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May 9th, 2012

Another Reason to Rally Against Fracking

By Kate Fried

An intriguing revelation has emerged recently that further illustrates the vast web of hype surrounding the oil and gas industry’s fracking agenda. While the industry has sworn up and down that fracking doesn’t endanger drinking water resources, and while we of course know better, important new research published by an independent hydrogeologist adds credence to the mounting body of evidence that pokes holes in the industry’s already flimsy claims.

The research uses mathematical modeling to contradict the oil and gas industry talking point that fracking can’t endanger water supplies because there are impermeable layers of rock between any water supply and the rock being fracked. The modeling shows that contaminants could reach aquifers within a decade after fracking by traveling through a network of different pathways, pushed along by ordinary pressure forces. The different pathways include wells with failed well casings, new fractures created during fracking and existing natural fractures and faults.

This all makes makes perfect sense when you think about it: layers of rock aren’t impermeable once you drill through them!

This is the first peer-reviewed research on the long-term risks that “the specific process of fracking itself” (as industry likes to say) poses to our drinking water. But over 1,000 cases of water contamination have been documented in just Colorado, New Mexico, Alabama, Ohio and Pennsylvania alone. There are likely many more across the country. Many of these cases are from spills and leaks of wastewater seeping into groundwater or into watersheds, or from methane leaking into aquifers when well casings fail during drilling. But what everyone forgets is that if they weren’t fracking, they wouldn’t be drilling.

As fracking intensifies across the United States, we simply cannot afford to ignore how it affects the water upon which we all rely. At the end of the day, you can’t drink oil, money or natural gas.

It’s for this reason and of course, many others, that proud “fracktivists” from around the U.S. will converge on Washington, D.C. this July for Stop the Frack Attack!, a rally to call for a truly clean, fossil fuel-free energy future. The event is sponsored by our friends at Earthworks, and is co-sponsored by over 70 allied groups including us at Food & Water Watch, and will feature speeches from community leaders, celebrities, and policymakers.

Since the event will be held right outside the Capitol, it’s sure to grab the ear of our nation’s federal leaders, many of whom have been slow to catch on to the myriad threats posed by fracking. It’s more important than ever that we tell them to put communities and the environment first and to stop the frack attack!




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