Fracking: Oil and water do not mix

Map shows seismic activity in Oklahoma.

Since it was first introduced, Hydraulic Fracturing or “Fracking” has been scrutinized as a destructive process that is sure to do much more environmental harm than economic good. The fairly new process of drilling into shale layers and using pressurized water to free up the trapped gases has been touted as a way for the United States to lessen its dependence on foreign oil. However, it has become apparent recently that it is one of the most environmentally destructive methods of energy production the world has ever seen.

The destruction can be seen across the United States in communities where the lack of regulation in fracking operations has caused a myriad of environmental issues. In September of 2009 in Blacksville, West Virginia, nearly all aquatic life was killed by an algae bloom that formed due to the release of drill wastewater into the creek. In Wise Country, Texas, a family discovered a sulfurous stench coming from their water, and testing uncovered that there were outrageous levels of benzene and arsenic in their drinking water. Now, in Oklahoma, there has been a recent spike in earthquake activity that is caused by the numerous wells, working and dry, that have dotted the state’s landscape.

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of homeowners in Oklahoma, stating that people may now sue the oil and energy companies that are believed to be the factor in this recent increase in seismic activity. This is an enormous victory for those families in Oklahoma who have been forced to live with the decisions of oil companies whose only goal is to make more and more money.

This victory makes me hopeful regarding my own concerns about fracking currently occuring in the my own region of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale layer. It is unfortunate that it takes the destruction of the environment and the upheaval of basic necessities such as clean drinking water and pollution free air for lawmakers to take action regarding the industries they are supposed to regulate. I have been involved with recent attempts around Southeastern Louisiana to halt the development of these hydraulic wells. I and many of my fellow neighbors and myself share the fear that Louisiana, and states such as Oklahoma and West Virginia, will continue to be used up by oil companies until there is nothing left.

After dealing with numerous oil related catastrophes, my fellow friends in Louisiana were happy to hear about the Supreme Court decision because it means one more victory in the fight for protecting our communities, our neighbors, and our environment from the oil companies whose need for profit knows no end, no matter where they are.

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