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North versus the south on fracking July 2014

It appears the northern and southern states have opposing views again. On June 30, 2014, New York state ruled zoning laws may be used to ban fracking; the May 15, 2014 North Carolina Senate Bill 786 welcomed fracking by lifting its moratorium and even made North Carolina the only state where it is "a Class I felony to reveal confidential information about the chemicals" used in fracking projects.

A precedent-setting ruling in New York state was passed by the state Court of Appeals that the towns of Dryden and Middlefield could use zoning laws to ban hydraulic fracturing within their borders. In the majority opinion, Associate Judge Victoria Graffeo wrote "We conclude that they may because the supersession clause in the statewide Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law does not pre-empt the home rule authority vested in municipalities to regulate land use."

Earlier in June, North Carolina's Governor Pat McCrory while signing the Energy Modernization Act [PDF] said, "We remain intensely focused on creating good jobs, particularly in our rural areas."

In New York over 150 towns and cities within the last six years have passed a moratorium on fracking. It is hoped that the June ruling on zoning will encourage other regions to act. The Dryden and Middlefield zoning ordinances passed in 2011 that were upheld prohibit all gas drilling and fracking in their town limits.

In North Carolina, according to the NC government website, "A 2013 Harris Interactive poll showed that 79 percent of North Carolina voters favor increased production of domestic sources of oil and natural gas. The same poll showed a majority of North Carolinians support hydraulic fracturing."

Current hydraulic fracturing wells in the United States require 72 trillion gallons of water with 360 billion gallons of chemicals to be pumped into the earth. Daily Kos labels it "a threat of unforeseen proportions to our drinking water supplies."

Water usage depends on the geology of the area and the type of well used. A horizontal hydraulic fracturing well uses 2 to 10 million gallons of water whereas vertical wells use 200,000 to 2 million gallons of water.

Concerns are not only for the amount of drinking water wasted in the fracking process and the toxic chemicals and methane gas seeping into drinking water contaminating water supplies. Now experts fear unregulated interstate dumping of potentially radioactive waste and unacceptable levels of radioactive Radium 226 in gas development.

On top of water waste and contamination and radioactive danger, fracking is linked to causing earthquakes. In July 2014 it was reported that the state of Oklahoma now outranks California and all other states in earthquakes. Studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder and Cornell University link dumping of fracking water to a swarm of earthquakes near Oklahoma City.

Published in the July 3, 2014 journal Science Express, researchers wrote, "We view the expanding Jones Earthquake Swarm as a response to regionally increased pore pressure from fluids injected at the [southeast Oklahoma City] wells." Near the small town of Jones were 135 quakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater within five years, with a 5.6 earthquake in 2011. The previous average between 1978 and 2008 was two quakes per year.

In Greeley, Colorado a June 2014 2.6 magnitude earthquake and a May 31, 2014 3.6 magnitude earthquake were blamed on deep injection wells. As a result, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conversation Commission (COGCC) ordered the High Sierra Water Services company to close a deep injection well near Greeley.

Watch the video about the sinkhole in Bayou Corne, Louisiana where 350 residents had to be evacuated one night in August 2012 when "after months of unexplained seismic activity and mysterious bubbling on the bayou, a sinkhole opened up on a plot of land leased by the petrochemical company Texas Brine." The hole is still growing now taking up 24 acres and an estimated 750 feet deep.

Maya Schenwar, Executive Director of Truthout, said "As the unconventional oil and gas drilling rapidly industrializes rural areas across the nation, the lessons of Bayou Corne will be crucial to draw upon. The full story of America's current oil and gas rush cannot be told without the voices of the people living in areas impacted by the industry."

Sign an antifracking petition to President Obama demanding a fracking moratorium on United States public lands to the Bureau of Land Management and to "move our nation beyond all fossil fuels as rapidly as possible, toward a better future based on 100% clean energy that will not disrupt our climate or destroy our environment."

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