As if you need another reason to doubt it, Hydraulic Fracturing may jeopardize more than just water and surface areas.
Most of the debate on “fracking”, or Hydraulic Fracturing, has been simply about the groundwater and the role that the chemicals used in the process of fracking may end up playing in our water supplies.
A Duke University study recently linked fracking to severe water contamination. In addition to the added chemicals, the water picks up hydrocarbons, heavy metals like arsenic, and radioactivity from the shale.
Movies like Gasland have shown the dangers that fracking does and will pose to humans and the natural environment.
The French Parliament has already voted to ban fracking due to the danger to people and the Earth.
The professional “frackers” say there is no negative effect, it will lead America to an age of energy independence and it’s cleaner than coal or oil. Of course that is if you believe companies like Haliburton, one of the major contributors to the 87-day Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
But what price is too high for us to pay for this “cheap”, nonrenewable, environmentally devastating “resource”?
What if this miracle of energy also resulted in the endangerment of not only the water supply to New York City, which the energy companies are clearly ready to sacrifice, but also to the nuclear plants on or near the Marcellus Shale.
Here in New York they are planning to massively frack the Marcellus Shale, a plan that has met with great opposition. In Pennsylvania, Colorado, Lousiana, and Wyoming they are going to town with fracking, and Texas is not far behind, sometimes with dire consequences.
A gas well in Pennsylvania exploded in April 2011 and sent thousands of gallons of fluids coursing through the drilling site and into a local river. The fluids were spiked with a jumble of dangerous chemicals, forcing several families to vacate their homes. This alone is a travesty to the environment and to the people of that area, and probably a danger to people even far downstream. The Pennsylvania state version of the EPA found 1200 environmental violations at gas drilling sites in 2010 alone. That is one in six wells in that state; clearly, the potential for problems is immense. More than one hundred thousand wells are expected in the next fifty years if we keep going.
Now add to this the fact that a team in the United Kingdom recently halted fracking due to fears it may have triggered small earthquakes. Other companies here in the United States, such as Chesapeake Energy, have also shut down wells in places like Arkansas.
The earthquakes were small in size, but states like New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Texas do not have a lot of the stricter earthquake building codes that cities like Los Angeles or countries like Japan have. And here in New York, there are four nuclear power plants that are located on the Marcellus Shale, and two that are nearby to it. Of these, five of the plants are 30 to 39 years old, the other one is over 20 years old, these plants were designed for a 20-year lifespan. The Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission stated that Indian Point, and 26 other nuclear plants in the US, might need to upgrade seismic safeguards because of new science that shows an increased threat. The Ramapo Seismic Zone and the Stamford-Peekskill fault line intersect roughly one mile north of Indian Point, and it is theorized it could produce an earthquake of 7.0.
Indian Point is VERY close to New York City.
Seismologist Lynn Sykes wrote in a study for Columbia’s Lahmont-Doherty Earth Observatory,
“We think that the intersection of these two (earthquake) features being so close to Indian Point makes it a place of greater risk than most other points on the map.”
This is long before the UK company suspended fracking to investigate its seismic consequences, and even before US frack wells were shut down for the same reason. If earthquakes were to result from fracking and cause a big shift in the Stamford-Peekskill fault line that is near the Indian Point nuclear facility, the results would be beyond devastating. Nestled just 35 miles north of Manhattan, ALL of New York City could be in danger if Indian Point were compromised, let alone all the other facilities in New York and other parts of America.
Fracking is currently unregulated by the EPA. Fracking fluids were specifically exempted from EPA regulation by the Bush administration via the 2005 Energy Policy Act. This loophole is commonly referred to as the Haliburton loophole because it was inserted at the request of then vice-president Dick Cheney, a former CEO of Haliburton. The US EPA’s “initial report” on fracking will be out in 2012 with the “final report” not coming out until 2014, and it will not likely address this new threat of earthquakes.
Hydraulic Fracturing is a green-washed idea; it is claimed to be environmental, yet every month we are finding more and more reasons why it is not. The world is at a turning point; we either solve our energy problems, or risk destroying ourselves with environmental devastation trying to maintain the old ways. We can “drill baby drill” and extract for a decade or two while disregarding the need for renewable energy, or we can just omit the improvident, destructive and precarious extraction process altogether and fund renewable energy research, development, and production now circumventing the need to destroy the environment in order to survive.
So what are we at FutureFarming.Org calling for?
Write or call your Representatives:
Write or call your Senators:
And tell them:
BAN HYDRAULIC FRACTURING IN THE UNITED STATES AND CLOSE THE LEGAL LOOPHOLES TO PROTECT OUR WATER SUPPLIES THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES!
NO FRACKING WAY!