Fracking Isn’t Worth the Danger
On July 26, a full-page article appeared in a major WV newspaper. It had color photos, half truths and outright lies all wrapped in folksy language. Hardly your next-door neighbor, Antero Resources LLC a multi-national energy corporation based in Denver, hired West Virginia lobbyists, not your neighbors either, to write it.
The most breath-taking falsehood in the article is that Antero must abide by all Federal environmental regulations in its new frack-waste disposal facility. Exactly the opposite is true. Gas- and oil-field (frack) wastes are exempt from every federal environmental rule, including:
*Safe Drinking Water Act, *Clean Water Act, *Clean Air Act, *The Superfund Act, *NEPA, *Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, *Resource Conservation and Recovery Act *and the West Virginia Hazardous Waste Management Act; (Ch 22-18-6(a)(12)(D)).
Moreover, several of the so-called “exhaustive” regulations in Antero’s permit, such as what may be put into the landfill, can be changed upon written approval from the DEP or the WV Health Dept. These agencies will likely approve anything this billion-dollar corporation requests. The WV DEP has repeatedly proposed frack-friendly legislation, like the rule prohibiting citizens from knowing what is in frack fluid. Further, among many similar allowances, the DEP let an injection well, known to be leaking, operate for a year without a permit.
As to their statement that Antero is concerned for the environment-Antero’s record speaks for itself. It was Antero’s activities that ruined numerous water wells in Doddridge County and who has had 117 citations for environmental violations in the past 5 years.
Antero claims their experimental dump will solve the problem of the billions of gallons of frack waste generated in WV annually. But what they aren’t admitting is that there will be tons of radioactive sludge with no safe, inexpensive place for disposal, an enormous, toxin-laced salt dome where there was once drinkable water, incredible air pollution from a possible 250 acres of VOC-emitting sludge pits and intense diesel smog resulting from 600 tanker trucks daily.
Alarmingly, also ignored in the public relations article is that Antero is only required to test for a few chemicals in all their products. According to a 2011 Congressional report there are upwards of 650 additives in frack fluid, many are toxic, and most end up in the waste. Further, in a 2009, NY State study, 4-NQO was discovered in 24 out of 24 samples of frack waste from Pennsylvania and WV. This toxin does not occur naturally and is cancer-causing even in parts per trillion, a level too low for regular monitoring. Antero’s “purified” water will go into fracked wells with all the predictable accidents, spills and leaks with no testing whatsoever!
Regarding the promised “jobs.” Where are the jobs from other frack operations? A tour of Antero’s base reveals camps for out-of-state workers. Of every 50 frack workers, only one West Virginian is hired. And these jobs are temporary.
Sometimes fear is a good thing. Without it, irresponsible entities like Antero will pollute until the chance for a long, healthy life in West Virginia is just a memory. West Virginia is slated to be the new “cancer alley.” Our cancer rate is already the second highest in the nation and rising.