Fract vs Fiction

(From NEOGAP website)


MYTH: Shale oil/gas development creates jobs and is a boon for the economy.

REALITY: Oil/gas development can create jobs and generate tax revenues, but these are often
far less and don’t last as long as the industry often claims.
Between late 2007 and 2010, the Marcellus Shale boom created fewer than 10,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania, much less than the 48,000 figure reported in recent news stories, statements and commentaries.2
Also, job creation and job loss patterns in this industry tend to follow the “boom and bust” cycle typical in energy development regions.3    Recent studies on economic benefits funded by the industry don’t even factor in the high costs associated with oil/gas development like road and bridge repairs, declines in farming and tourism revenue, and reduced property values and property tax revenues.4

MYTH: Your water will be safe from drilling and fracking because there has never been a proven case of water contamination from hydraulic fracturing.

REALITY: Hydraulic fracturing fluids contain dozens of toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, biocides, ethylene glycol, and hydrochloric acid, chemicals which have known adverse health effects and which are being injected through and near aquifers used for drinking water.11    A large proportion of fracturing fluids remain underground, and these fluids have been known to travel thousands of feet from wells.12    Also, cases of methane migration into water wells are increasingly being documented.13
Despite this growing evidence, oil/gas industry representatives frequently claim that there are no documented cases of water contamination from hydraulic fracturing.
Now, the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization engaged in the debate over the safety of fracking, has unearthed a 24-year-old case study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that unequivocally says such contamination has occurred. The report, from West Virginia, states that “the residual fracturing fluid migrated into (the resident’s) water well.”14
And, this is probably not an isolated incident. “Researchers, however, were unable to investigate many suspected cases because their details were sealed from the public when energy companies settled lawsuits with landowners.”15
Thanks to a special exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act, companies don’t have to disclose the chemicals they use in fracturing fluids. Without this information, it can be difficult to prove scientifically that the contamination was from hydraulic fracturing and to link particular chemicals with specific oil/gas wells. If there were full disclosure and radioisotope tagging during hydraulic fracturing for each well, it’s unlikely that the industry could make this claim or continue to deny responsibility or liability when wells are contaminated.
Current Ohio oil and gas regulations allow drilling right next to important streams and in floodplains. Although they require baseline testing of water wells before drilling commences within 300 feet of said water wells, under the Ohio Revised Code, this applies only in urbanized—not in rural—areas.16


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