Hydraulic fracturing, the controversial process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers, is rapidly expanding across the country. It is currently in 17 states with more than 80,000 wells drilled or permitted since 2005.
Little is known about the long-term implications of this practice. While fracking companies assure us all is well, a report issued October 4, 2013, by The Environment America Research and Policy Center says otherwise.
Here are some highlights of the report:
In 2012 alone, fracking wells produced an estimated 280 billion gallons of waste water. – Waste water that often contains cancer-causing as well as radioactive materials. In this article, the Guardian notes that this amount of water is enough to cover Washington D.C. in a 22 ft. Deep toxic lagoon.
Scientists have linked underground injection of wastewater to earthquakes.
In New Mexico alone, waste pits from all oil and gas drilling have contaminated groundwater on more than 400 occasions.
The photo below shows a shale gas well in Tioga County, Pennsylvania in early summer 2012.
|Photo courtesy of Bill Howard, The Downstream Project|
Wondering if fracking is happening in your state? Check out the search/map feature at FracFocus Chemical Disclosure Registry.
(Top graphic courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)