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/a...
- 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%2F...
- 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_827...