Critics of “fracking” now getting criticized
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But now, the nickname for hydraulic fracturing has become a loaded term. For those in the natural gas industry, it refers to a process of pumping a mixture of sand, water and chemicals into a well formation so that oil or natural gas can be extracted. For environmentalists, fracking is a dangerous practice that might contaminate groundwater and even, some say, lead to earthquakes.
Anti-fracking advocates point to the Academy Award-nominated film “Gasland” as a prime example of the hazards and here in natural gas-rich New Mexico, the city of Las Vegas, NM recently passed an ordinance banning hydraulic fracturing.
But a couple articles in the past week have come out questioning the critics.
Associated Press published a national story headlined “Experts: Some fracking critics use bad science” that was blunt in its assessments:
Critics of fracking often raise alarms about groundwater pollution, air pollution, and cancer risks, and there are still many uncertainties. But some of the claims have little — or nothing— to back them.
For example, reports that breast cancer rates rose in a region with heavy gas drilling are false, researchers told The Associated Press.
Fears that natural radioactivity in drilling waste could contaminate drinking water aren’t being confirmed by monitoring, either.
And concerns about air pollution from the industry often don’t acknowledge that natural gas is a far cleaner burning fuel than coal.
“The debate is becoming very emotional. And basically not using science” on either side, said Avner Vengosh, a Duke University professor studying groundwater contamination who has been praised and criticized by both sides.
Click here to read the entire story.
The AP story also challenges some of the claims made by the maker of “Gasland” — and so did another article that came out last week.
[O]ne of the more powerful scenes is when they lit tap water on fire and blamed this on fracking. This is of course a grave concern for anyone to know that their drinking water could be filled with explosive contaminants. In an interview with Joseph Martin who is a professor of engineering at Drexel University he said that, “There’s almost no likelihood or possibility that methane could migrate laterally from a natural gas well.”
Truth is we need the industry so it’s good to see the industry is stepping up and getting the real truth out there. Lies and rumors do make for an entertaining movie, but creating division in a country that’s already painfully divided isn’t doing anyone any good. The truth is out there, but Gasland is filled with more hot air than truth.
Click here to read The Motley Fool piece.