BAN HYDRAULIC FRACTURING (FRACKING) IN NORTH CAROLINA
Whereas, there are no rules that can be written that can guarantee the safety of this method of extracting fossil fuels. No compensation could replace our contaminated water or give us back our health if this industry is allowed to start fracking in NC. It is not worth the risk. The time has come to replace fossil fuel use with energy efficiency and alternatives such as solar and wind power.
Whereas, Hydraulic Fracturing cannot be done safely in North Carolina. It will cause great damage to our health, our environment, our air, our water, and our economy.
1. Water Contamination. Shallow shale formations in NC will greatly increase the risk of groundwater contamination through casing failures and natural fractures. Drinking water and water used for agriculture would be affected. 2000' is considered a minimal safe separation between ground water and the frack zone. The Deep River shale basins have separation between drinking water and shale gas of about 1500' or less. The Marcellus Shale separation is about 4000'-9000'. However, even that has not prevented contamination of drinking water wells in Pennsylvania. In addition, surface water contamination through spills and ruptures could further pollute our state's water supplies. The area that could be impacted by fracking includes drinking water supplies for 2.4 million people in the watersheds of the Cape Fear, Neuse and Yadkin rivers.
2. Water Used for Fracking---and Drought. 3-5 million gallons of fresh water is required each time a shale gas well is fracked. We do not have "extra" water in our reservoirs to be used for fracking. Fracking will compete for all current uses of water-drinking, agricultural, manufacturing, and conservation.
3. Earthquake Risk to Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant. Deep underground injection procedures have been the cause of increased seismic activity. The Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant is located above the shale basin and sits on highly fractured geology, close to the Jonesboro fault line, which could be aggravated by hydraulic fracturing or the underground injection of frack wastewater. We do not want to risk earthquake activity under a nuclear plant.
4. Fracking Wastewater--No Good Solutions. Fracking wastewater is often collected in impoundments, which can leak contaminants into surface water, as occurred with the hog lagoons, or into groundwater through faulty liners. NC has no wastewater treatment facilities that can handle the treatment of these contaminants, especially since these toxins are an industry secret. These water impoundments evaporate chemical compounds into our air, leading to increased air pollution. In addition, methane gas, which is released as fugitive emissions throughout the process of fracking, is a powerful greenhouse gas.
5. Industrialization of Rural Counties. Counties where fracking takes place would see extensive drilling, new pipelines, gas processing facilities, road building, wastewater impoundments, heavy truck traffic, and all the noise that goes with heavy industry in our farming and rural areas, as well as impacts onneighboring towns.
6. Economic Impacts. The US Geological Survey has estimated there may be as little as 5 years worth of natural gas in our shale formations (to supply NC at current usage). The gas industry would come in, destroy our environment, then leave. The NC Department of Energy and Resources estimates only 385 jobs per year on average would be created by this industry. Oil and gas production are exempt from the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Emergency Planning, and Community Right to Know Act (toxins), and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Compensation for water and air-contamination and harm to people's health would be dependent on an industry with a poor track record in other states.
7. Property Rights Forfeited. Landowners who do not own their mineral rights (split estates) could have their land fracked without their permission and find their property values and ability to get mortgages ruined. Landowners who are surrounded by properties where fracking is taking place could be forced through "compulsory pooling" laws to allow fracking on their land against their wishes. In addition, fracking infrastructure such as new roads or pipelines could take land through eminent domain laws.
8. Air pollution. Air pollution is inevitable from 1000's of diesel truck trips per well, the gas itself, and dozens of generators and compressors on the well pad. Benzene, methylene chloride and many other known carcinogens have been found at unsafe levels at the drill sight, around many types of gas equipment and frack waste lagoons. Air pollutants expose our skin, eyes, lungs, brains, and other organs and can cause irreversible harm especially in children. Other fracking operations have been sited within a few hundred feet of schools and homes.
Therefore, be it resolved that Hydraulic Fracturing should be banned in North Carolina.
Chatham County Democratic Women
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