[ GASLAND: The Truth Behind HydroFracking (HD Full) ]
In May 2008, Josh Fox received a letter from a natural gas company offering to lease his family’s land in Milanville, Pennsylvania for $100,000 to drill for gas.
Following the lease offer, he looked for information about natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale under large parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and West Virginia. He visited Dimock, Pennsylvania where natural gas drilling was already taking place. In Dimock, he met families able to light their tap water on fire as well as suffering from numerous health issues and fearing their well water had been contaminated.
Fox then set out to see how communities are being affected in the west where a natural gas drilling boom has been underway for the last decade. He spent time with citizens in their homes and on their land as they relayed their stories of natural gas drilling in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Texas, among others. He spoke with residents who have experienced a variety of chronic health problems as well as contamination of their air, water wells or surface water. In some instances, the residents are reporting that they obtained a court injunction or settlement monies from gas companies to replace the affected water supplies with potable water or water purification kits.
An original investigative report by Earth Focus and UK’s Ecologist Film Unit looks at the risks of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. From toxic chemicals in drinking water to unregulated interstate dumping of potentially radioactive waste that experts fear can contaminate water supplies in major population centers including New York City, are the health consequences worth the economic gains?
Marcellus Shale contains enough natural gas to supply all US gas needs for 14 years. But as gas drilling takes place, using a process called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” toxic chemicals and methane gas seep into drinking water. Now experts fear that unacceptable levels of radioactive Radium 226 in gas development waste.
Fracking chemicals are linked to bone, liver and breast cancers, gastrointestinal, circulatory, respiratory, developmental as well as brain and nervous system disorders. Such chemicals are present in frack waste and may find their way into drinking water and air.
Waste from Pennsylvania gas wells — waste that may also contain unacceptable levels of radium — is routinely dumped across state lines into landfills in New York, Ohio and West Virginia. New York does not require testing waste for radioactivity prior to dumping or treatment. So drill cuttings from Pennsylvania have been dumped in New York’s Chemung and other counties and liquid waste is shipped to treatment plants in Auburn and Watertown New York. How radioactive is this waste? Experts are calling are for testing to find out.
New York State may have been the first state in the nation to put a temporary hold on fracking pending a safety review, but it allows other states to dump toxic frack waste within its boundaries.
With a gas production boom underway in the Marcellus Shale and plans for some 400,000 wells in the coming decades, the cumulative impact of dumping potential lethal waste without adequate oversight is a catastrophe waiting to happen. And now U.S. companies are exporting fracking to Europe.