Time Magazine Dubs Fracking America’s “Biggest Environmental Issue” of 2011

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Time Magazine got it right when it outed hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as the biggest environmental concern our nation is facing as we head into the new year. Why fracking? The world’s largest weekly news magazine, boasting a global circulation of 25 million, points to “the threats that shale gas drilling could pose to water supplies” and the fact that “natural gas produced by fracking may actually have a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than coal” – a revelation that undercuts the oft-heard claim that gas offers a “clean alternative” to other fossil fuels.

The “cleaner” industry talking point flies in the face of a range of scientifically confirmed fracking-related impacts and by-products, such as increased greenhouse emissions, drinking water contamination, huge amounts of highly toxic wastewater and air pollution. Time Magazine clearly understands that as the fracking boom encroaches on more densely populated areas – with access roads being carved, wells being drilled and pipelines being laid – public health and safety issues become an increasing concern. For example, in Pennsylvania, experts estimate that fracking will ultimately impact more than two-thirds of the state.

We should all find comfort in the fact that – despite a massive industry-funded public relations campaign and nearly $150 million (and counting) in lobbying efforts – fracking is still being singled out as America’s most urgent environmental issue. Enviro blogs (including this one), nonprofits and activists have railed against fracking for years, but it’s always encouraging when the mainstream media jumps on board. And Time Magazine, owned by one of the world’s largest media conglomerates (i.e., Time Warner), is about as mainstream as it gets.

It certainly speaks volumes about the severity of the situation when the mainstream media, with all their deep ties to corporate America, can no longer ignore the ravages of a widespread industrial practice that, according to frackers, both creates jobs and increases our energy independence. But the big question remains: At what cost?

Read the Time article by Bryan Walsh here: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2101745_2102309_2102323,00.html

Read my April 13 post on the Cornell study that indicates natural gas may be dirtier than coal: http://www.stuarthsmith.com/global-warming-threat-new-studies-suggest-natural-gas-is-dirtier-than-coal

For all the latest news on fracking, visit: http://www.frackingofamerica.com/home

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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