Summary: Legal Issues In Hydraulic Fracturing

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Week 6 Course Project Legal Issues in Hydraulic Fracturing Hydraulic fracturing is a controversial drilling process that uses highly pressurized water, sand and chemicals to extract natural gas and oil deeply buried in the earth. Hydraulic fracturing takes place throughout the United States and Canada. While differences exist among drilling locations, investor concerns are the same: Hydraulic fracturing fluids are known to include toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. There are numerous documented cases of environmental and public health impacts as a result of fracturing. Companies involved in this process do not disclose the chemical constituents of their fracturing fluids. Fracturing requires and has the potential to contaminate…show more content…
In some fracturing jobs—like those in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and New York—more than 40,000 gallons of fracturing chemicals, with no company disclosure of the chemical constituents, can be used at a single well. Because the process is exempt from most federal oversight, it is overseen by state agencies that are spread thin and have widely varying regulations. A recent report by the Ground Water Protection Council revealed that only four of the 31 drilling states it surveyed have regulations that directly address hydraulic fracking and that no state requires companies to track the volume of chemicals left underground. One in five states doesn't require the concrete casing used to contain wells to be tested before hydraulic fracking. Approximately one‐third of the millions of gallons of water used in fracking returns to the surface, where it is either reused or trucked to treatment plants. More than half the states allow the open, dirt‐brimmed waste pits that collect toxic fluids to intersect with the water table, even though waste pits are connected to hundreds of cases of water…show more content…
Environmental Protection Agency estimated that 70 to 140 billion gallons of water are used to fracture 35,000 wells in the United States each year. This is approximately the annual water consumption of 40 to 80 cities each with a population of 50,000. Fracture treatments incoalbed methane wells use from 50,000 to 350,000 gallons of water per well, while deeper horizontal shale wells can use anywhere from 2 to 10 million gallons of water to fracture a single well. The extraction of so much water for fracking has raised concerns about the ecological impacts to aquatic resources, as well asdewatering of drinking water aquifers. It has been estimated that the transportation of a million gallons of water (fresh or waste water) requires 200 truck trips. Thus, not only does water used for hydraulic fracturing deplete fresh water supplies and impact aquatic habitat, the transportation of so much water also creates localized air quality, safety and road repair issues. Sand and

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