The truth about fracking and how it is harming our environment

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 by: Neev M. Arnell
Tags: fracking, gas drilling, health news

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) Oil and gas companies are engaged in fracking, a gas drilling process hailed as an economy booster, job creator and greener energy source. However, fracking has propelled hundreds of millions of gallons of hazardous, carcinogenic and radioactive chemicals into gas wells in 13 states, according to the new House and Energy Commerce Committee report covered in the New York Times (

The drilling method, also called hydraulic fracturing, uses a fluid consisting of water, sand and chemicals injected under high pressure to release oil and gas from cracks in shale rock 5,000 to 8,000 feet underground. The practice has been mired in controversy with claims that it is destroying the environment while some lawmakers work hand in hand with energy industry lobbyists.

Economic motivation

Natural gas is a key element in President Obama's goal to have 80 percent of electricity produced from clean sources, like wind and solar, by 2035, according to a recent Business Week article ( -- 90 percent of that gas is obtained through fracking.

The Marcellus Shale, a rock formation in eastern North America where fracking is rampant, is thought to contain 490 trillion cubic feet of gas, making it the second-largest gas field in the world. It has enough gas to heat U.S. homes and power electric plants for twenty years.

The "shale gas rush," in pursuit of this massive energy reservoir, is creating thousands of jobs and reviving the economy in states such as Wyoming, Texas, and Louisiana, according to Business Week ( It created $389 million in tax revenue in Pennsylvania and 44,000 jobs in 2009.

The benefits to politicians of supporting fracking, particularly in this economic climate, are clear. Business Week states: "the drilling is receiving little federal oversight from the EPA and state and local authorities are writing their own rules and having trouble keeping up."

Chemical cocktail

Fracking fluids to date have been kept secret by the oil and gas companies that use them as proprietary information. They argue that making the ingredients public would hurt competition, according to a Reuters article ( But public fears surrounding the practice are due in large part to that secrecy. With the new HECC report, it is clear those fears are not unfounded.

The report, which was written by Representatives Henry A. Waxman of California, Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and Diana DeGette of Colorado, found a mixture of ingredients in the fluid ranging from harmless to strange to dangerous. It also blamed the companies for "injecting fluids containing chemicals that they themselves cannot identify."

Harmless ingredients included salt and citric acid, while bizarre ingredients included instant coffee and walnut hulls. Many ingredients, however, were listed as "extremely toxic," and included ingredients such as lead and benzene, which is a known carcinogen.

The Environmental Protection Agency is attempting a national study on the dangers of fracking to public drinking water but the task is a difficult one with companies refusing to make their ingredients public, according to the EPA e-mails reported in the aforementioned New York Times article (

Environmental and health concerns

Harmful chemicals are already spreading into surrounding areas during drilling accidents such as well casing failures underground or spills above ground. Environmentalists and lawmakers are concerned, however, that these dangerous fracking chemicals may be seeping through the layers of shale and contaminating drinking water even under normal operating conditions.

New information also shows that the process is releasing far more methane into the atmosphere than previously thought, according to a New York Times article (

In a recent incident, thousands of gallons of fracking fluid leaked into Towanda Creek in Bradford County, Pennsylvania due to the failure of equipment at a Chesapeake Energy Corp. gas well, according to Associated Press ( and MSNBC ( The fluid, which could not be contained initially, traveled across farmlands and into the stream. The energy company finally got the well under control on Monday, April 25, five days after the leak began.

Legal action has been taken against Chesapeake Energy, Chesapeake Appalachia and Nomac Drilling on behalf of three Bradford County families who leased their land to the energy companies. The families claim that they are "experiencing daily suffering due to the negative effects of oil and gas drilling," according to ( The papers, filed by The Marcellus Shale Oil and Gas Litigation Group, claim that the "negligent and grossly negligent oil and gas drilling activities" have contaminated the individuals' properties and water supply.

See it with your own eyes

After being offered approximately $100,000 to lease his land to gas companies and allow them to use his land for fracking, Josh Fox said no to the money and decided, instead, to produce the HBO documentary "Gasland" ( and discover what exactly fracking entailed.

He found water flowing from kitchen faucets that could be set on fire due to high levels of methane, large pools of toxic waste that kill cattle and vegetation, chronically ill residents with the same unusual symptoms living in drilling areas in disparate locations around the U.S., and well blowouts and gas explosions that are routinely covered up.

In a PBS interview (, Fox said the drilling is happening in 34 states and has been going on for the last 10 years.

Political antics

Investigative news outlet,, uncovered indirect conflicts of interest with New York lawmakers and fracking in its documentary "The Marcellus Shale: The Politics of Gas" ( In one instance, DC Bureau found that U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey of New York was advocating strict control over hydraulic fracturing while his wife lobbied for the American Association of Professional Landmen, whose members acquired gas leases in the state for energy companies. Another instance, found that Republican State Senator George Winner endorsed revisions by the gas industry to gas mining laws at the same time his law firm represented the largest natural gas producer in New York.

DC Bureau also discovered an industry-drafted law that aides the energy industry in continuing the controversial practice of fracking. The compulsory integration law allows energy companies to drill beneath private property even without landowners' permission.

Independent Oil and Gas Industry of New York crafted the law, said Christopher Denton, an attorney representing dozens of landowners in cases regarding the law.

"This is IOGA's statute," Denton said. "They drafted it, introduced it, got a sponsor for it and pushed it through with no legislative hearings whatsoever."

Compulsory integration can only be used if the gas company signs leases on properties totaling at least 60 percent of the proposed land total, which is usually a required minimum of 640 acres. After that threshold is reached, the company can force the remaining property owners to join, according to the DC Bureau article (

The energy companies are surging ahead with the "shale gas rush" and politicians can clearly see the benefits, but whether they will stop to consider the costs to the environment and the health and rights of the landowners remains to be seen.

Sources for this article include:

Fracking: The Great Shale Gas Rush --

NY Times: Chemicals Were Injected Into Wells, Report Says --
HBO 'Gasland' documentary --

DCBureau: VIDEO: The Marcellus Shale: The Politics of Gas --

DCBureau: Marcellus Shale: The Real Price of Compulsory Integration In New York --

Reuters: Fracking regulations could ease public concerns: White House --

MSNBC: Gas Well Incident Sends Fracking Water into Towanda Creek --

NY Times: Studies Say Natural Gas Has Its Own Environmental Problems --

Reuters: US Interior considering fracking disclosure rule --

AP: Driller temporarily stops operations at pa. wells -- Group petitions court in Chesapeake matter; Wyalusing residents involved --

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.

Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...


Now Available at

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...


Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...


Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at

Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.