Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fracking Could Turn Much Of America Into A Wasteland

By Manifesto Joe

They've already seen a lot of this in rural areas -- the dumping of industrial waste, the fouling of well water, the loss of bucolic hills and trees. But it's not something that just happens in sparsely populated rural areas anymore. It's come to the city.

"Fracking" -- the hydraulic fracturing technique of drilling for fossil fuels -- is now an urban phenomenon. My wife and I live in a large city, and we've got fracking wells less than half a mile from where we live, and in two different directions.

There's still much debate going on about the side effects of this technique, with the Environmental Protection Agency right in the middle. Where we live, what they're exploring for is mainly natural gas, and the gas industry denies any effect on drinking water, and any significant pollution in general.

I've noticed very strong petroleum-like odors in our neighborhood when drilling activity is hot. Also, we've got a large holding pond next to a gas field that's not too far from our house. I haven't noticed any of the neighborhood children trying to go skinny-dipping in that thing.

I suspect that the people who live next to that holding pond have seen their property values plummet, probably far more than any perks they got from selling their subsurface mineral rights. ... Which brings me to another topic.

My wife and I were among the last "holdouts" in our neighborhood. We ignored the landmen for a couple of years, and were getting all sorts of offers in the mail. There's a certain economic logic to this, because we ended up getting about twice as much for our mineral rights as did the schmucks who took the first offer they got.

I wasn't happy about the idea of having gas drilling this close to where I live, anyway. But in Texas, the way I understand the laws governing mineral rights, if you are the last SOB standing in the way of a company's extraction of fossil fuels -- well, in essence, they can just TAKE it from you. If all your neighbors have signed on -- and I know that ours did -- the company has the law on its side to just run right over you.

So, after a long holdout, we signed a lease. Now I almost wish I hadn't done it, since some unpleasant facts about the side effects of "fracking" are coming out.

I don't know very much about the technical end of this, but some areas of America are seeing some very ugly sides of the "fracking" bonanza. Truthout has been doing a lot of good reporting on the subject. Here's a link to one of their most recent posts on this.

A few years into the boom, we're finally seeing city councils and neighborhood associations getting concerned and involved, but in many ways it's far too late. The Trojan Horse, so to speak, is already in the city. I can't understand where a lot of these whiners were when the gas company landmen were tossing all that money around.

There have been serious, lethal explosions result from gas drilling. We're having earthquakes happen all over Texas now, in places that never had them before. People are reporting well water that they can set on fire with a lit match. But to hear the companies tell it, this is all nonsense.

You see, it's common knowledge that rural Texas is rife with rabble-rousing Marxists who live to destroy the lush fruits of unbridled capitalism. They are all making this stuff up, just because they hate to see anybody making a profit.

Well, it's not just in the country anymore. City slickers have gas wells nearby, too. I look at a couple of sites every time I drive to work.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.


Anonymous said...

To hear the wingnuts tell it, Obama has been bad for the energy business.
And yet domestic oil production has risen (for the first time in decades) on Obama's watch.
U.S. natural gas prices are the lowest in a decade.
The fracking business is booming. So is shale. And Obama has done more to kick start the nuclear industry than any other president, ever.
Oh, and Obama has done zero on the global warming front, much to the glee of Exxon Mobil.
And yet, somehow, the wingnuts get away with claiming Obama has been "bad" for the energy business.

Jack Jodell said...

No matter what the negative effect, Romney, Rove, and the Koch brothers will still support fracking. Another in a very long and growing list of reasons why that lying Romney must NOT become President!

Manifesto Joe said...

Unfortunately, it looks like they're ALL going to support fracking to some degree. Obama's energy pointman does. He was just recently in our area and said he thinks it can be done safely.

Anonymous said...

Fracking is the worst way to get to natural gas. If Big Coal and Big Oil didn't have such a mad-on against each other, we would've been sequestering every ounce of CO-2 from every coal plant in the nation since the OPEC embargo of the 70's to help pump oil and gas out of "depleted" wells that have recently been found to have billions of cubic feet and barrels of oil and gas left in them. Gotta love trusting corporate stooges that can't see beyond the next quarterly statement. My home state of Michigan may become a "fracking" wasteland along with the Great Lakes being polluted. Repuke state congressman Pete Hoekstra almost completely spread the state open for gas drilling, hopefully everyone outside of "Big-Money Talks" Oakland County will V-block him out of selling us out to Big NG and ruining the last large sources of fresh water on Earth.


opit said...

About the only better part of my opinion is that Anthropogenic Global Warming is one of the biggest Hoaxes going. ( Mind, there seems to be a contest.) One doesn't have to wander around my place long to find out 'scientific consensus' is an oxymoron.
Bluedaze - Texan blog texasharon - is a nexus of fracking information.
You won't thank me for my collected intel.

Manifesto Joe said...

I'm sure you are the foremost authority on the subject.