Initiative: Protecting Air, Water & Land from Fracking
Since the summer of 2010, Rock the Earth has monitored and reported on the serious environmental concerns raised by hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Hydraulic fracturing is the industrial process of extracting natural gas by fracturing deep shale beds and injecting them with enormous amounts of water and chemical fluids.Increases in seismic activity, ground and surface water pollution, noise and air pollution have been reported near fracking sites and in surrounding communities.
Rock the Earth recognizes several problems with the practice of fracking:
First, mining companies are not required to disclose which chemicals they employ in their process, nor in what concentration they are being used. This information is currently protected as proprietary (a “trade secret”). The most common chemicals used in fracking are methanol, isopropyl alcohol, 2-butoxyethanol, and ethylene glycol. There are thousands of other chemicals used by miners that are unknown.
Second, communities impacted by fracking do not currently have a voice in the decision to allow fracking (“home-rule”). Many communities do not have a thorough environmental impact statement to consider or comment on.
The fracking industry is currently active in twenty states: Alabama , Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Wyoming and West Virginia.
The U.S. EPA continues its environmental reviews, including a study of potential impacts on drinking water.
- Fracking should be regulated under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act.
- Fracking fluids, including all chemicals, should be disclosed without any exception, including industry’s present loophole based proprietary claims.
- Local communities should be entitled to exercise “home rule/self-determination” including the right to ban fracking within their jurisdictions.
- Drilling, if allowed, should be set back at least 1,000 feet from residential homes, schools, hospitals, and other places where people live and work.
- There should be robust groundwater sampling before, during and after drilling/fracking operations to ensure that drilling and fracking activities do not contaminate drinking water supplies.
What You Can Do
If you live in a fracking state, write to your local elected officials and tell them you support tighter regulations on fracking. See below list for issues you can raise.
- Provide comments on the EPA’s Draft Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water
- Provide comments to the EPA on the See Draft Compilation of Physiochemical and Toxicological Information about Hydraulic Fracturing-Related Chemicals
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Include EPA-HQ-OPPT-2011-1019 in the subject line of the message.
Mail: Send the original and three copies of your comments to: Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460, Attention: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OPPT-2011-1019.
If you’d like more information on Rock the Earth’s education and outreach or legal and technical work on fracking including our comment letters and position papers, let us know.