Say No to Fracking for North Carolina
With a recent victory to postpone a vote to open up the Delaware River Basin to fracking (hydraulic fracturing for natural gas), it looks like there is some understanding of the potential adverse impacts of fracking on our clean water supplies. Our listing of the Susquehanna River as number one on the list of the America’s Most Endangered Rivers highlighted the threat of contamination to our rivers from fracking.
As part of the hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” process to extract natural gas, massive amounts of water are withdrawn from rivers and streams. The water is then mixed with sand and toxic chemicals and pumped underground to fracture the shale under extreme pressure. A portion of that highly toxic, highly saline, and potentially radioactive wastewater will return to the surface, and requires specialized treatment, but at this time, only a limited number of wastewater treatment facilities have the capacity to handle. Already, in places where fracking takes place, spills from trucks hauling wastewater, leaks from lined fluid holding pits, and cracked well casings have contaminated private water wells.
Now, there’s a battle whether to open up North Carolina’s shale deposits for fracking. The state currently has a good law that prohibits horizontal mining, but there’s mounting pressure to drill, drill, drill. A study is underway to examine the potential impacts and American Rivers is advocating for a thorough analysis of all impacts to water, land, fish and wildlife.
Meanwhile, some state legislators are participating in industry-led fracking tours guided by those like Chesapeake Energy, the “worlds top shale gas producer.” Study results – anyone?