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Monday, December 12, 2011

My New Definition of Terrorism: Fracking

Are you on this map?

My friends have been talking about the documentary Gasland by Josh Fox for some time now, so we finally bumped it to the top of our Netflix queue and watched it last night. If you haven't seen it, get thee to it.

I'd seen the clips of tap water igniting, filling the sink with flames, but that's just a small part of it. People tell me that fracking will be safe here in northeast Ohio because our ground water is so shallow. That's ridiculous logic right there, but even so, that's just part of it.

Each well requires thousands of semi trips, which chews up roads. The fracking fluid contains over 500 chemicals, and some of the worst we have. It goes into the ground with millions of gallons of fresh water. Half of this toxic drink stays in the ground. Half of it comes back up and sits in evaporation pits where chemicals like benzene and toluene go airborne. Then it's sent to local wastewater plants, or pumped back into the ground at injection wells.

On every level this is terrifying, and wherever Fox goes, he hears about wild, domestic and farm animals sick and dead, and adults and children with cancer, brain damage and a host of horrors. Ground water is forever poisoned, but often residents don't know until they've been drinking it and have gotten very sick. Imagine this: your family has lived on that farm for generations, and now you can't use your water for anything, ever again. What will you do: sell the place?

You think flaming tap water is graphic - wait until you see the clip of the well that explodes. It's a biblical hell. Here in Ohio we're fracking in the rural areas, but also right up against communities, too. And now we've had a series of earthquakes linked to an injection site.

I know why Dick Cheney brokered the 'Halliburton loophole' - the law that exempts fracking from the Clean Water Act, Clear Air Act and a host of regulations designed to keep arsenic out of ground water. Because, as someone noted to my friend, Dick Cheney understands that some people want to be very, very rich.

But why we in Ohio would sell our water and our children's water and our children's health for money is something I can't swallow. What are future generations going to say, that they understand why we signed, because we needed jobs? That we didn't know about climate change? That there was no sun, no wind, no insulation, no public transportation, no other way?

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