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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 19, 2014 UK energy dependence – five hidden costs expose truth about fracking

Source: The Guardian

The vision of an energy-independent Britain, free of the clear and growing problems of overseas fuel dependency, is deeply alluring. That is one of the reasons I set up a solar energy company 15 years ago. Today, Putin's Russia,...

August 19, 2014 Fracking could threaten air quality, workers’ health, latest report says

Source: Washington Post

Maryland’s latest report on the impact of proposed natural gas exploration in the western part of the state said drilling could pose a threat to air quality and workers in a region that is ecologically pristine.

August 18, 2014 Fracking protesters superglue themselves to environment department

Source: The Guardian

Anti-fracking protesters have superglued themselves to the doors at the main entrance of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), campaigners have said. The activists from the Reclaim the Power camp at...

August 15, 2014 America's fracking dilemma: Not in my backyard

Source: CBS Money Watch

Fracking isn't only fueling the current energy boom in the U.S., it's also firing up concerns about whether it can be used successfully without creating a long-term environmental and economic threat to the communities and regions...

August 14, 2014 Oil companies fracking into drinking water sources, new research shows

Source: LA Times

Energy companies are fracking for oil and gas at far shallower depths than widely believed, sometimes through underground sources of drinking water, according to research released Tuesday by Stanford University scientists.

August 7, 2014 Deep Water Fracking Next Frontier for Offshore Drilling

Source: Bloomberg/BusinessWeek

Energy companies are taking their controversial fracking operations from the land to the sea -- to deep waters off the U.S., South American and African coasts. Cracking rocks underground to allow oil and gas to flow more freely...

August 6, 2014 From the Daily: What the frack'

Michigan Daily - Since hydraulic fracturing â a complex procedure to extract natural gas from underground shale â began in Michigan about 50 years ago, approximately 12,000 wells have been fractured in the state....

August 5, 2014 Deal will keep fracking battle off Colorado ballot - video/text

Source: LA Times

Supporters of two Colorado ballot measures that would have curbed fracking in the state announced late Monday they were standing down, averting an expensive election-year fight that was creating uncertainty in both the governor’s...

August 4, 2014 Op Ed - Taxpayers Should Oppose Proposed Fracking Ban

Source: Santa Barbara Independent

The Central Coast’s energy industry is vital to the economic health of the region — producing thousands of jobs and millions per year in tax revenue. Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is an important technology in our...

August 1, 2014 Latest polling results in New York show continued growth in opposition to fracking

Source: NRDC

In New York’s Southern Tier, the very heart of the Marcellus Shale region where natural gas lies locked in dense rock, new poll results show a strong majority of people are worried about the health and environmental impacts of...

Displaying results 61 to 70 out of 1101

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • #NewYorkstate bans #fracking http://t.co/U44LInZrxN
    05:25
    Fábio Tamai
  • RT @andbhold: Müssen wir wirklich von Kanton zu Kanton darüber abstimmen, ob #Fracking vielleicht doch eine gute Idee wäre? Bundesgesetz, u…
    05:25
  • RT @daywillswill: @IanCLucas New York has banned #fracking. Will you agree to #NotOneWell in @Wrexham. Stop the need for the #BorrasBlockade
    05:25
    Mark Borthwick
  • @FergusEwingMSP - @NYGovCuomo heeds Dept of Health advice & bans #fracking citing health risks: http://t.co/6judNc5By1 #NotOneWell #NewYork
    05:25
  • RT @pamela_nash: Energy Minister has confirmed to me at the Despatch Box this morning that #fracking in Scotland is a matter for the Scotti…
    05:25
 
 
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