Titles About Fracking
Across the country, fracking — the extraction of natural gas by hydraulic fracturing — is being touted as the nation’s answer to energy independence and a fix for a flagging economy. Drilling companies assure us that the process is safe, politicians push through drilling legislation without a serious public-health debate, and those who speak out are marginalized, their silence purchased by gas companies and their warnings about the dangers of fracking stifled. Michelle Bamberger, a veterinarian, and Robert Oswald, a pharmacologist, combine their expertise to show how contamination at drilling sites translates into ill health and heartbreak for families and their animals. By giving voice to the people at ground zero of the fracking debate, the authors vividly illustrate the consequences of fracking and issue an urgent warning to all of us: fracking poses a dire threat to the air we breathe, the water we drink, and even our food supply.
When natural gas fracking moves into an urban or a suburban neighborhood, a two-hundred-foot-high drill appears on the other side of a back yard fence and diesel trucks clog a quiet two-lane residential street. Children seem to be having more than the usual number of nosebleeds. There are so many local cases of cancer that the elementary school starts a cancer support group. This title examines what happens when natural gas extraction by means of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” takes place not on wide-open rural land but in a densely populated area with homes, schools, hospitals, parks, and businesses. It focuses on fracking in the Barnett Shale, the natural-gas–rich geological formation under the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex and gives voice to the residents — for the most part educated, middle class, and politically conservative — who became reluctant anti-drilling activists in response to perceived environmental and health threats posed by fracking.
Running from southern West Virginia through eastern Ohio, across central and northeast Pennsylvania, and into New York through the Southern Tier and the Catskills, the Marcellus Shale formation underlies a sparsely populated region that features striking landscapes, critical watersheds, and a struggling economic base. It also contains one of the world’s largest supplies of natural gas, a resource that has been dismissed as inaccessible — until recently. Technological developments that combine horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) have removed physical and economic barriers to extracting hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of gas from bedrock deep below the Appalachian basin. Control over drilling rights is at stake in the heart of Marcellus country — northeast Pennsylvania and central New York. The decisions by landowners to work with or against the companies — and the resulting environmental and economic consequences — are scrutinized by neighbors faced with similar decisions, by residents of cities whose water supply originates in the exploration area, and by those living across state lines with differing attitudes and policies concerning extraction industries.
It was Uncle Tom’s Cabin, not economic data, that turned the page on slavery. It was The Grapes of Wrath, not demographic reports that opened a nation’s eyes to Dust Bowl dislocation. Out of that tradition comes The Fracking War. Here, within a smoldering crucible of social crisis, is a tale of power, money, fateful choices, and consciences aroused.
A lakeside community defends itself from hydrofracking and gas storage in this environmental thriller, the sequel to The Fracking War. Is this a band of eco-terrorists, as defined by U.S. law, or are they just good citizens desperate to defend their homes, their community and their water?
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