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Fracking’s big footprint: New Report Documents High Levels of Water & Waste

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By Nadia Steinzor

October 31, 2013

From the very beginning of the shale gas and oil boom, water use and pollution rose to the top of key concerns. Maybe it’s because it takes millions of gallons just to frack a well. Or the special exemptions industry enjoys from the Safe Drinking Water and Clean Water Acts. The era of climate change, when long droughts and intense floods highlight drilling’s impact. And the tens of thousands of rivers and streams nationwide that are already impaired.

So it’s no wonder that questions are being asked—by advocates, communities, researchers, and even industry analysts—about the “energy-water nexus.” This week, we got some answers with the release of a new report by researchers at Downstream Strategies and San Jose State University. Developed in collaboration with Earthworks, the report provides the most comprehensive investigation to date of water used and waste generated by Marcellus Shale gas operations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well as where it all ends up. 

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Tagged with: fracking, water, water contamination, waste


Triple Divide history lesson

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By Nadia Steinzor

September 23, 2013

While driving through eastern Ohio yesterday, I stopped for a stroll along the Cayuhoga. In the language of the First Americans, the name meant “crooked river.” For other Americans born centuries later, the name would come to mean “the river that caught on fire from pollution.”

The famous Cayuhoga fire of 1969 was blamed on heavy oil slicks, and was one of several that afflicted the river during more than a century of unregulated industrial waste dumping. The image of the river burning has been credited with a surge in the environmental movement and the political support needed to pass the Clean Water Act.

Fast-forward to September 2013, as Ohioans turn out in the hundreds to watch different images of rivers threatened and rivers defended—this time in the form of Triple Divide, a documentary about the damage caused by shale gas development.

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Tagged with: fracking, ohio


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