Report says communities at risk from fracking

By |  September 29, 2014

According to a report by the Civil Society Institute, the Environmental Working Group and Midwest Environmental Advocates, as fracking continues to spread, so could the need for strip-mining the sand needed for the process, which could introduce risks to water, air, public health and property values.

The report is based on local and state information, mainly from Wisconsin and Minnesota, along with peer-reviewed research and interviews with local residents. There are currently 164 mines in the two states, with 20 potential mining areas as well, says the report.

In order for mining companies to acquire the sand, they must blast chunks off the region’s hillsides and wash away the other soil and rock, which could cause problems for nearby communities, the authors say. Separating the sand from the other materials requires operators to use a chemical called polyacrylamide, which breaks down into acrylamide, a carcinogen that can contaminate water sources at mine sites.

The report also states that silica dust released from the blasting and picked up by the wind could pose health risks to community members, irritating their lungs and increasing the risk for respiratory illnesses.

Despite potential risks, the oil and gas industry is expected to use about 95 billion pounds of sand for fracking this year, says the report.

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About the Author:

Allison Kral is the former senior digital media manager for North Coast Media (NCM). She completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University where she received a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She works across a number of digital platforms, which include creating e-newsletters, writing articles and posting across social media sites. She also creates content for NCM's Portable Plants magazine, GPS World magazine and Geospatial Solutions. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.

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