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Fear of fracking

September 4, 2011
Morning Journal News


Yesterday in the shower I reminded myself to conserve water, as I always have. Time to turn off the spray. Then a map I'd seen of all the deep gas/oil leases in Columbiana County flashed before my eyes. A map gray with leases and potential leases.

I got the image of frackers sucking out the farm ponds, rivers, creeks and ground waters to disappear down their thirsty holes, never to be come back in usable form. Columbiana County has always been awash with fresh water above and below ground. What-the-heck I said to myself, I'll use as much water as I want while it's still around. And I did.

I hear that the frackers busy in Beaver County, Pa., next door, are really excited about the quality of gas/oil they are bringing up from the depths. (My friend in South Beaver Township almost lost his mind when they put the first well next to his house: noise, blinding lights, ugliness, loss of land value and now one of his water wells is affected.)

Thus far only a temporary state moratorium has kept drillers out of Unity Township. State officials are worried about where all that water-to-be-destroyed will come from. Hummm. What is land worth when it has lost its drinking water?

A couple of decades from now, when the oil cartels are done feeding water to their miles-deep monster machines I wonder if there will be a single clean mud puddle or creek left in the county. I guarantee there will be scores of new farm ponds lined with thin plastic and filled with poisonous water from the wells. Should these forgotten reservoirs overflow and break through, there go the aquifers.

I think of all the idealistic young people who try to have a "low carbon footprint," who recycle and reuse. Watching their neighbors sell out all available fresh water is not too inspiring.

Sixteen miles away in Pennsylvania, on the Ohio River, is the site of the oldest peaceful nuclear power plant in the world with two working reactors. There are also cooling ponds crowded with fuel rods that nobody wants to store elsewhere. It has been a potentially dangerous situation for years.

There is at present a fracking moratorium in Arkansas because some counties experienced earthquakes after subterranean drilling caused the underlying bedrock to crack up. If the Fukushima earthquake taught us anything it should be the lesson that one should never frack/crack near nuclear power stations.

I don't know about you, I could go without showers for a while. But -ask the Japanese -I can't deal with earthquakes in Beaver County and radioactive releases from Shippingport. A friend once told me that siting of dangerous industries is 10 percent about safety and science and 90 percent about people allowing you to do it near them. But this time it's just not us. The whole United States will be blue if we shake up our nuclear power plant.

Barbara W. Georgescu

East Palestine



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