Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fracking into Oblivion

We’ve got an ongoing drought in the Midwest that’s crippling farming and escalating our food prices.  In addition there are an increased number of wildfires throughout the country particularly in the West due to a combination of drought and “unseasonably” hot temperatures.  Add to that many of our cities are nothing more than toxic cesspools chocked with air pollution and surrounded by dirty water that is so vigorously “treated” it too may be dangerous to drink over the long haul.  Furthermore, thousands of lakes, ponds, rivers and streams are so polluted with heavy metals, industrial solvents, agriculture pesticides and the like that you can no longer fish in them.  In fact, a lake located about seventy miles from here has been declared a “super-fund cleanup site” because it’s essentially nothing but PCB soup.  In case you’re wondering PCB stands for polychlorinated biphenyl and that is essentially a mixture of benzene and chlorine in varying amounts (209 different types of PCBs) and they are all extremely toxic.  By the way, PCBs were banned in the US but persist in the environment.  And now, as if things couldn’t get worse, we’ve got something else to contend with called fracking.  Fracking stands for, “hydraulic fracturing” and that is basically the process of pulverizing deep underground rock using liquid under great pressure in order to extract natural gas locked within the rock sediments.  But here’s the catch: In addition to water there are about 800 chemicals added that are said to “ease the flow” of gas to the surface.  The exact mixtures of these chemicals are secret because the Bush-Cheney administration was in bed with the oil and gas industry and they allowed them to essentially write all the rules regarding how information concerning fracking is disseminated to the public.  So, of course, we’re in the dark and all we know is based on analysis performed by independent scientists examining residues of fracking liquids.  The analyses are indeed frightening with so many chemicals like toluene, benzene and xylem, all of them carcinogens.

The Oil and Gas Mafia is waging war on the truth by engaging in what might be one of the most extensive misinformation campaigns ever attempted.  First, they have opened scores of websites promoting fracking and downplaying its horrific effects on the country.  One of the websites I visited was actually called, “The Truth about Fracking.”  The mention of the 800 additional toxic and lethal chemicals added to fracking fluid was only in a final sentence, as if in an afterthought, about “chemicals” being added.

When a country is being taken over by a few and those few could not care less about the land, the water and air or about the people but instead care only for themselves then you might begin to wonder if the country is doomed.  Strong words, but ask yourself: How much more can the land, water and air be degraded and you and your family be poisoned before it all begins to implode?  There comes a tipping point when things will never return to how they were before.  Amazingly, there is a bloc of people who seem to live with their heads in the sand.  They have been so manipulated by those who don’t want you to know the facts that they—this bloc of people—have become anti-science and adamantly defiant when faced with reality.  They follow their emotions and turn away from empiricism.

Miniscule amounts of fracking liquids can contaminate horrific volumes of our underground water supplies.  One drilling operation uses about 2.5 million gallons of water.  In an average year gas drilling procedures use as much water as would be supplied to about 70 US cities.  This water is essentially unusable afterwards given its contamination of toxic chemicals.  An in depth analysis of the ill effects caused by all the chemicals used in fracking is beyond the scope of this blog entry.  But below is a website that lists some of the chemicals used.