Tuesday, July 27, 2010


To frack or not to frack is a big controversy in my area. It seems good. Quick money, needed money and all you have to do is lease your land to the natural gas seekers and they do the rest. They pay you upfront and you’ve got cash in hand. It’s a good deal in this economy. Right? You’d better read up on the horror stories. Better yet, see the documentary “Gasland.”

If you sign a gas lease agreement, eventually they (the gas people) come on your land with a drill derrick and high tech equipment and plunge into your land for a while and then the drilling takes a turn and carves a bore a good distance horizontally. I don’t know exactly how far, but it’s not a few feet.

The Marcellus gas shale is a strata of rock that extends from the Catskills in New York, through Pennsylvania, portions of Ohio, most of West Virginia and into a little bit of Kentucky. It has been known about for decades, but new techniques have made the gas more recoverable.

Next comes a high-pressure earth enema filled with millions of gallons of your ground water, sand and caustic chemicals most of which are considered carcinogens by the DEP and EPA. The pressure creates a minor earthquake and cracks or fractures the shale rock structure to release the gas.

The problem is “residual waste,” toxic wastewater that is supposed to be carted away for disposal, BUT…not all of it goes away. It stays within the fractured zone and in many cases pollutes by seeping into your aquifer, polluting your land, your drinking water and even your surface water for livestock and pets.

In one place in Dimock, Pennsylvania, where fracturing has been going on for some time, the ground water has turned brown, people got sick, livestock started loosing their hair, the stories go on and on.

This missive is not going to tell you what to do. Check it out yourself. I’m no more skilled on this than you are. I make no judgment in whatever choice you make. It’s your land. I don’t live on it, but there are definite consequences.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the bigger picture, you DO live on their land. We all live on the land. Yours, mine and ours. Choices are becoming more complex out there. In many parts of the world, the last trees are being cut down to keep a family warm or cook a meal. Now, in economically challenging times, we are facing similar dilemmas in our own backyard, sometimes literally. The gulf coast residents are horrified by the spill, yet campaigning against the halt to drilling, because it's slowdown effects their livelihood. Will humanity makes the right choices? And, what exactly ARE the right choices? Where will our energy come from? And, if we don't consume the natural resources, what about the other consumers in other parts of the world? Would even an entire nation's stewardship change the path of destruction? Or are we completely fracked (so to speak) at this point? Food for thought on this cold and overcast Tuesday. Er. At least here.
Your faithful reader.

Free Blog CounterEnglish German Translation