New reason to nix fracking — it may cause earthquakes

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In June, CL wrote about fracking and urged state government to continue the ban on the practice in North Carolina. We had good reasons then, but now Ohio has provided what has to be the best reason yet: it apparently can cause earthquakes.

"Fracking” is short for hydro-fracking, the controversial method of extracting natural gas from shale rock formations by forcibly shooting a toxic mix of chemicals, water and sand into rock formations. The main problems with fracking were 1) it uses millions of gallons of water, which can hurt local water supplies that have to be detoxified later; 2) huge amounts of radioactive material have been found in water supplies near fracking sites; and 3) it can open fractures to freshwater formations and wreak havoc on local water supplies. Large numbers of wells tainted by methane have been reported, as well as major accidents — including a well blowout in Pennsylvania that churned out toxic water and gas for 16 hours. The state levied a $400,000 fine against the companies responsible. People near fracking sites complain of oily-tasting water coming from their taps, and videos of people lighting their tap water on fire are all over the Internet.

And now earthquakes. On Friday, near Youngstown, OH, where fracking has been going on, a number of small earthquakes in quick succession have scared hell out of residents and state officials. The Ohio Natural Resources Department shut down the nearest fluid-injection well, and have now indefinitely postponed opening four other planned wells, until it can figure out if fracking led to the earthquakes.

In North Carolina, gas companies are buying up land in the central area of the state where shale deposits are located, even though, for now, fracking is illegal here. Let the governor know how you feel about fracking in N.C. — and how you feel about man-made earthquakes, for that matter. The phone number for the governor’s Charlotte office is (704) 330-5290; her e-mail address is governor.office@nc.gov.
Meanwhile, check out this great video about fracking, titled "My Water's On Fire Tonight."

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