Ultraconservative blowhard Bishop Harry Jackson (pictured left) has penned an editorial for the Baltimore Sun in which he defends the practice of fracking. Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is the favored method of harvesting natural gas through deep well drilling. This loathsome business rivals strip mining in its devastating effects on the environment in general and rural communities in particular. Constructing a single natural gas well necessitates injecting millions of gallons of water, sand and proprietary chemicals, under enormous pressure, into the ground. The intense pressure shatters subterranean shale and causes huge fissures that force natural gas to the planet's surface. The toxic compounds that are pumped into the earth invariably creep back up and poison the surrounding countryside.
Jackson's piece, which reads like it was composed by a corporate lobbyist, says citizens need to get over their fear of fracking and rally behind any greed-driven polluter who, as the natural result of expansion, creates a few jobs. From his anti-environment apologia: Thousands of able-bodied workers would prefer employment at good salaries over welfare, unemployment and food stamps. Drilling and production could also help thousands of small businesses that would provide goods, equipment and services to drilling, pipeline and related companies. In Maryland, 19 percent of these businesses are owned by African Americans — still more by other minorities. And yet there is strong opposition to harnessing these resources, primarily because doing so involves a controversial process... (Fracking is controversial because it kills wildlife and farm animals, pollutes rivers and lakes, and gives people cancer.) Responsibly developing this vital, God-given shale gas resource would put thousands of Marylanders back to work, improve people's living standards, generate billions of dollars in government revenues, help to balance county and state budgets and produce more American energy...
Jackson neglects to mention the dire, often life-threatening health issues experienced by people who live in the proximity of natural gas wells. He doesn't mention the fact that these property owners can literally set their drinking water on fire. He doesn't mention that thousands more jobs could be generated by pursuing a green energy strategy.
Josh Fox spent a sizable chunk of his life studying the practice of fracking, which brings misery to so many Americans. He reports: 1-8 million gallons of water may be used to frack a well. A well may be fracked up to 18 times. For each frack, 80-300 tons of chemicals may be used. Presently, the natural gas industry does not have to disclose the chemicals used, but scientists have identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene. The gas comes up wet in produced water and has to be separated from the wastewater on the surface. Only 30-50% of the water is typically recovered from a well. This wastewater can be highly toxic. Evaporators evaporate off VOCs and condensate tanks steam off VOCs, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Ozone plumes can travel up to 250 miles.
Don't be fooled by corporate propaganda. Natural gas is anything but "clean."