The following is a letter submitted by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Columbia Environmental Law Clinic on human rights abuses created by hydraulic fracturing. As recent reports about produced water from hydraulic fracturing get more traction, we might see lawsuits appear. This provides a new view on the matter for many. The piece was originally posted at FrackTracker.
The Center for Constitutional Rights and Columbia Environmental Law Clinic submit this letter to provide background on hydraulic fracturing in the United States. The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CCR is based in New York but works throughout the United States and internationally to promote and protect human rights. Supervised by clinical faculty, Columbia Environmental Law Clinic students represent local, regional and national environmental and community organizations working to solve critical environmental challenges facing the New York metropolitan region as well as other parts of the world. The Clinic is part of a team of lawyers from local, state and national organizations who bring their legal resources to address impacts of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, a shale formation that cuts across New York and Pennsylvania. This joint letter with background and recommendations identifies substantial deficiencies in the U.S. Government’s regulation and monitoring hydraulic fracturing.
In the last several decades the United States has experienced political and economic pressure to decrease its dependence on foreign fossil fuels and increase domestic fossil fuel production. New technological developments have allowed the fossil fuel industry to extract natural gas from shale resources previously thought too expensive and difficult to tap. One such development, hydraulic fracturing, has been used in the industry for over 60 years and is now utilized in around 90 percent of the nation’s oil and gas wells.1 The process involves injecting water, chemicals and natural materials into the well to release trapped gases. Unfortunately, government regulators and industry leaders have historically ignored the substantial health and welfare costs associated with the process.2 Government regulators and industry leaders have historically ignored the substantial health and welfare costs associated with the process. Residents living in areas near fracturing sites have higher incidents of cancer and have reported that water itself is often discolored, pungent and contains bubbles because of the high levels of methane gas.3...
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