Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said drinking water is safe to consume in a small Pennsylvania town that has attracted national attention after residents complained about hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.
The EPA recently completed testing water at 61 homes in Dimock, Pennsylvania, in the Marcellus Shale region, where residents have complained since 2009 of cloudy, foul-smelling water.
Dimock became popular after amateur film-maker Josh Fox released the documentary Gasland, which highlights footage of residents who were able to light their tap water on fire just by holding a flame next to a running spigot.
It should be noted that methane has been found seeping to the surface in parts of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania since the late 1790s.
According to historical records of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania:
Early reports from those who settled the area indicate that plenty of methane (in addition to brine) found its way up to the surface as well — so much methane, in fact, that records suggest the water was flammable dating as far back as 1795.
Susquehanna County isn’t the only place in the Marcellus where this has been occurring for centuries...
William Hart is credited with drilling the world’s first natural gas well in 1825 in Fredonia, New York. (Fredonia is about a four-hour drive northwest from Susquehanna County.)
Drilling a well 27 feet deep into shallow shale rock, Hart struck gas.
How did he know where to drill?
He listened to the Indians, who identified a place known as "Burning Creek" where methane had been bubbling up and igniting for decades.
I doubt any of this will change the minds of the anti-fracking crowd. They're true believers.
As I’ve said many times before, if God Himself came down from the heavens and declared fracking safe — and that it would be done in the future using fairy dust, unicorns and rainbows — the environmentalists would accuse Him of being bought off by the fossil fuel industry.Read the rest of the article here.
There is no question that fracking is the cause of the moment. I don't think any amount of facts revealing fracking to be safe when done correctly will convince the fracktivists to change course. Wrong or right, they are going to be stubborn and continue seeking attention for themselves and their cause, claiming as fact any theory that says fracking is risky. On the other hand, the oil and gas industry is never going to accept any report, study, or ruling that states fracking contributed to contaminated water - and they have the means and media resources to throw facts and assertions out and muddy the issue regardless of what the other side of the debate produces.
Sooner or later, the facts are going to make things clear. So far, final conclusions of tests and studies and reports by government agencies have consistently stated that fracking has not contaminated water and is safe. Every time, the fracktivists claim the test was mishandled or just allege corruption - but that argument is already starting to wear thin. Meanwhile, the industry alleges the same bias and corruption when considering the conclusions of any study that declares fracking dangerous, for the very valid reason that these studies are consistently bought and paid for by activist groups. Of course, studies that are leaned on by the oil and gas industry are paid for by the industry.
The odds are that whatever side you currently fall on in this debate is the side you'll stay on, regardless of what the facts reveal. That's typically what happens when money and emotion enter into a debate and overpower all sense of reason or objectivity.
For our part, we'll just continue to try and report what gets published on the fracking debate. If you are interested in gathering information and making an educated decision about whether you support or oppose oil and gas drilling, hopefully we can help you to access the information you need to do so.
Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!