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Fracking a source of many woes

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers' Paul Barnes' June 27 claim that water pollution by fracking chemicals does not occur is one that's difficult to prove or disprove; the case reported by Ken Kavanagh in his letter on July 18 may be exceptional as the regulators suggest.

Personally, I would not expect to see fracking chemical contamination detected quickly and easily but contamination of water by methane is well documented by Pennsylvania’s experience. And it’s made people sick, probably because natural gas by bacterial action can generate poisonous sour gas (hydrogen sulfide).

But water pollution may be the least of the problems associated with fracking.

Recent news from Fox Creek, an oil industry hub about equidistant from Edmonton and Grande Prairie, Alta., has town dwellers shaking their heads: since Jan. 1, 2015 they’ve experienced two earthquakes of Richter magnitude 4.4 and the Alberta Energy Regulator called on the company, Chevron, to cease fracking activities in June. One nightmare possibility: the town has a sour gas pipeline running through it, the rupture of which could lead to a high death toll.

That isn’t all: evidence is building that babies born to mothers living close to fracking operations are less healthy than babies of mothers living further away.

Furthermore, the overall practice of fracking tends to convert tranquil rural landscapes into noisy industrial ones with unhealthy air quality similar to that of many Chinese cities with high fine particulate (PM 2.5) content.

Frank R. Smith

St. John’s

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