- The process is nasty and unsafe
The drilling and fracking of a single well can take weeks, if not months, during which time there is constant traffic on rural roads, constant noise, and constant light pollution. Drill cuttings from the Marcellus shale are radioactive and hard to dispose of safely. Tailings, loaded with undisclosed toxic chemicals, are even harder to dispose of.
2. Leasing practices are deceptive and exploitative
The landmen who solicit signatures on leases fail to point out that royalties are not guaranteed: some wells are not viable. They fail to disclose that the lessee has almost complete control over leased land and all water other than the supply for the homestead. They fail to mention that the gas company can add post-production costs before royalties are paid. They fail to mention mechanics’ liens (if they fail to pay a sub-contractor, the home-owner can be held responsible. Homeowners are pressured into signing leases under threat of eminent domain.
- Methane emissions are unacceptably high, even without accidents
The argument that gas is cleaner than coal has been disputed. Over the life of the process – from exploration to capping – a fracked well produces as much, if not more, greenhouse gas as coal. It is an accepted fact that greenhouse gases lead to global warming, and global warming has led to climate disruption. Fracking and other extreme methods of extraction of fossil fuels (such as mountain top removal, deep sea drilling and tar sands) exacerbate the situation.
4. Uses – and pollutes – unacceptably high quantities of water
A single well takes several million gallons of FRESH water, which is then unusable for any other purpose. Water is far too precious to waste in this way.
- Adversely affects property values
Few people chose to live in an industrial zone. Fracking turns formerly bucolic areas into industrial zones. Banks and insurance companies are well-aware of the dangers associated with fracking and often refuse to insure leased properties or issue mortgages. If they do, the rates are higher than normal.
- Changes the nature of rural and agricultural communities
Organic farms, vineyards and natural tourist attractions are severely compromised by gas well and related structures such as compressor stations, brine ponds, pipelines, and storage facilities. Agriculture and industry are incompatible, and agriculture was there first.
7. Slows the switch to clean energy
Natural gas is not a bridge to clean energy. It is a bridge to nowhere. The fossil fuel industry is heavily subsidized and has no interest in changing the status quo. On the contrary the industry is fighting tooth and nail to extract – in all senses of the word – as much as it can while supplies last. In the meantime, carbon emissions continue to increase.
- It’s unhealthy
While there are few studies detailing the adverse health effects of fracking – largely because doctors are under gag orders – the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. The same is true for contaminated water sources. Not everyone gets sick and not every well is contaminated, but industry has thrust increased health risks on to populations who had chosen to live in unpolluted areas.
- It’s unnecessary
One justification for raping the land is that natural gas will make the US energy independent. But obviously we are already have quite enough natural gas here at home. Why else would there be plans to export the surplus?