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Tap water you can light on fire

Sherry Vargson, who leased the mineral rights under part of her farm to gas company Chesapeake Energy, illustrates her assertion that methane has leached into her well water by lighting it as it pours from her kitchen tap in Granville Summit, Pennsylvania.

Fracking is the process of pumping water deep into the ground with the aim of creating fractures that release trapped gas.

There’s a bit of a debate on whether or not these chemicals are making their way into the water supply and poisoning the environment, with the big energy companies claiming that the chemicals are kept far away from drinking water. (You can learn more about fracking in this post I wrote last year.)

From the Guardian last week…

Rural northern Pennsylvania, which sits on top of the Marcellus Shale formation, is at the centre of a rush for natural gas, brought about by the controversial drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’. While it has been an economic boom for the state, generating thousands of jobs, local residents are protesting against development and suing energy companies for alleged pollution of their water supplies.

I’m not an environmental scientist, but I don’t need to be to tell you something is very, very wrong when you can light your tap water on fire.

Photo copyright and used with permission from Jim Lo Scalzo

3 Comments

Leave a comment or contact me on Twitter at @ChrisFerdinandi.


Adam Axon

The UK government just commissioned a report into the safety of Fracking. One of it’s conclusions was that Fracking was responsible for causing several Earthquakes in the Blackpool area and yet the report despite highlighting the risks and also uncertainity behind just what Fracking could result in, still recommended the use of Fracking with the UK.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever watched Yes, Minister but there is an episode where they talk about influencing government reports, especially the conclusions to support the decision that you’re looking for. Which most of the time is in support of big business and industry due to the revenue creation they bring. Sounds very much like what’s gone with this report.

To your point though, when you can set your tap water on fire, well I’m not sure there is enough revenue creation in the world that can justify that?


Chris Ferdinandi

So they actually recommended, despite determining caused earthquakes, that the practice continue? That’s simply absurd!

The lobbying issue you mentioned (Yes, Minister) isn’t unique to the UK. Big business has tremendous power in Washington.


Adam Axon

Absolutely absurd! Lobbying is just one issue that makes the concept of “democracy” a bit of farce as far as I’m concerned. There is very little democratic about what goes on in our societies!

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