When I was first asked to follow the Fracking issue in North Carolina back in the fall, my immediate thought was ‘this is crazy! Poking a hole in aquifers to pull gas through it – what a disaster that would be to ruin our groundwater supply!’ Remember earlier that I mentioned speaking to my old classmate about fracking, but I actually jumped straight to the second part of our conversation. The first part of the conversation went something like this:
‘So, what is ‘fracking’ and how in the world does it not contaminate the aquifer?’
‘Well, it’s done in rocks that are about 5000 feet down, well below the aquifer, so it shouldn’t contaminate the aquifer at all.’
Sure enough, a quick look on the topic on the web, a lot news about folks expressing concern over contamination, but not really proven cases of contamination. Description of fracking wells a mile of more deep made me believe that maybe this co-exist. Hearing the technical description of how the fracking well is constructed with multiple steel casing and cement through the aquifer again reinforced the possibility that maybe fracking does not contaminate groundwater.
I had seen the trailer for “GASLAND” and looked up information on that documentary, and saw all sorts of clips on YouTube and news reports and letters to the editor showing what seem like strong links between water contamination and fracking.
In those numerous YouTube clips are also rebuttals to GasLand, raising the question whether the contamination people have experienced in their water is actually due to other sources of contamination, including naturally-occurring contaminants.
Personally, I am skeptical about water quality assessments done by the industry. Furthermore, what individuals featured in GasLand (and other media pieces, such as those interviewed in Dimock, PA, by 60 minutes) are experiencing is real, and they perceive the problem to be associated with hyraulic fracturing activity. Their water quality is compromised, and that fact will scare neighbors near and far. When America’s Natural Gas Alliance says in their clip that when a problem has occurred, they respond quickly, well that is what regulations require them to do. But the industry must respect that people do not want those problems to occur to begin with because that problem may be a loss of their basic need: safe water.
More to come.