fracking #renewables http://t.co/2Dt4h9WBdR http://t.co/wfhZZ1HQhm
    20:31
    NEVILLE GILLMORE
  • RT @EnergyfromShale: Thanks to our #shale reserves of oil and natural gas, the U.S. is in the midst of an energy revolution. #fracking http…
    20:30
    Kam Alipour
  • RT @OGJOnline: States with fracing are economically stronger, House panel told http://t.co/6xT8kCjGIN #fracking #oilandgas #economy
    20:30
  • US #coal #exports have erased all the #CO2 savings from the #fracking boom http://t.co/YYl81LGkzm via @zite
    20:29
    DG
 
 
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