Robert Merriam: Fracking negatives

June 14, 2014 

In response to the May 29 news article “ State House rushes through bill to allow earlier fracking permits”: As an environmental conservationist, I reluctantly acknowledge that the many advantages of gas extraction outweigh recorded negatives. But we need to concentrate on the negatives.

Natural gas from fracking is 84 times as powerful for trapping heat in the atmosphere as CO2, and gas leakage is a problem at many of the 54,000-plus registered well heads in the U.S. Texas and Colorado have enacted regulations requiring quality fittings and valves at well heads to minimize leakage. Some states, such as Wyoming, require water testing before drilling. That data are essential for landowners if damage is done and claims made. If those provisions are still lacking in the N.C. legislation, they need to be added.

The proprietary secrecy of fracking fluid additions is complete nonsense. The website fracfocus.org/chemical-use/what-chemicals-are-used lists about 50 of the most commonly used chemicals and 13 functions they serve. Not one of those chemicals would anyone want in their drinking water for taste or health reasons. And there are cases on record in Pennsylvania and elsewhere here and abroad where drinking water has been contaminated. It happens.

Robert Merriam

Chapel Hill

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