Tracking the Fracking

What kind of tracking information is available for us on the natural gas development of the Marcellus Shale play? Just a few months ago, some people in and around State College were wondering how to track the scope of the problem and lamenting that they didn't have the time or the infrastructure to do something that seemed so necessary. But as it turns out, there is a large amount of data out there.

The Center for Healthy Environments and Communities (CHEC) of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health has developed FracTracker:
In response to the growing concerns regarding Marcellus Shale gas extraction's impacts...FracTracker is a combination of a web-based DataTool for tracking & visualizing data related to gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale region, & perhaps in other shale regions in the future, & a blog for synthesizing data.
As you may know from following much local media in Pennsylvania and from talking to your friends, neighbors, and family members across the state, the natural gas industry is impacting Pennsylvania enormously. While some people are making a fortune, others are being exposed to the produced water from the fracking process, workers have died, cows have been quarantined, wells have blown out, water has been contaminated with gas from leaking wells, children have gotten sick, communities and ecosystems have been disrupted by noise and traffic, and roads have been crushed by truck traffic.

Maps and analysis can help us get some handle on the scope of these issues. For example, you can view this map of recorded violations from 1-1-2007 and 9-30-2010 (pictured at left - taken from FracTracker). Like we've been doing with some bloggers who live in Marcellus production areas, some on-the-ground interviewing is illuminating as well (watch this interview with exposed to contaminated water).

That's why we will be talking to Samantha Malone (Communications Specialist for FracTracker) on our show this week. We will talk about Frac Tracker, why it's needed, what it's showing about the Marcellus Shale play development, and how it compares to other places in the United States that have had long-term shale gas drilling.

Listen in on Friday November 11th from 4-5 pm on The Lion 90.7 fm.

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