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The Fracking File – dangers, solutions and myths

If companies had to pay the price for the destruction that they leave behind, this would be completely unprofitable. Help us fight disinformation by sharing this article. Corporations are spending millions to convince the public that we need to frack more, but we can use social media and show people the other side of the story.

Here’s a brilliant video explaining the extraction process  in detail :

Many towns in the US have organized and managed to win against the fracking industry.  Two small towns used zoning ordinances to ban fracking on their territory :

Here are 5 of the most common argruments made in favor of fracking :

The fossil fuel industry is spending millions to get their point of view out in the media. Most of the times the information that they present will have some sort of truth in it, but it will be pulled completely out of context. For them it’s all nothing but a game of words – words that will allow them to fill their pockets while leaving behind a toxic legacy.

1) Fracking doesn’t use a lot of water – Fracking has always been accused of using huge amounts of water. Indeed fracking uses between 7 and 30 million liters of water per well.  Those who are trying to show another perspective on the subject are most often comparing the amounts of water used in fracking to other industries that require a lot of water, and they often manage to show that the overall consumption of fracking is often considerably lower than that of other industries. What were missing in that picture though is the difference in the way the water is used in the different activities – fracking leaves behind water so contaminated with heavy metals, chemicals and radioactive materials that it is nearly impossible to purify it with the technology that we currently have. You can’t really say that it doesn’t use a lot of water when million liters of water are sealed from the natural cycle and their return to it could be devastating.

The fracking industry also claims that fracking never contaminated drinking water, despite the numerous reports of drinking water contamination coming from around the U.S. – watch video here.

2) The water used in fracking is partially RECYCLED– Fracking companies are bragging lately about what they label as the RECYCLING part of the polluted water that comes back up on the surface. Using the word “recycling” is a smart marketing move, but unfortunately behind it hides the word “REUSING”. The water is not really purified from the toxins, but they just manage to remove enough of the heavy metals so that it becomes again usable with more fracking chemicals for the next drill. /Source/ Doing this certainly saves some fresh water, but doesn’t solve the fact that we don’t have the technology to clean the water that we use in fracking. All of the terribly polluted water ends up in the ground, calling this recycling is hypocrisy.

3) Creating jobs – This is without doubt the argument that we all hear most often coming from politicians and industry both in Europe and the US. We hear constantly about regulations and environmental activists “killing jobs”, but I guess that in the case of fracking we should be talking more about “jobs that are killing us“.

Companies are exaggerating the amounts of jobs they would create : The fracking industry’s projections and paid studies on the jobs creation that their drilling would generate have proven to be way off the charts over and over. A 2013 report by the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative examined the real job impact that shale drilling had in six states, where most of the fracking in the US is going on. The study stated that “The number of jobs created is far below industry claims and remains a small share of overall employment in the region.”.

Industry supporters have exaggerated the jobs impact in order to minimize or avoid altogether taxation, regulation, and even careful examination of shale drilling,” said Fran Mauro, the Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute in New York, and a member of the Research Collaborative. – Source

Some defenders of the fracking industry have used the absurd argument that the fact that there were less jobs created is positive because it means that fracking is cheaper. /Example this article/ This could sound a little less ridiculous if we were living in a parallel universe under a fairy tale capitalism. In our reality though, when giant fossil fuel multinational corporations employ less people it means even higher profits for the shareholders.

It’s also important to say that a lot of the figures you see on the job creation generated by fracking are taking in account jobs that already existed or jobs that have nothing to do with the drilling itself. Source

All jobs are not the same : Journalists and politicians talking about the economy often leave the impression that they are completely disconnected from reality. We can’t be talking about “jobs” in general, because obviously jobs can be VERY different. For example creating jobs in fast food industry means that more people will be working on destroying people’s health while receiving so little money for the job that they find themselves under the poverty line. In the case of fracking, a lot of the people who are employed have to work under very hard conditions and the result of their work could be potentially harmful to present and future generations.

Other industries could create more and better jobs : All sustainable energy and production often requires more people and can be perceived as more expensive than industries that are more polluting. In fact not only that it doesn’t cost more, but actually it costs much less. The only reason why energy extraction and production can be both polluting and profitable is because the real price is not included in the costs of production and extraction. It is also impossible to simply calculate that price – how much would it cost to pollute the drinking water of people 50 years from now? How much money does the Boreal forest cost? Can we really calculate how much does it cost to pollute the air that everybody breathes? No, we can’t, because life is more important than wealth. Today’s industries are not paying the real price of their activities.

We CAN and HAVE TO afford more people working on sustainable development.

4) The fracking fluid is mostly water -Fracking companies often present the fluid that they inject as being “mostly” water. It is true that around 99% of it is water, but when you look at those 0.5%-1 % /Source/ toxic chemicals on the scale of the millions of liters of fluid used for a single well the picture starts to look quite different. Tons of mostly unknown chemicals end up in the ground, calling this “mostly” water is nothing but a game of words.  Source.

5) Energy independence – We hear a lot about energy independence, both in Europe and in the US concerning fracking expansion and tar sands development. For me we cannot be talking about independence when we’re leaving toxic injections in the ground and when we dig out huge bio-diverse forests. It is not independence when it’s our children and millions of species that pay the price – it is theft.

 

 

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