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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

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...

November 6, 2015 OPEC proves fracking is no panacea

Source: The Hill

November marks the one-year anniversary of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Country’s (OPEC) decision to continue its excessive rate of production despite spiraling oil prices on international markets. The result was...

November 2, 2015 3 earthquakes strike Phoenix area; several Arizona cities shaken

Source: CNN

A series of minor earthquakes jolted the Phoenix area Sunday night, sending shock waves through several cities. All three took place near Black Canyon City, Arizona, about 45 miles north of Phoenix.

October 30, 2015 Kansas extending fracking limits over earthquakes

Source: Fuel Fix

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Oil and gas industry restrictions meant to decrease the frequency and intensity of earthquakes in south-central Kansas will remain in place until at least March 2016, state regulators decided Thursday.

October 21, 2015 California Closes 33 Injection Wells Used to Dump Oilfield Waste into Aquifers

Circle of Blue - Both sites, which include a total of 33 waste pits, are operated by Valley Water. The state must respond to that petition by November 27. The timeline for closing down improperly permitted wells comes from an...

October 21, 2015 Majority of Texans support local control of fracking, UT poll shows

Source: Star-Telegram

A majority of Texans believe cities should be able to ban hydraulic fracturing even if state law otherwise permits it, according to a recent poll conducted by the University of Texas at Austin.

October 20, 2015 Yale Study Finds No Water Contamination from Pennsylvania Fracking

Source: IWF.org

A new study by a Yale University professor further confirms what federal agencies have been reporting for years: Fracking hasn’t contaminated groundwater. Desiree Plata of the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science spent...

Displaying results 61 to 70 out of 164

Latest Tweets on Fracking

 
 
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  • RT @ruthhayhurst: Campaigners install new tower @ Third Energy's #fracking site, Kirby Misperton. Police at scene. More headlines: https://…
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  • RT @kimfeil: #winning #breaking #fracking #oil #gas #coastal #erosion #climateChange #hurricaneIrma #katrina #HurricaneHarvey #Opheila #ren…
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  • RT @FrackFreeWales: .@SimonThomasAC "has ensured this will be debated next week" #fracking #frackingban https://t.co/oJbAVZQqR3 @foecymr…
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    S W
  • RT @kimfeil: #winning #breaking #fracking #oil #gas #coastal #erosion #climateChange #hurricaneIrma #katrina #HurricaneHarvey #Opheila #ren…
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