A recent article by Edward Cross, president of the Kansas Oil and Gas Association, suggests that concerns about the safety and environmental threat of hydraulic fracturing are unfounded. (Feb. 19 Wichita Eagle)
Proponents of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and oil, or fracking, claim it is a harmless and reliable technology.
We in the Sierra Club have looked closely at this issue and believe public concern about the impact of fracking is justified.
Here are several myths often made by supporters of fracking and facts that everyone should consider about this increasingly widespread practice.
Do we want to put the Ogallala Aquifer and other water sources at risk? Are we willing to rely on claims by drillers that fracking is harmless to humans and wildlife while they pump chemicals into the ground?
This myth completely ignores naturally occurring harmful chemicals brought to the surface in wastewater from deep geological formations from fracturing, such as increased levels of hydrogen sulfide gas, radium, uranium radon, thorium etc. These chemicals pollute water and air.
The article published last month led us to think combining fracking chemicals is like mixing peanut butter and jelly, but readers can decide for themselves if they’re willing to consume toluene, benzene, and other toxic chemicals with or without sliced bread.
In last year’s legislative session, the Sierra Club’s Kansas Chapter supported a bill known as the Frack Act that would hold drillers accountable for the impact of hydraulic fracturing on our health and environment. A copy of the bill can be found at the Kansas Sierra Club website ( kansas.sierraclub.org), along with more information about the dangers of fracking.
While the petroleum industry insists that hydraulic fracturing is safe, both scientific research and anecdotal reports provide overwhelming evidence that more information and regulation are needed.