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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

April 23, 2013 Foreign Investors Help Fuel U.S. Shale Boom

Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek

China has about twice the estimated shale gas reserves as the U.S., but commercial production has been slow to ramp up on the mainland—because of a combination of challenging geology and an inflexible industry structure. Analysts...

April 22, 2013 The Facts on Fracking

Source: Bill Moyers.com

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking — a method of extracting natural gas from underground shale formations — has become a contentious issue across America, especially in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, states that...

April 19, 2013 Natural Gas Futures Climb on Smaller-Than-Forecast Supply Gain

Source: Bloomberg

Natural gas futures advanced to a 20-month high in New York after a government report showed that U.S. stockpiles expanded by less than forecast. Gas gained as much as 3.2 percent after an Energy Information Administration report...

April 19, 2013 Poll: NY voters still split on fracking

Source: Ithaca Journal

ALBANY — New York voters remain nearly split on drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration continues to weigh whether to allow it, a poll released Thursday found.

April 18, 2013 Shale energy isn't helping U.S. manufacturing

Akron Beacon Journal - From the American Petroleum Institute: COLUMBUS, OHIO, April 3, 2013 â Seventy-six percent of Ohio voters believe increasing state severance taxes on the oil and natural gas industry could harm the...

April 17, 2013 Invitation to a Dialogue: Making Fracking Safer

Source: NY Times Letters

Several states, including New York, are now considering whether to permit hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in areas under their authority. Fracking has made important changes to the American energy budget but has also raised...

April 16, 2013 Fracking won, green energy failed

Akron Beacon Journal - The Fiscal Times reports that U.S. shale gas and oil is disrupting the global energy market and Russia's economy. David Francis writes: "Russia had the United States on its heels during the Bush...

April 16, 2013 China, U.S. team up on climate change - Anti-KXL group pushes message in Nebraska ad buy - Omens on fracking rule dismay greens - Former House Democrat, friend of coal, dies

POLITICO - REACTION: This is potentially a very significant development, coming as it does from the world's two biggest economies and greenhouse gas emitters, Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists said, pointing to...

April 16, 2013 Environmentalists fear weaker fracking rule

Source: Politico

Environmentalists fear the oil and gas industry has the Obama administration’s ear as the government prepares to release a new draft rule to govern fracking on federal lands. Though the Interior Department has yet to release an...

April 15, 2013 New $7.6 million drilling rig is heading to Ohio shales

Akron Beacon Journal - From the American Petroleum Institute: COLUMBUS, OHIO, April 3, 2013 â Seventy-six percent of Ohio voters believe increasing state severance taxes on the oil and natural gas industry could harm the...

Displaying results 341 to 350 out of 1066

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • RT @MiriamUrt: El Estado tramita al menos 53 proyectos de #Fracking en España http://t.co/dpQQgVFohY vía @dmontanes
    01:46
    tere maldonado
  • RT @insideclimate: Pennsylvania DEP issues major fine ($4.15 million) to Range Resources for poorly managed #fracking #waste disposal: http…
    01:41
    Fred Faust
  • RT @MiriamUrt: #Fracking : Se ha estrenado en youtube el documental : Fractura, la maldición de los recursos http://t.co/p60LVIgZ57 vía …
    01:38
  • RT @MiriamUrt: #Fracking : Conseguir energía como sea .... vía @eljueves http://t.co/PymbVYd4YG
    01:38
  • RT @MiriamUrt: 103.589 firmas contra el #Fracking al Parlamento Vasco http://t.co/xs1j8EEqA4 vía @GasteizHoy
    01:36
 
 
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