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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

August 14, 2013 Fracking splits public opinion down the middle, poll finds (UK)

Source: Guardian.co.uk

Four in 10 people would welcome hydraulic fracturing – used to extract hard-to-reach natural gas – in their area but as many would oppose it, a national ICM survey commissioned by the Guardian has found. About a fifth of voters...

August 13, 2013 Environmental Justice, Hydraulic Fracturing and Appalachia

Triple Pundit - Cities are often the focus of Environmental Justice (EJ) discussions, but the social movement began in rural Warren County, North Carolina in the early 1970s when residents resisted the siting of a hazardous waste...

August 13, 2013 A fracking pioneer's environmental dream: As I See It

Source: The Patroit-News

Massachusetts progressives may dream of stopping climate change by subsidizing clean-energy companies like Evergreen Solar and promoting affordable housing by requiring developers to rent or sell some units at below-market rates.

August 12, 2013 Britain's PM backs fracking for shale gas

Source: Reuters

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron has given his unequivocal backing to the divisive "fracking" process used to extract shale gas from rocks, risking angering his party's supporters from more rural areas.

August 9, 2013 US shale oil threatens to derail OPEC's future: IEA

Source: CNBC

The rise of North American oil supplies could test the future of OPEC which may have to curb supply to accommodate rising shale oil volumes, a new report has found. The increase in U.S. output is a "defining feature of tomorrow's...

August 8, 2013 Oakland County, nation does not need fracking to get by - GUEST OPINION

The Oakland Press - About three days is all we can go without îwaterî before we die. Here in Oakland County we are blessed with an abundance of this natural resource in the Great Lakes, our inland lakes and a...

August 7, 2013 How Big a Problem is Methane Leakage from Natural Gas Fracking'

IEEE Spectrum - The one thing that could slow the gas juggernaut is concern about methane leakage, which, because of CH 4 's high warming potential relative to CO 2, could cancel benefits believed to accrue from conversion of...

August 7, 2013 Exclusive: Chesapeake drops energy leases in fracking-shy New York

Source: Reuters

Chesapeake Energy has given up a two-year legal fight to retain thousands of acres of natural gas drilling leases in New York state, landowner and legal sources told Reuters.

August 7, 2013 Fears of quakes and flammable tap water hit Britain as fracking looms

Source: CNN

Balcombe, United Kingdom -- The fear of fracking has come to Britain, replete with worries about potential earthquakes and tap water tainted with natural gas that bursts into flames at the strike of a match.. Since a ban on the...

August 5, 2013 Gas Fracking: No Time for Nuance by Carl Safina

Source: Huff Post

My friend Andrew Revkin, whom I greatly respect, has lately been pointing out certain problems with critiques of gas fracking, and pointing out how it could be greatly improved. They want more gas until something better can come...

Displaying results 341 to 350 out of 1166

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • RT @csgazette: Weekend of 4/20 marijuana celebrations... http://t.co/noJoN6PPGD #News5 #Greeley #WeldCO #Colorado #Fracking via @ryanmhandy
    20:45
  • RT @frackfree_eu: #Fracking releases #VOCs into the air causing severe rashes: https://t.co/IdH7sSYL9L #GreenEconomy does not! Get #Tor…
    20:45
    gnomeoffender
  • RT @MAHAMOSA: Any #media outlet playing pro-#fracking commercials paid4 by Big Oil is COMPLICIT in the #climate catastrophe upon us. @cnn @…
    20:44
    SJAG
  • RT @MAHAMOSA: Don't be fooled by #bigoilcommercials! ->Hydraulic fracturing a/k/a #FRACKING kills our #Earth. #climate #CO2 #environment #u…
    20:44
    SJAG
  • Nova Scotia to ban fracking http://t.co/I4arZumxFF #climate #environment #green #fracking
    20:44
 
 
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