Saturday, September 29, 2012

Groundwater Contaminated By Fracking? More Likely To Be Hit In Head With Meteorite.

Tell Commissioner Womack_Fracking is risky.jpgDid you hear what the new chair of our state’s new Mining and Energy Commission said earlier this week?
"Slow down is not in my lexicon," he told WRAL News.  "You’re more likely to have a meteorite fall from the sky and hit you on the head than you are to contaminate groundwater with fracking fluid percolating up from under the ground."[1]
Is he really the new chair of the commission charged with assessing the risks associated with fracking? We can’t believe it.
Even fracking proponents acknowledge that the new form of gas drilling has problems.  After all, the bill that created the Mining and Energy Commission tells the panel to craft rules to "protect the state's air, water, and natural resources."
Evidence abounds when it comes to fracking's environmental damage:
  • In Dimock, Pennsylvania, more than 13 water wells were contaminated with arsenic, barium, manganese, phenol, sodium and other toxics. In 2011, one of those wells exploded. [2]
  •  A 2011 EPA study in Pavillion, Wyoming that found diesel compounds and ethane in drinking water near fracking site.  A recent U.S. Geological Survey confirmed those results. [3]
  • A Duke University study found methane contamination in drinking water wells was 17 times higher within a kilometer of fracking operations. [4]
I could go on.  The truth is, no state has eliminated fracking's harms through regulation.  The best we can hope for from the Mining and Energy Commission is a set of rules will mitigate those harms if the state’s moratorium is lifted.  But even that low bar can't be cleared if the chair of the commission dismisses the evidence.
Meanwhile, watch your head for meteorites.

Elizabeth Ouzts
Environment North Carolina Director

[1] Laura Leslie, WRAL, “State fracking chair hopeful:  Enviro warnings ‘emotional,’ overblown.” September 25, 2012.
[2] Environment North Carolina, “The Cost of Fracking,” September 2012.
[3] Mark Drajem, Bloomberg News, "Diesel in Water Near Fracking Confirms EPA Tests Wyoming Disputes," September 27, 2012.
[4] Duke Today, “Hydrofracking changes water wells.”  May 9, 2011. 

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