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Friday, January 11, 2013

5 Reasons Natural Gas Won’t Be an Environmental and Economic Savior

This article was gotten from Alternet.org and written by Tara Lohan. Read it HERE. 

1-10-13 Also referenced from Globalpossibilities.org
We aren’t going to be able to drill our way out of the climate crisis without creating an even bigger mess in the process.


If you’re hoping the natural gas boom means we’ve solved our environmental and economic woes, you’re going to be disappointed. While natural gas produces less nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide when burned compared to coal or oil, the end product is only part of the story. The natural gas boom in recent years has been fueled by extreme extraction methods like fracking that are posing a new slurry of environmental problems before the gas even makes it to consumers.

The list of impacts from fracking is huge, but here are five to kick off the conversation:
1. Methane 
Natural gas may release less pollution when burned, but it still may be a significant contributor to global warming pollution after all because we must take into account what happens during extraction, too. “Scientists are once again reporting alarmingly high methane emissions from an oil and gas field, underscoring questions about the environmental benefits of the boom in natural-gas production that is transforming the US energy system,” writes Jeff Tollefson for Nature.
2. Water Pollution
Methane released during fracking doesn’t just end up in the air, but also in the water. By now you’ve likely already seen the videos of people living near gas drilling operations who can light their water on fire as it comes out of the tap. (If you haven’t then it’s time to see “Gasland.”) In 2011 the United States Geological Survey released a report about water in Pavillion, Wyoming where residents complained about water quality after drilling.
3. Water Consumption
Fracking is water intensive. It can take anywhere from 2 million to 13 million gallons of water to frack a single well and more water is needed to drill the well. Additionally wells are often fracked multiple times, some times as many as 18 times. Where does all that water come from? 
4. Trucks
How does all the water water and chemicals get to drilling sites? Trucks, trucks and more trucks. In Pennsylvania it was estimated that drilling and fracking a single well can result in 1,000 truck trips. For residents in rural areas, this means a constant stream of trucks barreling along small roads, some unpaved. Residents have complained of pollution from idling diesel trucks, roads that aren’t big enough for the vehicles, dust pollution on unpaved roads, and excessive wear and tear on bridges and pavement. The results have been accidents galore and big bills for taxpayers.
5. Economic Fallout
So much for the economic boom that fracking was suppose to create for small towns. The road repairs are just the start. In one of the most heavily drilled counties in the Marcellus Shale, a hospital CEO in Pennsylvania is now blaming the gas drilling industry for an operating loss.
 ...many subcontractors attracted to the area’s Marcellus Shale drilling boom do not cover employees.

Homeowners may also stand to lose. The Huffington Post reported, “Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. has become the first major insurance company to say it won't cover damage related to a gas drilling process that blasts chemical-laden water deep into the ground.”

While the fracking industry promises to create jobs, those like Tish O’Dell, co-founder of the Cleveland-area group Mothers Against Drilling in Our Neighborhoods, wonder about what jobs will be lost from impacts to farming, tourism and dairies.

To read the complete article access the above link.


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