As Governor McCrory and members of N.C. General Assembly continue pushing to open up North Carolina to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a new report by the Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center called “Fracking by the Numbers” highlights the risks to North Carolina if the current moratorium on fracking is lifted.
The report is the first study of its kind to measure the footprint of fracking damage nationally to date— including toxic wastewater, water use, chemical use, air pollution, land damage and global warming emissions.
“In state after state, fracking polluted our air, water, and landscapes. If fracking is allowed in North Carolina, this is the kind of damage in store for areas like the Deep River” said Liz Kazal, field associate with Environment North Carolina. “North Carolina’s air, water, and land are just too important to risk. Governor McCrory and the General Assembly need to act now to protect North Carolinians’ air and water.”
The report finds that in 2012 alone, fracking generated 280 billion gallons of toxic waste- enough to flood the city of Raleigh in a nine-foot deep toxic waste lagoon.
“The dangers detailed in this report reiterate that a few short months of energy are simply not worth jeopardizing our water, our air, and our rural landscapes,” said Senator Mike Woodard (NC-22). “In short, fracking is a bad deal for Durham and for North Carolina.”
With the oil and gas industry leasing nearly 8,000 acres of land in Moore, Lee and Chatham counties, waterways like Jordan Lake and the Deep River are at risk of contamination from the toxic wastewater fracking creates.
“I live on a small horse farm in the heart of Lee county where fracking will occur,” said Keely Wood, owner of Hide Away Horse Farms. “My neighbor has the prettiest farm with heirloom flowers, honey bees, wild turkeys, a certified spring and the largest beef cattle in North Carolina. Between her and the next neighbor who are both elderly, this will be where the first drill pad will most likely occur. The gasman came and preyed upon them both. She has a 15 year lease that earned her pennies.”
Of particular concern, the report shows that 250 billion gallons of water were used for fracking across the country since 2005, and 280 billion gallons of toxic wastewater were generated in 2012 alone. On the federal level, Environment North Carolina is calling on federal officials to close the loophole that exempts this waste from our nation’s hazardous waste law. Rep. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania (D- Scranton) introduced the CLEANER Act (H.R. 2825)— a bill to close the loophole exempting oil and gas waste from the nation’s hazardous waste law.
“Chatham County is a predominantly rural, agricultural county and we can not afford to have our water resources compromised,” said Moya Hallstein, student of sustainable agriculture and resident of Pittsboro. “Fracking would destroy farming in Chatham County and most people's ability to rely on their well water.”
The “Fracking by the Numbers” report measured key indicators of fracking threats across the country, including:
280 billion gallons of toxic wastewater generated in 2012,
450,000 tons of air pollution produced in one year,
250 billion gallons of fresh water used since 2005,
360,000 acres of land degraded since 2005,
100 million metric tons of global warming pollution since 2005.
“The bottom line is this: The numbers on fracking add up to an environmental nightmare,” said Kazal. “For North Carolina’s waters and our well being, we need to put a stop to fracking before it ever starts. It’s time for Governor McCrory and the N.C. General Assembly to stand up for the people and clean water of North Carolina—not out-of-state gas drillers—and hold our current moratorium on fracking.”
Environment North Carolina is a statewide, citizen-based, environmental advocacy organization, working towards a cleaner, greener, healthier future.