March 3, 2011

Natural Gas Drilling, aka Hydraulic Fracking, Contaminates US Water

Natural gas has been touted by some wealthy individuals, such as T. Boone Pickens, as a solution to the US energy crisis. Like any non-renewable resource extraction, there is environmental degradation. In the case of natural gas drilling, aka hydraulic fracking, the process leaves behind highly toxic waste water. The Guardian explains:

A controversial new method of natural-gas drilling, embraced rapidly across the US, has contaminated water supplies with radioactive waste, according to an investigation by the New York Times. The paper said internal documents from the Environmental Protection Agency and state regulators showed that the dangers to the public from the drilling method - hydraulic fracturing - were greater than previously understood.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, uses huge volumes of water, chemicals and sand injected into rock at high pressure to release natural gas. Its development has unleashed a natural gas boom in the US and around the world. But the NYT said the waste water contained dangerously high levels of radioactivity. It was being sent to treatment plants that were not designed to deal with or being discharged into rivers that supply drinking water.

Photo:  Attribution Some rights reserved by Purple_Mecha

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Posted by Jennifer Lance at March 3, 2011 6:18 AM

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