W hen you do a google search on just the word “fracking”, there are 12,200,000 hits. I have not had time to read all of them. And I won’t take the time obviously, but I have done my homework and I want to share some of what I have found and seen and experienced.
My fracking education started the week before my birthday, November 20, 2011, which was the day that my community was first “fracked”. Before that, I had heard about fracking in the documentary Gasland by Josh Fox but it did not hit home until I could see it and smell it and hear it.
With so much information out about fracking or hydraulic fracturing, it is difficult to know who to believe, so I check out the agenda of the people who are distributing the information. The oil and gas industry should not be easily believed as they have only money to gain, lots and lots of money. There would be no reason for them to tell the truth about a procedure that perpetrates billions of dollars of profit for them.
The government at the worst end of the spectrum receives so much pressure from lobbyists it would make anyone’s head spin, and that happens even at your local city level. The federal government is who we all have to thank for the big fracking mess we find ourselves in currently. Former President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney helped fracking to become exempt from significant EPA regulations in 2005.
Fracking is not subject to the safe drinking water act, which is supposed to protect our underground sources of drinking water. This is called the Halliburton Loophole as Cheney had very close ties to Halliburton and they and about 15 other oil and gas companies benefited from this exemption. Other forms of underground injection are regulated but not hydraulic fracturing, that involves the injection of fluids including toxic chemicals into oil and gas wells at very high pressure to crack the rock and release natural gas and oil.
Possible tainted drinking water is one of several problems. Injection wells have historically caused earthquakes and injection wells are used to “dispose” of the millions and millions of gallons of fresh water that is destroyed in the fracking process. If earthquakes don’t disturb you, maybe the fact that in 2010 roughly 4.5 billion gallons of Colorado’s fresh water was used and destroyed by fracking. In 2015 that number is expected to jump to more than 6 billion gallons of fresh water destroyed by fracking, or enough water to supply 160,000 people in our state with water for a year. Eternally destroyed water, taken out of use in a state that is always in a drought lately.
More shocking was the fact that we all must get emissions tests on our cars and trucks and have them pass to drive on Colorado’s roads. Hydraulic fracturing causes “acute and chronic health problems for those living near natural gas drilling sites” according to the Colorado School of Public Health. The study found “a number of potentially toxic petroleum hydrocarbons in the air near the wells including benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene”. The EPA identifies benzene as a carcinogen. These risks are present for those living within a half mile of drilling sites and in Colorado drilling can happen within 150 feet of homes. These chemicals cause harm to eyes, skin, sensory organs, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract and liver.
Concerned about what chemicals will be injected? The new rules in Colorado now require oil and gas drillers to identify those chemicals within SIX MONTHS after drilling, if they are not considered proprietary to their process. Enjoy that new food product you saw at your local market or take that new drug that your doctor prescribed and in SIX MONTHS we will inform you of what you have ingested. Those are the “STRICT” regulations we have now in Colorado. Many of the chemicals that can be spilled on the ground or introduced to air or drinking water can cause cancers, brain and nervous system damage, and organ damage. Once a aquifer is destroyed, gone forever, a drinking water supply eternally destroyed.
How about noise? In Erie, Colorado right now, the oil and gas industry, namely Encana, is working twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, non stop, keeping everyone awake with their noise, smell and bright lights. No regulations about any of this. They do what they want when they want.
Still not convinced about the dangers of fracking, well, fracking releases uranium. The radioactive particulates are released underground by the fracking process and brought to the surface.
I have no ties to any industry. I do know that I care about my family, my friends, my community, my dear state of Colorado and my country. And fracking is harming all of them. We all need to become educated on our own and come to our own conclusions. I have no hidden agenda except to protect the health, safety, and welfare of those I care about most.
For more information watch the documentaries Gasland and Split Estate available via Netflix, Amazon, and at your local library. And google fracking or hydraulic fracturing.
To get involved let your elected officials know how you feel at your city, county, state and federal levels. Our whole country is being affected.