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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Arkansas Residents Tell Their Stories of the Dark Side of Fracking

From New South Journalism:
year after the gas companies moved in, Dirk DeTurck began taking notes.
May 2009: Bulldozers started out back building roads and burning trees. House had smoke in it. Like camping indoors. Bought an air purifier.May 17, 2009: Started drilling behind house. Noise 24/7. Ears ringing. Still ring. Loud in the house. Roads all torn up. [The gas companies] spread white gooey stuff for dust control…. Strong diesel smell in the house. Afraid to light a match.
I visited Dirk at his home on the outskirts of Greenbrier, Arkansas, just as a spring hot spell swept through the area. It had rained days before and the trees I passed on the drive over shimmered in the wet heat. Soon, though, the forests gave way to clear-cut areas honeycombed with concrete drill pads. Brown and green tanks rose from the pads, pipes snaked out from pumps.
Uncut forests and vacant hills resurged shortly before I arrived at the DeTurcks’ stone house, but the wooded acres behind their property struggled to swallow several more pads. The sight was far from threatening to an eye already conditioned to industrial intrusions, but this is a relatively new eyesore in Greenbrier, and Dirk knew better.
He answered the door as if we were in the middle of a conversation started elsewhere. “Hydrogen sulfide hangs in the air like a layer of fog,” he said. “It comes off the tanks. Smells like rotten eggs and decaying compost with a little chemical thrown in.”
There are plenty of other accounts of sickness, earthquakes, property value decreases, and more in the balance of the article.  Read the entire story here.

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