Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 11:07PM
The natural gas industry has embraced hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it has come to be known in the parlance of our times, and its advocates are actively engaged in positioning it as the silver bullet that will solve virtually all of our nation’s energy woes.
But to say that there are legitimate concerns about the practice and its potential effects on the environment would be an understatement.
To date, most of those concerns have centered around the potential for water contamination in areas where hydraulic fracturing is widely practiced. Indeed, a recent report from researchers at Duke University linked hydraulic fracturing to increased methane content in well water.
But the potential fallout from fracking operations doesn’t end at the water table.
An assessment of the potential impact that natural gas development will have on the communities located within the Marcellus Shale play states that the affect will be nothing less than, “ominous.”
'The potential transportation impacts are ominous. Assuming current gas drilling technology and a lower level of development than will be experienced in Pennsylvania the Marcellus region will see a peak year increase of up to 1.5-million heavy truck trips, and induced development may increase peak hour trips by 36,000 trips/hour. While this new traffic will be distributed around the Marcellus region this Discussion Paper suggests that it will be necessary to reconstruct hundreds of miles of roads and scores of bridges and undertake safety and operational improvements in many areas.'