Article written and published by the Citizen Voice and Times. Find the original story here.
An estimated 400 people, including several from Estill County, attended an informational meeting about hydraulic fracturing in Berea last Tuesday night, January 27. The event was organized with the intent to educate the public about fracking and to offer people opportunities to ask questions.
Bill Hughes, from Wetzel County, West Virginia, was one of the speakers. He has extensively documented the process of fracking in his home county.
He presented a slideshow that included photos of site preparation, the setting up of drilling rigs, the process of fracturing and laying pipelines, gas processing, and liquid and solid waste disposal.
Hughes referred to a document issued from FracTracker.org, that lists dozens of problems communities typically experience as fracking occurs nearby. Some of the greatest problems are traffic-related, he said, as he shared pictures of bumper-to-bumper traffic jams of large trucks and heavy equipment.
Hughes named several other isues associated with fracking, including the pollution of water and air by spilled brine fluids and toxic drill waste, emissions of fugitive gas, large-scale burning of brush, “near-deafening” noise, and rock and silica dust.
Frack Free Foothills, a non-profit group, is urging landowners not to be “sweet-talked” by the land and oil companies. Tom Fitzgerald, Director of the Kentucky Resource Council, also spoke at the meeting. He refuted the claim of oil and gas companies that there are strong regulations in place to protect the public.
He said that Kentucky’s oil and gas industry has no overarching federal agency to regulate fracking.
Fitzgerald said that leases are not drafted with landowners in mind, and he recommended that they consult with a trusted attorney before signing anything.
Craig Williams, of the Kentucky Environmental Foundation, said if landowners have already leased property and feel that the terms of the lease were misrepresented to them, they should contact the Attorney General’s office. Under some circumstances, the leases can be retracted.
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