Education & Resources: Travel With a Conscience
In time for summer vacation season, the N.C. Coastal Federation (NCCF) has just published "Our Coast"--billed as a travel guide which "features places that were once threatened by development and are now protected because people fought for them." Editor Frank Tursi calls it "a travel guide with a conscience."
'Our Coast' should be of interest to everyone from college students out to discover the real coast away from the beach town bars, to the old conservation hands back for a visit to places they helped to save. Features range from night expeditions to hear red wolves howl in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, to marsh cruises on the White Oak River estuaries around Hammocks Beach State Park.
For more information and to get a copy of the free guide, go to http://www.nccoast.org/Article.aspx?k=918af80a-bc10-4183-adf4-38e52cd06fef
Save Our Sandhills President Joe McDonald spoke on fracking in a panel discussion taped on Monday, May 21 and which will air on local station WEEB 990 on Tuesday, May 22 at 10:05PM.
Please listen in if you have the opportunity.
June 5 is the important frack-free lobby day in Raleigh. Save Our Sandhills would like to send a strong contingent. Please let us know if you can go to Raleigh on that day. Call 235-3862 or 315-1233.
R E S O L U T I O N
BE IT RESOLVED that Save Our Sandhills in an electronic polling of its voting
members in May, 2012 has concluded that the risks of hydraulic fracturing far
outweigh the potential benefits, that it should not be allowed in North
Carolina, and that the wisest course of action by the North Carolina General
Assembly would be to enact legislation that would permanently ban hydraulic
fracturing and horizontal drilling in North Carolina to protect our citizens
from its risks and dangers.
Save Our Sandhills
No Hydraulic Fracturing In
WHEREAS, hydraulic fracturing, known as “fracking”, is a method of extracting natural gas from shale rock through the use of horizontal drilling and the injection of a highly pressurized mixture of water, sand, and chemicals to fracture the shale and release the gas; and
WHEREAS, data from Pennsylvania shows that between three and five million gallons of water is required for each separate drilling effort, which could pose a serious problem in Central North Carolina where extended periods of drought have occurred in recent years and where water in some areas is already in short supply; and
WHEREAS, data from Pennsylvania shows that each drilling pad with its associated wastewater impoundment, buildings, and new roads consumes between five and eight acres of land, usually carved out of forests or farmland, and which if clustered together in large enough numbers can change a bucolic rural landscape into an industrial site, which in the long term will negatively affect income from tourism, farming, and other businesses, and which will eventually have a depressing effect on property values; and
WHEREAS, despite continual denials from the energy industry, fracking has been shown to cause contamination of private wells, as was evidenced by the settlement reached in Pennsylvania in 2010 between Cabot Oil and Gas and 19 Dimock Township families whose wells became unusable due to methane contamination after fracking was carried out in the area, and wherein Cabot agreed to pay them $4.1 million in damages; and by the announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2011 that compounds associated with fracking chemicals were found in the groundwater beneath Pavillion, Wyoming; and by numerous other examples of higher than normal levels of methane in private wells that have occurred in areas where fracking was carried out; and
WHEREAS, catastrophic accidents can occur with fracking operations, an example being the explosion of a fracking well in Pennsylvania in 2010 which spewed thousands of gallons of toxic water and chemicals over fields and into a tributary of the Susquehanna River, this being only one of several other major spills that had occurred in Pennsylvania in prior years; and
WHEREAS, fracking operations have been shown to be the source of air pollution, an example being the town of Dish, Texas where state regulators found dangerous levels of cancer-causing benzene, which they concluded had come from the 60 nearby fracking wells; and another being in Wyoming where the ozone level in one area near fracking operations was found to be higher than in Los Angeles; these findings being further supported by a Cornell University study which found that over the lifetime of a fracking well, 3.6 percent to nearly 8 percent of the gas will escape into the air; and
WHEREAS, scientists have found a close correlation in time and space between fracking operations and minor earthquakes, examples being in Ohio, Oklahoma, and in Great Britain; and
WHEREAS, there is currently no satisfactory way, in North Carolina or elsewhere, of disposing of leftover wastewater from a fracking operation, known as “flowback” or “produced” water, which will be present in large amounts despite efforts to recycle it, this water being highly toxic, including with radioactive materials, there being no wastewater treatment plant in the United States which is equipped to properly purify it, and the practice of injecting it into deep aquifers on the assumption that they will never be used for drinking water being patently unsatisfactory, and the practice that has taken many Pennsylvania landowners by surprise of leaving it in lined basins near the well site to be covered over and seeded in grass being unsatisfactory for many reasons including the possibility that the liners will eventually leak; and
WHEREAS, in the Triassic Basin area in North Carolina the possibility of groundwater contamination may be greater than in other states’ shale formations because the groundwater aquifers and the gas-producing shale layers are much closer together than in other gas-producing states, and the depth to which freshwater extends is generally unknown to state regulators, plus the fact that in North Carolina and elsewhere the migration of chemicals can never be predicted with certainty because, as geologists point out, existing faults, weaknesses, and fractures naturally found in the rock, as well as locations of old drilled wells, are generally unknown; and
WHEREAS, a majority of the modest number of new jobs that might be created by fracking operations will go to workers brought in from out of state, and many of the new jobs will in any case be of a temporary nature, and any new benefits to the local economy could easily be wiped away in the future after the fracking operations have terminated and property values are depressed because of the presence of abandoned well sites, an industrialized landscape, and the possibility of contaminated groundwater;
SIGNED BY: Joseph R. McDonald, President
May 16, 2012
CONTACT: Save Our Sandhills at 910/315-1233 or 910/235-3862
State Senator Bob Rucho, Chairman of the legislature's Energy Policy Issues Committee (which includes Moore County's Senator Harris Blake), has issued a report which contains proposed legislation that would permit fracking in North Carolina. This draft legislation, known as the Clean Energy and Economic Security Act, would provide exemptions from state rules which currently prohibit fracking techniques and would make fracking possible in North Carolina after a two-year moratorium. The bill also contains language that would render invalid any local ordinances which would restrict oil and gas exploration and development.
Clean Water for North Carolina is urging citizens to oppose this bill as strongly and as quickly as possible. For more information, go to www.ncga.state.nc.us/ and click on WHO REPRESENTS ME in the bar at the top of the page. (Contact Harris Blake at Harris.Blake@ncleg.net. Contact Sen. Rucho at Bob.Rucho@ncleg.net. )