I can’t believe how insane fracking is. Call me naïve, but I am stunned that oil and gas companies are willing to poison our waters – and therefore ecosystems, wildlife and people – for the sake of profit, “that mean, mean green, that mighty dollar.”
Having written a post on fracking, I was gearing up to write an essay on the sweatshops in Bangladesh, but I’m finding it hard to move on to another subject because fracking is spreading at lightening speed across the Marcellus Shale. Unless we can stop it, its toxic wastewater will permeate the waters of the Northeast and Mid Atlantic sooner than we think. I find that thought horrifying.
So much is at stake in turning away from the reality of fracking, like safe drinking water — be it from spring, well or tap. The profoundly toxic chemicals injected into the earth during the fracking process are getting into water sources, yet fracking is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act. These chemicals are unquestionably linked to cancer, as well as gastrointestinal, respiratory, and developmental disorders; brain and nervous system disorders. Toxic, too, are the higher levels of radioactivity that come from radium in shale. This is insane to me. I am restless to do something to stop it before it is too late.
They are now building 3000 to 5000 wells per year in Pennsylvania and are planning to do so over the next 30 years. People are getting sick, farm animals are falling down dead and aquatic ecosystems are being killed off. There are also more and more trucks carrying fracking’s toxic wastewater all over the roads of PA, and spills are occurring. This will only increase as the number of trucks increase. There is nowhere to safely store this toxic fluid.
Drill cuttings – the solid material removed from the borehole while drilling the wells – have been dumped in New York’s Chemung and other counties and the liquid waste shipped to treatment plants in Auburn and Watertown, New York. These plants, like those in Pennsylvania, have no capacity to treat this wastewater as it needs to be treated.
Though New York has a temporary moratorium on drilling until July 2011, the promise of money over safety is gathering admirers. I have family in New York! I have dear friends in New York! Wonderful filmmakers, musicians, artists and actors live in New York! I love New York! Doesn’t everyone? Who would want to see its waters poisoned?
This is absolutely insane.
I understand why many workers in Pennsylvania support fracking. Natural gas extraction means jobs, the promise of financial security. I understand why it could be appealing when you have a family to feed and a life to live.
They are calling Pennsylvania the Saudi Arabia of the United States. If natural gas is an energy resource for this country that can help cut down on the carbon count in the atmosphere and create jobs, then why not put money and effort toward figuring out a clean, safe way to extract it; not a faster, cheaper way. Then the good people of Pennsylvania – of New York, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia, too – who are in need of work, they’ll be doing something good and not harming life. It could be a win-win, if there is a safe way to extract it. I’m not sure that there is.
I have become so much more conscious of the precious nature of water because of fracking. We take water for granted. Water is a miracle, a gift that sustains life on Earth. We need to nurture water, not pollute it. Polluting water serves no one, except some sadly shortsighted people who aren’t willing to stop, take a step back and figure out a better way to do this.
There is a better way to access and create safe, renewable energy resources in this country. My hope is we’re going to truly commit to get going that way soon. Really soon. Otherwise, well, we’ll have energy for a bunch of people who are sick as can be. Now that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it?
If you want to learn more or do something to stop fracking, here’s a great place to start, http://gaslandthemovie.com. The “Take Action” button will lead you to a list of involved organizations.
Here’s a link to send a letter to your congressman. Quick and easy to do. http://gaslandthemovie.com/take-action/contact-elected-officials
And watch the movie Gasland! A must-see for everyone.