Matt Damon wants his new movie “Promised Land” to get a conversation going about the energy industry’s efforts at oil and gas extraction through fracking. Ted Glick of EcoWatch says the movie is more about corporate bullying than about the dangers of fracking. A commenter on this website disagrees, saying there’s a limit to how much can be said in two hours. Glick says here is what’s missing:
• Most importantly, fracking’s huge and growing contribution to our global heating crisis. Methane is 72-105 times as powerful a greenhouse gas as CO2 over the first 20 years after it’s released into the atmosphere. Studies over the past two years, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), show that there is much more methane leakage over the lifecycle of fracked, as well as conventionally-produced, natural gas, than the oil and gas industry admits.
• Constant heavy truck traffic transporting water, sand and fracking fluids that pollutes surrounding air, causes damage to roads, creates traffic congestion and noise and other negative impacts.
• The contamination of rivers close to fracking sites through either deliberate dumping of “flowback” toxic wastewater after a well is drilled or through migration of those fluids underground.
• The drawdown of massive amounts of sometimes-scarce—as in historically dry or dought-impacted areas—nearby river and lake water, many millions of gallons per well.
• Documented radiation levels in wastewater 100 or more times the U.S. EPA’s drinking water standard.
• Disruption of other economically- and socially-valued industries or practices, such as agriculture, tourism, hunting and fishing.
• Fragmentation of woods and forests via construction of well sites, pipelines, roads and other infrastructure.
• A decline in property values of homes and land adjacent to or near wells.
• Earthquakes—the U.S. Geological Survey has reported that deep underground injection of drilling wastewater is the probable cause of a six-fold increase in earthquakes in middle America in 2011 compared to 20th century levels.