Fracking was a very hot topics this past year, and it is likely to continue to be one into 2014. Celebrities like Mark Ruffalo, who tweets frequently about the dangers of fracking, are giving those against the practice a voice on a larger scale.
The practice was also the subject of a movie released a year ago. Promised Land starred Matt Damon and John Krasinski, both of whom helped write the screenplay, and followed the journey of a natural gas company salesman discovers the damaging effects fracking has on the environment.
Now there’s even more proof that fracking is damaging our ecosystem and our health. The Associated Press has conducted a review in four states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Texas) of complaints received about fracking and its effect.
Though the fracking industry suggests that problems rarely occur, complaints have been rushing in. These complaints consist mostly of well-water contamination.
Until the review, the fracking industry could blow off the allegations. Now, however, they will find that harder to do. The Associated Press confirmed a number of the hundreds of complaints about water pollution, which makes it harder to claim that such problems are rare.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a method of extracting oil and natural gas, and has led to a boom in both industries. To extract the fuel, hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are pumped into the ground to break apart rock.
On the surface, that doesn’t sound like such a bad thing, but on the surface is where the problem lies. Once the rock has been broken and the fuel freed, contaminated water returns to the surface. The water that comes up can contain high levels of salt, drilling chemicals, heavy metals and naturally occurring low-level radiation.
Polluted water can affect the health of the animals and people who use well water as their main water source. For now at least, all we know is that some of the pollution complaints have been confirmed. Many experts are hoping that the next step is finding out exactly how the pollution affects those who are exposed to it.