Fracking: A 21st Century Gold Rush

Water

Water.  There’s not a day that goes by where you don’t use it.  Not just for drinking but brushing  your teeth, bathing, flushing the toilet, food prep…  Anyone who has ever gone camping or had their water shut off for even a day knows just how much we depend on it and take it for granted.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth. Fracking makes it possible to produce natural gas extraction in shale plays that were once unreachable with conventional technologies. Recent advancements in drilling technology have led to new man-made hydraulic fractures in shale plays that were once not available for exploration. In fact, three dimensional imaging helps scientists determine the precise locations for drilling.

Horizontal drilling (along with traditional vertical drilling) allows for the injection of highly pressurized fracking fluids into the shale area. This creates new channels within the rock from which natural gas is extracted at higher than traditional rates. This drilling process can take up to a month, while the drilling teams delve more than a mile into the Earth’s surface. After which, the well is cased with cement to ensure groundwater protection, and the shale is hydraulically fractured with water and other fracking fluids.

Imagine living in a town with no water.  This isn’t science fiction, this is news.  Fracking has left this town dry.  Worse yet, this is a farming town.  Without water, farms go away.  They can’t pick up and move down the road.  We all learned the stories of Gold Rush in the 1800’s, how the discovery of gold built towns and epicenters of prosperity and how when the gold ran out, laid those same towns to ruin and abandonment.

The question then becomes when do we speak out?  When do we say “enough”.  Do we wait until it is threatening our neighborhoods or do we regard all US citizens as our neighbors?  Ask yourself, what you would do without clean water, or any water for that matter.  As you think about it, widen the circle to your neighbors and then your town.  It becomes pretty frightening.

It’s easier to prevent fracking from coming into your community than it is to fight them when they get there.  Being informed is the best weapon as well as the best motivator.   I encourage you to learn what you can do to keep your family safe and preserve our resources.

Maggie

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