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“Fracking” has been thrown around as a foreign term for natural gas mining. Definition: Short for hydraulic fracturing, “fracking” refers to the procedure of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting fluid into cracks to force them further open. The larger fissures allow more oil and gas to flow out of the formation and into the wellbore, from where it can be extracted.
I attended a Gasland Screening last week at Franklin Commons. Although I had read about fracking prior, I didn’t know too much about the process. Luckily, the event organizer arranged two special guests to address the issue: PA Senator Andy Dinniman & Filmmaker of Gasland Josh Fox.
Senator Andy Dinniman started off the session, explaining that the PA Governor, Republican Tom Corbett, is an advocate of Fracking. Mr. Dinniman’s stance is that because we’ve elected Corbett governor, it’s going to happen – it would be difficult to stop his momentum. So his suggestion was to get a huge tax on the companies, basically to go towards ‘recovery’ efforts.
For those who may be a bit confused by that explanation… it would be the equivalent of taxing BP prior to the Gulf Spill so we could use the funds for the ‘cleanup’ efforts… basically assuming there WILL be damage. AKA – let’s get money to help the environment BEFORE it causes a problem. As I was a political science major geek, I started to wonder how much interest groups have supported Corbett’s campaign and the likelihood of a voter referendum to vote on PA’s choice…
However, Senator Dinniman did give the attendees a great point: PA’s constitution is the strongest as far as protecting natural resources and gives the best anti-fracking argument:
Natural Resources and the Public Estate: Section 27.
The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.
Next, filmmaker Josh Fox arrived. Since he came prior to the screening, he discussed recent developments with Fracking. His suggestion was to ban fracking all together. He mentioned there are 7000 wells currently drilled, and 2-3000 wells have been fracked. If PA continues to be fracked, it will be nothing like we know it – since eating/drinking will be prohibited in ‘dead zones’ due to pollution.
Next up in PA, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is considering Natural Gas Development regulations on October 21st. Since they released its proposed regulations, the DRCB has received 69,000 public comments. This is important to us, because this area supplies water for PA, NJ, DE & NY. Which includes Philly. Which is us. Our water.
Overall, hearing Senator Dinniman, Filmmaker Josh Fox, and watching Gasland, I was shocked at the process and how our water supply is currently at risk.
Fracking uses MILLIONS of gallons of water, and pollutes them with chemicals. 70-80 parts of the process have never been tested for safety or pollution. Regardless of whether you believe Natural Gas drillers can protect your water supply, you should learn more about the issue. I highly recommend watching Gasland and reading more about the fracking process to determine what your stance is. For those lazy readers, I’ll be doing another post soon to break down Fracking.
Posted by Julie