What is Fracked Gas?
“Fracked gas” is a fossil fuel that has been harvested through the process of hydraulic fracking. Over 66% of all gas used in the US now comes from fracking (1). Fracked gas is mostly methane.
Methane is 80-100 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping Earth’s heat (2) and is accelerating climate change (3).
5.8% of all the gas produced by fracking wells is vented or leaked directly into the air at some point in the process (4) making the use of fracked gas three times worse for the environment than burning coal (5).
What are the impacts of fracking?
North Carolina is not being fracked but some of our electricity is being made by burning gas fracked in Pennsylvania , West Virginia and other states. It gets here in pipelines.
The proposed $5.1 billion, 600 mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a 42 inch natural gas pipeline that will run about 600 miles (970 km) between West Virginia and eastern North Carolina.
Wastewater disposal from fracking through deep-well injection can induce earthquakes, the largest of which (5.6 on the Richter scale) has been documented in Oklahoma (6).
The impact of fracking on water quality has not been adequately addressed; a recent study from Pennsylvania suggests that the monitoring practices are not able to detect the environmental hazards. Yet the industry has been allowed to keep drilling (7).
Is it safe to transport fracked gas?
Gas pipelines leak and sometimes explode. Since 2010 there have been 3,300 pipeline ruptures in the US, killing 80 people, injuring 389 and costing $2.8 billion (8).
Compressor stations along the pipeline regularly, and intentionally, release gas into the air. Residents who live close to compressor stations have suffered nosebleeds, nausea, rashes and headaches. The long-term effects of exposure to natural gas are still unknown.
Communities close to compressor stations are more likely to be low-income or people of color.
Why are we using fracked gas?
The hydraulic fracking boom has greatly reduced the cost of fracked gas. Duke, and other utilities, are switching their coal powered plants to gas because they will make more money, in spite of the fact that it is worse for the environment.
When the price of fracked gas goes up again, due to increased infrastructure and demand, we will compensate Duke for their reduced profit margins with increased electricity rates.
What can we do to stop the use of fracked gas in Asheville?
Volunteer with Community Roots to help us move the city to commit to 100% renewable energy http://cmroots.com/plug-in/
Businesses can join the First 100 Network to help fundraise for this work http://cmroots.com/first100/
Make a tax deductible donation here
- US Energy Information Administration, “Hydraulic fractured wells provide two-thirds of US natural gas production,” May 5, 2016
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, 2013.
- Dr. Robert Howarth, press conference December 13, 2016
- Dr. Robert Howarth, “A bridge to nowhere: methane emissions and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas.” Energy Science & Engineering, May 2015.
- Dr. Drew T. Shindell, “The social cost of atmospheric release,” Climate Change, May 2015.