Fracking is bad for the environment. Stop hydraulic fracturing
The question to answer here is whether fracking is bad for the natural environment.
We will find out what the definition of ‘fracking’ is and take a look at whether the evidence supports this claim, but first I want to express my experience living in the State of Pennsylvania.
I’ve lived in the State of Pennsylvania for about four years now, and overall Pennsylvania is a very beautiful state.
Pennsylvania has beautiful landscapes such as its parks, lakes, and mountain areas.
With that being said, I happened to be on the internet and I saw, in a local, online newspaper, that Governor Tom Corbett approved what is called “fracking” on some college campuses in the state.
Upon further research, I found out that fracking is a type of hydraulic fracturing or drilling that is conducted to collect natural gas that’s deep under the ground.
Fracking may help big companies increase their profits, but it appears to be at the expense of the natural environment, particularly in areas of the general public. The populous understanding is that fracking is bad for the natural environment and the people who live in it.
Let’s take look at some of the grievances in regards to the ‘fracking’ phenomenon.
Mother Jones reported on October 12th that Governor Corbett of Pennsylvania “signed into law a bill that opens up 14 of the state’s public universities to fracking, oil drilling, and coal mining on campus.”
Mother Jones also reported that “environmentalists and educators are concerned that fracking and other resource exploitation on campus could leave students directly exposed to harms like explosions, water contamination, and air pollution. They’re also worried oil and gas development would leave campuses ruined for future generations.”
On November 3, 2012, Buzzflash.com posted a commentary on a statement that actor and activist Mark Ruffalo released, in response to accusations that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) had been “fraudulently manipulating lab results of residents whose water had been tested for possible contamination by fracking.”
“It seems that what so many of us have suspected is proving to be true. The Pennsylvania’s DEP has been playing fast and loose with scientific evidence and in the process has endangered the health and well being of the citizens it is supposed to protect. A full federal investigation should be opened to see the extent of the agency’s corruption and negligence. It is my hope that the victims of fracking, from Washington County to Dimock Township, who have been demonized for fighting to protect their families’ clean water, will be exonerated.”
Fracking has also disturbed generational family farming.On February 1, 2013, the Pulitzer Center published an article, written by Dimiter Kenarov, about an interview he conducted on a seventh-generation farmer (Sheila Russell) that works on her family farm in Bradford County, Pennsylvania.
“As it happened, Sheila’s farm was sitting right on top of the Marcellus Shale, an ancient seabed running under large swaths of northern and western Pennsylvania, and rich in shale gas. Since 2007, the region has become the center of a real fossil-fuel rush, with hundreds of companies from all around the world descending onto the countryside.”
“About 9,000 wells have been drilled thus far, with tens of thousands more planned. Unlike conventional natural gas, however, which collects in large underground reservoirs, the commercial extraction of shale gas requires a highly invasive industrial process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and a very large number of wells. A special mixture of up to seven million gallons of water, fine sand and chemicals, some toxic, is injected under high pressure underground in order to shatter the hard, impermeable shale rock and release any trapped gas inside.”
Ultimately, the Russell farm suffered the undue consequences.
“The cement casings of one of the gas wells on their property had failed almost immediately” and Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection noted it “in its violations report in March 2011.”
“After another DEP inspection in the summer of 2011, methane was still leaking from the well and “even though the issues were serious, the Russells, rightful owners of the property they had leased out, were not informed, and “it took nearly a year after the leaks had started before they found out the true extent of the situation.”
Not only were the Russells incensed but the gas well “was threatening to destroy their 216-year-old farm” and “with some of her neighbors already suffering health problems because of water contamination from drilling, Sheila [Russell] refused to take a gamble and stopped watering the crops from her local well, switching instead to a spring-fed pond at the edge of her property. As a health precaution, she and her family also ceased drinking from the tap and started buying plastic jugs of water from the store.”
The fracking industry contaminated the water supplies of 16 Bradford County families. Another case where profit overrides the concern for public health.
In a neighboring state, on the northeastern end of Pennsylvania, there is strong opposition to the fracking industry, and it is loud and clear.
The Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Advocate for the Catskills of New York, answered the question of “what’s wrong with fracking?” Their response is “almost everything.”
“Problems include: Air Pollution; Threat to the Catskill Park; Threat to the Delaware River Basin; Increased incidence of Earthquakes; Threat to our Economy; Danger of toxic chemicals being spread by Flooding; Danger to our Food Supply; Severe Health Impacts; Mortgage Problems; Threat to the Social Welfare of our communities; Toxic Wastewater and Water Contamination.”
Fracking is bad diametrically, as far as the Catskill Mountainkeeper is concerned, with stories to support their claims.
In conclusion, it seems that fracking has done much more harm than good, and fracking is bad in numerous ways. The stories put forth by residents and writers, who cover these environmental tragedies, make the case that we, as a nation, need to move towards alternative energy aggressively and decisively. Our government has allowed corporations to escape with minor penalties in compared to the damage that they do to the natural environments of the communities they affect.
The public fight against this activity is not a superficial one. In the fight against government inclination to overlook or give leniency to drilling company violations, such as the PA DEP’s negligent inspections, and the lobbying of the companies themselves, the public is fighting for the health of their natural environment, as well as the personal safety of their families and loved ones.
Fracking is bad for the environment and there’s no two ways about it.