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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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Campaign Update
A Boom in Fracking Threatens Communities Across America
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Photo of a fire at frack tanks in Pennsylvania
It's an argument that oil and gas lobbyists are making in statehouses across the country and on Capitol Hill as they fight to maintain a status quo in which even the chemical makeup of fracking fluid is often considered proprietary information, a trade secret not subject to public disclosure. This despite a growing number of hazardous spills: In April 2011, a blowout near Canton, Pennsylvania, caused thousands of gallons of toxic fracking fluid to gush into a tributary of the Susquehanna River; in July, some 35,000 gallons of fracking fluid were released after a critical malfunction at a well near Pittsburgh. Two months later, more than 92,000 gallons of fracking fluid spilled after a blowout in North Dakota. Despite news of such serious accidents, most states are lagging in efforts to police the industry. West Virginia, for example, has just 17 oil and gas inspectors to monitor some 60,000 wells.

"Fracking is wreaking havoc on communities across the country, and unless we get this industry reined in, it's going to run roughshod over many more," says Kate Sinding, a senior attorney with NRDC's New York Urban Program, which has been pressing federal and state officials to address the growing threat posed by fracking. One area imperiled is New York State's Catskill Park, home to the creeks and rivers that supply drinking water for New York City (see below). For countless families who have had to endure the devastating impacts of fracking, from contaminated drinking water to a host of sudden, inexplicable illnesses, the nightmare has yet to end. As one retired teacher in Pennsylvania, whose family leased its land to gas companies only to discover that methane now bubbles out of the tap, told a local newspaper: "We thought this was a great opportunity, but we gave up our water and our property values -- for what?"

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Fracking is wreaking havoc on communities across the country, and unless we get this industry reined in, it's going to run roughshod over many more.



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