Why We Should Worry About Fracking

by Frances Beinecke, President, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council)

Yesterday I returned from several days in western Pennsylvania seeing and hearing about the impacts of fracking firsthand from local activists, homeowners and scientists. People in the region fear their water is contaminated with toxic substances from fracking operations. They worry the air pollution coming from compressor stations or well pads is harming their families. And they believe their property values are forever compromised.

Their fears were heightened by reports — featured on NPR last month—that the  Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has confirmed methane from improperly constructed gas wells has contaminated people’s drinking water in Northern Pennsylvania — and created a risk of fire or explosion in people’s homes and water wells.

We experienced two instances of flammable water, one in a field, another in a jug of drinking water. We don’t know what caused them, and sadly the state doesn’t seem to have investigated to determine the causes, but we could see how disturbing it was for homeowners to have flaming water. Every single person we spoke with had stories of contaminated water and air.

There were many aspects to the trip that were very troubling. First, was the high potential for exposure to contaminants with little to no information on what compounds people may be exposed to. Second was the consistent story of how little response and assistance people were getting from state or local governments.

The health and environmental threats posed by fracking are simply too high to let the oil and gas industry run amok in our towns and cities.

In the past five years alone, ExxonMobil, Shell, and other energy companies have drilled more than 200,000 new wells across the United States — many in the backyards of people’s homes, schools and parks.

These operations can turn rural towns and peaceful suburbs into industrial zones. Gas production and diesel engines emit hazardous levels of air pollution. Millions of gallons of wastewater laced with carcinogens are dumped in open-air reservoirs that can leak and contaminate drinking water. Some people living nearby say they suffer from migraines, dizziness, nausea, asthma, burning eyes and fainting.

When something goes wrong at one of these well pads, nearby residents have very little recourse. Thanks to the so-called Halliburton Loophole, fracking operations are exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act and other bedrock environmental measures.

State governments, meanwhile, have a patchwork of often ineffective rules. Only half the states where fracking occurs have even taken the simple step of requiring companies to disclose the chemicals they use in fracking fluid. And in eight of those states, companies can withhold any information they decide is confidential. And state enforcement of existing rules is woefully inadequate.

NRDC is committed to changing this. We are pushing for strong national safeguards for fracking, and helping empower local communities to restrict or ban dangerous fracking as they so choose. We want to ensure that reckless fracking operations no longer endanger people’s health and well being.

Take Action! Call on President Obama to protect us from dangerous fracking by imposing tough federal safeguards on oil and gas drilling.

 

73 comments

Jude Hand
Judith Hand2 years ago

Saw care2's and signed it. Tx, care2...and Ruth!

Jude Hand
Judith Hand2 years ago

Sorry that the petition is closed. I just moved to western PA at the suggestion of a friend. Manishewitz! Fracking city!!

Pat A.
Pat A.2 years ago

Thanks Ruth - I missed this somehow - how is it that people aren't out demonstrating in the streets about this? These facts alone are awful - you are likely to be poisoned by this -

"When something goes wrong at one of these well pads, nearby residents have very little recourse. Thanks to the so-called Halliburton Loophole, fracking operations are exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act and other bedrock environmental measures.

"State governments, meanwhile, have a patchwork of often ineffective rules. Only half the states where fracking occurs have even taken the simple step of requiring companies to disclose the chemicals they use in fracking fluid. And in eight of those states, companies can withhold any information they decide is confidential. And state enforcement of existing rules is woefully inadequate."

SUPPORT THE NRDC!!!

Michael H.
Mike H.2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Giana Peranio-paz

Thanks Ruth.

Ruth R.
Ruth R.3 years ago

Shared.

John Why
John Why3 years ago

We should run on Browns Gas (seperated water) Water from the sea seperated into H2 and O. Rocket fuel I believe. Once burned it goes back to water for reuse. It can replace Coal Oil and gas, though there is no money in it, thus it is not used. We Polute Mother Earth for the mighty Dollar Greed at its worst.

Lauren A.
Lauren A.3 years ago

Great article, thanks,

Stele Ely
Stele Ely3 years ago

Singalong with this Fracking Gasholes song:

http://voxerth.net/fracking-gasholes/

5 million gallons injected per well
aquifers wasted, tastes like hell
for all the life that loves to live
demand a law, kill the drill

fracking gasholes
we know you know
a million reasons
fah fah freako

80 tons of co2 per well
ice caps melting, climate hell
for all the kids that love to live
shout, march, or souls we sell

fracking gasholes
we know you know
for hundreds of years
they really blow (brutal/ sucky)

2 thousand big truck trips per well
dusty growling beasts of hell
for all the critters that love to live
block the roads, or bid farewell

Alexa Hanshaw
Alexa Hanshaw3 years ago

the world is so screwed up..