Fracking: Report blasts unethical practices of gas companies
Natural gas firms that engage in hydraulic fracturing are hiding risks from landowners, according to a report by the Environmental Working Group.
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly called ‘fracking’, is the practice of extracting natural gas from shale rock by drilling, planting explosives, and pumping in large amounts of water and chemicals to open up gas deposits.
Fracking has been linked to the contamination of water supplies with toxic and cancer causing chemicals and even to earthquakes, making the practice controversial throughout the globe.
These landowners who were left in the dark about drilling risks are likely just the tip of the iceberg. Industry documents, regulators and lawyers all indicate that there may be thousands of landowners who unknowingly put their water, homes and health at risk by signing natural gas leases. It’s time to level the playing field so that landowners know the facts about drilling before they sign a lease.
–Environmental Working Group senior counsel Dusty Horwitt
The advantages of fracking are clear: a domestic source of natural gas, which produces less greenhouse gases than coal or oil. But the risks and disadvantages of hydraulic fracturing must be determined and disclosed, especially to those who are most at risk – the very people that live on the land where fracking takes place.
In the US State of Wyoming, the EPA conducted a three-year study, which confirmed that fracking risks contaminating water supplies.
They tested water wells in a total of 42 homes and found varying degrees of pretty serious contamination that could or could not match the drilling industry, but certainly didn’t rule it out. They did rule out other factors like agricultural pollution.
–Abrahm Lustgarten, reporter for Pro Publica
Read more in the Los Angeles Times