Putting the Brakes on the Fracking Boom: Federal Panel Warns of “Excessive Environmental Impacts”


A federal committee has formalized in a highly critical report what many of us have been shouting about for years: Fracking will cause “excessive” damage to the environment if steps aren’t immediately taken to minimize its impacts. A little late to the party, but we appreciate the first truly candid federal assessment of a natural gas extraction process known to contaminate water supplies with human carcinogens, produce a rash of air-quality issues, and every now and then, cause residential drinking-water wells to explode.

The federal advisory panel also issued a dramatic wake-up call, cautioning frackers that intensifying public concern and opposition could put the brakes on the fastest growing sector of our new energy economy. Here’s to hoping the panel is right.

From a Nov. 10 Associated Press report by Dina Cappiello:

The seven-member committee said in a report released Thursday (Nov. 10) that progress by the federal government and the oil and gas industry on 20 recommendations it issued in August has been less than it hoped. It said if actions were not taken to avoid “excessive environmental impacts,” a public outcry could delay or stop the gas drilling boom.

Committee members stated that fracking in its current form and as it’s currently being implemented – in a dizzying number of wells from Texas to New York – has “excessive environmental impacts.” That uncharacteristically pointed assessment bodes poorly for fracking communities cropping up across the country, particularly when the warning comes from a federal government known for its cozy ties to the oil and gas industry.

For me, the most worrisome part of this report is that frackers have brushed aside a raft of recommendations – 20 of them issued in August – to minimize environmental impacts. Shocking, I know. The oil and gas industry is behaving (gasp) irresponsibly? The revelation isn’t at all surprising but it’s disturbing nonetheless.

We’re faced with an industrial practice that presents enormous risks to the environment and public health and safety, and we’ve got an industry that refuses to take any real steps toward reducing the impact. That’s a dangerous combination.

Read the entire AP report here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/10/panel-says-fracking-impacts-excessive_n_1087049.html

Learn more about our nation’s most urgent environmental threat at the new “Fracking of America” website: http://www.frackingofamerica.com/

Check out our fracking Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/HydraulicFracturingSupportGroup

© Smith Stag, LLC 2011 – All Rights Reserved

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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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