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Nature's Voice
In This Issue
Success Stories
Mercury Controls at Last
Campaign Update
A Boom in Fracking Threatens Communities Across America
Feature Stories
Big Oil Won't Let the Tar Sands Pipeline Die
NRDC, Redford Challenge Shell
Don't Frack the Catskills!
One Woman, Fighting for Justice, Turns Tragedy into Inspiration
Oil Companies Hijack Canadian Energy Decisions
NRDC Sues to Protect Whales from New Sonar Deployment
In The News
Cleaner Future for Cars
Online Features
Green Burials
This Green Life's Nature Map: Share Your Favorite Places!

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Photo of a hydro-fracking plant in Dimock, Pennsylvania
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Campaign Update
A Boom in Fracking Threatens Communities Across America
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The reports are as ominous as they are wide-ranging: Students at a high school outside Fort Worth begin complaining of nosebleeds, chest pains and a sense of disorientation while at school. A group of mothers in a Denver suburb demand answers after their families are struck with a host of mysterious illnesses ranging from asthma and migraines to nausea and dizziness. The well water of a family in northeastern Pennsylvania suddenly turns brown, and their son develops sores up and down his legs from showering in it.

Dozens of alarming stories like these are pouring in from across the country, and they have one thing in common: a controversial and hazardous form of oil and gas extraction called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. A little more than two decades ago, fracking was seldom used within the industry, but today the nation is experiencing a veritable boom in the practice, led by oil and gas giants like ExxonMobil, Shell and Chesapeake Energy. The vast majority of the 75,000 wells drilled in the past five years across 30 states were fracked. As companies rush headlong to drill even more wells -- often confounding local landowners with confusing leases and exploiting woefully inadequate state regulations -- all too often they are leaving devastation in their wake. According to Christopher Portier, director of the National Center for Environmental Health, fracking has been nothing short of "a disaster" for some communities.

That's been especially true in towns like Dimock, Pennsylvania, where gas production using fracking is suspected of poisoning the drinking water of at least 20 families and where, thanks to pressure from NRDC and other advocates, the Environmental Protection Agency has begun investigating possible drinking water contamination in almost 60 more homes. Or Pavillion, Wyoming, where last year the EPA confirmed the presence of toxic chemicals often associated with fracking in the town's groundwater. The area is home to nearly 170 natural gas wells.

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We must have safeguards in place to make sure that the production of natural gas is not poisoning our water and destroying our communities.

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