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Fracking raises concerns over water usage

In an opinion piece for Forbes, writer Mindy Lubber addresses potential water shortages from the method of natural gas extraction known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

Fracking involves pumping millions of gallons of chemically treated water underground, to break up underlying rock formations and release trapped deposits of natural gas. It’s used in a number of regions throughout the country, including along the Marcellus Shale — a gas-rich underground rock formation that also extends into New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia.

Environmental activists have voiced a number of objections to the technique, including the possibility that the toxic chemicals in the water may contaminate drinking water supplies.

According to Lubber, another concern for Western farmers and ranchers is the sheer volume of water used for fracking in their region, which is suffering through a three-year drought. And in Colorado and North Dakota, energy companies are securing increasingly scarce municipal water by paying sums of money beyond what farmers can afford.

Lubber writes that dozens of communities in Texas are imposing water-use restrictions, even as water use related to fracking has doubled over the past three years.

Lubber writes: “Clearly, shale energy producers and regulators will need to dig deeper to better manage current and future competitive pressures between shale development and society’s broader water needs. Competitive fractures are already being felt in water stressed regions and far stronger water management practices, and more frank discussion of these issues, are urgently needed.”

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 piece here: