'Fracking' endangers pursuit of clean energy
Published: Sunday, February 5, 2012
Updated: Sunday, February 5, 2012 14:02
Last Wednesday, Josh Fox, the director of the documentary Gasland, was arrested during a House meeting with the Environmental Protection Agency on the issue of contaminated drinking water due to a natural gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, aka "fracking."
Fox said in a statement, "I was not expecting to be arrested for practicing journalism. Today's hearing in the House Energy and Environment subcommittee was called to examine EPA's findings that hydraulic fracturing fluids had contaminated groundwater in the town of Pavillion, Wyoming."
He continued to say, "I have a long history with the town of Pavillion and its residents who have maintained since 2008 that fracking has contaminated their water supply."
The results from the actual hearing concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to directly link hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to the contamination of the water aquifer in Pavillion, Wyoming. Tom Doll, the State Oil and Gas Supervisor at the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, questioned the EPA's conclusions and failure to make its investigation transparent. The Subcommittee Chairman Andy Harris claims that the EPA's assault on the process of hydraulic fracturing is merely a barrage of, "scientific innuendo and regulatory straight-jacketing."
These claims and the general outcome of the hearing are outrageous considering the fact that the EPA has been openly investigating the region's fracking process and its affects on its water supply for three years. There has been no attempt to cover up the findings or the process of their investigation. The fact of the matter is that supporters of hydraulic fracturing will go to any lengths to debunk the results of the EPA's investigation in order to continue this process -- a process they believe is beneficial to America and will lessen our dependence on foreign oil.
Perhaps there were a couple loopholes in the EPA's investigation. Perhaps fracking will lessen our dependence on foreign oil. And maybe Fox was being disruptive at the subcommittee's hearing on the EPA's findings (though the hearing was, in fact, public, and throwing him out infringed upon a number of freedom of press rights and was likely only executed due to Fox's known political stance against hydraulic fracturing). However, none of the presumptions point toward the real issue at hand.
The people of the United States of America deserve better. The focus should not even be on lessening our dependence on foreign oil, but rather should be on lessening our dependence on (and addiction to) oil in general. It doesn't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, just as it does not take more than a three-year investigation to know that hydraulic fracturing has severe side-effects and detrimental impacts to water supplies within proximity of fracking sites. The fracking process is a slap in the face to all of those who support renewable and clean energy standards for the future, and the facts that Fox was arrested and the EPA's findings were moot are further insults to the ideal discourse this nation should be aiming for.
Progressives like Chris Castro and organizations such as Intellectual Designs for Environmental Awareness Solutions outline these issues constantly. For more information on cleaner, renewable energy standards that should be implemented now and in the near future, visit the IDEAS website at www.ideasforus.org. For more information on the process of fracking, just search "fracking" on any major search engine. The information is out there, it is just a matter of opening your eyes to this toxic extraction process set up in the name of progress that is hurting the health of many Americans.