Why All The Fracking Fuss?

I’m just back from a three week vacation, which was a much-needed, refreshing break from my full-time contract work and my climate activism, as well as a chance to reconnect with my family. We had lots of fresh air and exercise during a week-long bike trip in the Loire Valley, and then spent time relaxing and eating great Italian food (we especially the enjoyed the gelati!) in Tuscany.

I also got a chance to do some reading while away, and got caught up on some movie-watching on the long (and yes, carbon-producing) airplane flights.  I will talk more about Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and Sleeping Naked is Green on upcoming blogs.

But right now, let’s talk “fracking”. One of the inflight videos I watched was Gasland – and all I can say is yikes – it’s very alarming!!  I’m posting a video that explains what fracking for natural gas is, and why all of us should be very, very concerned about the huge push by the oil and gas industry to frame natural gas as a “green” energy source that is cheaper than wind and solar.  While there are studies that claim burning gas in power stations releases about half the carbon emissions of coal, a new study out of Cornell University found that generating electricity from shale gas – because of the difficulty in extracting it from rocks – produces at least as much carbon dioxide as coal-fired power, and perhaps more. As Jenny Banks from WWF-U.K. said recently,

“It would be ridiculous to encourage shale gas when in reality its greenhouse gas footprint could be as bad as or worse than coal. We need to reject this source of gas, and have a clear plan to move away from our dependency on fossil fuels and harness the full potential of renewable technologies.”

And besides the dubious green claims of the oil and gas industry (why is anybody listening to these amoral money-grubbers anymore?!?), there’s the “small” problem of the contamination of entire watersheds by the 500+ toxic, volatile chemicals used to access the natural gas locked in the shale.  There’s no going back once that happens, as the people who live close to fracking operations all over the U.S. have found out.  Right now, there is no fracking industry in Canada but Big Oil and Gas sure would like there to be, and are making plans to get started. Let’s join together to stop it while we have time. Not sure why it’s important?  Check out “My Water’s On Fire Tonight: The Fracking Song”:


Take Action:

  • If you haven’t yet, watch Gasland. You can check out some excerpts, and an interview with film maker Josh Fox, here (thanks to Alan over at Climate Insight for the link).
  • Go to StopFrackingOntario.wordpress.com for information on campaigns to stop fracking across  Canada and other countries.
  • Spread the word in your circle of friends and family. You could even organize an evening event with them, watching “Gasland” and then writing letters to your elected officials (don’t forget to include some food and drink in your evening!)

More links:

Buried Secrets: Gas Drilling’s Environmental Threat

Hydraulic Fracturing For Natural Gas Pollutes Water Wells

NYU’s Studio 20 Releases “The Fracking Song”

Fossil Fuel Firms Use “Biased” Study In Massive Gas Lobbying Push

Methane Gas and The Greenhouse-Gas Footprint Of Natural Gas From Shale Formations

Gasland: The Movie

*thanks to both Kathy and Kathryn for the recent fracking links*

0 thoughts on “Why All The Fracking Fuss?”

  1. Sadly not all politicians “get it”. Published Monday in the guardian.co.uk:

    MPs’ report rejects moratorium on shale gas exploration

    Green campaigners express dismay as MPs back shale gas prospecting despite evidence of environmental dangers

    The UK could have “considerable” shale gas resources, particularly offshore, said the energy and climate change select committee, and should exploit these to reduce reliance on energy imports.

    But the MPs acknowledged that exploiting shale gas could be environmentally damaging and could spell severe problems for the renewables industry, which is facing a lobbying onslaught from gas industry representatives seeking to position their fuel as “green” because it produces less carbon than coal.


    • Thanks for the timely links, Alan. It seems like people are going to have to get a whole lot louder and more organized to overcome the deep pockets of the oil and gas industry to stop this. The evidence from the U.S. is just so overwhelmingly negative it’s hard to believe that politicians in some places can choose to turn a blind eye to the dangers. Luckily, France hasn’t, and they’ve imposed a moratorium.

  2. Christine:

    I have a couple of new friends who moved down from the wilds of Alberta last year to our pristine Island.

    I hate to burst your bubble, but fracking is very much going on in Canada as we speak, and has been for some time. Danny spent time up in the Fort McMurray area prior to moving here. Until he explained to me all about what this fracking was I must admit I hadn’t even heard about it before then.

    Since hearing of this perhaps a couple of months ago, the word has been all over the web. The troubles that fracking can (and will) cause hardly make this method of pursuing natural gas seem environmentally worthwhile.

    One of the emails I got just yesterday was about the future millionaires in the U. S. They aren’t going to be oil millionaires any longer, but rather gas millionaires…and it is all going to come from the potentially tens of thousands of new gas wells which are expected to spring up in the States.

    Anything for a buck it seems. And we already know whose side Harper is on. Tie this all together with the rapidly imploding U.S. dollar and we are all in big trouble.

    • Thanks for filling in the Canadian picture a bit more, Keith. Like you, I haven’t been following this issue at all until very recently. That in itself is disturbing, because what this issue requires is the light of lots of attention focused on its incredibly bad track record. Of course, because the Bush/Cheney admin managed to get the entire industry an exemption from clean water and air legislation, they’ve been able to get away with horrific things.


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