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Typical social (community and
personal) problems addressed by TIA:
violence, drug abuse, alcoholism, other addictions,
road rage, office rage, bullying, homelessness,
teenage rebellion, thrill-seeking and depression,
major crime, even illiteracy, high divorce rates and
personal problems that lead to neuroses, bankruptcy or
Copyright 2003-2012 BillAllin.com,
Who Lied To
You Today? Fracking
Almost all of
what we are taught--we think of it as news--by
television and other media, by politicians and by
religious leaders is either false, misleading,
misstatement of facts or plain deception. To them
it's all part of the game of life.
Take the following for what it's worth, or leave
it. It is not based on scientific research which,
like statistics, can be manipulated to say
anything the writer or sponsor wants. It is based
on logic, what makes sense and what does not.
Hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking)
involves forcing toxic chemicals into permeable
rock underground. Resource companies claim the
process is safe, though they will not reveal what
chemicals are used. The poisons remain within the
rock forever, or until they are released into
groundwater that people drink. In some cases
fracking has been proven to cause minor
Chemicals are governed by law in the USA and
available to public scrutiny in the Environmetnal
Protection Agency's data base of toxic chemicals.
Except for those that were in use before the
law--Toxic Substances Control Act--came into
effect in 1976. They were grandfathered and
assumed to be safe, were never studied. Tens of
thousands of chemicals in use today are not listed
and need not be revealed by companies engaging in
That's why fracking companies need not reveal the
chemicals used in their underground explosions.
Chemicals that could leak into drinking water that
would not even be tested by municipalities. Other
countries depend on the EPA list of toxic
chemicals as if it was exhaustive, which it
certainly is not.
Why don't governments take action against the
perpetrators of these crimes? The natural resource
companies always claim that they offer jobs. To
politicians, the offer of jobs may even been more
attractive than a good bribe because more jobs
mean a better chance of being elected next term.
When the resource companies--never ones to be
inconvenienced by possible damage to the planet or
to human health of its workers--feel threatened by
politicians, they warn that closing down will mean
loss of jobs. That tends to silence political
As of 2015, the government of Canada has sole
possession of and responsibility for 22,000 former
mines contaminated with poisons in the area. In
one former mine area alone, the Giant Mine in
Yellowknife, once a few billion dollars of
taxpayer money has been spent cleaning up the
area, it will cost two million per year just to
maintain the frozen ground where arsenic is
stored. Residents around these areas fervently
hope that flooding does not contaminate the soil
of the land where they live, and their bodies in
the process. All of those mining companies went
"bankrupt" leaving taxpayers to clean up after
Ironically, when the companies negotiate with the
governments and find themselves forced to take
measures to protect the health of workers and the
environment, they tend to become more efficient
and garner greater profits. However, this evidence
has little impact on their drive to make profit as
quickly as possible.
Our planet is not short of energy resources, no
matter what you may hear. Big oil companies, who
receive the most flack from the public, are the
biggest investors in alternative energy sources
such as solar energy and wind power.
The claim is that solar and wind are not
dependable because they are not consistent and
dependable sources of power when people need it
most. For that reason, resource companies claim,
taking resources from the ground is and always
will be necessary.
But they never mention the most plentiful and
dependable sources of all. Our planet is always
warmer one kilometer and more beneath the
surface--a common depth to dig for other
resources--than it is higher up. Difference in
temperature means a dependable source of power.
The oceans almost always have waves, even if they
don't have much wind blowing above them. Waves
have energy. Tides have energy so long as we have
More importantly, water temperature varies a great
deal from the surface to a short distance below.
That never varies, just as the heat from the
interior of our planet never varies. Both are
infinite for our purposes.
Even water itself is composed of hydrogen and
oxygen, both sources of energy.
Could we run out of water to convert to power?
Recent study has shown that there is at least as
much water locked in rock in earth's mantel as
there is in all the water on the surface of the
What about desertification? Are not droughts
causing fertile land to become deserts, as
happened in the Levant, the land east of the
Mediterranean that most westerners call the Holy
Land? It is true that the Levant was once as
fertile as the Garden of Eden--human agriculture
began there--until climate change made it into
Even in Israel, Syria and Lebanon, farming takes
place. It's all a matter of growing crops
appropriate for the climate. Under the world's
largest desert, the Sahara, lies the world's
largest underground freshwater lake.
Fracking is not necessary to get cheap energy when
free and sustainable sources that will last
forever are available. We should not expect
resource companies to be open about offering to do
what is right by its employees or the planet. They
have never behaved that way.
Bill Allin is the author of Turning
It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic
Social Problems, a book about do-able and
inexpensive solutions to our worst problems.
Fracking is a social problem when it affects the
lives of many people.
Additional material about hydraulic fracturing
There are many,
and I mean MANY, examples of fracking problems in
the USA. Most of them involve leaking of chemicals
into ground water that is later used as drinking
water. Hydraulic fracturing involves having a soup
of chemicals (no company will ever reveal the
mixture because it would shock everyone and cause
the practice to be stopped--they claim their
mixture is an industry secret, a coverup) explode
deep under ground. The purpose is to crack the
rock (the explosions are that great) that natural
gas that is trapped within the rock will seep out.
As you think about that and the nature of natural
gas, being as gas that can seep anywhere, you can
see that, unlike with liquids, natural gas is
extremely difficult to control and contain. The
chemical soup itself is easier to control if it is
inside of a container on the surface of the
ground. But underground, after an explosion of
rock that no one can tell how much crack will
happen (it is usually shale rock, not granite that
would be easier to estimate and control) the
liquid could go anywhere. In many cases in the US,
it has gone into drinking water sources.
Many countries have banned fracking entirely,
deeming it too risky. The USA and Canada, being
essentially job whores, have made fracking legal
and licensed in many places. (I use the term "job
whores" as a derogatory condemnation, without
meaning any reference to prostitution--which I do
The most attractive lure of fracking is jobs. That
is what gets the attention of politicians and they
in turn get votes based on their perceived
creation of "new jobs."
In fact, fracking requires few workers. Some
highly trained people are brought in from their
last jobs (never from the untrained local labour
group), plus truck drivers. I feel safe in saying
that there is no community in existence where
fracking has been used that is entirely satisfied
with the industry. Most residents anywhere near
the mines are afraid they or their children will
die one day from contamination of their drinking
water by the poisons from fracking.
Like virtually every natural resource company,
when they have a financial problem they declare
bankruptcy and vanish into the night. One Canadian
mine will cost Canadian taxpayers $2 million every
year, forever, to contain poisons that if let out
would kill every person in the nearby town.
Two additional points are worth making about
First is that it uses an enormous amount of fresh
water, which is then contaminated by its
chemicals. In Saskatchewan, for example, where
fracking is taking place full bore, fracking is
taking away fresh water needed by the Canadian
province's most important industry, agriculture.
Farms cannot risk using water that could possibly
be contaminated by fracking chemicals because
produce from the farms is all used for food.
Already a province that is usually not blessed
with an abundance of clean water, Saskatchewan now
does not have enough water to service its
food-growing agriculture needs.
Second is that while the waste water from fracking
can be reused--fracking companies would rather not
reuse its own water because its used water has
pulled heavy metals out of the ground it
fractured--it must be stored in the meantime. Who
wants contaminated water stored near their home?
Where can you imagine it would be safe to store
contaminated water indefinitely? My country,
Canada, has water all over its surface, perhaps
more than any other country in the world, and we
are concerned about leakage that would contaminate
our fresh water. Contaminated water in surface
water could be used for drinking, but it is also
used by countless animals, plants and beneficial
microbes that allow food to be grown in the soil.
Even if the waste water from fracking were safe
(bear with me, I know it is not), the heavy metals
drawn from the ground would make it unsafe. When
it comes to water, fracking is a lose-lose
While Nova Scotia has put a moratorium on
fracking, waste water from fracking exploration
mines in NS still needs to be disposed of. No
community in Nova Scotia would allow it to be put
into their sewer system. No community in
neighbouring New Brunswick would allow it to be
put into their sewer system, even when large
amounts of money were offered for doing just that
by the company involved. International law forbids
it from being dumped into the oceans.
How safe can a liquid be if it can't even be
dumped into the ocean? Our oceans have two huge
garbage patches each larger than small countries,
but fracking waste water is not allowed.
Fracking companies, like every mining operation
that ever existed in history, will lie through its
teeth, swearing it is telling the truth on the
grave of its mother. Not a single one of them
could ever be trusted. They have done more damage
to our planet and its (former, often now extinct)
life forms than any other cause.
The University of Toronto Magazine online has an
article in its Winter 2015 edition that will
explain more about fracking from a political
science professor who is as much of an expert on
the subject as anyone (given the secrecy that
surrounds fracking operations at all levels).
On Shaky Ground | Dale Sproule | Winter 2015 |
University of Toronto Magazine
It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's
Epidemic Social Problems