By Bernhard Debatin
It started out quite hopefully for those in Athens County who own land and mineral rights and are not afraid of the potential side-effects of fracking: In November 2011, the West Virginia-based company Cunningham Energy hooked up with local lawyer John Lavelle and set off a fracking frenzy, promising $2500 per leased acre and 12.5% royalties for the oil or gas. On Jan 2, 2012, the Athens News reported that the overall acreage of the initial fracking leases amounted to about 35,000 acres, representing “a total possible initial payout of more than $87 million.”
But the payout did not come. However, now it looks as if fracking is going to come through the back door. What happened? Continue reading
By Bernhard Debatin
The past 200 years have been a period of exponentially increasing interventions into our natural environment. Monocultural farming, urbanization, and blacktop streets are the most visible aspect of it. Sprawling production sites is another one, often closely related to urbanization. Large areas for waste disposal are yet another related aspect. And, of course, landscapes of extraction: open pit mines, mountaintop removal mining sites, sludge ponds, waste tailings, and overburden disposal sites, to name the most obvious ones.
Fracking, too, is changing landscapes into industrialized extraction sites. Jonah Field in Western Wyoming is a good example for this new type of industrialized landscape. Continue reading
A new study has raised fresh concerns about the safety of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, concluding that fracking chemicals injected into the ground could migrate toward drinking water supplies far more quickly than experts have previously predicted.
More than 5,000 wells were drilled in the Marcellus between mid-2009 and mid-2010, according to the study, which was published in the journal Ground Water two weeks ago. Operators inject up to 4 million gallons of fluid, under more than 10,000 pounds of pressure, to drill and frack each well.