“Pollution of water, air and food from the natural gas drilling industry is exempt from all federal pollution laws.” What?
I saw a great documentary called “GASLAND“. It was created by a landowner, Josh Fox, in upstate New York who was offered money by the natural gas drilling industry to drill on his land. He wondered how such a seemingly wonderful offer could come his way. Just let them drill on his land and he could get $100,000, just like that. He decided to look into it and what he found out changed his life and inspired him to create this telling film. This is his story, this is the story of hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”), but this is also our American story of energy demand. As natural gas is now deemed the future of clean energy by some, we should know the whole “fracking” story. This is happening all over our country; and we can expect more of it here and abroad.
Watch a visual of ”fracking” “Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a means of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas well drilling. Once a well is drilled, millions of gallons of water, sand and “proprietary chemicals” are injected, under high pressure, into a well. The pressure fractures the shale and props open fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out of the well.” Land owners that Josh Fox interviewed across the country all had similar stories of polluted drinking water and toxic air surrounding these frack wells. A Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire.
Because of a loophole in the 2005 Energy Bill, the natural gas drilling industry is exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act. But guess what, “for each frack, 80-300 tons of chemicals may be used”. This loophole also does not require the disclosure of what those proprietary chemicals are. Even though “scientists have identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene”.
There is currently a House Bill intended to repeal the “Halliburton Loophole”, as it is called, and to require the natural gas industry to disclose the chemicals they use. It is called the FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness to Chemical Act). It is our moral and democratic responsibility to understand this and voice our opinions to our legislators. Perhaps drilling for natural gas is one of our alternatives for cleaner energy, but we certainly still need to ensure that our water, soil, and air is protected in the process. Get informed; make you own decisions.