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Hurricane raises concerns about fracking

Hurricane Sandy has made residents of Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region wary of the potential for pollution from the combination of floodwaters and natural gas drilling sites, a story in the Huffington Post reports.

The concerns center on a procedure known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which involves pumping large volumes of chemically treated water underground to break up rock formations and release natural gas.

The procedure is becoming increasingly common along the Marcellus Shale – a gas-rich underground rock formation that also extends into New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, and has been a source of dispute in the various states.

Wastewater left over from the procedure, which contains toxic chemicals including the carcinogen benzene, is generally stored in open-air pits, the story says. And some environmentalists are concerned that intense rainfall such as that accompanying Hurricane Sandy may result in fracking chemicals being released into the soil or waterways.

Rob Jackson, a biologist at Duke University, is quoted as saying: “Any time you have an open wastewater pit, you’re vulnerable.”

The report includes an interview with Carol French of Bradford County, Pa., who believes flooding from Tropical Storm Lee in Sept., 2011, flushed toxic chemicals from fracking waste into the soil and groundwater near her home. She blames that contamination for her daughter’s subsequent severe illness as well as her own rashes.

Lopez McHugh is investigating injuries related to natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale natural gas reserve. If you have significant injuries, contact a Lopez McHugh attorney for a free evaluation.

See the story here: