Section Four Finalized: The Rest of the Chemical-Water Questions

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At 444 pages, the North Carolina Oil and Gas Study is an extensive document. During the month of April, Laura White will be tackling this entire document, conducting interviews with experts and breaking it down section by section so you can be as informed as possible.

The Record’s goal here is not to tell you what to think about fracking, but to arm you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

Check in a few times a week, and watch for #NCFrackFocus on Twitter for daily updates as we work our way through what you need to know. Have a specific question you want us to address? Email or Tweet @lewhite.

Wednesday we learned that despite rules to regulate diesel fuel’s use in fracking, it’s not always properly permitted.

As the study continues, wording assures readers that while all of these chemicals are in fact hazardous and can pose problems for public health, exposure to them only occurs in case of an accident or a spill! Phew. It’s good that those sorts of things never happen.

Except several pages down, DENR states: Spills are extremely likely to occur with any natural gas drilling and production in North Carolina.

And if these spills happen before or during rainfall, that spill then spreads into surface waters. These sorts of surface water contaminations kill off aquatic life, trigger fish consumption advisories, and have even been known to kill other non-aquatic wildlife, livestock, and even pets.

This seems incredibly problematic, given that the Deep River Basin hugs Raleigh’s own water supply, Falls Lake — which, as I pointed out last week, already isn’t in the best shape these days.

But if it helps you sleep any better at night, it isn’t that hydraulic fracturing specifically is causing the contamination. It appears to just be the activities connected to the exploration and extraction of oil and gas in general.

And if that helps you rest, then snag some Zs for me.

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