Hey Neergs--

Don't know if you watch 60 minutes with your family--a very good show--but last Sunday reporter Lesley Stahl covered a very important topic you need to know about. The segment researched the race for Natural Gas as the new, cleaner alternative to Dirty Coal and Oil. Natural gas used to be too costly to extract, but two new technologies allow the industry to drill cost-effectively through shale, a very hard rock below the earth's surface. One technology allows companies to drill sideways underground. The second is called "hydraulic fracturing" or "fracking." Millions of gallons of water, chemicals and sand are pumped into a well at enormous pressure, breaking the rock, making it possible for the gas to enter the well board. Proponents of natural gas see this new opportunity as our ticket to energy independence from the Middle East. Our country pays a lot of money for oil, and some people are getting really excited that we have tons of this stuff, and that it could really help our economy. 

The problem is that there are some very real dangers involved in "fracking." Like drilling for oil, "fracking" is performed by humans, and humans make mistakes--big ones some times. Some very bad accidents have happened from "fracking" including the contamination of precious water supplies. If you watch the video, you will see both leaking toxic smoke (under infrared cameras) and fluids. Even the CEO of Chesapeake Co. admits accidents can result from human error, and that they will continue to happen. So, why can't we make "fracking" safe if it's so good for our economy? 

Environmentalists say it's obvious. The natural gas industry is not regulated like other energy companies. In fact, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recently subpeonaed natural gas companies to disclose the chemicals they use--that means that under law they must share what they know! One company refused to do just that (hmmm?). That company is Halliburton, and this is where it gets ugly. Former Vice-President, Dick Cheney, pushed Congress to exempt (leave out) regulation of fracking from natural gas companies in a 2005 energy bill called the "Safe Drinking Water Act". Did you see the man blow up his water on the video?  Does that look like "safe" drinking water to you? I don't think I have to spell it out for you. By the way, did I forget to mention that our former VP, Dick Cheney, had been the former CEO of the Halliburton Company? Putting two and two together are you?

Well Neergs, you're smart enough to figure this thing out. Is it possible that we could extract Natural Gas in a safer way? Possibly. Is the gas industry going to self-regulate for our safety and well-being?Probably not. The reality check is you can't stop the speeding train. Greed will run the "fracking" train, but that doesn't mean we can't put our foot down. The industry must be regulated, and the EPA needs to put their foot on the gas (good pun, right?). We don't have time to waste...or water for that matter! What do you think about fracking? Write us at admin@greenkidsrock.com or try out our new forum! Peace Out--Ethan