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Fracking Up The Prairie

I recently came upon this article, entitled “A Mysterious Patch of Light Shows Up In The North Dakota Dark” and decided it was time to learn a bit more about this thing called fracking.

The article describes a disturbing new smudge of light on the nighttime satellite map of the United States where once there was only darkened fields. It’s not the birth of a city we are witnessing — though the population is booming there now — but rather what’s colloquially been coined “Kuwait on the Prarie,” i.e., burning gas wells, intentionally ignited flares of excess natural gas extracted via induced hydraulic fracturing or hydrofracturing, a.k.a. fracking.

What Is Fracking?
Like many, I’d heard of it and had a vague idea about the controversy, but seeing those pictures (do check them out), it struck me there was still more to assimilate. While I knew there were concerns about the grounwater, I didn’t realize the air pollution concerns.

Here’s a quick video explaining the process from a clean, animated, industry perspective.

What’s The Hubbub?
As if the images from NASA didn’t speak volumes enough, there’s the potential for drinking water contamination, runoff of toxic waste, and even destabilizing the ground itself (think sinkholes and earthquakes).

Several documentaries have covered the first couple of these environmental issues, the shortest being this one from Earth Focus about “the risks of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale.”

Others worth watching are…

Further reading:

Shale Gas: The Promise and the Peril Under the Surface: Fracking, Fortunes, and the Fate of the Marcellus Shale The End of Country: Dispatches from the Frack Zone


2 Responses to “Fracking Up The Prairie”

  1. Dan says:

    I live in New York and I’m very uncomfortable with the idea that they now allow fracking in my state. If they start fraking in the Catskill Mountains, it could ruin the well on my land and I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.

  2. T Artemis says:

    Nice intro to a horrible pillage of Gaia, going on all over the US and Canada – as part of the recently discovered Alberta tar sands and piping that ancient oil down through our fracked water tables to TX (Keystone xl pipeline). It will pollute the huge Ogallalla water table by both fracking chemicals and oil leaks.

    So if we have no say over our taxes and what the govts do with them, they take our land and water and air by ‘eminent domain’ and call it good for our economy – hah. What good is an improved economy if we are all landless serfs ill from the polluted water adn air?? U can’t work, u don’t get any govt. subsidies and u die. THat is what is happening to we who whistle blew years ago and tried to stop both types of drilling for dangerous fossil fuels we don’t need anyway: plenty of solar and wind power for our current (but growing too fast) population. That too is why they let the disabled die.

    I know awareness is the first step to creating change, but we need to change the whole oil economic govts of N America… and Venezuela and a few other countries outside but mostly N America, responsible for stopping all global climate change amelioration plans and funding. T

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