Houston, we have a fracking problem

It’s just fracking ridiculous. I’m talking about the street name for hydraulic fracturing, or the process of drilling for natural gas.

My interest in this issue started in a class I never thought I would stay awake in or even attend regularly.

I took Environmental Issues because I thought it would be a piece of cake. I never thought I would be left so horrified and disgusted with some of the practices going on in our country. Fracking is a biggie, and it’s going on all over the country, even in Pennsylvania.

To be honest, I still don’t completely understand the particulars about the process itself. But I don’t need to be a scientist to understand that it’s bad.

Don’t believe me? Watch “Gasland,” an ambitious documentary by Josh Fox, bluegrass banjo player and regular, concerned civilian.

For the past two classes, I watched in shock as Fox trekked across the country, exposing contaminated drinking water caused by fracking in town after town.

The people he interviewed weren’t radicals or even particularly environmentally conscious. But they all had one thing in common.

They were scared. I would be scared too if the water coming out of my tap (the water I use to drink, cook, shower, do laundry and probably much more) was flammable.

For the people who hadn’t thought to hold a flame up to the water to test it, the contamination manifested itself to them in other ways.

Fox witnessed rows and rows of Mason jars full of sludgy, brown, nearly opaque water. And let me reiterate this again: this water was coming from their faucets.

Fox took samples of this water back with him to get it tested, and what he found was that the liquid was loaded with chemical compounds that are hazardous to human health.

The denial of statesmen who support fracking is unfathomable.

If they aren’t endangering public health then why did Congress deem it necessary to create a loophole in the 2005 Energy Bill exempting gas drillers from the Clean Water Act? Shouldn’t be necessary if they aren’t doing anything wrong.

To me, it seems a bit contradictory to call it the Clean Water Act and in the same breath tell these fuel companies they are allowed to continue contaminating drinking water with harmful chemicals. What’s the point of enacting something that doesn’t hold everyone to the same standard?

Stop making exceptions for an avaricious, self-serving oil and gas industry that could care less about the irreversible damage it is doing not only to the environment, which should be bad enough, but to public health as well.

I hear all the time about how messed up our environment is.

People keep saying we need to change, we need to come up with solutions to these problems, but how? It’s hard to change when you’re not the one in charge.

What can regular people possibly do to fix anything? I guess this 500-word column is my contribution.

If Josh Fox thought like that, I would be willing to bet far fewer people would even know what fracking is, let alone that it’s a huge issue that demands attention.

CHRISTINE PEFFER

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