We’ve talked quite a bit about the impact of hydraulic fracturing on the environment and quality of life in the Bakken in North Dakota, but the Guardian today published Fracking hell: what it’s really like to live next to a shale gas well, a compelling account of how fracking has affected the life of a community in North Texas. Fracking has been going on in populated areas for seven years, and this article paints a graphic picture of how the lives of the local residents have been affected.
Today six million Texans live within a mile of a fracked well. In north Texas, the number of new oil and gas wells has gone up by nearly 800% since 2000.
Nobody in Carbon County or Stillwater County lives next to a fracking well today. This story is a cautionary tale of what might lie in store for you if you sit back and let it happen.
The article tells the story of Veronica Kronvall, who bought a new house in Ponder, Texas in 2007. It was her first home, a chance at the American dream. But four years later, an energy company drilled five wells behind her home.
Kronvall’s story is told graphically in the video below. The description of what it has been like is chilling.
The crews proceeded to flatten the earth and install a 200ft red and white drilling tower that loomed high above their homes. Convoys of articulated (trucks) rumbled down the main road. “It was terrible,” Kronvall says. “There was a lot of banging and clanging. The number of trucks was just phenomenal, and the exhaust, the fumes in the air, it was 24/7.”
She says the activities on the other side of her fence deposited a layer of white powder on her counter tops. The sound of the crew shouting into megaphones invaded her bedroom. Bright lighting pierced her curtains and made it difficult to sleep. The rumble of trucks and equipment rattled the glasses in her cupboard, and the smell – an acrid blend of chemicals – was all-pervasive.
“My wife was pregnant the whole time the rig was there,” (her husband) Wesley says. There was the din of diesel generators belching soot, and a nauseating mix of chemicals competing with the aroma of dinner. The noise and smells penetrated to the next street over, where Christina Mills lives. Like the Howards and Kronvall, Mills, 65, was attracted to Ponder because of its sleepiness, and bought the fourth house built in the entire development when she moved to the town in 2001. “But when that derrick was up, you would have thought you were in Las Vegas,” she says, “and I live one street over.”
Could the be what life in Red Lodge is going to be like?
Only if you let it. It’s time to be in action.