Remember reading about the new fracking disclosure bill that was signed or have heard about it, but don’t quite understand what fracking is? Here is a quick and easy visual explanation of the fracking process and how it affects us and our environment.
Fracking is another name for hydraulic fracturing, which is the process of extracting natural gas from the ground. What’s so bad about that? Natural gas is green, right? Well, yes and no. While natural gas may burn slightly cleaner than coal, the extraction process is just as, if not more, harmful to human and environmental health as the extraction and burning of coal.
Why is natural gas extraction so harmful, you ask? Does your tap water do this?
The flaming water is a result of gases and fracking fluids seeping into the water shelf during the process of extracting the natural gas from underground, effectively making its way into the local water systems.
So how does the gas get into the water? Good question.
Beside water being flammable, there are multiple health effects caused by the gases chemicals from the fracking fluids. Theses chemicals and gases are causing ADHD, autism, diabetes, obesity, early testicular cancer, endometriosis, to name a few.
So, how does this new legislation forcing the gas companies to disclose chemicals contained in the fracking fluids have in impact? For years now, these companies have been able to deny that there are any chemicals that would be harmful to those living in close proximity to the drilling sites. Now that these chemicals are to be exposed, it will be much harder to deny that all of the aforementioned health issues were not a direct result of their extraction practices.
For more in-depth and explicit information about the impact of fracking:
-Jessica Olson, Sierra Club Beyond Coal/ Communications Intern
On Saturday at 3pm, the Texas Drought Project and the Oil and Gas Accountability project hosted a town hall in Cuero. There were about 40-50 people in attendance. Check out our livetweets below. More information to come- stay tuned!
(Start from the bottom and work your way up! Sorry, Twitter’s timeline is by the most recent update.)
Natural Gas Fracking Bill Set for Debate in Texas State House Today
(Austin) The Texas House of Representatives is set to consider a major bill today on the House Floor which, for the first time, would require operators of natural gas wells in Texas to disclose the chemicals, hydro-fracking fluids and additives they use when “fracking” a gas well. House Bill 3328 by State Representative Jim Keffer – a Republican from Eastland whose district near Fort Worth has experienced heavy Barnett Shale gas drilling activity — would be a major change in regulation of the oil and gas industry in Texas. Texas would become one of a handful of states now requiring that companies disclose what they are injecting underground, and make that information available on a public website, on a well-by-well basis.
The bill could include an amendment promoted by the Texas Oil and Gas Association that would limit full disclosure of all chemicals by only requiring full disclosure on a publicly-available website of “MSDS” chemicals – those regulated by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) – and not all chemicals. Instead, the “other chemicals” will be on a separate list given to the state agency as part of their well completion reports, and those chemicals will not include the actual volume or concentration.
“Under a proposal being advocated by the Texas Oil and Gas Association, Texas would have an “MSDS plus” system, certainly better than nothing, but a bill that is far short of the much stronger bill originally introduced by Rep. Keffer,” said Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director with the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. “We hope the House and Senate will consider strengthening the bill to make it a true model bill for the nation.”
Among the changes Sierra Club is seeking in order to fully support the bill are:
- Full well-by-well website disclosure of all chemicals, including those regulated by OSHA and those not regulated by OSHA;
- A more inclusive list of who can actually challenge any chemicals claimed as trade secrets, including those landowners living within a mile of any well shaft;
- A process for the agency to determine if any trade secret claims are meritorious and not give a blanket protection to trade secrets claimed by the industry.
“Even as gas companies continue to drill the Barnett Shale in North Texas, new shale finds like the Eagle Ford in South Texas are being developed at a breakneck speed, without any disclosure of the chemicals being injected underground. The injected fracking fluids are impacting the water and land of thousands of individuals in Texas,” Reed noted further.
“What happens in Texas is important because Texas is the leading gas producer in the country and the state where hydro-fracking technology got its start,” said Deb Nardone with Sierra Club’s Natural Gas Campaign. “Getting disclosure regulations right in Texas could help bolster disclosure in other states. Weaker disclosure in Texas would provide dangerous traction for the industry to seek limited disclosure in other states.” # # #
As natural gas production grows across the country, we are increasingly concerned about the environmental impacts and lack of safeguards to protect human health and our communities. The movie “Gasland”, which depicts what life is like in gas communities across the country, has generated a movement.
Please join us for an hour-long teleconference with Academy Award nominated filmmaker Josh Fox to discuss the movie and how gas activists across the country are organizing for change.
WHO: You, your family and friends
WHAT: Discuss the Academy Award nominated documentary, Gasland, with filmmaker Josh Fox
WHEN: Wednesday, April 13th. Please note your time zone: 5-6 pm PT / 6-7 pm MT / 7-8 pm CT / 8-9 pm ET
RSVP by April 12: http://action.sierraclub.org/site/Calendar?view=Detail&id=151861&autologin=true&211CNGEN01
This event has been organized on behalf of the Sierra Club’s Hydrofracking Activist Network, a resource with information and a forum for discussing natural gas issues across the country.
Natural Gas Reform Campaign