Politicians and energy industry enthusiasts have touted fracking as the path to US energy independence, while environmentalists have battled against the proliferation of fracking and the resultant damage to the Earth. Despite environmental concerns, 18 states have jumped onto the fracking bandwagon (map.)
Fracking now is being blamed for an outbreak of earthquakes in North Texas, the explosion (pun intended) of crude oil train disasters across the country, and water contamination in four states.
Texas Is Shaking
More than 20 earthquakes have rocked North Texas since October 2013. Seventeen of those earthquakes have hit the small town of Azle, Texas, and residents are up in arms.
Why is North Texas shaking and sinking? Fracking.
North Texans are blaming the earthquakes on the growth of fracking and the proliferation of injection wells in the area. Fracking (AKA hydraulic fracturing) is a controversial technique which involves injecting a highly pressurized slurry of water and chemicals deep into the Earth in order to fracture rock and extract natural gas and petroleum.
According to Dallas/Ft. Worth NBC News report, more than 800 people showed up at a public meeting to complain about earthquakes, sink holes, damaged homes, and contaminated water. Concerned that the Texas Legislature isn’t listening, Azle residents are planning a community bus trip to Austin. (Check out a compilation of stories here.)
Crude Oil Trains Exploding
Remember last summer’s dramatic news stories about the derailment and explosionof a runaway crude oil train that destroyed the downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec and killed dozens of residents? Or the story about the 90-car oil train that derailed and exploded in Alabama in November? Or the December train derailment in Casselton, ND which ignited fireballs and forced the evacuation of town residents during bitterly cold winter temperatures? Or this week’s bridge derailment of a crude oil train that threatened the Schuylkill River, which meanders through downtown Philadelphia?
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), crude oil shipments by rail have skyrocketed by 400% since 2005. For example, fracking in North Dakota’s Brakken shale area has resulted in booming oil production– 1 million gallons per day or 5% of the country’s oil consumption. Ninety percent of Brakken crude is shipped by rail; both the Casselton and Phildelphia trains were carrying crude from Brakken.
This huge increase in rail transportation of crude oil has resulted in a rash of explosive train derailments. In fact, more oil — 1.15 million gallons– spilled from derailed trains in 2013 than in the previous four decades combined.
As a result, the NTSB is calling for tougher regulations, including a prohibition against rail transportation of flammable crude oil through urban centers. (Duh.)
Drinking Is Dangerous
Environmentalists warned us about potential groundwater contamination due to fracking, when the controversial practice was first introduced.
Fast forward a few years, and now the Associated Press is reporting contaminated well water in four states that jumped into the fracking oil boom early on. Hundreds of residents of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Texas have filed official complaints about contaminated well water, due to gas and oil production.
How much more death, destruction, and environmental damage must we suffer in the name of jobs and oil?
To the 18 states with fracking, how’s that ”drill baby drill” workin’ for ya now?
Link to original article from The Tucson Progressive
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I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. In addition to being a blogger, I am a published author, photographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife.
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Once again, Koch brothers cash will face off against a people-powered campaign in Wisconsin this November. The race is for a House seat in the first Congressional District, a seat now held by Paul Ryan. His challenger – the first serious challenge he's faced in 14 years in Congress – is Rob Zerban, a restaurateur and County Commissioner.
Everywhere I go during my campaign — parades, farmers markets, even the local deli — I keep hearing the same thing from Wisconsin voters. “We need real representation,” they tell me, “representation that’s focused on the people and what we need.”
"The message is clear: Paul Ryan must be held accountable for his 14 years of failed decisions"
"He had a minor in economics," Rob Zerban says of his opponent. "What experience does he have to say that he's the great budget oracle?" "The people of the First District can see where that budget impacts their lives. Their bridges start to crumble. We've got 16 bridges on federal highways alone in the district that have been declared structurally deficientm and that doesn't include county and local municipal bridges.
Typically during an election cycle, it often comes down to voting for the lesser of two evils. You choose the one who supports the issues most meaningful to you – or at least doesn’t outright defy them. It can be difficult to encounter a candidate who personifies the conviction and integrity you would imagine only in a perfect political world.
Today, Rob Zerban, Democratic Congressional challenger to Congressman Paul Ryan, released the following statement in response to the introduction of Paul Ryan’s FY2013 “Path to Poverty” budget.
“In yet another misguided handout to Wall Street at the expense of Main Street, Congressman Paul Ryan today introduced his latest budget plan, designed to place the blame for his 14 years of poor decisions squarely on the backs of our hardworking families.
When I began this campaign, I made a commitment to serve as a voice of the people- not of corporations.
I have been putting that into action. In the last few weeks, I have been working overtime to kickoff my campaign with rallies across the district.
The American Civil Liberties Union, Free Press and the Save the Internet campaign have made it clear that the Stop Online Piracy Act poses a genuine threat to human rights advocacy and whistleblowing on the Web.