Ten Myths about Fracking The Oil Companies Want You to Believe
Myth # 1 – They aren’t fracking in Tennessee so we don’t have to worry about it. The industry has been fracking in Tennessee for a number of years. While the gas deposits in the Chattanooga Shale formation are not as deep or rich as those in the Marcellus in Pennsylvania or the Barnett in Texas, gas companies plan to frack two-thirds of the state.
Myth # 2 – Fracking is safe. Nationwide there are over 1,000 documented cases of fracking- related water contamination. Methane leaks have caused explosions resulting in deaths, injuries, and loss of property. Herds of cattle have died when exposed to frack wastewater. Air pollution from fracking causes numerous human health problems including breathing difficulties, nose bleeds, and chronic headaches. If fracking were safe, insurance companies would be insuring properties that are fracked, and they will not.
Myth # 3 – Prices for energy will go down because of fracking. Gas and oil companies have plans to export liqueﬁed natural gas they get from fracking in the U.S. to foreign countries, causing the price of gas to go up for Americans.
Myth # 4 – It creates jobs. The jobs that are created with frack drilling are short-term and companies do not typically hire local people.
Myth # 5 – Selling a lease to an oil company will make me rich. The amount of gas in a well varies greatly. Some produce next to none. Productive wells may produce for a few years, but diminish each year by about 30%. Families with contaminated water sources have to truck in water. Farmers whose water becomes contaminated can no longer farm.
Myth #6 – I don’t have to worry about it because I don’t intend to let companies drill on my land. Under Tennessee’s “forced pooling” laws you can lose your mineral rights if enough of your neighbors sell theirs. Fracking can occur as close as 100 feet from your property line, and because the gas industry is exempt from the nation’s Clean Water laws, there is little you can do if your well and/or property is contaminated by a neighbor’s gas operation.
Myth # 7- It’s not so bad. I can stand it for a while. Can you really? You don’t think your family would be upset with huge trucks going in and out tearing up the roads, the noise of drilling, the diesel pumps running day and night, the smell and the danger of storage ponds, with acres of countryside around you bulldozed and bare? Then, of course, there is the possibility of a gas leak into your home or a release of toxins into your water…
Myth # 8 – Well, at least it helps with the problem of global warming. Actually, no, it doesn’t. Fracking wells leak methane gas which is 20 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, so it makes global warming worse.
Myth # 9 – We have to frack because we need the energy. First of all, we need a comprehensive national energy plan. U.S. energy consumption is twice the European average, although our standards of living are similar, beause they have paid a lot of attention to developing conservation and renewable energy sources. Germany gets 25% of its energy from solar energy and plans to be at 50% by 2035. We need to focus more on saving and less on spending.
Myth #10 – There’s plenty of time to solve these energy problems. Unfortunately for us all this may be the most serious part of the problem. We do NOT have time. At the rate the earth is warming, scientists agree that it is one of the most urgent problems we are facing. If we don’t cut down on fossil fuel consumption, global warming will continue to wreak havoc with more drought, ﬁres, ﬂooding, and powerful storms.