by Duane Craig
The discovery of high levels of radiation in hydraulic fracturing fluids used in the Marcellus Shale formation has spurred state and federal officials to look more closely at fracking operations.
Fracking is a process used to extract natural gas from shale deposits and it is the center of controversy between proponents who believe it is the answer to America’s energy independence, and oponents who think it will never offer that independence, and who claim it is contaminating the land and soils of the country.
By most accounts 20 percent of up to four million gallons of water and chemicals used to fracture the shale, returns to the surface at the wellhead. There it is stored for use in other wells, or it is disposed of. Of 179 gas wells tested in Pennsylvania, 64 percent contained high levels of radiation. Public water suppliers in the state are beginning to test their supplies for radiation and one state legislator is calling for all public water supplies to be tested, while another is renewing a call for a moratorium on fracking.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency is going after data from both the state and the frackers to try to understand the potential extent of the overall contamination.
Read one report about this, here.