Giant Solar Spill at Marshall University

Just when I’m despairing (again) that today’s college campuses have become hotbeds of gas industry indoctrination, I come across this excellent guest editorial by Katie Quinonez in The Parthenon, the student newspaper of Marshall University, a 175-year old liberal arts institution in Huntington, West Virginia with over 10,000 students.

Natural gas: Ruining Your Drinking Water and Livelihood

A carnival will take place today on Buskirk Field with the purpose of “educating” the student body and faculty about natural gas. BeHerd Marketing Agency, America’s Natural Gas Alliance, EdVenture and the World’s Strongest Man 2006 are responsible for this misleading event.

It is surprising that anyone in this day and age could still have the audacity to say that natural gas is not only beneficial, but not harmful as well. There have been countless testimonies given by individuals whose lives have been impacted by natural gas and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

From water faucets leaking gas to barn animals urinating blood, evidence of the harmful effects of natural gas is brimming.

Despite the fact that environmentalists have pressured oil and coal companies to reveal the exact make up of the the chemical-laden liquid used in the fracking and drilling process to remove natural gas, no one knows the exact ratio.

The most commonly used chemicals in the fracturing liquid are crystalline silica, a carcinogen typically found in construction sands; methanol, typically found in antifreeze and other vehicle liquids; isopropanol, found in household glass cleaners, antiperspirants and cosmetics; and hydrotreated light distillate, found in jet fuel, just to name a few.

Water makes up at least 98 percent of fracking liquid, and typically, oil and coal companies leave these chemicals in the water because they are “too expensive” to remove. What is the result? Horrifically contaminated water sources and soil that could not only completely destroy the livelihood of  an agrarian community but also kill members of said community.

Let us take for example, the town of Dimock, Pa. In April 2009, residents of Dimock lost access to their drinking water because of contamination caused by fracking in an attempt to get to energy resources from the Marcellus Shale.

In Janurary, after a lack of an attempt to resolve the issue, the Environmental Protection Agency had to take matters into its own hands and supply water to four different homes in the town. Tests conducted by the EPA showed that the town’s water supply still contained high levels of arsenic, glycols and barium in at least four wells of the town.

Dimock is one of many communities that suffer from the harsh effects of natural gas drilling, including communities in Texas, Ohio, Colorado and Wyoming.

Of course, it would be ideal for the United States to have access to an abundance of energy sources, but at what cost?

Cleaner sources of energy should be considered seriously, and natural gas drilling should be outlawed in the name of public safety. Has anyone ever gotten cancer from wind-power or solar energy sources?

Katie’s clear views, expressed so eloquently, remind me of a recent Facebook post: “When there’s a huge solar-power spill, we simply call it a nice day.”

Go Thundering Herd!

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