[posted first on Facebook — more links added here]
I have just returned from the Fracking film, “Gasland” that was shown tonight at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore. Fracking is a very disastrous approach to drilling for natural gas whereby deep wells are drilled and millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals pumped down to pressurize the natural gas in the shale layers to come out – a simplistic definition.
Many have heard of the tap water in peoples’ kitchen which ignites when a match is applied to them. This is the film that shows that and goes into good detail as to what is going on with these wells, and the political story behind the fracking efforts.
Kudos to Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley for establishing a moratorium on allowing it in MD until it is better studied. It is such a relief to see the Precautionary Principle at work. My heart goes out to all those in WY, CO, PA and elsewhere whose wells have already been contaminated and permanently ruined. Many of them are suffering severe long-term health effects. People, go see “Gasland” and get educated.
Unfortunately, the film did not lay out any specific solutions other than to state that it is up to all of us to prevent more wells. (The film was made in 2009.) There was a panel discussion after the film where solutions were aired. As with many issues, it’s all in the political arena. Get involved in local enviro groups fighting it. Write letters. Lobby elected gov’t folks. Push for halting new permits and wells until more is known about enviro impacts. The Frack bill in DC has yet to be passed (in Congress) and that is ONLY to determine what are the exact chems in the brew used in the fracking solution. The specific policies from the Clean Water Act that Cheney and his cronies set in place for exemption in the case of fracking need to be reinstated on the federal level. Etc. It is a crime that fracking was allowed with those exemptions.
If someone is really looking to get involved in PA, the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, Michael Helfrich, is a brilliant, articulate and educated environmental attorney who needs financial support and support in people numbers to back his work in Harrisburg in PA. If people don’t know of him and his work, check him out. He was one of the panelists tonight. He’s got his fingers on the pulse of what is going on in PA with Fracking. I’d say learn more about him and his efforts and get behind him. Encourage others to do the same.
I could go on here… Recently it was learned that some of the contaminated well water has been trucked to the waste water treatment plant in East Baltimore… These chemicals are already getting into the Chesapeake Bay… not to mention what is moving quietly and insidiously in the aquifers wherever fracking is taking place. These pollutants know no boundaries…
Sigh… I’m not going to get much sleep tonight… this movie and the stark depressing facts from it and the panel discussion have got me rather torqued…
(I do want to add that on the positive side, Maryland’s Attorney General, Doug Gansler, sent one of his staff to this film showing tonight to better educate his office on some of the facts about fracking. This gentleman is a neighbor of mine and a hard worker for progressive causes on the state. This gives me good hope that Maryland will continue to choose the wiser path with this issue.)