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Fracking Operation
Fracking Operation
Just when you thought that things couldn’t get much worse, along comes Fracking – the practice (also referred to as hydraulic fracturing) of using high-pressure water to unlock oil and natural gas deposits that were uneconomic to tap only a few years ago. Although Fracking has been in use for some time, improved technology has led to a ‘Fracking Boom’.

This drilling technique is controversial because of the millions of gallons of water and toxic chemicals blasted into the ground creating cracks that allow pockets of natural gas to be released.

Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians
Maude Barlow


The Council of Canadians is raising serious concerns about the effects of this practice on water, climate, wildlife and public health. The Council, led by Maude Barlow – National Chairperson and author of the international best seller (Blue Covenant: the Global Water Crisis and The Coming Battle for the Right to Water’) has started the “Don’t Frack With Our Water” petition.

As the public around the globe becomes more aware of the issues around hydraulic fracking, opposition is mounting. Maude Barlow is asking all Canadians to “join the fight…..the threats from fracking are clear. The need for action is urgent”

Fracking poses severe threats:

  • Poisons groundwater and drinking water supplies located near aquifers
  • A single fracking project requires 1000s of gallons of chemicals – fluids include formaldehyde, boric acid, ethylene glycol, methanol, isopropanol and diesel fuel
  • Storage of fracking waste in open pits or rechanneled into underground used up wells
  • Depletes drinking water resources – a single fracking operation requires 2 to 9m gallons of water
  • Potential health hazards for the public as some 750 chemicals must be moved and used in fracking operations


In Britain, thousands of new wells will be drilled as a recent government report (April 2012) “advises to allow the controversial practice of fracking for shale gas to be extended….in spite it causing two earthquakes and the emergence of serious doubts over the safety of the wells that have already been drilled”. This was reported in The Guardian article, Gas Fracking Gets the Green Light (Fiona Harvey, April 17, 2012)

No Fracking in France
No Fracking in France


France  has become the only country in the world to stop Hydraulic Fracturing. It was banned in France in 2011 after public pressure.

United States

In the US, Shale is fast becoming one of the major sources of energy after years of intensive and widespread fracking operations. Fracking is being identified as the cause of contamination of water supplies and soil, ravaged landscapes, long-term safety of  wells and the danger of explosions.

The escalation of Fracking is a major concern to Californians because of the use of vast quantities of water,  an increasingly scarce and precious resource. Nearly two-thirds of the nation’s shale oil deposits are found in California, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In New Mexico where Fracking has been going on for some time, portions of the landscape are collapsing. In Colorado, frackers are outbidding farmers for water during a drought season not seen since 2002 following the 4th warmest and 3rd least snowy winter in US history.  Each well drilled requires 1 to 5 m gallons of water.

Bill McKibben, 350.Org
Bill McKibben – 350.Org
Bill Mckibben, of 350.Org has been writing about climate change for years and now sees Fracking Practices as an emerging, somewhat unforeseen major threat, not only to the environment but also for the move towards alternative energy sources.

This will be the topic of another blog post on

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  1. Because of the success of Fracking in tapping new sources of oil and natural gas, investors are more apt to divert their investment dollars away from green energy – as you mention, this is a huge problem


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