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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

July 23, 2013 Kansas regulators considering new fracking rules

Source: Kansas City Star

TOPEKA — Kansas utility regulators are considering new rules to require oil and natural gas companies to disclose some information about the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing, but representatives of an environmental...

July 22, 2013 Fracking Research Finding No Water Taint Near Drill Site

Source: Bloomberg

Energy Department researchers so far have found “nothing of concern” in a study of whether chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing for natural gas at one site in Pennsylvania traveled toward shallower groundwater. The preliminary...

July 19, 2013 It’s official: US-style shale revolution could soon slash gas prices in Britain

Source: City: AM

IT’S now official – shale production can cut gas prices. After months of the government tiptoeing around the issue, a report commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) provides evidence for the first time...

July 18, 2013 Interior Chief Defends Federal Fracking Regulations

Source: Bloomberg

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell drew on her experience as a former oil-industry engineer to defend proposed federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas on publicly owned land. Testifying to the House Natural...

July 17, 2013 Methane in Pennsylvania Groundwater May Originate in Fracked Gas Wells

Yahoo! - In 2009, for example, the town of Dimock, Pa, garnered attention when îone waterî well exploded after an electric spark ignited methane in the water. Thirteen wells in the area showed dangerously high levels...

July 17, 2013 Fracking: The Confusing Vocabulary of Hydraulic Fracturing (Op-Ed)

Yahoo! - Deborah Bailin, analyst for the Center for Science and Democracy at the îUnion of Concerned Scientistsî (UCS), researches political and societal barriers to formulating science-based policies. This article...

July 16, 2013 Analysis: Fracking water's dirty little secret - recycling

Source: Reuters

The oil and gas industry is finding that less is more in the push to recycle water used in hydraulic fracturing. Slightly dirty water, it seems, does just as good a job as crystal clear when it comes to making an oil or gas well...

July 15, 2013 Shale gas ban in France to remain, says Hollande

Source: BBC News

French President Francois Hollande has again ruled out exploration for shale gas during his presidency. The comments come as a French court was due to examine an appeal against a government ban on "fracking". France has some of...

July 15, 2013 Fracking spawns a sand mining boom

Source: Dallas Morning News

Sand is a principal component in the hydraulic fracturing process. It has been mined in the United States in rapidly increasing volumes since the oil and gas shale boom began. From the northern banks of the Mississippi to the Red...

July 12, 2013 Carbon dioxide stored in Marcellus Shale wells could also boost gas production

Source: Penn State News

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Marcellus Shale and other natural gas plays are considered valuable for what can be extracted from them, but what if they could also be valuable and environmentally helpful after they are been depleted?

Displaying results 341 to 350 out of 1144

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • RT @DeSmogBlog: Groups file legal petition seeking to compel @JerryBrownGov to issue emergency moratorium on #fracking http://t.co/6MT5gL0c…
    14:17
    Serabbi
  • RT @PopResistance: Sen Whitehouse laughed at for claiming to be an environmentalist while supporting #Fracking! https://t.co/zXbNkcnnGB htt…
    14:16
  • Te dije! Van a dejar infertil nuestra tierra, convencerán a la borregada y se llenarán los bolsillos, solo habrá desolación. #Fracking
    14:16
  • RT @lajornadaonline: Amenaza el #fracking a más de cien municipios mexicanos http://t.co/xfEsTqlunn http://t.co/75RD0wEFro
    14:14
    #YaMeCanse..........
  • RT @EcoWatch: Fighting #Fracking: Calvin Tillman Shares His Story http://t.co/SNBPcwICeI @MarkRuffalo @gaslandmovie @foodandwater http://t.…
    14:14
    The Honey Dive
 
 
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