Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hydrofracked? A Kindle Single

Hydraulic fracturing is a process that results in the creation of fractures in rocks. The most important industrial use is in stimulating oil and gas wells, where hydraulic fracturing has been used for over 60 years in more than one million wells. Man-made fluid-driven fractures are formed at depth in a borehole and extend into targeted formations. Hydrofracked? One Man's Mystery Leads to a Backlash Against Natural Gas Drilling (Kindle Single), by Abrahm Lustgarten from ProPublica, tells the story of one man's fight to find the cause of the polluted water well on his Wyoming property. ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. This true story is offered as a FREE Kindle Singles book. The book is approximately 40 pages long and can be read in about an hour. 
Louis Meeks, a Vietnam War hero, has lived on his 40-acre plot of land near Pavillion, Wyoming, for over 35 years. In the spring of 2005, Meeks' water had turned bad. His tap ran cloudy, and the water shimmered with rainbow swirls across a filmy top. The scent was sharp, like gasoline.  Mr. Meeks suspected that environmental factors were to blame. Since the mid 1990's, more than 1000 gas wells had been drilled in the region.  Meeks learned that in hydraulic fracturing, a brew of chemicals is injected deep into the earth to lubricate the fracturing and work its way into the rock. How far it goes and where it ends up, no one really knows. Meeks wondered if that wasn't what ruined his well.

This is a heart-wrenching story about one man's struggle to fight big government agencies and the oil and gas industries. The Meeks family has endured endless financial and personal defeats but they continue to fight. They have joined forces with some of their neighbors who also have polluted water. In November, 2010, Mr. Meeks had a heart attack. His doctors told him it was probably caused by stress. Mr. and Mrs. Meeks are still living on their ranch near Pavillion. They are drinking bottled water but do not have clean water to bath in, or to water the garden or to feed the animals.  A realtor said that because of the water problems, the property is worthless and could not be sold.
This story makes me feel very angry. This could happen to anyone.  I live in a rural area and I am dependant on a water well.  How could you deal with something like this?  How would YOU feel if no one would accept responsibility for a disaster like this?  Why are government agencies that are supposed to protect us turning their backs?  How much influence do the big oil companies really have?

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. 

10 comments:

Melissa A. said...

It makes me angry. It wasn't something that I really gave much thought about until I saw the YouTube Trailer for the GasLand documentary. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZe1AeH0Qz8)

It is really sad that this happens. It isn't acceptable. And for governement to turn a blind eye and pretend it doesn't happen is just a horrible.

Becky Kimes said...

Unfortunately things like this happen all of the time. And it is horrible and devastating.

However, instead of focusing on being angry and blaming the Government each of us needs to put our attention alternative fuel sources, a clean health environment, etc.

Once new, clean sustainable energy sources are finally made available then we won't need to destroy our environment, and people's lives in pursuit of old, outdated energy sources.

Yes, horrible situations can be used as a catalyst to bring awareness and the desire to change. We then have to focus on the SOLUTIONS and support the solutions.

For anyone who is outrages at this situation, what can you do to personally cut your consumption of gas and oil today, this week and forever? What companies can yo support that practice safe, environment and people friendly practices?

Roy A. Ackerman, PhD, EA said...

Sorry for the typo, folks. It's "amplifying"

Hajra said...

Sounds a bit like Erin Brockovich! Ya but it does make me angry... but I come from a region where I have seen people "survive" on contaminated water and they are tired of complaining and they just continue to live like nothing has happened...it's a sad fact :(

Roberta KISTS said...

Unfortunately, abrogating responsibility has become easy for people, governments and just about everyone else. Looking at consequences of our actions and words are just not done now. It is not the governments, they are our servants. We need to hold each other to hight standards. Its sad that we have to go to this extent

Jennifer said...

This is frightening! We have a well and also live by a large man made lake that has had it's problems with toxic algae this past year. I have always been scared about that getting into our water!

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