Tennesseans should look at the areas that have been part of the fracking debate before fixating on either side of the issue--monetary gain or environmental harm. The article, Fracking Would be a Blessing for Our Area, mentions three specific studies and states that in "each case taxpayer-funded studies proved fracking in the area did nothing to threaten water supplies." That statement is at least incomplete, if not completely disingenuous. In the case of Dimock, the AP reported, the "Court documents filed this week indicate that residents in the tiny community of Dimock Township have agreed to a confidential settlement with Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas Corp." The suit, filed in 2009, was based on contaminated drinking water, harm to health, and harm to property. The details of the settlement were supposedly confidential, but the several sources (to include Reuters) reports that Cabot Oil and Gas paid $4.1 million (in late 2010) to residents for the contamination.
Combine this settlement with loopholes that give “the oil and gas industry...sweeping exemptions from provisions in the major federal environmental statutes intended to protect human health and the environment” tells me there is much more to the story than just fracking = blessings or fracking = certain environmental destruction. Are there positives to fracking (jobs, economic impact, etc.) certainly—but do these benefits outweigh the potential harm that fracking causes?
Could the risks be better mitigated while still providing much of the positives of jobs and domestic energy—potentially. My concern is the pro fracking side will obfuscate the facts in order to promote fracking. After the drilling has started, does it become nearly unstoppable and thus a tipping point of damage is reached (and exceeded) before all the facts are in?
FYI, the statutes that have fracking exemptions (according to the Oil and Gas Accountability Project) are:
• Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
• Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
• Safe Drinking Water Act
• Clean Water Act
• Clean Air Act
• National Environmental Policy Act
• Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning and
Community Right-to-Know Act in the Clean Water Act