I have to wonder if this is not one of the great business ethics issues of our time. Fracking is in many ways protected from federal regulation and the energy companies generous campaign contributions (thanks to Citizens United) have warped state regulations and even the tax laws in favor of the frackers.
I can’t help but think that there could have been protections or developments in process that would have made these methods of exploration safer for the environment. We need the feds on the job. I don’t believe we can look to the industry for our protection. Their press releases have been little but the usual work of corporate PR flacks. That kind of media and public manipulation became obvious a long time ago.
Fracking should be done only with effective regulation both state and federal. What part of American history can lead one to believe in self-regulation? How about the patent medicine companies with their laudanum and opiates? How about investment banks and the great collapse of the first decade of the 21st century? Or simply, the history of the petroleum industry itself, leaks in the Alaska pipeline, a long series of tanker disasters and a little problem called the Gulf Oil Spill? What of this give you confidence that fracking is safe and harmless.
I tell you with confidence that in a few years, fracking will be in every business ethics textbook as a cautionary tale of an industry making its own calls on the safety of the public.
Fracking produces annual toxic waste water enough to flood Washington DC | Environment | theguardian.com
Fracking in America generated 280bn US gallons of toxic waste water last year – enough to flood all of Washington DC beneath a 22ft deep toxic lagoon, a new report out on Thursday found.The report from campaign group Environment America said America’s transformation into an energy superpower was exacting growing costs on the environment.”Our analysis shows that damage from fracking is widespread and occurs on a scale unimagined just a few years ago,” the report, Fracking by the Numbers, said.The full extent of the damage posed by fracking to air and water quality had yet to emerge, the report said.But it concluded: “Even the limited data that are currently available, however, paint an increasingly clear picture of the damage that fracking has done to our environment and health.”
From around the web.
From the web site,
In November of last year the United Nations released a ‘Global Environmental Alert’ on the risks that fracking poses to public health and the environment. In it they state:
While offering economic and energy security benefits, UG (unconventional gas) production presents considerable environmental risks. These range from potential water and soil contamination from surface leaks or from improperly designed well-casing, to spills of improperly treated water, increased competition for water usage, and fugitive emissions of gas with implications for the global climate…air pollution from volatile contaminants, noise pollution, negative impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity losses and landscape disruption.’
Read the full report here….UN Report