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Fracking: Does Anyone Know The True Cost?

Fracking: Does Anyone Know The True Cost?

Earlier this year, an oil well blowout in rural Alberta was traced back to a hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) operation over half a mile away.  This event added oil and chemical spills to the mounting environmental impacts of the highly controversial fracking process on the environment, which already included water contamination and even earthquakes.

Fracking involves the injection of pressurized water, sand, chemicals and solid objects (known as frac- balls) into the ground to disturb existing geological formations and release natural gas that may be trapped underground.  While it is often described as a sophisticated engineering process, the variables and potential long-term impacts of fracking are difficult to measure.  Fracking proponents will argue that the process and the fractures it creates in the ground are contained. The gushing oil well investigated in Alberta suggests this is not the case.  So too, do the numerous reports of contaminated ground water in U.S. and Canadian communities near fracking activities.

Are the fracking experts rolling the dice (or frac-balls) when they force these toxic cocktails into unstable formations or when they accidentally hit aquifiers?  While oil and gas companies have long denied any link between fracking and contaminated water, the Environmental Protection agency (EPA) has identified a link between the two, based on fracking activity taking place in Wyoming.  If nothing else, government agencies and regulators in both countries should be concerned with the massive amount of water used in the fracking mixture.

As is often the case in energy extraction, the true cost of the process is not measured because this would require accounting for the consumption of one free resource (water) to generate an energy commodity.  It would also require accounting for the visible and hidden damage fracking causes to the landscape.

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Curtis Cook

Curtis Cook is a Non-Profit Executive committed to creating healthy, resilient and sustainable communities. He is a two-time book author and writes about the environment, sustainable development, and clean technologies. He lives in Alberta with his beautiful wife and soulmate Michelle.

34 comments

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8:41AM PDT on Sep 21, 2012

Stephen - you should go find out which of your neighbors, city or private - gave the rights.
Perhaps you could have a lawsuit. Maybe class-action (or are they banned now?)

But SOMEONE had to give them permission to drill. In any case, put your home up for sale before its worth is ZERO!
What's that town in PA again? The one where no one can use their faucets and all the property values crashed because the drilling company screwed up?

Yeah - ask them. Good luck and my greatest sympathy for you and yours.

10:56AM PDT on Sep 20, 2012

I do not believe we know the full impact of fracking yet. When we do we will be shocked at how much more destructive it is than we think now.

2:00AM PDT on Aug 11, 2012

We may well destroy out planet if fracking doesn't stop.

12:49PM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

3 millions gallons of water a day are used per well and in return we get contaminated water

12:47PM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

Posted to facebook, twitter, and google to let more people know about fracking.

2:00PM PDT on May 20, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

7:15AM PDT on Apr 24, 2012

How many more sites pose such a risk? Is there any entity responsible for coordinating on approvals to avoid this kind of conflict of interests danger?

12:28AM PDT on Apr 24, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

9:19PM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

EXCELLENT: MAKE THEM PAY UPFRONT AS PART OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT.
As is often the case in energy extraction, the true cost of the process is not measured because this would require accounting for the consumption of one free resource (water) to generate an energy commodity. It would also require accounting for the visible and hidden damage fracking causes to the landscape

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/fracking-does-anyone-know-the-true-cost.html#ixzz1svc3VRT4

9:18PM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

?
"If nothing else, government agencies and regulators in both countries should be concerned with the massive amount of water used in the fracking mixture."
Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/fracking-does-anyone-know-the-true-cost.html#ixzz1svbTqm9e

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