Friday, April 16, 2010

Hydro-Fracking: Sounds Gross Because it Is

Dr. Theo Colborn presenting Hydro-Fracking for Natural Gas at the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design, 4/15/10. Photo of pollution-filled evaporation ponds in Colorado. In New York it is too humid for evaporation to be effective, so polluted water will be reinjected into the ground or tranported somewhere else.

Hopefully you've heard of hydro-fracking by now. This is a process of natural gas extraction that involves drilling down into shale and shaking things up to release gas. They are planning on doing this to the Marcellus Shale, creating the nation's largest gas field across four states, including the Catskill/Delaware Watershed where New York City gets its fresh drinking water from.

My original reaction without knowing too much about it was that futzing with our water supply is probably a bad idea. Last night I went to a very detailed lecture on the subject which enumerated many reasons why this is an environmentally disastrous procedure. This includes the numerous dangerous chemicals that get pumped into the ground in the process, the huge quantities of water required to run the operation, and the serious air pollution that forms when diesel fumes from the trucks and machines at the surface interact with volatile organic compounds released from underground, forming ground-level ozone. 

Drinking water is fundamental, more important to sustaining life then concentrated energy. Let's keep our eyes on this issue. For information see:

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