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Fracking: Corruption a Part of Pennsylvania’s Heritage

FrackingThe history of energy exploration, mining, and delivery is best understood in a range from benevolent exploitation to worker and public oppression. A company comes into an area, leases land in rural and agricultural areas for mineral rights, increases employment, usually in a depressed economy, strips the land of its resources, creates health problems for its workers and those in the immediate area, and then leaves.

It makes no difference if it’s timber, oil, or coal. In the 1970s and 1980s, the nuclear energy industry promised well-paying jobs, clean energy, and a safe health and work environment. Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Fukushima Daiichi, and thousands of violations issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Agency, have shown that even with strict operating guidelines, nuclear energy isn’t as clean and safe as claimed. Like all other energy industries, nuclear power isn’t infinite. Most plants have a 40–50 year life cycle. After that, the plant becomes so radioactive hot that it must be sealed.

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About That Dimock Fracking Study: Result Summaries Show Methane and Hazardous Chemicals

Dimock, Pennsylvania fracking testAlthough the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 3 issued a statement last week that its preliminary tests of water samples near drilling and fracking sites in the Pennsylvania town of Dimock showed no health concerns, the group Water Defense and "Gasland" director Josh Fox went to Dimock to look at the EPA summaries themselves, which they say do report high levels of explosive methane, heavy metals and hazardous chemicals.

The issue is raising renewed controversy over the increasing growth of unconventional gas drilling and fracking and the uncertainty around health and safety regulations.

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Josh Fox Condemns Fracking About-Face By USDA

Josh FoxThe U.S. Department of Agriculture sparked the ire of hydrofracking opponents Tuesday, when it reversed its plans to require rural housing loans on properties with gas drilling leases to comply with the extensive environmental review required under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Josh Fox, director of the hydrofracking documentary “Gasland,” was quick to take issue with the USDA's change of heart.

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Nuclear Risks at Bed, Bath & Beyond Show Dangers of Scrap

The discovery of radioactive tissue boxes at Bed, Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY) stores in January raised alarms among nuclear security officials and company executives over the growing global threat of contaminated scrap metal.

As U.S. and European leaders tackle the proliferation of weapons-grade uranium or plutonium in countries like Iran and North Korea, industries are confronting the impact of loose nuclear material in an international scrap-metal market worth at least $140 billion, according to the Brussels-based Bureau of International Recycling. Radioactive items used to power medical, military and industrial hardware are melted down and used in goods, driving up company costs as they withdraw tainted products and threatening the public’s health.

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Fracking's Health and Environmental Impacts Greater Than Claimed

Fracking affects worse than thoughtThe natural gas industry defends hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, as safe and efficient. Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, a pro-industry non-profit organization, claims fracking has been “a widely deployed as safe extraction technique,” dating back to 1949.

What he doesn’t say is that until recently energy companies had used low-pressure methods to extract natural gas from fields closer to the surface than the current high-pressure technology that extracts more gas, but uses significantly more water, chemicals, and elements.

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Fracking: Pennsylvania Gags Physicians

frackingA new Pennsylvania law endangers public health by forbidding health care professionals from sharing information they learn about certain chemicals and procedures used in high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing. The procedure is commonly known as fracking.

Over the expected life time of each well, companies may use as many as nine million gallons of water and 100,000 gallons of chemicals and radioactive isotopes within a four to six week period. The additives “are used to prevent pipe corrosion, kill bacteria, and assist in forcing the water and sand down-hole to fracture the targeted formation,” explains Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research. However, about 650 of the 750 chemicals used in fracking operations are known carcinogens, according to a report filed with the U.S. House of Representatives in April 2011. Fluids used in fracking include those that are “potentially hazardous,” including volatile organic compounds, according to Christopher Portier, director of the National Center for Environmental Health, a part of the federal Centers for Disease Control. In an email to the Associated Press in January 2012, Portier noted that waste water, in addition to bring up several elements, may be radioactive. Fracking is also believed to have been the cause of hundreds of small earthquakes in Ohio and other states.

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The 10 Scariest Chemicals Used In Hydraulic Fracking

10 scariest chemicals in frackingVast deposits of natural gas have driven a drilling boom stretching across 32 states. The primary way of extracting the natural gas, known as hydraulic fracking, has been considered safe since a 2004 study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that it posed no risk to drinking water.

In 2005 the Bush administration and Congress used the study to justify legislation of the "Halliburton loophole," which exempts hydraulic fracturing from Safe Drinking Water Act. Legislation also exempted the practice, used in 90 percent of U.S. natural gas wells, from the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.

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