“Get the frack out of the Great Lakes!”

Fracking infographic

What the frack could happen to the Great Lakes? Photo courtesy of Toban Black on flickr

Hydrofracking, or fracking, is a technique used to free petroleum and natural gas from underground shale rock. But more and more, we are hearing about the problems fracking is wreaking on the environment and unsuspecting citizens. In Pennsylvania, the Department of Environmental Protection listed 85 hydraulic fracturing chemicals, e.g. benzene, petroleum distillates, many of which are known carcinogens. Fracking threatens private well water supplies – leaks and spills can happen and often do; and wastewater can be sent to sewage treatment facilities where it is eventually discharged back into waterways. And health experts are finding increased air pollution near drilling sites.

The stats for Ohio are worrisome as well: 383 wells have been permitted in the state; 140 wells have been drilled… and more are coming. Recently, Ohio state parks and state land were opened for drilling. And seismic activity – in areas where there was little to none – are now experiencing frequent quakes. Youngstown, until fracking moved in, never experienced an earthquake. Since 2011, they have experienced 11.

Organizations are rallying; people are speaking out; the media is covering the issue. “Fracking” is a buzz word; certainly a hot button issue in Great Lakes states like Pennsylvania and Ohio. But as I sit in this session listening to question after question asked, and story after story shared, I can’t help but think:

With all the progress being made on so many fronts in the name of Great Lakes restoration, and all the work we have yet to do to keep Asian carp out, delisting AOCs, restoring vital habitats… the last thing we need is a new threat to the health of the lakes and the 30 million people that depend on them. As we continue to rally for increased federal funding, we should do whatever we can to prevent another major cost to Great Lakes restoration.

Guest blogger:
Frances Canonizado
Outreach Manager
Alliance for the Great Lakes

Comments are closed.