By Aleta Nadolny
Spontaneous fishing and rafting trips to the Delaware Water Gap might soon be interrupted by contaminated waters. Fracking is saturating the water bodies with harmful radioactive waste, and your enjoyable trips with friends are about to turn into nightmares.
Fracking is real, and it’s right at our doorstep. Hydraulic fracturing is the process of extracting fossil fuels from underground shales. In order to extract fuel, companies blast water, sand and harmful chemicals that contain carcinogens and potentially radioactive substances into underground rock formations. Fracking is currently illegal in New Jersey, but Pennsylvania has been fracking up a storm, producing a whopping 1.3 billion tons of fracking wastewater since its inception. After the fuel is extracted, the water used for the blast is still intact. Only now it’s filled with so many toxins it’ll make your head spin.
You may be wondering, “If fracking is illegal in New Jersey, why is it a problem for me?” Although companies cannot physically drill in New Jersey, they are allowed to transport their fracking wastewater to New Jersey water treatment plants. What people don’t know is that New Jersey plants are not actually equipped with the right kind of materials to properly and effectively clean fracking wastewater. As a result, water that is still toxic is dumped into New Jersey reservoirs and rivers.
In June 2012, the New Jersey Legislature passed the Frack Wastewater Ban Bill that prohibits the treatment, discharge or storage of fracking wastewater in New Jersey. However, Governor Chris Christie vetoed the bill in September of 2012, changing it to a moratorium that lasted for a year. In January 2013, the moratorium was concluded, and it has been documented that companies have been distributing wastewater to various plants in New Jersey.
Think that hydraulic drilling will never take place in New Jersey? Think again. Drilling companies have set their sights on the Utica Shale, which is located throughout Sussex and Warren counties. If New Jersey legislature lifts the ban on hydraulic fracking, the residents of those counties can kiss their peace of mind, as well as non-radioactive drinking water, goodbye. Supporters of fracking claim that shale drilling is the only way to ensure a continued fuel supply for our country. However, there are other ways to ensure the security of our fuel supply. Green technology is expanding at a rapid rate, and scientists and engineers are working hard to develop fuel-efficient means of transportation, as well as solar energy systems. If you’re worried about your own personal fuel consumption, a simple solution is to use less of it. Ride a bike instead of driving. It’s great exercise and is virtually cost free. Turn off the lights when you leave a room, or install solar panels on your rooftops. These are all ways to reduce fuel consumption. Instead of digging, or in this case drilling, ourselves deeper and deeper into the oil hole, we should be looking for ways to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels as energy.
The future of our drinking water rests in our ability to resist drilling companies and stand up for our rights to a clean water supply. If you feel strongly about this issue, your voice deserves to be heard. Take action.