Don’t believe what fracking supporters say

To the Editor:

Western North Carolina is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The majestic mountains, the lush green forests and valleys, the small family farms, waterfalls, rivers, streams, along with the pristine sky all inspire us on a daily basis. We treasure this natural abundance, and like all inheritance, we must be wise stewards for our future generations.

Unfortunately, there is a fundamental threat to all of this:  hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” This could destroy it all. 

Fracking is an industrial process using millions of gallons of our pristine mountain water mixed with toxic chemicals pumped underground at extremely high pressure to break apart natural gas-infused shale rock thousands of feet below the surface.

Each well turns 3 to 5 million gallons of clean water into a poisonous stew. There is no “safe” treatment or disposal of the hundreds of millions of gallons of permanently-polluted water that return to the surface. 

 There has been a huge increase in earthquakes since fracking began in Oklahoma, according to CNN. 

 Well water has been permanently poisoned in many areas that that have been fracked in Pennsylvania, where more than 100 cases of pollution were confirmed over the past five years. Also, radioactive radium levels were about 200 times greater in sediment from a creek where wastewater was discharged from a treatment plant than in sediment upstream from fracking, according to USA Today.

Expensive homes have become uninhabitable and worthless as a result of toxic air pollution caused by fracking in Texas, where nosebleeds, migraines, vision problems, nausea, rashes and vomiting were caused by a neighbor’s fracking wells, according to CNN.

We don’t need huge trucks rumbling by our homes at all hours, clear cutting for new roads and pipelines criss-crossing our fragile mountainsides over our state, federal and private property. We don’t need 20-foot-tall gas flare-offs lighting up the night sky and the whine of giant compressors keeping us up night after night.

 Proponents of fracking tell us that it is safe, if done correctly. In a perfect world, where cost-cutting, corrosion and human error don’t occur, fracking might be safe. 

There are no rules, no promises, no regulations, no penalties and no amount of money that can fix fracked groundwater. Once the ground water is contaminated, it is poisoned forever. That risk is unacceptable.

These are facts, and those of us who love this place don’t want fracking here.

 Our homes are our greatest investment, our greatest achievement, our greatest gift to our children. Let us preserve this gift for future generations. Tell our county commissioners. Tell our state legislators. Just say no to fracking.

 State Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, now claims that fracking probably won’t come to WNC, yet the law he cosponsored was designed so that we local citizens can’t block it. In November, we need to retire Mr. Davis and the other legislators who voted for this. We need to outlaw fracking before it starts, before it’s too late. 

Dan Kowal


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