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


Hans de Koning
Hans de Koning4 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.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you for article.

Ruth R.
Ruth R5 years ago

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

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.

Carole R.
Carole R5 years ago

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

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!?!?!

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...

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 there are many places facing drought and short rainfall 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.

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.

Greg O.
Greg O.6 years ago

Natural gas is up to 1,000 times cleaner than oil for smog and acid rain. It also has less CO2. It is a step forward for air quality. Shale gas is well below the water table. The well shaft is sealed all the way down through the water table. The water needed to frac one well – 13 million litres – is very small by industrial standards: manufacturing, mining, etc.
By using natural gas instead of coal or oil, huge reductions in emissions of NOX and SOX (the cause of acid rain and smog) can be achieved as well as meaningful reductions in carbon dioxide at a price that competes strongly with coal.
The Quebec Institute of Public Health has released a report confirming there is little risk of hydraulic fracturing contaminating groundwater.
It confirms the information from industry.

It is consistent with evidence given at the BAPE.

It is also what the independent reports in America have said. Gas Primer 2009.pdf?utm_source=Questerre Energy Corporation-Blog&utm_campaign=eb5fea9a6b-Fracking_safe_says_ISPQ1_17_2011&utm_medium=email

Marc W. M.
Marc W. M.6 years ago

The world lived for 200-400,000 years without oil and gas production until around 1860.

Clean air and clean water are essential for the existence of 100% of ALL living things on this planet.

Of all the water on earth only 3% is fresh water and only 0.03% is surface fresh water.

Hydraulic fracturing uses 1-9 million gallons of fresh water for every frac job (and some wells are frac'ed as many as 18-20 times during their life cycle) that can never again be used by mankind, animals or plants due to the toxic, neurotoxic and carcinogenic nature of its pollution.

MANY major US cities are facing potential critical shortages of fresh water supplies between now and 2025, and many more are having to ration water during drought periods because of a lack of available fresh water.

Hydraulic fracturing is estimated to use between 50 and 500 BILLION gallons of fresh water PER YEAR by 2012.

We only have one environment - when we destroy it, then we become extinct as a species. Not a single person can survive without clean water and clean air! That includes YOU and YOUR FAMILY!

The reason why foreigners cannot sign these petitions is because elected officials in the US disregard comments from anybody except their own constituents. Your opinions are important, but not for purposes of petitioning elected leaders in this country, just as ours would not be considered in your country. You can still send letters or call the offices of US officials directly!