Resolution on Fracking in NC, spread the word


Save Our Sandhills

No Hydraulic Fracturing In North Carolina

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;

NOW THEREFORE 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.

 SIGNED BY:    Joseph R. McDonald, President

                         May 16, 2012

CONTACT:    Save Our Sandhills at 910/315-1233 or 910/235-3862

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