As I listen to and watch the advertisements on the radio and television promoting the shale gas industry, I wonder why we can’t have an honest conversation about fracking. The spokesperson in the advertisement invariably tells us how they have looked into this activity and found it to be “safe.” The spokesperson goes on to say that fracking has been done for more than 60 years.
The real fact is that slick water fracking, which is what is being done in Pennsylvania, has only been done since 2004. And, as for “safe,” there have been hundreds of documented spills, accidents and fines levied by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Lawsuits are now increasingly common — against the drillers, against local officials who have refused to protect their residents and even against leaseholders who have leased their land and jeopardized their neighbors’ health, safety and property values.
The advertising spokesperson mentions none of this, but instead talks about energy independence for the USA, saying that wells will produce gas for 50 to 100 years. Actual data now shows that most wells produce for only three to five years!
How will this affect our future property tax base, since land that has been fracked is now unsuitable for any other activity? If more drill pads, compressor stations and processing facilities are built, how will they impact the livability of our region, especially the water and air quality?
Pennsylvania, unlike California, is blessed with plenty of water. But what happens if much of it becomes contaminated by the radioactive waste water which is brought back to the surface after a well is fracked?
I can only conclude that the individuals in the fracking “infomercials” have not truly educated themselves on the facts about fracking. They are most likely paid actors, leaseholders or others who stand to profit from this industry.