Sent in by Jennifer
Alex Pietrowski, Staff Writer
Public awareness of the risks and dangers of hydraulic gas-fracturing, or Fracking, is growing daily, but not nearly as fast as the practice itself is. Across the world, fracking is creating a massive new energy boom and investors are pouring money into energy companies who are setting up frack wells faster than the public can even figure out what’s happening.
Fracking causes significant environmental damage, yet the industry, of course, touts it as safe, saying that the stated risks are either unproven or circumstantial. In some cases industry is even suing detractors and people directly impacted by fracking for slander. Because of the denial and obfuscation of truth surrounding the impacts of fracking, a sort of cognitive dissonance has emerged, with many people willing to dismiss all of the noted side effects as unrelated, on the grounds that no singular authoritative scientific body has publicly declared fracking to be dangerous, and that the oil and gas industry has not yet admitted fault.
The impacts of fracking, from earthquakes to environmental pollution to increases in cancer, are well documented on many websites and in many publications, by scholarly researchers, scientists andgovernment agencies, by anecdotal stories, documentary films, and home videos. If you want to believe that fracking is a safe and smart way of managing the earth and our resources then you really have to suspend disbelief in the face of an ever-growing body of evidence and complaints.
One of the most outrageous and unbelievable effects of fracking in some areas is the phenomenon of tap water becoming flammable, straight from the tap, due to methane and other gasses leaching into ground wells and water supplies. Watching a faucet set on fire and hearing the stories of the people involved is not something that can be too readily dismissed, and here are a 5 examples of this:
1. Steve Lipsky of Weatherford, Texas, is facing a defamation lawsuit from the oil and gas industry after he has publicly decried fracking as the source of the contamination of his water, which is now flammable. The city has told him this water is safe to drink. From RT.com:
2.Shelly Perdue lives less then a half a mile from Steven Lipsky in Weatherford Texas. The water from her well, like his, is also flammable, and her home has methane gas in the air when she runs her water. Footage from Julie Dermansky.
3. In Granville Township, Pennsylvania, home of Chesapeake Energy’s massive fracking operations, homeowners are able to light their tap water on fire and their homes routinely smell like methane.
4. From the documentary film, Gasland, Dimock, Pennsylvania residents demonstrate just how flammable their tap water has become since fracking emerged.
5. In Parker County, Texas, residents are seen setting aflame a vent hose set up by the water well company to vent the methane gas coming from a contaminated water well. This is a demonstration of just how much methane is now combined with water resources in this area.
All of these cases share the common thread of nearby fracking operations. If the water is flammable, one has to wonder how this affects human, animal and plant life in the area, as cancer and other chronic illnesses continue to rise in the US. For homeowners and residents suffering from the negative impacts of fracking, the Environmental Protection Agency has been of little help.
“The agency that derives its income and survival from oil and gas production is usually put in charge of also regulating the protection of ground water from oil and gas wells. And there’s an inherent conflict of interest in that” – Mario Salazar