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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

January 8, 2013 Environment groups decry proposed rule for water testing in Colorado

Source: Denver Post

Colorado's proposed new rule to protect water from expanding oil and gas operations would not apply to more than 25 percent of wells or to the tanks, pipelines and other production facilities that are frequent sources of...

January 8, 2013 EPA's Fracking Study May Dodge Water Contamination Frequency Issue

Source: Huff Post

PITTSBURGH (AP) — An ongoing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study on natural gas drilling and its potential for groundwater contamination has gotten tentative praise so far from both industry and environmental groups.

January 4, 2013 An Energy Lifeline: Fracking a Game-Changer for U.S. Economy

Source: US News

The natural gas boom in the United States could change the global energy picture — and life for the people of southwestern Pennsylvania in particular

January 3, 2013 Gas Drilling Is Called Safe in New York

Source: NY Times

ALBANY — The state’s Health Department found in an analysis it prepared early last year that the much-debated drilling technology known as hydrofracking could be conducted safely in New York, according to a copy obtained by The...

January 2, 2013 Shale-Gas Revolution Spurs Wave of New U.S. Steel Plants: Energy

Source: Bloomberg

The U.S. shale-gas revolution, which has revitalized chemicals companies and prompted talk of domestic energy self-sufficiency, is attracting a wave of investment that may revive profits in the steel industry.

December 31, 2012 Fracking may hold key to energy independence

Source: Boston Globe

Phil Flynn first walked onto the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade in the late 1970s to take a summer job as a runner. In the three decades since, he’s become a well-known energy commodities trader, often on the leading-edge of...

December 27, 2012 State issues first fracking rules (CA)

Source: New Times

Long-awaited draft regulations on fracking were recently issued by state oil regulators, following a series of public workshops, including one in Santa Maria last summer. California’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal...

December 26, 2012 Don’t kill the shale-gas boom

Source: Washington Post

Let’s not smother the shale-gas boom. It is the crown jewel of the disappointing economic recovery. Why tamper with success? Yet, there are those who argue that benefits of shale gas could be maximized if we restricted gas...

December 21, 2012 New documentary aims to correct ‘lies,’ ‘misinformation’ spread by anti-fracking groups

Source: Daily Caller

As the television network HBO greenlights a second documentary about the dangers of fracking, investigative journalist Phelim McAleer prepares for the release of his own documentary, “FrackNation,” which sets out to find the...

December 20, 2012 Fracking regulations in Calif. still up to a year away - text/video

Source: News 10

SACRAMENTO, CA - Proposed regulations announced Tuesday to monitor hydraulic fracturing in California may still be a year or more from implementation.

Displaying results 341 to 350 out of 975

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • Why is @nprnews shilling for #Fracking? Tell @NPR #donteventhinkabout repeating @ANGAus lies: http://t.co/zn6q25TpKV via @enviroaction @350
    19:49
    Mysteriously Unnamed
  • RT @mancman16: .@StopFrackingUK .@SalfordCouncil .@MayorofSalford Something your planning office to consider when #fracking permits are d…
    19:49
    Lindsay Barrett
  • RT @TurnKyBlue: Why is @nprnews shilling for #Fracking? Tell @NPR #donteventhinkabout repeating @ANGAus lies: http://t.co/WymENRsx8e via @e…
    19:49
  • Why is @nprnews shilling for #Fracking? Tell @NPR #donteventhinkabout repeating @ANGAus lies: http://t.co/VXUMPu9b9c via @enviroaction
    19:49
    Lee Kowalski
  • RT @sierraclub: Sickened family awarded $3 million in landmark #fracking case: http://t.co/xtum35nAoC (via @Salon)
    19:49
 
 
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