Fracking unsafe in at least four states

If it’s so safe, why is it so hard to find out how safe it is? And why did injecting toxic chemicals into ground water ever get approved? Since methane leaks out of pipelines and compressor stations, as well as wells, it’s time to stop fracking and pipelines and get on with solar and wind power.

Kevin Begos wrote for AP 5:20 p.m. EST January 5, 2014, 4 states confirm water pollution from drilling

PITTSBURGH (AP) — In at least four states that have nurtured the nation’s energy boom, hundreds of complaints have been made about well-water contamination from oil or gas drilling, and pollution was confirmed in a number of them, according to a review that casts doubt on industry suggestions that such problems rarely happen.

The Associated Press requested data on drilling-related complaints in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Texas and found major differences in how the states report such problems. Texas provided the most detail, while the other states provided only general outlines. And while the confirmed problems represent only a tiny portion of the thousands of oil and gas wells drilled each year in the U.S., the lack of detail in some state reports could help fuel public confusion and mistrust.

And if fracking really were safe, why would it be hard to get ahold of that information?

Just hearing the total number of complaints shocked Heather McMicken, an eastern Pennsylvania homeowner who complained about water-well contamination that state officials eventually confirmed.

“Wow, I’m very surprised,” said McMicken, recalling that she and her husband never knew how many other people made similar complaints, since the main source of information “was just through the grapevine.”

The McMickens were one of three families that eventually reached a $1.6 million settlement with a drilling company. Heather McMicken said the state should be forthcoming with details.

Why did any state or the federal government approve injecting toxic chemicals in the ground?

Extracting fuel from shale formations requires pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, sand and chemicals into the ground to break apart rock and free the gas. Some of that water, along with large quantities of existing underground water, returns to the surface, and it can contain high levels of salt, drilling chemicals, heavy metals and naturally occurring low-level radiation.

It’s time to stop fracking.

But some conventional oil and gas wells are still drilled, so the complaints about water contamination can come from them, too. Experts say the most common type of pollution involves methane, not chemicals from the drilling process.

And methane leaks in pipelines, too, such as the one Sabal Trail wants to gouge through here.

No fracking. No pipeline.

-jsq

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