The other day I saw the movie "Gasland" by Johsua Fox. It has taken me a little time to digest this movie. The evening I saw it I was so horrified and frightened about the future of our country and mankind, that I could not verbalize my feelings. If you haven’t seen it and have any questions about the Marcellus Shale issue, I strongly suggest you see the film. After you do, I know you will go to the site and send a letter to your congressman (which you can do through the site) asking them to cosponsor the FRAC Act (S.1215/HR.2766) to help make sure that oil and gas production is carried out in a responsible manner.
All the drilling started because Vice President Dick Cheney arranged it so that the process for gas drilling was exempt from the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Ace and exempts companies from disclosing the chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking. This is known as the Halliburton Loophole, so named after the company which developed the process. Ultimately it allows the gas companies to deny responsibility for the damage they are doing to the environment and the people who live in proximity to their wells. The natural gas drilling industry is the fastest boom in history and the process is so deadly it is causing permanent damage to our environment and serious health risks. To give you a small idea of the amount of pollution that is being caused by the process, generally 1-8 million gallons of water may be used to frack a well, and a well may be fracked up to 18 times. A gas field can contain multiple wells. Most of that water is never recovered or recycled. During the process, gas is leaked into the aquifers, which supplies our drinking water. In addition, part of the process includes allowing the chemical-laden water to evaporate into the air carrying residuals of the chemicals used into the air we breathe. That's is just part of the problem.
Various groups are working to fight to have the FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness to Chemical Act) passed. This House bill is intended to repeal the loophole and require the gas companies to disclose the chemicals they use. Doing so makes them responsible for any damage they cause and compels them to take remedial action to clean up after themselves. Ultimately it should force them to develop a process that could do this drilling in a manner that could lessen the harm they are causing. Of course the GOP is up in arms about this as they say it causes to gas companies to lose money.
My personal opinion is that we work to find alternative sources of energy that are clean and renewable, but in the short run, we need to make sure that the energy source that we do use is retrieved in a way that does not harm human life or cause damage to the earth. In addition, we need to reduce our need for energy, limit our use of things that require energy, and simplify our lives.