The long term environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, has become a big issue as the process becomes more commonly used. On the one side there are environmentalists who think that the process is inherently dangerous to people and the environment around us. On the other side are the energy companies and those profiting from this boom. They claim that when done safely and correctly, fracking holds nothing to be worried about.
Fracking is the process being used in the Eagle Ford Shale area to extract the oil and natural gas that lies in the rock formations underground. While regulators still try to figure out what to do, residents of these towns have to live with the environmental impact of these processes before the full impact is even known.
There is much data that exists but that is not even disclosed by the energy companies. This means that it is difficult to gauge the actual impact of these activities. However, one of the most talked about and controversial discussions about fracking’s impact on the environment involves water contamination.
One major problem is that there are more wells and fracking sites than there are monitoring sites. This means that even if there were a problem, officials and therefore the public wouldn’t necessarily even know about them.
Regardless, there have been many unofficial reports of water contamination, which has many potential sources:
- the fracking process
- wastewater, which includes dangerous toxic chemicals that can cause serious health effects such as cancer, nervous system damage, and gene mutation
- pits where drilling chemicals are stored
- transportation of chemicals and wastewater
It is one thing to debate this issue at a theoretical level, hoping that eventually the right policy will be developed to protect the public. But it is another thing altogether to have these processes going on in your backyard, not knowing whether it is safe to drink the water that comes out of your tap.
If the impact of hydraulic fracturing has negatively impacted you, the oil field injury attorneys at Kirkendall Dwyer LLP can help. While there have been many positive impacts of the drilling boom in South Texas, there have been negative ones as well, and you should not have to suffer alone.