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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 5, 2013 Confirmed: Fracking practices to blame for Ohio earthquakes

Source: NBC News

Wastewater from the controversial practice of fracking appears to be linked to all the earthquakes in a town in Ohio that had no known past quakes, research now reveals. The practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves...

September 2, 2013 New fracking technology tested

News24 - Port-Menier - Fresh moose tracks dot the ground where plans are afoot to dig for oil. Quebec's largest energy firm, Petrolia, is eyeing an estimated 40 billion barrels of oil beneath the surface of Anticosti Island, an...

August 30, 2013 N.Y.'s highest court to hear anti-fracking case

Source: USA Today

ALBANY, NY — New York's highest court agreed Thursday to hear appeals from a drilling company and a farmer challenging municipal bans on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. The Court of Appeals, without comment, accepted two...

August 28, 2013 Texas Earthquakes Tied to Extraction in Fracking

Source: Bloomberg

A recent wave of small earthquakes in and around the Eagle Ford formation in Texas was probably the result of extracting oil and in some cases water used for hydraulic fracturing, according to a study. Clusters of small-magnitude...

August 27, 2013 Insight: Arkansas lawsuits test fracking wastewater link to quakes

Source: Reuters

Tony Davis, a 54-year-old construction worker in central Arkansas, said he welcomed the boom in natural gas drilling that brought jobs and new businesses to his hometown starting about a decade ago. But that was before the earth...

August 26, 2013 Fracking health project puts numbers to debate

Source: Imperial Valley Press

A project examining the local health impacts from natural gas drilling is providing some of the first preliminary numbers about people who may be affected, and the results challenge the industry position that no one suffers but...

August 23, 2013 Why Sand Is The Latest Front In The War On Fracking (Yes, Sand)

Source: Forbes

The anti-fracking crowd hasn’t been successful enough manufacturing unfounded fears about groundwater pollution to cause any meaningful slowdown in shale drilling and fracking. So they’ve found a new target for their antagonism —...

August 23, 2013 Anti-fracking group knocks Obama in full-page Binghamton ad

blogs.democratandchronicle.com - President Barack Obama will be greeted in New Yorkâs Southern Tier by a full-page newspaper advertisement accusing his administration of covering up information regarding hydraulic...

August 22, 2013 Will Washington Politics Kill The US Energy Revival And Shale Gas Revolution?

Source: Forbes

Although there is no gas yet being mined in the state, it’s been one of the major beneficiaries from the economic revival that has rippled across the country

August 20, 2013 Texas water crisis

Source: Houston Chronicle

With hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, igniting a natural gas boom in Texas and elsewhere, we're only now paying sufficient attention to the massive amounts of water the drilling process requires. With some 30 Texas communities...

Displaying results 341 to 350 out of 1182

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • @vikkiltodd Ms Todd do u run/use a car etc ? http://t.co/OKqYK1Dm90 #Fracking has killed how many ? NONE! #hypocrites #scaremongering #nimby
    09:17
  • RT @Starbuck: Oklahoma Court Rules Homeowners Can Sue Oil Companies Over Quakes http://t.co/XPZcaXrjyx #fracking http://t.co/yMeZY1OxBa
    09:16
    Amazed in Brooklyn
  • RT @vlamers: Canada’s Oil Country Promises to Become ‘World Leader’ on Climate Change via @PortsideOrg https://t.co/26Rw4WvbIV #climate #oi…
    09:16
  • RT @wwwfoecouk: Leaked #fracking fluid caused environmental damage in US, says covered-up Government report: http://t.co/1zLt8TkS9F http:/…
    09:15
  • País Vasco y Lancashire impiden hacer #fracking http://t.co/LEcePXOgZd #JVHerrera @jcyl @juntacyl @magramagob @PopularesCyL @PSOE_CyL
    09:15
 
 
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