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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

June 28, 2013 Fracking: energy futures

Source: Guardian.co.uk

It is the kind of bonus politicians can usually only dream of: a source of energy capable of reliably providing decades of low-cost, relatively low-emission gas. But yesterday's much trailed report from the British Geological...

June 27, 2013 Natural Gas Supply Glut' Don't Count On It

CNBC - In the aftermath of a crippling nuclear disaster, the world's third-largest economy is heavily reliant on energy imports ... in other countries are far more restrictive than in the United States. The U.S. has been slow to...

June 27, 2013 UK shale gas survey likely to reveal reserves higher than expected

New estimates of the UK's reserves of shale gas will be published on Thursday, and are expected to be much larger than originally thought – potentially supplying the UK with decades' worth of natural gas, if a high proportion of...

June 26, 2013 EPA Risks Crisis of Confidence in Protecting Drinking Water From Fracking

Source: The Energy Collective

EPA announced last week that it was dropping an investigation into water contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming--before it was completed. Everyone wants to know why. EPA has been investigating the water in Pavillion for years now....

June 25, 2013 Fracking Falsehoods

Source: National Review

The Environmental Protection Agency may fight for a clean earth, but it’s using dirty tricks. In 2011, in my home state of Wyoming, the agency released a sloppy draft report that had never been peer-reviewed. At the time, the...

June 25, 2013 Studies Find Methane in Pa. Drinking Water

Source: ABC News

New research in Pennsylvania demonstrates that it's hard to nail down how often natural gas drilling is contaminating drinking water: One study found high levels of methane in some water wells within a half-mile of gas wells,...

June 21, 2013 Fracking Pollution Probe in Wyoming Cast in Doubt by EPA

Source: Bloomberg

The only finding by U.S. regulators of water contamination from fracking was thrown into doubt yesterday when the federal government halted its investigation and handed the probe over to the State of Wyoming

June 20, 2013 Fracking study won't be done until 2016

The Review alliance - according to The Akron Beacon Journal. Congress in 2010 directed the agency to investigate the threat to groundwater and air from the hydraulic fracturing process -- also known as fracking -- in Ohio and...

June 19, 2013 Are We Drunk on Natural Gas'

Yahoo! Finance - Politicians and pundits on both sides of the aisle are drunk on the idea that exporting America's cheap natural gas will boost our economy and fix our trade deficit. However, those close to the industry know that...

June 19, 2013 What Is the Health Impact of Fracking?

Source: PLOS.org

Does fracking impact health? It’s a question that some want to answer before projects begin. After all, we know pipelines have caused massive damage before. Since 1993, there have been 5,613 significant pipeline incidents that...

Displaying results 341 to 350 out of 1127

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • Connex betw #fracking industry and Coalition govt appointments, plus other issues http://t.co/X0Jufh8BKw via @climate_rev cc @MagsNews
    11:57
  • The United States Senate proved they are #fracking whores. Private profit trumps #WeThePeople
    11:56
    Dr Sarvis
  • RT @fyldeonfracking: Anyone in their right mind believe in resilience of any UK #fracking regulations given dysfunctional relations @EnvAge…
    11:56
    Jo Mirek
  • Tell @JerryBrownGov #fracking causes #drought #climatechange earthquakes.Real climate leaders don't frack http://t.co/XUybwmwJx7 #unfrackcal
    11:56
    DragonFly
  • @sdnpa welcomes #fracking ban http://t.co/kFbBpTCu1Z
    11:55
 
 
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