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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 6, 2015 Plummeting oil price casts shadow over fracking's future

Source: The Guardian

There’s no doubt that US-based fracking – the process through which oil and gas deposits are blasted from shale deposits deep underground – has caused a revolution in worldwide energy supplies

January 6, 2015 Colorado regulators increase fines for oil, gas drilling violations to comply with new law

Source: The Republic

DENVER — The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on Monday increased the maximum fine that drilling companies could face for violating state rules to $15,000 from $1,000. The fine is the highest allowed by a law the...

January 6, 2015 Fracking in Ohio caused a magnitude 3 earthquake in 2014

Source: UPI

According to a new study, a small town in Ohio that previously didn't experience earthquakes experienced 77 in March of 2014.

December 31, 2014 Enjoying your cheap gas? Thank fracking — and the beauty of free markets!

Source: The Week

One of the biggest stories of 2014 has been the astonishing drop in global oil prices. The price of the benchmark Brent crude went from over $100 per barrel at the beginning of the year to the $60 range as of this writing.

December 30, 2014 Report Says Most Oil & Gas Companies Fail to Disclose Fracking Practices

Breaking Energy - The ranking is also complied by îAs You Sowî, a nonprofit that promotes corporate accountability through shareholder action; Boston Common Asset Management, an investment manager that emphasizes...

December 30, 2014 New York takes the wrong approach to ‘fracking’ - Editorial

Source: Washington Post

NEW YORK Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) claimed an ignoble distinction this month: He became the first governor of a state with large deposits of natural gas to ban “fracking,” or hydraulic fracturing, the controversial but highly...

December 29, 2014 Having banned Fracking, New York can be a leader in renewable energy and jobs

Examiner - The science of Climate Change couldnât be clearer. The CLIMATE CHANGE 2014 Synthesis Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released in November makes it crystal clear that we have to...

December 19, 2014 Could New York's Fracking Ban Have Domino Effect?

Source: National Geographic

New York's decision to ban fracking for health reasons could reverberate beyond the state, bolstering other efforts to limit the controversial method of drilling for oil and natural gas.

December 18, 2014 Gov. Andrew Cuomo Bans Fracking In New York Over Health Concerns

Source: CBS News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration prohibited fracking in New York Wednesday citing unresolved health issues and dubious economic benefits of the widely used gas-drilling technique.

December 17, 2014 Is fracking polluting the air?

Source: USA Today

Toxic air pollution from fracking causes a wide spectrum of health problems for Americans across the country, an environmental group charged in a report released Tuesday.

Displaying results 61 to 70 out of 1170

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • RT @greenman_paul: Scientists have linked the increase in earthquakes across the U.S. to wastewater disposal from #fracking -- but... http:…
    14:14
    Geo Atlantis
  • RT @teleSURtv: #Fracking aumenta actividad sísmica en centro de #EEUU | http://t.co/fwLX9g8BOL http://t.co/qx07HtfyKz
    14:13
    Carlos Manuel Pino
  • RT @_tauceti: Lo que no verás en #CNN Revienta pozo de #fracking de BNK Petroleum en Albania http://t.co/N0eNroXsKB #StopFracking https://t…
    14:13
    STOP FRACKING
  • RT @TomHall: #Earthquakes linked to #Fracking on the Rise #Oklahoma Home of the #Earthquake http://t.co/48IR66T0r4 http://t.co/10JYVMP7iG
    14:13
  • RT jimshultz: #fracking in #Bolivia, fracturing Mother Earth. For #EarthDay DemocracyCenter translates an importa… http://t.co/ee2iTZv6EI
    14:13
    Automated
 
 
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