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Fracking threat to environment

Published: Sunday, October 14, 2012

Updated: Sunday, October 14, 2012 14:10

Last week, the South Florida publication the News-Press reported on rumors that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is now being considered as a viable drilling option in the Sunshine State. Ed Pollister, owner of Century Oil Company, told the News-Press that fracking is inevitable in South Florida and is expected to be used within a year. Within the past year, the Department of Environmental Protection has received approximately seven or eight inquiries about the possible future of fracking in Florida.

Fracking practices are not prohibited under the state DEP guidelines. Although DEP Mining and Minerals Regulation Bureau Chief Calvin Alvarez stated that “fracking is not being proposed and there are no permit applications to conduct fracking,” even the discussion of the practice with our state name in the same sentence is alarming.

Proposed fracking sites include South Florida’s Upper Sunniland Trend, which stretches 150 miles from Fort Myers to Miami. Part of the land also runs through the Big Cypress Preserve, a small chunk of the fragile and already troubled Everglades ecosystem. Alvarez and DEP spokesperson Patrick Gillespie both agree that the geology of the Sunniland Trend is not amenable to fracking.

The reality is that no land is amenable to fracking. It is a destructive practice that causes harmful and substantive pollution. Residents in several other states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania and Colorado, have endured the aftermath and consequences of fracking practices. Citizens in both Ohio and Colorado cities placed a charter on the November ballot to stop fracking.

A recent congressional report, published by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, states that of the 750 chemicals that are permitted in the fracking process, 29 are considered carcinogens as regulated by the Safe Water Drinking Act and/or listed as a hazardous air pollutant under the Clean Air Act. There is no federal law that requires disclosure of the chemicals used in the fracking process.

Florida citizens, it’s time to wake up and face facts: action must be taken against these industries that threaten what little natural ecosystem our state has left. You can’t drink money, and once our aquifer, as well as our state’s fragile environment, has been contaminated, maybe then we will realize that.

The profit motivation for these cheap, easy methods of extraction for resources is driven by a complete disregard for our health, our safety, our surroundings and our sustainability. But hopefully it doesn’t have to come to that. Florida needs community organizers to mobilize and educate the public about this threat to our state’s water supply and environment. Learn more about how you can help here.

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