Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletDecember 15, 2017

Earth Concerns News

Join in Efforts to Preserve Our Water in Anti-Fracking Movement by Sister Mary Lou Dolan, CSJ


Attention water drinkers! Join efforts to preserve our water supply by doing what you can to stop fracking in the United States.

Fracking is a method of extracting natural gas from underground shale deposits. Large volumes of water containing hosts of chemicals are pumped under pressure into underground shale deposits to release natural gas trapped in the rock. An increasingly used method to obtain our abundant natural gas, fracking, is billed as part of the effort to lessen our dependence on foreign oil and lower CO2 emissions from burning coal.
 
This complex issue is tied to energy use, global warming and climate change and to the safety of our water and air “commons.”
 
Points of Interest

Fracking is different from “conventional” natural-gas mining. The latter taps into large deposits of gas; the former uses a water-chemical soup mix to fracture shale rock and release small gas bubbles.

 Burning natural gas does release less atmospheric CO2 than burning oil or coal, but a recent report from Cornell researchers1 finds that the amount of methane (CH4) released during the fracking process is “at least 30% more than that released from conventional gas wells.” Methane is about 25 times more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas (GHG), although it dissipates more quickly than CO2. This means methane is a large GHG threat over short-term, 20-year periods, the “now” of our opportunity to decrease rising global temperatures. “Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20% greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years.”2
    
The chemicals used in fracking fluids are “trade secrets” although many are known carcinogens like benzene and formaldehyde.
    
Fracking chemicals are currently exempted from monitoring under the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts.
    
Congressional bills known as the FRAC and BREATHE Acts seek to remedy point number 4, so that levels of these chemicals may be monitored, a first step in being able to assess their pollution of our water and air supplies. Ask our representatives to subject fracking to our environmental protection laws at http://biogems.org/newsletter/.
 
New York is in the midst of this controversy because we sit on the Marcellus Shale, part of which provides the water supply for New York City. There is a fracking moratorium in New York State until May 15, 2011. You, as residents, can follow and act on this cause, using local news sources.
 
NYS Marcellus Shale Location
http://earthjustice.org/our_work/campaigns/a-new-yorkers-guide-to-industrial-gas-drilling April 28, 2011
In his Canticle of the Sun, Francis of Assisi says “Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful and humble and precious and pure.” We profess dedication to “the dear neighbor”which includes our Sister Water and all those who depend on water for life and health. This is the time to act on this important issue!
 
http://earthjustice.org/features/campaigns/fracking-across-the-united-states , April 28, 2011
 
Areas of US active and potential fracking sites and sites of “fraccidents”: View the documentary, Gasland, for scary details.
 
 


1 R.W. Howarth, R.Santoro & A. Ingraffen. Methane and the Green-House Gas Footprint of Natural Gas from Shale Formations. Climactic Change Letters, in press.
2 Ibid.