LETTER: Use common sense to make a decision about shale drilling



I am a local farmer. I’m a simple man and, like most farmers, I have a lot of common sense. Simplicity and common sense go hand in hand.

In order for my farm to operate, I must make many logical decisions. If logic is not applied to my decision-making process, I suffer the consequences.

I have to make a big decision now, and I must use common sense. I have to decide whether Marcellus and Utica shale gas drilling is a good or bad thing. Some people say it’s a good thing and others say it’s a bad thing.

Obviously, we need fuel, and we are relying on other countries to supply our needs. I don’t know how we are going to solve this problem. Shale gas drilling could probably supply us with what we need for a while, and that seems good. But what must be sacrificed to get this nonrenewable fossil fuel?

Each well-pad will require about eight acres, and I’ve been told the well-pads could be established every two miles. That’s a great deal of field and woods to sacrifice. Some say the gas companies must restore the land to the way it was before they drilled. That’s impossible. Common sense will tell you that. Fertile topsoil and mature trees cannot be replaced overnight, maybe not even in a lifetime; and that seems bad. Beauty must be sacrificed for the sake of more fossil fuel. I don’t own a lot of land, but I do enjoy the beauty of other people’s woods and fields. This simple pleasure must be sacrificed. That’s bad.

People refer to the type of drilling used in shale drilling as “fracking.” Some say it’s safe, some say it’s dangerous. I’m 59 years old and I don’t have cancer. I eat home-grown food and drink milk from my Jersey cow and pure water from my hand-dug well. My life is good.

My neighbor says that I’m stupid if I believe that fracking is unsafe. “All they use is compressed water and dish soap,” he said. I believed him. Then, I remembered at times in the past he had misinformed me; so I researched the issue to find the truth. I found out drillers force many different chemicals into the well. Some of these chemicals are known to cause cancer in people. I also learned the drilling process brings up organic carcinogens, like radon and radioactive materials. This toxic waste water is put into pits, from which some evaporates into the sky and lingers above our land. When it rains, these toxins end up in our soil. That’s bad.

I could cite other impractical aspects of hydraulic fracturing, but I have limited space. While I was writing this letter, though, I made my decision about whether Marcellus and Utica gas drilling is a good or bad thing. It’s the same decision Grandpa Beck would have made. He was a simple, practical man with a whole lot of common sense.

Steven J. Beck
West Middlesex, Pa.


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  1. Remember, the fracking industry requested exemption (and is exempt) from the Clean Water Act. One should question why an industry would need exemption from an act that protects our waterways. There would be no need for exemption if the products used in fraking legally passed those requirements. Hence, the need for exemption can only lead one to believe the process is not as clean and safe as being touted by the industry. Which is why more research is required for the fracking to continue.

  2. As you should know by now the EPA did find study in Wyoming about Fracking. Well the study is rightfully being attacked as the EPA has do e studies before which at least in one case the Spas study upon second hand smoke from cigarettes was denounced by a Federal Court.
    The Wall Street Journal has a stores upon the Wyoming study see http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204026804577098112387490158.html#

    One must remember government agencies are always looking for job security.

  3. During the energy crisis of the seventies salvation came in the form of drilling. Here in Trumbull County the rigs rolled in and wells were drilled. Later the wells were hydrofractured and pipelines were laid. Checks came in the mail that paid off the farms, bought machinery,fertilizer,fuel and paid the taxes. Times were good once again. Cows still graze, we still drink the water which is good and nothing bad happened. The wells have since depleted and the checks from them are much smaller. The new wave of drilling will allow our sons and daughters to experience the prosperity that we enjoyed. God bless the hard working drillers who allow the burdens in life to be lessened.

  4. The well pads are usually about two acres in size. Generally where the well pad is placed the land owner will receive $20,000 or more on top of his lease and their royalty! The land should be repaired as quickly as possible and in some areas it might even be better looking than before!
    I had a strip mine operation in the mid 70s not far from me. It looked pretty bad until they finished it and reclaimed it. Now it is pasture (tractor safe) two nice fishable ponds. You’d never no it had been scrub locust, ravine, and multi floral rose.

  5. The well that caused the earthquake in Youngstown was not drilling FOR anything – it was getting rid of other companies’ wastewater. I have copied the research below. This means that all your comments about drilling to make money do not apply here. This company is only about DUMPING fracking water & making money. Brine is saltwater and would react differently than fresh water forced under pressure underground – not to mention the other toxic chemicals included – remember this is wastewater from other fracking companies – kinda like a city dump with no liner. Do you really want this? I hope not.
    By Associated Press
    January 04, 2012, 8:03AM
    In Ohio, geographically and politically positioned to become a leading importer of wastewater from gas drilling, environmentalists and lawmakers opposed to the technique known as fracking are seizing on a series of small earthquakes as a signal to proceed with caution.
    Pennsylvania has six deep injection wells that currently accept fracking fluid, said Amanda Witman, a spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Protection. But some of its waste is trucked into Ohio, where the geology allows for more injection wells.Ohio’s willingness to accept the fracking leftovers amid a drilling boom in states to the east, south and west worries some residents and environmental advocates who say the science isn’t proven — and point to the earthquakes as evidence.

  6. Drilling or fracking dose not cause earthquakes.The oil field is a good thing for Pa,Wv,and Oh. I’ve grown up around the oil field,it dose bring in money to the states,it dose produce jobs,it dose build schools and heck out in oklahoma where I grew up it kept more then one town from going under.Alot of people up here want to blaame the oil field for thier bad water,,I think they need to look to the coal mines for thier bad water problems also.When we moved up to the ohio valley in 09,there were no rigs around here at all,we had to drill a water well and the water was crap I mean black n nasty after the fist month of running it,it was fine when we first put it in. we had to put a 9,000 dollar filtering systen on our well just so the livestock could drink the waater,,we have a coal mine about 1 mile from our place.I have nothing against the coal mines i just think people should stop blameing every little thang on the oil foeld.


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