Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fracking brings money, headaches to rural places

Traffic in Watford City, N.D., generated by oil and gas drilling
and fracking operations.
(Bloomberg photo by Matthew Staver)
Hydraulic fracturing can brings jobs and wealth to rural areas, but there can also be negative effects to bringing the drilling business to town, Alan Bjerga of Bloomberg News reminds us.

"Fracking is unlocking new reserves of oil and gas from shale-rock formations in North Dakota, Texas and the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions," Bjerga writes. "The Monterey Shale formation in Central California may provide a $25 billion tax windfall to a cash-strapped state known for environmental activism."

The negative impact is "dealing with mineral-rights disputes, pollution concerns and increased strains on roads, schools and police forces," said Shannon Ferrell, agricultural law professor at Oklahoma State University. "Critics say fracking is fouling water supplies in communities from Pennsylvania to North Dakota and replacing one fossil fuel, coal, with another," Bjerga writes. Burning natural gas releases about half the amount of carbon dioxide as burning coal. (Read more)

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