NOBULL: RE: Is Fracking Contaminating US Livestock? — No, it’s not “okay” for oil and gas companies to contaminate water and air…


I find it interesting that one of your subscribers living all the way up on the Marcellus is somehow able to conclude that "Thousands of wells have been fracked in Texas with no problem." I’m sure that his assertion is of great comfort to all the Texans who’ve had their water contaminated by fracking.

Maybe he read the University of Texas report that also concluded that that fracking didn’t disrupt or contaminate groundwater. Problem is that it has now been revealed that that study was led by a guy who was serving on the board of a fracking company, even though he and the University had publicly claimed there were no industry ties to the study. See article below, "Fracking Company Paid Texas Professor Behind Water Contamination Study."

This should be no surprise to your readers, Mike, most of whom are well aware of such similar agribusiness ties to our land grant universities. Does anybody really believe that the oil and gas industry is any less adept at influencing our public institutions than agribusiness?

And then this same subscriber goes on to assert that, "The reasons people are leaving Marcellus areas is that land my be worth 12,000 to 20,000 per acre with minerals and they can sell and go where land is $500 per acre, okay?"

I’m sorry, but, No, it’s not "okay" for oil and gas companies to contaminate water and air through fracking just because some landowner (and in some cases an absentee landowner) is making money hand over fist and doesn’t care that his neighbor’s water wells are being contaminated, his neighbor’s cattle are being killed, and his neighbor’s air is being polluted with highly toxic chemicals–chemicals, by the way, that the industry refuses to even divulge what they are.

What about all those folks left behind that didn’t have any mineral rights? Is it "okay" for them to be left behind to try to survive the desolation that has been imposed on them through no fault of their own? Is the government’s–local, state or federal–turning a blind eye to the crimes being committed against these neighbors any less guilty of excessive de facto eminent domain that allows the industry to run roughshod over their property rights?

No, it is not OK to permanently destroy water resources of farms and ranches, leaving future generations thirstier and hungrier with less water and less food. Natural gas will and should be produced, but there has to be a balance that protects both the rights of the living, as well as the common resources like land, water and air for future generations. It’s not impossible–as too many industry boosters and environmentalists alike–would have you believe.

In 1977 Congress passed, and the President signed, the federal Strip Mine Reclamation Act (SMCRA). That landmark law set national minimum coal reclamation standards that required mined agricultural land to be reclaimed to pre-mining productivity. Prior to its passage, with the exception of a few states, coal mining companies were not required to reclaim the land, and vast acreages were left desolated by unregulated mining. Because of this law, coal mining companies are in fact now required to reclaim the land, and they do it every day. And you know what? It didn’t put the coal mines out of business like the industry shills back then said it would. In fact, that law created many more jobs, putting people to work reclaiming the coalfields, while protecting landowners and communities.

Another thing that law did was require coal mining companies to obtain "surface owner consent’ before being given a permit to mine. This helped to insure the landowner who was unfortunate enough not to own the minerals beneath his land to either obtain enough assurances to protect his surface rights to allow the mine to go forward, or to refuse to allow his land to be mined.

It doesn’t have to be an either/or question.