Natural Gas is Immoral: Fracking destroys potable water

Ending the use of fossil fuels isn’t just about slowing climate change. It’s also about surviving climate change. The extraction, processing, and use of fossil fuels all present hazards to human health that will only grow as the temperature rises.

From the dawn of fracking technology, there have been serious concerns about contamination of our water supply. These concerns were largely waved away, and in the years that followed, fracking became just another means for the fossil fuel industry to poison their surroundings for profit. Now, even as we hear about companies like Nestle hoarding access to fresh water, a new study has outlined the degree to which the fossil fuel industry is destroying the American water supply. Farron Cousins from Ring of Fire Radio has more:

Remember this when water shortages hit. The actions of the fossil fuel industry, allowed by the politicians they lobbied, removed a large portion of the water we had available to drink. This is neither a new problem, nor one that has had a low profile. There are no excuses for this, and nobody in a position of power should be ignorant of it.

When it comes time to pay for people to have enough water to survive, we will be told that we have to buy it from the companies currently hoarding the stuff, and we will be told that the people who are suffering and dying are to blame for their predicament. That is a lie. This is a path that was chosen, partially by those who are supposed to serve the interests of the people, for the sake of increasing the wealth of a tiny number of money hoarders. The crises caused by their greed and recklessness will be used to hoard more money, and I think we should try to head that off, if at all possible.

You can read the study for yourself here.

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  1. coragyps says

    I recently retired after about forty years in the oilfield – the last half of it pretty involved in fracking. And yeah, I agree that a hell of a lot of drinking water or potential irrigation water gets wasted on fracking, particularly here in rain-deprived Texas. The sad truth is that, as the paper alludes to, the salty water recovered flowing back after a frac job is pretty easily recovered for re-use on the next job. It costs a little more in both dollars and in thought to do so, in most circumstances, because of the fragmented way the whole industry is structured. If one oil company and one frac company had fifty wells to frac in one county in one year, it would be simpler – but that is very rarely the case. It’s more like ten oil companies and twenty frac companies all in a bidding war to get them all fracked over a 20,000 square mile area all at once.

    The laws here in Texas don’t help much either. For 170 years now a landowner has been allowed to do whatever he chooses with fresh water that he can find under his land. Lately, it’s often more profitable for farmers and ranchers to drill water wells to sell the water to the frac boys instead of using it to irrigate or water the cows. So they do that, paying little mind to where the grandkids will get water to keep the ranch alive – cows don’t like brine.

    The problem might be fixable by banning fresh water for fracking. But getting that enacted here in Texas would likely be a little tough – we don’t even have global warming down here, by Gawd!!! And the oil companies voluntarily refusing to use potable water to frac is pretty unlikely, though some of the more progressive ones have taken steps toward that. Screwy situation – and there’s no one solution to it that fits everywhere.

  2. Richard Varga says

    Gaining the quick buck vs preserving the water, soil & air quality for future generations or even for ourselves today. Tough problem as without the quick buck many farmers/ranchers can’t survive economically. We have some oil & natural gas fields around here but the greater problem has been the degradation of soil, water, air from cattle, poultry & hog manure used to fertilize fields (more accurately, to dispose of the manure in a ‘green” manner as the amount of manure used and the problems this causes greatly exceeds the benefits gained from natural fertilizer over chemical fertilizer). Water from wells & springs that I used 30 years ago is undrinkable now. Local gov’t has had to build miles of pipelines to transport treated water from a city upstream to replace the water lost to agricultural pollution. And I have not mentioned the chemical runoff in the water. Meanwhile many of the farms are still not financially viable due to increased input costs (fuel, equipment, chemicals, seed) and increases in taxes.

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