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Published on August 9th, 2010 | by Becky Striepe

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Natural Gas Exploration Threatens Clean Water

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glass of water

Natural gas gets a lot of buzz these days as a clean alternative to oil. Unfortunately, while it may be a clean-burning fuel, a popular new extraction method is causing horrible water pollution in areas near drill sites. Residents in areas near fracking sites have been able to set their tap water on fire.

The method is called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” for short, and it involves all sorts of toxic chemicals that contaminate ground water in the surrounding areas.

While New York State is making some progress on putting a stop to fracking there, other areas aren’t so progressive. Here is Democracy Now talking about fracking and how it can contaminate our drinking water:

What can you do?

Folks in some towns have a chance to speak up! FDA is holding information meetings on fracking, and they’re open to public comment. Here are the dates, times, and locations of the public meetings.

You can also cut back on your natural gas usage. Here are some tips on how to use less natural gas at home.

I wonder what effect, if any, the UN resolution declaring water as a human right will have on the future of fracking? If Haliburton has its way, probably very little.

What do you guys think? Any ideas on how we can get heard about this issue?

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by gromgull



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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .



  • steve

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOKJwI_VZis
    Yes, please feel free to circulate the note and video – We are in Susquehanna County – No drilling or quarries anywhere near us to have caused the gas. We also had little bits of coal come thr…ough the pipes from time to time. The well was at 420' deep, which is shallow when compared to Marcellus bores.

    Yes, This is not good for Dimock or others. But you will find that it is not really so unusual for gas to be in water supplies or near water supplies. Even here in Wayne County we learned from water well drillers that as they are drilling a new water well they hit "pockets" of methane gas. This type of gas is normally occurring gas. It is a natural thing. It is not caused by pollution, or drilling or any man made action. It just is.

    • eatdrinkbetter

      I totally hear you, but I'm not sure I agree.

      The thing is, there's hitting a pocket while drilling a well and then there's having your existing well contaminated by drilling activity. Sure, occasional contamination might happen naturally from time to time with wells, but fracking is definitely responsible for pollution around areas where it occurs.

      I don't think some pollution that happens naturally invalidates the seriousness of the man-made contamination that these folks are seeing, you know what I mean?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=560053854 NancyF Drew

    I've wondered why water smelled and tasted horrible from time to time…it's ok now, but ONG the natural gas company went in with Haliburton company and they've sent ALL their decent paying jobs out of the state! No one is reading the meters, they are just willy-nilly putting whatever they want to charge on their bills! What the heck is going on?? They office where u can go to pay it was even gone when I went today! Think it's time to go all electric and put those killers out of business!

    • eatdrinkbetter

      The problem there is that electricity is normally generated with coal (at least, in most parts of the US), which is also responsible for tons of water pollution thanks to mountaintop removal mining. I think clean renewables are the real answer to our energy woes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Geary-OK/Base-Vines-Cattle/425635135186?ref=ts Vines & Cattle

    Here I sit in a fracking hot spot, (Western Oklahoma) and despite the temporary hassles of trucks and pipelines, I've yet to see any of these issues in regards to the water table. Not to say it can't, or isn't happening, but this boot spends alot of time on the ground, and just isn't an issue.

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