Monday, November 11, 2013

Hydrofracking Tour of Susquehanna County

Pipeline construction. (Kominoski, 2012)

Craig and Sandy Kominoski heard about the controversy over hydrofracking and wanted to see for themselves what it was all about. They arranged to take a tour of fracking country in Susquehanna County, PA and what they found shocked them. In their presentation at Union last Wednesday, they showed the pictures they took during their trip and told the story behind the pictures.

What struck me the most was how much of the impacts of fracking couldn't be seen in the pictures. When you drive past a fracking well, it looks fairly innocuous. What you don't see is hundreds of chemicals with the potential to contaminate groundwater, the miles of pipelines required to get the natural gas to its destination, and the compression stations required every two to four miles along that pipeline.

Three years of fracking in Susquehanna
County has brought 500 wells
with only 20% of plan completed.
There is drilling in 24 counties in PA.
(Kominoski, 2012)

One of the locals showed them around and told them about what goes on that they couldn't see for themselves. For example, one of the towns fought to get clean drinking water paid for by the fracking companies when their groundwater became contaminated, but lost that battle and now have to pay for it out of their own pocket. They could see the "water buffalo" storage tanks next to almost every house.

Craig and Sandy's presentation wasn't exactly impartial and as you can probably tell, I'm pretty biased too. How can I not be when I've seen the tears in my friend's eyes as she witnessed the fracking in her homestate? But there is a value to seeing the other side of the story. Why would people all across the country allow fracking on their property? Is there a way to make fracking safer and are any precautions being taken by companies? It's important to answer these questions too to get a complete picture of fracking.

-Rachel Ross

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