Don't drink the water: fear of fracking for NC

The most surprising thing about the threat of hydraulic fracturing ﴾“fracking”) is how many people are unaware of the danger, and it’s already happening in 34 states! It has been described as possibly the largest health experiment in U.S. history, yet most people have no idea what I’m talking about if I bring up the subject in conversation. I’ve never been an activist or someone who is obsessive about politics. I am just a person who loves my tiny little plot of land. I appreciate my trees and wildlife. I simply want to have clean water for myself, my family, my friends, and my pets.

Therefore, I talk about fracking even when I know it might be a downer. I annoy my friends on Facebook with too much fracking information. I take the time to write my NC representatives and I beg them to protect my beautiful state. ﴾Urge your NC representatives to oppose SB 709 – which allows for offshore drilling & fracking in NC ) Most of all, I urge everyone else to spread the word. Make sure that EVERY person you know understands what fracking is and how it can affect all of our lives. As our population grows every day, we need more energy. But we should not experiment with an energy source that puts our lives at risk. If fracking starts in NC, many people in our state will suddenly be forced to live in fear of their drinking water. And that’s just the tip of a gigantic iceberg made of consequences.

There have been thousands of reported incidents involving groundwater contamination in areas around fracking stations. The tap water in these areas not only starts to have a peculiar odor and dark color, but some homes have enough contamination ﴾mostly methane) that they can literally light their water on fire as it comes out of the tap. Due to an unbelievable loophole ﴾thanks to Cheney’s Hallibuton – see great old NY Times article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/opinion/03tue3.html), the natural gas industry currently has no regulations so they do not have to disclose the chemicals they use in the fracking process. They create this contamination issue and leave affected homeowners to fend for themselves. Some of the identified chemicals are known to cause neurological disorders & cancer. Recently, the EPA started transporting emergency supplies of clean water to a town in Pennsylvania after the gas company abandoned them. They cannot drink, cook, or shower with their contaminated water. It’s very much like a nightmare.

Does the fracking nightmare stop with contaminated water? No.

Check out this quick list of side effects:

1. Earthquakes. That’s right folks; mankind has engineered a great way to trigger earthquakes. Texas, Ohio, and London ﴾it’s not just happening in the U.S.) are the most recent fracking earthquake victims.

2. Air pollution. As volatile organic compounds ﴾examples are: benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene) from the wells come into contact with the drilling site’s generators and diesel exhaust from the trucks, ozone clouds are created. Those ozone clouds can travel over 200 miles from the drilling site. And methane, a major component of natural gas, is approximately 100 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas when it is released into the atmosphere.

3. Water shortages. Up to 8 million gallons of water may be used to frack a well, and a well may be fracked almost 20 times. That’s an ENORMOUS amount of water that turns into unusable waste water in need of disposal. A large portion of the contaminated water cannot be removed from the well. And, the companies are not always forced to cut back on their water usage during a drought.

4. Livestock & Wildlife deaths. Many farms near fracking wells have reported unusual livestock deaths. Farmers from fracking-friendly states have travelled to North Carolina to spread their warning about the negative effects of hydraulic fracturing.

5. Noise pollution. Drilling and fracking happen 24 hours-a-day. Many people have reported extremely high noise levels, even inside their homes. The constant stream of trucks going in and out of the facilities can create serious traffic & noise problems.
One big question that everyone should be asking: If we are currently seeing all of these horrible “symptoms” from gas drilling right now, how bad will things be 20 or 30 years from now once the long-term medical side effects have started to show?

If you would like to be more informed about fracking, here are some great links:
- Clean Water For North Carolina is a wonderful non-profit organization that promotes education and community involvement: http://www.cwfnc.org/what-we-do/current-campaigns/hydraulic-fracturing/about/
- Josh Fox was just a land owner in Pennsylvania who decided to ask questions when a gas company wanted to lease his land for drilling. He was not an activist, but he’s now fighting for all of us who want to keep our land safe and healthy. His documentary, “Gasland” was recently nominated for an Academy Award in 2012. Go here to check out his incredibly informative site: http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/
- Short of watching “Gasland”, this report from ABC is one of the most informative things I’ve seen: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.abc.net.au%2Fforeign%2Fcontent%2F2012%2Fs3441606.ht...
- Mayor of Dish, TX leaves his unhealthy fracking town when his young sons develop medical problems: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/24/mayor-calvin-tillman-leav_n_827478.html

Comments

Good stuff

Thanks for posting this ... very glad to have another clear voice championing the cause of sanity when it comes to water resources. Well done.

Important point

I take the time to write my NC representatives and I beg them to protect my beautiful state. ﴾Urge your NC representatives to oppose SB 709 – which allows for offshore drilling & fracking in NC ) Most of all, I urge everyone else to spread the word.

I think contacting legislators is especially important. Especially now during campaign season, where candidates have to take to questions from constituents at public forums and hopefully in some live-blogs here on Blue NC.

I also noticed, when browsing the Clean Water for NC nonprofit website that Neels linked, a petition folks can sign. Here is some of the text from the petition:

We, the signers of this petition, based on review of scientific research and the consequences of gas extraction practices in other states, believe that the state of NC should maintain a ban on high pressure hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
...

We call on Governor Beverly Perdue, the North Carolina General Assembly, and the Environmental Management Commission to leave protective regulations in place and thus prevent fracking in North Carolina.

You can read more, and sign it here:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/no-fracking-in-nc/

petition...

Thanks so much, Jake. I should have included that info. :)

Thanks...good information

If landowners excluded water from the rights they are leasing, perhaps it would help. I own a farm in "oil country" and am not ashamed to say I hope they drill and find oil. I did not lease any water rights.

Stan Bozarth

water rights....

Thanks for your reply & your honesty, Stan. I hope the company keeps it's promise to avoid your water supply. I just find it hard to trust that they will do that....especially if they are starting the drilling process for natural gas. Good luck to you and I hope your relationship with them will be a good one.

Yes

Thanks again. I've remained silent for far too long on this important issue, especially as someone who relies on a private well for all my family's water needs.

I feel a few missives to my legislators coming very soon.

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"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

Write reps...

Do it, Thurman. I know writing reps can often make you feel like Sisyphus, but we owe it to ourselves to try. This is honestly the first time in my life that i've been terrified enough to write my NC representatives....and I feel pretty good about it.

Thanks, do you know

if this is the updated info. I recently found out that my Congresscritter and my state senator have changed. Gotta hand it to the Repugs, they keep us on our toes.

EDIT - answering my own question, this is the old districts, but still helpful.

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"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

I'll be writing to my critter

with a list of the list of the top ten most surprising things I learned at the fracking summit

One other thing I'll add...if 34 other states are fracking themselves to hell, just think what our property values will be if we don't and we are one of the only pristine places left to live.

Nice to have your strong clear voice chimimg in on this issue. Fracking is part of the horrible death throes of the petroleum industry.

Progressives are the true conservatives.

Great post. I especially like #3

A great many conservatives (not to be confused with conservationists) seem to think that humans can drink oil. Fracking + tar sands + nuclear plants = huge waste of H20. Why not spend that $$$ on green energy?? Cuz the oil's gonna run out fairly soon.

anti gerrymandering petition can be found at ... http://wh.gov/iaUnX

green energy...

I very much agree that we should focus our funds on types of energy that don't make horrible waste. We are a coastal state, so i often wonder why we aren't pushing hard for wind energy as well as solar. Then I remember that it's most likely because the oil industry works pretty hard to distract us from those things.

indeed

Industries have good pr machines to distract folks, high paid lobbyists to distract legislators, and in a post-Citizens United court ruling world they have unlimited money to pay for the candidates of their choosing to win campaigns as our free speech gets drowned out.

So we must continue to oppose destructive environmental practices, encourage green best practices, while also fighting for transparency laws in lobbying, political donations, and in pushing for a constitutional amendment to over turn corporate personhood. Public campaign financing isn't a bad option either to give candidates the option of not being dependent on corporate handouts to win office.

Thanks so much, Neels

And I know exactly what you mean about people not knowing what you're talking about when you bring this up in conversation. It happens to me all the time.

Keep up the good work, and welcome to BlueNC. :)

:)

thanks so much!

i will keep it up....

Thanks. As I mentioned in another reply, the thought of fracking coming to NC terrifies me. So I think I have no choice but to keep talking about it. I just have to keep calm, stay collected, and keep spreading the word.