Are the private profits of the oil and gas corporations worth the poisoning of our water and food? Are a small handful of temporary jobs really worth the poisoning of our environment in which we live and the water in which we drink? Are the profits of a few corporations, and the exorbitant wages of a few corporate executives really worth risking the health of ourselves and families?
Yet again, as private citizens, we are forced to defend ourselves from the overwhelming power of the giant gas and oil industry. Their inherent wealth allows them to wield enormous influence over our representatives to the point that our legislators are no longer representing our common interests, and our environment, but instead are representing the huge corporations, to the detriment of the rest of us.
Our “representatives” are allowing industries to poison our water, our land, and our bodies, so that they can earn enormous profits, at our expense. It’s the same recurring story of the global financial capitalism that has taken over the world. Privatize the benefits, but socialize the environmental and financial costs.
Hydraulic-fracturing is a technology that the energy industry is using to target new sources of natural gas. “Fracking”, short for hydraulic-fracturing, is used by activists, in an effort to educate unsuspecting citizens about the serious danger it poses to their local water sources.
Natural gas was once extracted from drilled wells in porous rock, and the gas flowed freely and was easily captured. In the bedrock the industry is targeting today, the shale rock is too dense for the gases to flow through it. In order to free up the natural gas, wells are drilled down vertically, then continued horizontally. Explosive charges perforate the well casing, and drillers pump millions of gallons of locally obtained water, mixed with a toxic soup of chemicals under high pressure into the wells, which further cracks open the surrounding rock, freeing up the gas.
According to the highly-subsidized oil and gas industry, fracking is “safe” they say, because an “impermeable rock-layer separates the toxic fracking fluid and freed gases from the ground-water nearer to the surface”.
In reality, the toxic chemicals from the fluid, along with the gas itself routinely gets into local drinking water when cracks from the fracking process, intersect with natural fractures in the bedrock. Additionally, naturally occurring carcinogens of radioactive chemicals such as radium 226 and radon are also freed up and migrate and mix with groundwater and into residential wells.
Leaked natural gas and toxic fracking fluids have contaminated many residential water wells, sometimes in concentrations high enough to ignite a continuous flame within the water stream! A buildup of the gas itself can cause wells and even houses to explode, and have forced those effected to have to permanently vent their homes, even in the winter, and forced them to have to purchase their drinking water for themselves, for farm animals, and for their gardens. Deteriorated or ruptured fracking well casings, and chemical spills also pose a serious danger.
Industry drillers are allowed to use millions of gallons of water from the local water table, where the local water supply suddenly becomes the property of private profiteers! Hydraulic-Fracturing creates toxic waste water which harms the local water quality, polluting the water source of the local community and every other living creature that depends on clean water.
This is the danger for the many communities around the country near shale rock areas. What is especially egregious, despite the dangers, is that the federal government specifically exempts the fracking industry from the laws that protects our drinking water! In fact, the oil and gas industry is exempt from a wide range of federal regulations that protect public health! Also, the industry is lobbying the government to allow them to export the natural gas to other countries. So after polluting our own backyards, they want to further enrich themselves by selling it at top-dollar around the world, leaving Americans out of any benefit of lowered fuel prices, here at home.
I support a ban on fracking because it poses unacceptable risks to the American public. You can join me in helping protect America’s air and water by forcefully telling your representatives to ban fracking. Perhaps enough of us can exert enough pressure to remind them to whom they’re supposed to be representing.
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