Fracking breaks up communities

Fracking breaks up communities

The Vindicator carried three articles Oct. 23 about hydraulic fracture drilling, or fracking, for gas in Utica and Marcellus shale. All three speak of the “boom” this industry will bring to our area. We’ve been reading, hearing, and seeing a great deal of such pro-fracking propaganda lately. Fracking creates jobs, eliminates our dependence on foreign oil, and makes poor landowners millionaires. Who can argue against these benefits promised by the oil and gas companies?

Money speaks, and it drowns out the voices of reason and truth. We are being told that a process that forces into the earth millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals, some of which are known human carcinogens, is perfectly safe; and, against our sense of reason, we believe. We also hear the voices of dollars shouting loudly over the voices of victims of fracking in areas where such wells are already operating. We don’t want to listen to warnings of what often happens as a result of the fracking process, so we don’t hear these poor landowners when they tell us about contaminated wells and streams, of polluted air, of untillable land, and of hosts of health problems, including blood testing high in fracking chemicals. The voice of profit is muting the voices of these prophets.

Money speaks, and it divides us — not only into the rich and the poor but, in the case of fracking, into proponents and opponents of the process. In many areas of the country being considered for such drilling, neighbors have turned against neighbors and families have split up over leasing and other issues related to the process. Our communities, not just the shale beneath them, are being fractured.

Money speaks and it misleads. As John Funk points out in his Oct. 23 article, “Boom unearths riches, challenges for Ohio,” oil and gas companies are presenting to “landowners, many of them poor farmers ... thorny offers.” If we cannot trust them in small matters like licenses, how can we trust them with the larger matters involved with fracking? We are also being told over and over by the drilling companies, by ads paid for by these companies, and even by university studies that fracking is safe. Money twists the truth and we believe.

Money talks, and it drowns out the quiet voice of beauty.

Pauline Beck, West Middlesex