Natural Gas Fracking Threatens Drinking Water (Video)

This weekend 60 Minutes aired an investigative story about the dangers of a largely-unregulated method of extracting natural gas from shale miles below the Earth’s surface – known as “fracking” – and the dangers it poses to drinking water, our health, and the environment.

If the BP spill taught us anything, it’s that exploring for energy has safety risks, but that can get lost in all the excitement,” begins Lesley Stahl of CBS’s “60 minutes” in her segment. Stahl explores the controversies surrounding this new drilling method, from the undisclosed toxic chemicals pumped into the ground to the extract the gas to the safety record of the industry. It’s not pretty.

Take Action: Support a repeal of the natural gas industry exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Secrecy and Toxins in Shale-Gas Extraction
“The industry doesn’t have to disclose what’s in the tens of thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals they use when they fracture the shale because of the so-called ‘Halliburton loophole’,” explained Stahl.

“The 2005 energy bill completely exempted the natural gas industry and fracking technology under the Safe Drinking Water Act. It’s an outrage!” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “The first thing the industry should do is disclose what chemicals are being used in fracking and then limit the toxic chemicals to the point of zero,” urged Brune.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has just begun to study the effect of fracking chemicals on groundwater. They have requested that the major natural gas companies disclose their fracking fluid formulas; all but Halliburton complied. So last week, EPA was forced to subpoena the information.

Related Reading: 9 Out of 10 Natural Gas Wells Use Unregulated, Polluting Drilling Method

Take Action: The Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act
Very simply, S.1215 and H.R. 2766, The Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act, would repeal the industry’s exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Use this Sierra Club online action form email your member of Congress in support of the bill.

No Frack photo by flickr user Stevie Rocco /CC 2.0

50 comments

W. C
W. C7 days ago

Thank you.

SEND
William C
William C7 days ago

Thanks for the information.

SEND
Hans de Koning
Hans de Koning5 years ago

Ask your energy provider to state unequivocally that none of the services he provides are sourced by fracking. If he doesn't do that switch to a provider who will.

SEND
LMj Sunshine
James Merit5 years ago

Thank you for article.

SEND
Ruth R.
Ruth R5 years ago

Please check this out-- and find out who is storing water and buying water sources? Please.

SO -- RICH OR POOR -- STORE THE REVERSE OSMOSIS, CHARCOAL (ACTIVATED), WATER FILTERS, SOLAR DISTILLERS TO HAVE DISTILLED WATER, AND STORE WATER.
Fracking equals less clean water. Water is more valuable then natural gas -- if you think about it. The natural gas you can live without until they find a way to get it without hurting the earth. WATER IS WHAT THE RICH PEOPLE ARE STORING -- WHILE ENCOURAING THE USE OF NATURAL GAS.
SO -- RICH to POOR -- STORE THE REVERSE OSMOSIS, CHARCOAL (ACTIVATED), WATER FILTERS, SOLAR DISTILLERS TO HAVE DISTILLED WATER, AND
please STORE WATER.

SEND
Carole R.
Carole R6 years ago

This is awful. We have to keep our water clean or we will not survive.

SEND
Beth Weatherbee
Beth Weatherbee6 years ago

This is so frightening!!!

Water is the greatest commodity on the planet!!!

Why can't we be putting the resources into finding a clean, safe form of energy instead of finding more ways to pollute and destroy!?!?!

SEND
Glenna Jones-kachtik
Glenna Kachtik6 years ago

OH. & I love the commercial from the guy at Exxon Mobile (I think) who smiles while he is talking about discovering the wonders of getting gas out of the rocks & how it is going to be our energy source for the next 100 years....I knew he was talking about fracking...& people will sell their land to these guys who don't really care about anything but raping it for fossil fuels.
Wind, solar & water are clean - they are the only clean power...

SEND
Glenna Jones-kachtik
Glenna Kachtik6 years ago

Greg O - so all the people who can't drink the water from their ground supply & get sick from taking a bath in this chemically treated water; plus the ones who can set their water on fire - they are just delusional????
In many places the ground water is ALREADY contaminated by fracking...plus there are many places facing drought and short rainfall supplies...you can't drink gas. I think I would believe the people who are actually experiencing the problem rather than a report - you don't really know WHO was responsible for the data in the report.

SEND
Hans de Koning
Hans de Koning6 years ago

Sealing the passage through the water table? We've seen seals by BP end disastrously in the Mexican Gulf, haven't we? They're talking about re-using the water? That says only something about re-using the water for fracking, but as in all industrial processes there will be lots of spillage so they will have to revert to using our drinking and agriculturally needed water. AND they still refuse to tell us what sorts of poisons they use to make that water suitable for fracking.

SEND