It seems as though these days people just aren't willing to do any unbiased investigating concerning the issue of natural gas drilling before jumping on the "stop drilling - natural gas companies are evil" bandwagon. It may not seem like it from all the news articles you come across, but the overwhelming majority of people are actually pro-drilling. However, the majority of non-industry people (regular citizens) who are actually voicing their opinions are the anti-drilling groups.
If you google Marcellus drilling, you will get 100's of pages of the fears of fracking, pollution, companies raping the land like coal companies, etc.. The problem is that the industry is painted as not caring about the environment, and going by its own rules. Here are the most common accusations against natural gas drilling. Again, take my comments with a grain of salt and do some real research on your own before believing anything. And by research, I dont mean newspapers, or extreme websites... I mean peer reviewed science literature. Here we go:
Q: Why dont companies tell us what chemicals are in frack fluids?!?
A. This is a claim found everywhere and it's such a misleading question. It's posed as if these companies are hiding something. The chemicals used have never been a secret to the public. I don't understand why this keeps coming up when the info is right there. Example: Go to Chesapeake's website. They put a large link to the "frac facts" right on their homepage. Yes, their homepage. It lists every chemical in a frac fluid. You may not agree with the chemicals involved, but don't say that they're not telling you. Next question.
Q. Why don't companies release how much of each chemical is in their frac fluid?
A. Is that really the question you're looking to get an answer to? If Haliburton said they were putting .0001 ounces of biocide per 100,000 gallons instead of .0002 ounces per 100,000 gallons... Would that change your view of fracking? This question is asked (like the specific chemicals used in frac fluids question) in order to make the industry appear as if it has a dirty little secret. Let's be logical, that small difference is not going to change your opinion, but it gives you the argument they're hiding something.
The exact formulas to the T are not known, but the general amounts are known (down to a hundreth of one percent). That's pretty damn good. Like the specific chemicals involved, this question has an answer - again it's plastered on Chesapeake's home page.
Q. We need to hold companies responsible for the wastewater! We can't let them dump it wherever they want!
A. There are actually incredibly strict sets of regulations for companies to abide by when dealing with their water. If you don't abide by them, you are gone - see ya, no drilling permits are issued. When I hear these claims I say to myself "Yes, you're right, we should be holding them accountable...We do. There should be regulations... and there are". It's like a person saying "We can't let police officers wear neon green dresses to work!"... Well, I don't think anybody is arguing against that. And they don't.
The industry IS held responsible. People need to understand that companies can not drill if they don't get every permit approved by the DEP. If the DEP approves it, then why is the "blame" (used loosely) on the companies? I expect the typical "because the DEP is in the pockets of the industry".. leads me to my next false statement.
Q. The DEP is in the pocket of the industry, that's why there are no regulations!
A. Well, we've discussed the regulations already as being some of the strictest regulations in the country. Now as to the DEP being corrupt. That's a pretty bold statement to make considering nobody has any information as to why they say that (funny word I call "data"). I'm not going to say show me the data because that's a defensive statement. I can say, however, that for every dollar lobbyists bring in for natural gas drilling, 100 are brought in by coal or oil. 1000 for renewables (biomass especially). To say natural gas has a stranglehold is... well.. just wrong. Do you wonder why the US has the most natural gas in the world, yet relies on it the least for electricity and fuel (generally speaking)? Even if lobbyists do get some more support for natural gas drilling - are you against switching from gasoline to a cleaner natural gas fueled vehicle? Are you against America being able to finally use it's own energy source and stop funding foreign corrupt countries?
There are literally hundreds of questions/claims just like this that have answers. I know, it is tough to be able to tell what is factual and what is propoganda when you are new to this industry. Even this post here, don't believe a word I say until you actually do a little digging from both sides. Yes, go check out some of the problems involved with drilling, then check out how companies are addressing it. Let's see if the extremists environmentalists have that type of comment ever (e.g. "go check out Exxon's safety record and come back to me"). They won't ever say that, because they know the truth is there which refutes their argument. I am pro-natural gas, a proud American. Go Marcellus.