Academy Award-nominated director of the documentary 'Gasland', Joshua Fox, was hauled out of a congressional subcommittee hearing in handcuffs for attempting to videotape the proceedings. The hearing was focused on the EPA report that shows that fracking poisons drinking water. Fox is working on a sequel to his Oscar-nominated film, but House Republicans ordered that he and his film crew be arrested for quietly standing against the wall with video cameras, which has been routinely permitted for decades.

"Drillers may need more water than we have" 

See Clean Water for North Carolina's Fracking Page here.

The practice of hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking' is a tangent to the issue of who controls Asheville's water system. But learn about the practice & the water usage, the geography, what's happening in other states, the political landscape here in NC and the tremendous amounts of money involved. I think you'll see it might become a serious issue for us here, especially if the water supply is taken out of the City's control.

UPDATED drought map 1/11/12

North Carolina law currently bans fracking. However, the pending 2011 "Energy Jobs Act" begins to lift those restrictions, and the fracking industry is wasting no time getting ready for the day they can begin. The bill passed the NC House & Senate, but was vetoed by the Governor. The leadership in the House has made it a high priority to override this veto, and by some reports, they are only one vote short. From now on, through the rest of the legislative year, every single day in session will begin with a nosecount. If they can pass this bill into law, they will. And then the scramble to come up with the necessary water will begin in earnest. Each fracking well requires an average of 5 million gallons. For perspective, the state of Pennsylvania currently has over 3000 active permits for wells. Where will the billions of gallons of water come from?

Fracking areas in green
According to NC Rep. Mitch Gillespie, an early fracking backer: "Roads would have to be built to truck in millions of gallons of water required for fracking operations, or water could be piped in from afar." Everything to the east of the fracking zones are either in, or are expected to soon be in a state of drought.  The aquifers in the Piedmont are already at risk of being over-allocated. Again, where will they get tens of billions of gallons of fresh water to pipe into the ground?

From the Clean Water for NC newsletter, a story about a private water company operating a pipeline to supply fresh water to the fracking industry in Pennsylvania, Anything for a profit: Aqua America to Supply Water for PA Gas Industry
Aqua America, the parent company of NC private water/sewer giant Aqua NC, recently announced a deal to construct and operate a $24 million pipeline to transport fresh water to three gas fracking operations in Pennsylvania.

Food & Water Watch's report on the deep financial interest for the private water industry in hydraulic fracturing, The Private Water Industry’s Stake in Shale Gas Development
"Shale gas development creates a potential multibillion-dollar market for water supply and
treatment services, the prospect of which could be encouraging some large investor-owned
water utilities to support shale gas and downplay its water risks. Certain water companies suggest that with regulation, shale gas drilling poses no real threat to water quality. For the private water industry, shale gas development presents an opportunity because of — not
despite — its water problems."

Texas is in the middle of it's worst drought in history. Yet...

No end in sight, yet fracking expected to double
"The Texas Water Development Board estimates the total amount of water used for fracking statewide in 2010 was 13.5 billion gallons. That's likely to more than double by 2020, and decline gradually each decade after that until dropping back down to current levels between 2050 and 2060...
"I want them to quit using fresh water for fracking," said Slate Williams, general manager of the Crockett Groundwater Conservation District.

"He said the level of the aquifer has declined steadily over the past decades and that it recharges locally only when Crockett County has received at least 80 percent of its 15-inch average annual rainfall. Since October, the county has received less than 2 inches of rain.
"It is declining year after year, so fracking or any little thing makes it speed up that much more," Williams said... water use for fracking could soon make up more than 25 percent of Crockett County's annual water use."
News report from Colorado about the massive consumption of fresh water by the fracking industry: Fracking of wells puts big demand on Colorado water
"Oil and gas drillers have bought at least 500 million gallons of water this year from cities for use in hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," along Colorado's Front Range. Now they need more.

"Drillers "may need more water than we have," said John McGee, water manager for the city of Loveland, which has leased municipal water."


Officials: 4.0 magnitude quake in northeast Ohio related to wastewater injection well

This truck holds 5000 gallons of fresh water. On average, each fracking well requires 1000 of these.

more to come...