Lauren Steiner: Whatever you do, don’t tell the audience that the trillion-dollar business opportunity of the future is based on the continued production of natural gas through fracking.
Fracking is a term that is used today for a process technically called hydraulic fracturing which is a technique used to increase or restore the rate at which fluids, such as petroleum, water, or natural gas can be produced from subterranean natural reservoirs. The use of this method to gain access to these fluids has raised environmental concerns. Many "fracturists" are challenging the adequacy of existing regulatory regimes. Their concerns include the potential for ground water contamination, risks to air quality, migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, mishandling of waste, and the health effects of all these, as well as its contribution to raised atmospheric CO2 levels by enabling the extraction of previously sequestered hydrocarbons. An additional concern is that oil obtained through hydraulic fracturing contains chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, which may increase the rate at which rail tank cars and pipelines corrode, potentially releasing their load and its gases. Finally, there are some who believe that fracking may be a contributing factor to increased seismic activity.
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Walter Brasch: It makes little difference if the Community College of Philadelphia accepted “only” $15,000, Lackawanna College accepted $2.5 million, or the University of North Dakota accepted $14 million. We know what they have become—it’s just a matter of deciding how much a tainted body of knowledge is worth.
Dan Bacher: Authored by Senators Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno, SB 1132 would require the Natural Resources Agency to facilitate an “independent scientific study” on well stimulation treatments (fracking and acidizing) and their hazards and risks to natural resources and public, occupational, and environmental health and safety by January 1, 2015.
Walter Brasch: Two of the reasons Pennsylvania has no severance tax and one of the lowest taxes upon shale gas drilling are because of an overtly corporate-friendly legislature and a research report from Penn State, a private state-related university that receives about $300 million a year in public funds.
John MacMurray: What concerns those of us who were sitting on or near the recent 5.1 quake of March 28, 2014, or any of the 47 bazillion (by my unofficial count) pre-and-after shocks, is how big a part fracking might be playing in beating up our dwellings and frazzling our nerves, and what we might expect in the future.
Dan Bacher: Hundreds of indigenous people from California and across the country gathered with a crowd of over 4,000 people at the State Capitol in Sacramento on March 15 to send a clear message to Governor Brown: ban fracking, an environmentally destructive oil extraction practice that pollutes groundwater, rivers and the oceans.