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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

May 9, 2013 Interior Secretary: Fracking Regulations Will Be Based on Best Science

Source: Scientific America

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration's second attempt at writing regulations for hydraulic fracturing on public lands is not intended to appease either environmentalists or oil and gas drillers, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell...

May 8, 2013 New Paper Shows Fracking Drilling Concentrates in Water Pressed Areas

Just Means - A new paper sends an extra word of environmental caution to policy makers and industry leaders regarding hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, a type of gas drilling. A new Ceres research paper on water use...

May 8, 2013 Fracking: Feds delay sale of drilling leases in CA

Source: SF Chronicle

The Bureau of Land Management has postponed a May 22 sale that would have offered oil companies the chance to drill on four parcels in Fresno and Kern Counties. Both counties sit atop the Monterey Shale, an immense geologic...

May 6, 2013 Drive to make energy cleaner has stalled. Shale gas could help.

The Christian Science Monitor - Current carbon prices will not drive switching in the near-term ... as dark greens making the perfect the enemy of the good, a quote from Voltaire via Barack Obama. When I was a kid in the United...

May 6, 2013 A dilemma in metro Detroit: Welcome fracking, or fear it?

Source: Detroit Free Press

Fracking — the controversial method of injecting water and chemicals under intense pressure miles underground to extract natural gas — is being tossed about in metro Detroit.

May 5, 2013 The other side of the fracking debate

Daily Progress - Consider Karnes County, Texas. A few years ago ... recently told Congress heâs so confident fracking fluid is safe that he drank some of it. At least one energy company has even developed fracking fluid...

May 4, 2013 Fracking Should Use More Recycled Water, Ceres Says

Environmental Leader - The report is based on well drilling and water use data from FracFocus.org, collected on 25,450 wells in operation from January 2011 through September 2012, and water stress indicator maps developed by the...

May 4, 2013 'Things Could Get Ugly': Fracking Set to Escalate US Water Wars

Common Dreams - A new study released Thursday shows that a "significant portion" of fracking, a water intensive process, is happening in already water-stressed regions of the United Statesâmost prominently Texas and...

May 2, 2013 Hydraulic Fracturing: a Way to Go Greener'

AOL Travel News - îEPAî's Science Advisory Board will form an independent panel to provide transparent feedback on its 2014 draft report on hydraulic fracturing and its impact on drinking îwaterî...

April 30, 2013 Fracking: A silent death sweeps across the nation

Natural News.com - (NaturalNews) Farmland is tainted. Drinking water turns flammable. And humans along with animals are sick. The cause' Fracking. It's terrorizing the environment, destroying the health of those who live close to...

Displaying results 341 to 350 out of 1081

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • RT @SierraRise: Tell @SusanGKomen to end their pink-washing partnership with frackers #fracking https://t.co/5osMTFEJQp
    12:37
  • New Air Quality Report Uses Scientifically Dubious Methods http://t.co/GsvN8Z53G0 @alneuhauser @jsmithhopkins #fracking
    12:37
  • wouldja lookit that - protesting actually works. now about those CA aquifers poisoned by #fracking during the drought http://t.co/xXTJ5DFJ7N
    12:37
  • RT @state_of_things: Looking at #Fracking on the show today. http://t.co/8T4WZC6TuC #ncpol
    12:37
  • Tell @EPA to take action on #fracking and #methane pollution. http://t.co/yAzhDqb7l0 Via @CleanAirMoms
    12:36
    Helmut Mueller
 
 
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