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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, 2016 Energy companies use recycled water in effort to reduce costs, earthquakes

Oklahoma News - Gov. Mary Fallin last month created the Water for 2060 Produced Water Working Group, which is tasked with finding ways to use more produced water and reduce the amount of water poured into disposal wells. "Since...

January 7, 2016 Fracking Fluid Contains A Stew Of Known Toxic Chemicals -- And That May Not Be The Worst Of It

The Huffington Post - New research reveals fracking involves hundreds of toxins that may pose serious ills and many more that remain unstudied.

January 5, 2016 Is fracking causing Oklahoma's record earthquakes?

Source: CBS Evening News

OKLAHOMA-- After a swarm of small earthquakes in Oklahoma, the state ordered oil drillers on Monday to reduce the amount of waste water they inject into the ground during the process known as fracking

December 29, 2015 All Naughty, No Nice: 5 Worst Fracking Moments of 2015

foodandwaterwatch.org - 3. If you pretend to help us, we have a deal Political influence tells the story of the EPA's 2015 final draft assessment of fracking's impacts on drinking water. The 1000-page assessment with separate...

December 28, 2015 Europe's Energy and Electricity Policies are a Bad Model

Source: Forbes

It’s quite telling that COP21 took place in Paris. Western leaders, environmental groups, and international institutions are convinced that Europe is the model for the rest of the world to install more renewable energy and...

December 21, 2015 Fracking, Methane and Paris

Source: Eco Watch

The newly-minted Paris climate agreement calls for limiting global temperature increase to 2°C, and leaves in the preamble the more aspirational goal shared by many countries of 1.5°C. It’s clear to observers around the world...

December 18, 2015 UK to allow shale gas fracking beneath national parks

Source: Reuters

MPs on Wednesday voted in favour of the use of fracking to extract shale gas under national parks, weakening a decision against fracking in national parks made earlier this year and giving shale gas explorers access to more...

December 8, 2015 Fracking firms target sites close to Scottish cities

Source: The Guardian

Nine companies have applied to drill for shale gas in 19 sites, each covering 100 sq km, in heavily populated areas of central Scotland

December 3, 2015 Editorial: Tough fracking rules needed in Tidewater region

Source: Fredericksburgh.com

Three of the five counties within the Taylorsville Basin in Virginia are calling on state officials to have their backs as they look to control the practice of oil and natural gas fracking. Three out of five isn’t bad, but a...

November 10, 2015 How fracking killed Keystone (and is saving the climate): Column

Source: USA Today

Environmentalists are correct in calling President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline a “symbolic” victory, but that description is too generous. For them, it’s a Pyrrhic victory of the first order because the...

Displaying results 61 to 70 out of 170

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • RT @NickAN30: Concerted Tory media effort is all smoke and mirrors. They will continue to support #Fracking, #FossilFuels, #HS2 and #OurPla…
    08:00
    Madeleyagainst#hs2
  • 🌎🌎🍃Great to start the week with a fab review of my debut #MGbook Out June 2018 🍃🍃📗#earthwarrior #kidslit #UKmgchat… https://t.co/RSDUNAEBZL
    07:59
  • Concerted Tory media effort is all smoke and mirrors. They will continue to support #Fracking, #FossilFuels, #HS2 a… https://t.co/LcGnr8sZ33
    07:53
    Nick Anderson
  • Very pleased to see @vickyford supporting our oceans #BluePlanet2 - can u help reduce #CO2acidification… https://t.co/CXqTWkENlG
    07:50
  • @EssexCanning @Conservatives You forgot support for burning more fossil fuels #fracking
    07:48
    Chris
 
 
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