Unsurprisingly, given how fracturing works, and the way everything's all connected in those cracks and fissures under the earth, there's a lot of mixing that results in this; chemicals that are used in fracking pretty often wind up in groundwater supplies. And, of course, these chemicals are often harmful to human health and life.
Fracking is actively in use in 37 states in the US.
The recent documentary movie Gasland focuses on this issue, and has created quite a fuss in the oil and gas industry. I'm not going to link to the petroleum-industry-sponsored "debunking gasland" document, but I will link to a pdf debunking "debunking gasland", which quotes from the industry document and rebuts its points.
I haven't watched Gasland, yet, and I honestly don't know if I'll be able to -- this kind of thing is so infuriating to me, and I feel there's so little I can do to change it. I don't want to become a living-off-the-land survivalist; I want to keep living a life that looks a lot like the one I currently have, and that requires using energy and other resources that we have to get somewhere, so I'm part of the problem.
But I get really stuck in thinking about the people who make the decisions to drill hundreds of wells that have the potential -- indeed the likelihood, statistically speaking -- of poisoning hundreds or thousands of people, and I wonder how they could choose money over those people? Or how can they choose money over the future productivity of huge swaths of land in the United States? What good does that money do if people can't survive there?
I was talking about this with a new acquaintance this weekend, and expressing my confusion about how the math works here, when he pointed out, quite rationally, that it's a very smart decision for those people, because they're not worrying about all the people in the world. They're worrying about themselves and making sure that they have enough money and resources to always be able to buy as much water as they need, even if there's only one good well in the entire country. It's an approach so singlemindedly selfish, so anti-humanist that I literally cannot hold it in my head long enough to follow it from start to finish. But I can't imagine anything but that mindset that would allow some people to make the decisions they do. It seems like not all people are people in that framework, and the future isn't for everyone.
It's really upsetting, start to finish.