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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

February 9, 2015 Protesters march in Oakland, push for Jerry Brown to ban fracking

Source: SF Gate

Thousands of antifracking activists took to Oakland’s streets Saturday to call for Gov. Jerry Brown to change his stance and ban the controversial practice, which uses large amounts of a pressurized water mixture to crack...

February 6, 2015 Water quality issues discussed at Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association annual meeting

The Advocate - The project got started several years ago through the efforts of the nonprofit îUnitedî îStatesî îBusiness Council for Sustainable Developmentî, said Susan Fernandes, manager of...

February 5, 2015 Earthquakes continue to affect Oklahoma energy companies - text/video

Source: KFOR - TV

An Oklahoma energy company has been ordered to shut down a wastewater injection well due to concerns that it may be causing earthquakes, a state official said Wednesday

February 5, 2015 Halting Fracking in California: The Time Is Now

Source: Huff Post

Governor Brown's state of the state address in January included a warning on climate change and a vision for California's energy future. Quoting Edward O. Wilson, Brown noted that, "The evidence for climate warming...is now...

February 3, 2015 Canada May Have Just Set A Fracking Earthquake World Record

Source: io9

Late last month, a 4.4 magnitude earthquake shook the town of Fox Creek, Alberta. The province's energy regulator is pointing the finger at hydraulic fracturing which, if confirmed, would make it the largest earthquake ever to...

February 2, 2015 SNP fabricated reasons for fracking ban, says expert

Source: Telegraph

SNP ministers are deliberately misleading the Scottish public by pretending their fracking ban is about health and environmental concerns instead of political posturing, an expert they asked to research the controversial practice...

January 30, 2015 Pennsylvania’s New Governor Will Ban Fracking In State Parks And Forests

Source: Climate Progress

Pennsylvania’s new Governor Tom Wolf will sign an executive order Thursday banning the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in state parks and forests, the Associated Press reports.

January 29, 2015 NY won't revisit fracking ban soon: DEC chief

Source: lohud.com

ALBANY – New York's planned ban on large-scale hydraulic fracturing can be revisited by the state at any point, but likely won't be in the near future, the state's top environmental regulator said Wednesday

January 27, 2015 How Fracking Contributes To Oil Glut, Cheap Fuel For You And Me

Source: Forbes

For the average consumer, the plummeting price of oil is very good news. Renting cars of varying shapes and sizes on visits to the U.S., I think about the price for a tank of gas almost as much as the cops lying in wait for...

January 26, 2015 U.K. Lawmakers Urge Fracking Delay on Water, Climate Risk

Source: Bloomberg

A moratorium on fracking is needed to prevent the U.K. from missing its carbon targets and allow time to stiffen regulations for the industry, Parliament’s cross-party Environmental Audit Committee said in a report Monday. It...

Displaying results 61 to 70 out of 1193

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • #Fracking confirmed as trigger for B.C. earthquake http://t.co/pMUTikgISE via @huffpostbc
    20:06
  • #Ohio proposes allowing small #fracking waste injection #earthquakes which will endanger Meander Reservoir dam, #Youngstown drinkingwater
    20:05
  • RT @HuffPostCanada: #Fracking confirmed as trigger for B.C. earthquake http://t.co/qDlncYfmZh via @huffpostbc http://t.co/LZsW0wfTu8
    20:04
    Jtn
  • RT @HuffPostCanada: #Fracking confirmed as trigger for B.C. earthquake http://t.co/qDlncYfmZh via @huffpostbc http://t.co/LZsW0wfTu8
    20:04
    Helene Garant
  • RT @Frack_Off: Organised #communityfightback is sending the frackers packing https://t.co/z3rkRlAEUT Get involved #fracking http://t.co/eoa…
    20:03
 
 
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