People die from fracking, both from contamination and on the job.
Deaths from fracking contamination
Cause and effect is notoriously difficult to prove for deaths from chemical or radiation contamination, but here are some that seem very likely:
24 July 2014,
After Rancher’s Death, Calls for Fracking Health Study Grow Stronger,
Last month, Terry Greenwood, a Pennsylvania farmer whose water had been contaminated by fracking waste, died of cancer. He was 66 and the cause of death was a rare form of brain cancer.
His death drew attention from around the globe in part because Mr. Greenwood was among the first farmers from his state to speak out against the gas industry during the early years of the state’s shale gas rush.
Mr. Greenwood went up against a company called Dominion Energy, which had drilled and fracked a shallow well on his small cattle ranch property under a lease signed by a prior owner in 1921.
In January, 2008, Mr. Greenwood had reported to state officials that his water supplies had turned brown and the water tasted salty. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection subsequently found that the company, whose gas well was drilled 400 feet from the Greenwoods’ water well in 2007, had impacted the Greenwoods’ water. State officials ordered Dominion to temporarily supply the family with drinking water.
Here’s a YouTube video of a presentation by Terry Greenwood, March 2011, “Hydrofracking & Agriculture — The Promise & the Reality”.
- Arlington TX Barnett Shale Blogger, 12 February 2012, Three people dead… contaminated water after fracking.
- Arlington TX Barnett Shale Blogger, 7 May 2012, Drill Baby Drill or more like Kill Baby Kill? Arlington health effects near urban drilling recapped
- Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air, 19 December 2014, List of the Harmed, which is an ongoing updated list of human and animal deaths and illnesses related to fracking, currently up to more than 7500 items.
Occupational hazards to workers in fracking
- Dan Molinski, Wall Street Journal, 13 November 2014, Worker Dies, 2 Injured in Colorado Fracking Accident at Anadarko Site: Oil and Gas Company Suspends Some Operations Following Death of Halliburton E mployee Working in Field. That article is behind the WSJ paywall, so another is below.
CBS4, Denver, Colorado, 13 November 2014,
1 Killed, 2 Hurt At Weld County Fracking Site,
The men were working on a high pressure water value that had frozen overnight at 9:30 a.m. when the accident happened.
They were attempting to thaw the line when it ruptured with a force between 3500 and 4500 psi.
“That’s a high amount of fluid that’s coming out of that small area of that pipe and generally when that hits someone, it’s going to cause injury,” Weld County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sean Standridge said.
Hazards Magazine, July 2014,
Chemicals, dust and deaths and the new rush for oil and gas,
Death on the Job,(9) a May 2014 report from the US national safety federation AFL-CIO, included a stark warning about the occupational risks of America’s fracking-fuelled oil and gas boom.
The union body noted deaths in the oil and natural gas industry were up by 23 per cent in 2012 alone. It traces the upward trend back to 2008 and the creation of fracking boom towns. In February 2014, a worker died when a Chevron fracking well in a small Pennsylvania town exploded. The fire burned for five days.
As mentioned, it’s notoriously difficult to prove air or water contamination caused a specific death. But there are plenty of legal cases pending attempting to prove causality for deaths or other harm.
- Barclay R. Nicholson, Partner, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, 1 June 2014, Analysis of Litigation Involving Shale & Hydraulic Fracturing. See especially page 104 and the appendix.
- Professor Blake Watson, University of Dayton School of Law, 7 December 2014, HYDRAULIC FRACTURING LITIGATION SUMMARY
Finding these took only a few minutes of googling. Anybody who says there are no risks of fracking simply isn’t looking.