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Julie Carr Smyth of the Associated Press has reported that geologists have linked five small earthquakes in the Ohio foothills of the Appalachian Mountains to fracking or hydraulic fracturing, the process of forcing water and sand deep underground and blowing up rock formations to release natural gas. The release of natural gas is accompanied by many chemicals locked in the rocks including acetic acid, acetone, benzene and many others. In some cases this leads to serious water contamination and bizarre effects such as water flaming with fire when turned on, and poison water that neither humans nor livestock can drink. It has also ruined homes and farms. Through it all the energy industry and the oil and gas industry has sworn that fracking is safe. Ruining groundwater is never safe. No society survives the loss of potable water.

Now we have scientific proof that fracking causes earthquakes, and some wonder just how much damage we are willing to do to ourselves, our children and families, our neighbors, our nation before we stop a practice that is so common sensically stupid.

Local landowners, outdoors enthusiasts including hunters and those who fish, farmers, and environmentalists have tried to stop fracking because it has ruined groundwater. It also has the potential to ruin large aquifers, which supply water to sustain life across many miles.

The five small earthquakes in Ohio occurred as a result of fracking in the Utica Shale. The Marcellus Shale along the Ohio-Pennsylvania border has been the location of heavy fracking activity.

Man-made earthquakes created from blowing up the interior of the earth as much as 4000 feet below the surface adds a whole new danger to the already very destructive practice of fracking.

We don’t have to get natural gas by fracking. We can transition energy supplies to renewable and sustainable energy such as wind and solar. Most of the developed world is far ahead of us in developing sustainable energy. But market forces tied to stock prices and deregulated capitalism have been pushing the industry in this very destructive direction.

In fact, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of the South African freedom struggle has just called for a massive boycott and divestment in those corporations that accelerate global climate change.

In Pennsylvania, my Goddaughter, Liz Arnold is leading the fight to get the gubernatorial candidates to pledge to put a moratorium on fracking.

Photo source: Jayson Shenk on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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