Posted January 28, 2013
by Jerry Alatalo
“Water is the principle, or the element, of things.”
– Thales of Miletus (640-546 B.C.)
The most essential resource of all for sustaining life is water. A healthy adult can live for weeks without food, but will die in a couple of days without water. The biggest user of water is agriculture, where 80 or more percent of the nation’s water supply goes to irrigation. So, when there is discussion of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) – its effect on water supplies for human consumption, irrigation of farmland and crops, and the costs to human health, livestock health, and the health of agricultural products cannot be left out of the conversation.
Fracking has become an increasingly controversial practice for one reason. People around the world have become concerned about the safety of their drinking water underground aquifers. In the following short film by Greenpeace USA, former oilfield worker Steve Combs may have simplified the entire fracking debate when he said, “We know we have to have oil, but you damn sure have to have water.”
The film is short in length yet is powerful in its exposure of the consequences of hydraulic fracturing. Mr. Combs lives in the southern Illinois town of Crossville, a typical town in America that could be a town in any of the fifty states which faces the same risks from fracking operations. Steve Combs sums up the situation which men and women across America, and around the Earth, experience when trying to get their serious concerns addressed by political representatives and government environmental bodies.
“It’s hard to get anyone to pay attention”.
While traveling the roads in his rural southern Illinois locale, Mr. Combs talks about oil and gas corporations’ willingness to pay small fines for breaking environmental laws pertaining to polluting the land and water, as this absolves them of having to pay much higher costs for actually cleaning up the land and water to their original state. He describes how in his locale tanker trucks on roads and highways have become more and more common in recent years.
The film lists some of the dangerous chemicals which are being found in groundwater samples. Then it points out a more worrisome fact of hydraulic fracturing chemical composition. Oil and gas corporations are able to omit certain chemicals from reporting because they represent “trade secrets” – the divulging of such chemicals, whatever they are, would hurt the competitive edge of the firm(s). So, it is impossible to know exactly what is in the water used by fracking companies.
As Steve Combs points out in the film, it is also impossible to know how many miles of underground water and soil has become contaminated. He notes that if nothing is done to expose the problems associated with fracking, then it is “just going to keep continuing”.
For more information please visit: americans against fracking.org
(Thank you Greenpeace USA @ YouTube)