Have you ever tried to set your water alight? Have you ever thought to yourself “I wonder if the water coming from my kitchen tap would burn?”. Hopefully you’ve never come close to this but maybe you have if you live near a hydraulic fracturing well and your ground water well has been contaminated by the chemical filled waters pumped down the mine to remove gas from between the shale rock.
This process is commonly called ‘fracking’ which the sci-fi geek in me loves. I used to work in energy and every time colleagues started up a conversation about fracking the giggling teen in me just wanted to explode! Thank you Battle Star Galactica – you have made it very hard to not associate fracking with the other F-word… (Do non-BSG’ers get it now? – yeah, my sense of humour is that childish).
Anyway, turns out fracking is totally fracking up the US of A. Classic villain Dick Cheney made it very easy for companies to move in and set up fracking wells where ever the frack they like, including National Parks. Hey, guess what – Dick Cheney’s fave company Halliburton is a major player in the shale oil extraction game. Dick Cheney loves money – frack yeah!
This picture shows where you shouldn’t drink tap water in the USA because of ground water contamination from fracking.
These fracking wells are seriously contaminating the ground water in the local area and now many householders can literally set their tap water alight. The companies have offered all sorts of ‘help’ to locals but generally it falls short of actually helping and not to forget quite a few have been paid hush money.
The chemicals used in the water that flushes the gas out of the shale rock is chock full of some seriously fracking dangerous chemicals but the locals are not warned that there is a chance (I use the word chance lightly here as it is more of an inevitability if this doco is anything to go by) that their drinking water could be contaminated. These poor people continued drinking the water for way too long and their health has suffered accordingly. Higher rates of cancer being just one of the fracked up results. They got paid for the lease but something tells me that they wouldn’t have signed the lease if they knew how fracked up their future would be.
So far it’s all sounding a little too conspiracy theory right? Well I thought so at the beginning but actually documentarian Josh Fox is very unbiased. He was offered an opportunity to lease his own land (for a frack load of money) to an oil company and he made this doco while researching whether or not he should take up the offer. It’s really not a spoiler to say that he told them to frack off.
Fracking is probably coming to a town near you as it is a seriously fracking lucrative business. You better hope that your country’s government does not contain any classic villains who are in it for the money as some serious risk management needs to occur for fracking to be even remotely safe.
I understand that Australia (my home) has some good laws in place but of course we’ve just had a change of government to one which does contain some classic villains including one oil industry kingpin and a Prime Minister who seems to appreciate his mining magnate and media magnate (try to think of an Aussie media magnate (worldwide much?) – yeah him) besties more than the average Aussie water drinker. Sounding familiar? Yeah, I think we might be fracked.