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Concerns of Hazards of Fracking Continue to Grow, Even in Texas

Photo of Randy Sorrels

Fracking for natural gas has been a long-time debate for communities all across the country, and most recently, in the town of Lubbock, Texas.

Earlier this year (March 2012), the mayor of Lubbock signed an agreement with the Four Sevens Exploration Company to perform hydraulic fracturing at three different sites in Lubbock.

Hydraulic fracturing is used to find underground natural gas by drilling a well bore and pumping "fracking" fluid into the hole. This induces fractures in the rocks so that the natural gas can escape, rising to the surface.

During a recent town meeting, citizens in Lubbock expressed concerns about the potential fracking in their area. They were worried that the chemicals in the fracking fluid could contaminate underground water reservoirs, and that would, in turn, effect the water that feeds into homes and other drinking resources. In addition, the fracking process uses a large amount of usable water. By diverting this water to the hydraulic fracturing process, it means citizens have less water for agriculture, livestock, and personal use - a serious concern for Texans, especially in recent light of drought conditions due to this year's hot and dry summer.

But proponents believe that hydraulic fracturing is necessary in Lubbock to stimulate the economy. They also believe that the depth of the boring, around a mile to two miles, into the ground will not pose a threat of water contamination to nearby drinking sources. They argue that there is not any significant health threat which would require cancellation of the drilling contract. (And cancelling the contract could result in a million dollar lawsuit against the town.)

The meeting resulted in the drilling contract being upheld, and Four Sevens Exploration will move forward with their drilling. But the fact that citizens were concerned about potential groundwater contamination and health effects shows how more and more citizens are speaking out about fracking and are concerned about the long-term effects it could have on property and the population.

Source: Fox 34 News, "Contract that allows "fracking" inside city draws fire from citizens," 8/11/12.

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