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Do state governments sufficiently regulate fracking of natural gas?

The removal of gas from the shale layers employs a process called fracking which, as I understand it, essentialy cracks and crushes the shale layer (through explosives) thus freeing the gas, which is washed out with chemically treated salt water. The companies who do this are mostly from the West, and have moved to the fields in the East (such as, Marcellus Shale), where they expertly maneuver through ill-suited Eastern laws, pay landowners sums that seem large to poor people, and damage the land through many levels of earth, to capture the gas and make millions. I believe the States in the East are turning a blind eye to the danger and abuses and frauds because the money has been good, compared to no money. I think there should be a moratorium on fracking, pending legislative study. I would like payment of my delay rental first, though, because I likewise turn a blind eye to potential damage in exchange for dollars.

  • Apr 11 2013: Burnet Shale is big here. Hopefully everyone is following the rules, but we've had some problems. This requires a great deal of water,and Northcentral Texas has really been using it's water - It is expected to be a problem in the future. Fort Worth city water has been available for a very modest fee for fracking.
  • Apr 10 2013: I don't know what the law is in Pa. In Texas they can go to court to force this.
    • Apr 10 2013: Yikes. But, I suppose the government recognizes a public interest that overrides property ownership. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure we're almost the only country in the world that recognizes private ownership of mineral interests. I think elsewhere the government owns below the surface. I'm not too upset over any of the ownership aspects, but I do worry about the water, etc. Anyway, that's interesting about Texas. Do they frack there, the shale layer? Or is more the types of wells they show in the movies? Thanks so much for responding!
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    • Apr 10 2013: Well, that's a good point. Fracking might destroy water. The gas companies adamantly deny that, of course. I'm aware of a couple of law suits relating to possible polluting of farm ponds and damage to livestock. It's possible that they might lead to discovery of facts and information. Whether it will ever be publicized, who can say yet? It does seem as though the legislature is unwilling to investigate - as you say, when it comes to money, everybody wants some and everybody needs it. I'm sure it would be tough, to be the state representative who digs for answers when everyone in your district needs stuff that money can buy. Actualy, i don't know of any state represrntatives who are digging for answers, come to think of it.
  • Apr 7 2013: Hi, Matthew, First, I should say that I'm a big fan of humans, although I think we are out of place on this earth. But stupid, greedy, and stupid?, yes, very often true. I think the ppl in power, the ppl who set policies - in the legislatures or in the gas companies - have a duty to set aside their greed and educate themselves so as to not take a course that does lasting damage to our planet. The landowners are often quite poor, just struggling to get by, and I don't blame them for taking their pennies where they can get them. In my own family, I went along and signed a lease to keep family harmony, but personally, I wouldn't have done it. Thanks for your comments, Mary
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    Apr 7 2013: G'day Mary

    We have polluted the air & the ground including ground water but fracking goes a step further from this & also pollute the subterranean water as well, are we stupid or something or worse still greedy & stupid????

  • Apr 6 2013: We will not know for many years to come.

    In twenty years, if the huge water aquifers that provide drinking water to millions of people have been contaminated, then we will know that we should have had more regulations. If that happens, I am sure that the gas companies will do the right thing by providing us with filtering technology, paid out of their profits.
    • Apr 6 2013: Oh, yes, corporations have always been so good about acknowledging their public responsibilities. Like WR Grace, for example, oh no, oops, bad example, since the company went out of business once it was found to be liable for damage to its workers. I do think the gas companies have to post bonds to cover possible future reclamation, but I'm not exactly positive about that.
  • Apr 6 2013: In some cases. George Mitchell who invented this is supposedly concerned by the lack of study. There have always been pirates in the oil industry. Know what you are doing and be responsible.
    • Apr 6 2013: Thank you for your response. I'm sorry to say I don't know the history and background of fracking. I do see its present impact on the people of my community. Such a variation in the sums paid for delay rentals, such a variation in lease terms! And when it's over, will we be left with a mess to clean up? I just don't know. I appreciate the income it brings to my neighbors, but I'm not sure it's going to be a good thing, long term. And I feel like the income itself is a pittance. I gave way to my family on its desire to lease our land, but if it had been up to me, I wouldn't have done it, at least not yet. Still, I took the money, so blah blah blah as far as I'm concerned, I suppose.
      • Apr 7 2013: George Mitchell pioneered it in Texas. If you live in Texas and had only a small piece of land our oil and gas law could have provided that the well be drillede no matter what you did. It could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how the drillers follow the rules. It's like surgery in that even if things are done correctly things can go wrong. American troops seem to go where the oil is, so I support drilling responsibly, and we should save are resources and use all we use responsibly.
        • Apr 10 2013: Where I am, Pennsylvania, I have heard the agents for the oil and gas companies tell people that it doesn't matter if they consent or not, to the fracking. They claim that they can just drill on the neighboring piece, then set off explosives, free the gas, and then capture it. I understand that, under our law, gas is like a wild animal -- the person who captures it, owns it. But I can imagine that the destruction of the shale layer (to free the gas) might be challenged at some point. The shale layer may be out of sight, but it's still mine, under my land. It seems incorrect to think someone can basically stand off to the side of my land and destroy it. Of course, that may be a challenge that noone ever makes. The land I own alone, I didn't sign a lease. So maybe my descendants will fight about it.