The WV Department of Environmental Protection has permitted Northeast Natural Energy to build “frack” wells within a mile of Morgantown city limits, 1500 feet from the city’s water intake from the Mon River, and just below Westwood Middle School and Skyview Elementary School. They have also permitted a fracking wastewater storage facility in the same area.
Hydraulic fracturing is a method of extracting natural gas from shale formations. Each well uses millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals and sand at very high pressure to fracture the rock and release the gas. Across the country, including West Virginia, there have been many reports of contaminated water, air pollution, mysterious illnesses, explosions, and other accidents due to fracking.
Fracking was exempted from key provisions of the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Superfund Acts. In WV, efforts to enact regulations have been defeated repeatedly. Meanwhile, fracking continues without effective regulation.
Fracking is not a “clean” method of producing energy. Fracking releases methane, a greenhouse gas about 24 times as potent as carbon dioxide. Even without spills, fracking can contaminate rivers, lakes, wells, and aquifers through fault lines. There’s no way to dispose of all the chemical pollutants left in the ground by the industry. Eventually they enter the environment.
Fracking chemicals are dangerous. Of the 649 chemicals identified in fracking fluids, 55% are known to cause nervous system damage. Many are linked to cancer and damage to various organs.
Underground radioactive material is released and brought to the surface in fracking flowback water.
Air pollution from fracking is inevitable. Compressors and condensate tanks release benzene, toluene, xylenes, ethylbenzenes and other pollutants into the atmosphere. The vast number of trucks involved greatly increases air quality degradation.
Fracking pollution travels far from its origin, borne by air and waterways. Fracking affects everyone.