Research Fracking’s Impact on Humans and the Environment

Target: Governor Deval Patrick

Goal: Execute research to better understand the effects of hydraulic fracturing.

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, is a procedure used to extract natural gas from from deposits that extend thousands of feet underground. Fracking involves digging deep wells into the earth and injecting pressurized water mixed with chemicals and sand into them. It taps into large reserves of natural gas that have great potential to be exploited. While this method of natural gas extraction may be beneficial for the purpose of locating alternative fuel sources, it is also extremely dangerous because fracking can lead to the pollution of drinking water and groundwater with chemicals. As a result, it has become extremely controversial and needs to be modified to address these dangers.

Recently, shale deposits have been discovered in Western Massachusetts’ Hartford Basin, which extends into Connecticut. While the land areas being targeted are not estimated to contain particularly expansive reserves, executive director of the American Ground Water Trust Andrew Stone announced that gas development could begin in several years. Although deposits are likely small and scattered about, their discovery uncovers potential for dangerous gas extraction procedures in this area of the state.

Hydraulic fracturing has been the topic of heated debate regarding its effects on underground and drinking water. The process taps into uncharted territory, stirring up gas and chemical deposits which are then able to escape into underground currents of water. Potential dangers include the pollution of natural springs and drinking water. Obviously, drinking polluted water raises various health concerns for members of surrounding communities. However, hydraulic fracturing is an efficient, affordable alternative fuel source, and its value must not be underestimated. Several activist groups and organizations have stirred up raging protests whose ultimate goal is to ban the process entirely. Ultimately, this is not a viable solution to the problem. If hydraulic fracturing is banned immediately, the question of locating viable and affordable fuel sources will remain unanswered. What must be done is further research, which could lead to modifications in the hydraulic fracturing process and less risky extraction methods.

Sign this petition to request that more research be devoted to hydraulic fracturing in an effort to create safer and more affordable methods of natural gas extraction.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Patrick,

While hydraulic fracturing effectively extracts valuable fuel deposits, it also disturbs chemicals and gas that are then free to escape into currents of groundwater and drinking water that have been declared clean and safe for human use. Chemical pollution is extremely dangerous, as it poses a number of environmental and health hazards which will directly impact the surrounding communities.

Fracking certainly holds great potential for tapping into valuable fuel sources, but the cost at which it is performed must be considered. The wellbeing of the people of Massachusetts is without a doubt of utmost importance. As it should be a top priority for your office, you will certainly understand the critical importance of giving careful, thorough consideration to the execution of hydraulic fracturing practices in Massachusetts. Obviously, hydraulic fracturing provides vast opportunities for the fuel industry, so it would be rash and ultimately counterproductive to ban the process entirely.

What must be done instead is further research into the process of hydraulic fracturing. Its potential, both positive and negative, must be measured carefully against the cost which the environment and surrounding communities are forced to pay. It may be beneficial, if necessary, to tweak the process so that its negative impact on the community is minimized. Ideally, the process would be perfected to maximize natural gas exploitation while eliminating the human and environmental cost. However, if it is necessary to choose between the two, surely you will find it within your responsibilities as Governor to serve the needs of the people and the environment first.

Governor Patrick, please seriously consider investing further research into the process of hydraulic fracturing so that the people of Massachusetts and the world may gain a more comprehensive understanding of its impact and more efficient, affordable methods of natural gas extraction may be developed.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Matt Rudge via Flickr

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2 Comments

  1. The cost of paying for many years of health care to those who must drink the toxic water is far more than the short term profits of fracking. The suffering it brings to individuals and their communities cannot be evaluated in dollars, and it affects everyone.

  2. Fracking cost is not the sole problem. Permanent damage is likely to the many surface areas affected. Landowners livliehood is also put at risk. So research into consequences should be thorough not superficial.

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