Will the exploration of natural gas lead to our independence from oil or just another environmental Freddy Krueger nightmare? Rachel Dawn Davis, the New Jersey coordinator for Food & Water Watch, during her Green Talk TV video interview sets the record straight about the horrors of fracking. Trust me. It isn’t pretty.
But nor was any of the Freddy Krueger movies.
Davis explained fracking toxicity issues for air, water, and land as well as debunks the myth that natural gas is our savior. I urge you to listen to the video or podcast interview. Knowledge is power and we need to take a stand before fracking destroys our ground water.
What is Fracking?
The EPA explains
“Fractures are created by pumping large quantities of fluids at high pressure down a wellbore and into the target rock formation. Hydraulic fracturing fluid commonly consists of water, proppant and chemical additives that open and enlarge fractures within the rock formation. These fractures can extend several hundred feet away from the wellbore. The proppants – sand, ceramic pellets or other small incompressible particles – hold open the newly created fractures.
Once the injection process is completed, the internal pressure of the rock formation causes fluid to return to the surface through the wellbore. This fluid is known as both “flowback” and “produced water” and may contain the injected chemicals plus naturally occurring materials such as brines, metals, radionuclides, and hydrocarbons. The flowback and produced water is typically stored on site in tanks or pits before treatment, disposal or recycling. In many cases, it is injected underground for disposal. In areas where that is not an option, it may be treated and reused or processed by a wastewater treatment facility and then discharged to surface water.”
Why is Fracking So Bad?
Thanks to Davis, let me count the ways:
- A recent peer reviewed study published in Ground Water using computer modeling revealed that the natural faults and fractures in Marcellus Shale, one of the largest natural gas reserves, will be exacerbated by fracking. In turn, the chemicals used in fracking could pollute our water much sooner than expected.
- Toxic chemicals are used in the fracking process.
- Waste water from the fracking is stored in pits. The toxic chemicals in the waste water evaporates. In fact in Texas, high levels of benzene was found in the air around wells.
- Waste water disposal into the ground may be the reason for increased earthquakes around waste water wells.
- According to Davis, fracking uses 16.6 Olympic size swimming pools of water.
- Davis explains there is an intent to shipping natural gas overseas since companies can get paid a higher premium for the gas.
- Contamination of ground water.
- Fracking is an international issue. Russia is the second highest producer of natural gas followed by the European Union. (Check out Bulgaria’s ban on fracking.)
- Extracting natural gas by fracking poses a larger threat to Climate Change than the extraction of oil or coal due to its methane emissions.
What Can You Do?
- Listen to the above video interview and get educated. As I said before, knowledge is power. Also, read Food & Water Watch’s fracking fact sheets.
- Support legislation banning fracking. In the New Jersey, a fracking waste water bill is pending. See here about US local actions against fracking. In Canada, see here. In the UK, see here.
- Check out Food & Water Watch’s event page for meetings, rallies, film screenings and other events centered around banning fracking.
- Watch the movie, Gasland. (Read about my review here. I was horrified while watching the movie.) You can buy the movie on Amazon or watch it on HBO GO.
- Um, don’t open the door if Freddy comes calling. We all know how that turns out.
Join the Conversation:
- What are your state or country’s grass roots efforts about fracking?
- How do you feel about fracking?
- Do you think natural gas extraction is inevitable to reduce our oil dependency?
- Is fracking just a horror film in the making?