Facts About Fracking

What is Fracking?

Over the past decade, there has been a rush for new natural gas using a controversial drilling method. Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” injects a mixture of water, sand and chemicals under high pressure into dense shale rock formations to crack the rock and release natural gas. Fracking has been around for decades, but the techniques, technologies and chemicals used to reach new, remote gas reserves are more intensive and riskier than conventional gas drilling.

Fracking has brought rampant environmental and economic problems to rural communities. Accidents and leaks have polluted rivers, streams and drinking water supplies. Regions peppered with drilling rigs have high levels of smog as well as other airborne pollutants, including potential carcinogens. Rural communities face an onslaught of heavy truck traffic — often laden with dangerous chemicals used in drilling — and declining property values.

New York is being targeted by the oil and gas industry for fracking for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, which underlies large parts of New York. In fact, many leases have already been signed in the state and are pending the state’s approval. The Cuomo Administration and the Department of Environmental Conservation could decide any day that fracking could move forward in New York.

A threat to New York’s drinking water

Millions of gallons of toxic wastewater will be produced from every new well, with about half remaining in the ground. This wastewater contains the chemicals used in fracking fluid, which have been shown to cause cancer, death, birth defects and other severe health problems. It also contains harmful contaminants from deep underground, including numerous carcinogens. Disposal of this wastewater has caused major problems. Conventional treatment facilities can’t treat it, meaning the contaminants just flow right through these facilities, into rivers and streams. The other option is “deep underground injection” disposal, which is causing earthquakes.

Underground Contamination. Much of this toxic wastewater stays underground indefinitely, subject to forces beyond our control. Drilling and hydraulic fracturing creates new pathways for fluids or gases to migrate and potentially contaminate vital underground water resources.

Surface Contamination. Fracturing fluid chemicals, contaminated wastewater, dredged up heavy metals and radioactive material can leak or spill from wellbores, wellheads, flowlines, trucks, tanks and pits. Those leaks and spills can contaminate our air, soil and water.

Depletion and degradation of surface freshwater and shallow drinking water aquifers. Massive amounts of clean water are taken from lakes, ponds, streams and shallow aquifers for fracturing operations. The scale of this industrial drawdown, and subsequent contamination with fracking chemicals, will degrade water quality and could lead to water scarcity.

Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) is found in the Marcellus shale at high concentrations and is likely to be discharged into drinking water supplies due to leaks, spills, or inadequate waste treatment. dangerous quantities from the wells.

Comment on TEDX

Most shale gas wells may be fractured many times (up to 18–20) to extend production..

No federal regulation, thanks to loopholes and exemptions

The 2005 Energy Policy Act provides the oil and gas industry with sweeping exemptions from provisions in the major federal environmental statutes intended to protect human health and the environment, including the:

  1. Safe Drinking Water Act
  2. Clean Water Act
  3. Clean Air Act
  4. National Environmental Policy Act
  5. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
  6. Resource Conservation & Recovery Act
  7. Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act

Currently the industry doesn’t have to disclose chemicals to public.

Read More Reports On Fracking »