Here’s the Basics
Hydro-fracking, or “fracking” is a method of natural gas extraction from shale deposits that are far underground. Wells are drilled vertically into the shale and then horizontally across it. Small explosions crack the shale to release more gas, then millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals and sand are pumped through the well to flood the natural gas out. For an exhaustive description of the hydro-fracking process that will teach you more than you ever wanted to know, click here.
Fracking can Contaminate our Air and Water
- The oil and gas industry is exempt from the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act and many other national environmental laws. The normal rules that are in place to keep industrial facilities from endangering public health are simply not applied to gas drilling operations–fracking is given special treatment.
- Drilling “mud” that is produced from hydro-fracking is toxic and wells can flare gas and chemicals.
- Chemical storage tanks evaporate harmful smog-forming pollution into our air.
- Trucks carry fracking chemicals to and from well sites, increasing auto emissions and causing more smog.
- Each fracking well uses several million gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals (these are kept secret), which is injected underground to keep the gas flowing. About half of this water comes back up later on. It cannot be recycled or reused for any other purpose because of the chemicals it contains, so it is sent instead to underground hazardous waste injection wells for permanent storage.
Recent Lessons Learned in the D/FW Area
- The City of Flower Mound has recently enacted the toughest gas drilling ordinance in the Metroplex. Well sites must be at least 1,500 feet from homes, schools, religious institutions, public parks, and at least 750 feet from flood plains and public roads.
- Grand Prairie halted sale of city water to gas companies for drilling purposes due to extreme drought.
- Arlington has placed some restrictions on water use by gas companies and has begun charging fees to pay for increased fire department and other emergency response activities.
- Fort Worth, Euless, and D/FW Airport want gas companies to use reclaimed water that hasn’t been treated for human or animal consumption.
- Fort Worth has permanently banned underground injection wells for toxic waste water from fracking inside its city limits.
Dallas must learn from these and other experiences and pass a new ordinance to protect residents and businesses from potential harmful impacts that gas drilling might bring! You can help make it happen by taking action today. There are many easy ways to get involved–don’t hesitate, click here to do what you can now!