What the Frack Is in Pennsylvania’s Water? Uh, Radioactive Gas

Environmental Energetics

In hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” drillers pump pressurized liquid composed of sand and chemicals into the earth to free up gas and oil. It’s apparently a real moneymaker with industry projections estimated to be around $60 billion by 2017 in the U.S. alone. Environmentalists warn that such practices contaminate groundwater with salts and radioactive chemicals, turning what comes out of faucets into toxic waste. In some places in the U.S., you can even light tap water on fire.

Pennsylvania is adding fracking wells to its landscape at a rate three times faster than the national average. There, executives and politicians campaigning on behalf of the hydraulic fracturing industry drink fracking fluid—the liquid that miners pump into the ground—in front of large crowds to prove its safety.

This is an attempt to convince the public that there is no harm from fracturing a shale oil well. It is deceptive in the sense that it’s the least of the problems. What goes…

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