Fracking damages pronghorns

This video from the USA is about pronghorns.

From New Scientist:

Fracking drives pronghorn herds out of Wyoming habitat

18:35 04 May 2012 by Peter Aldhous

Meet the latest player in the fractious debate over “fracking” for natural gas: the pronghorn. Disturbance from drilling is causing the fleet-footed ungulates to vacate their prime wintering grounds in Wyoming.

In winter, pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) migrate from higher ground to the Upper Green River basin – which in recent years has experienced a boom in gas drilling.

To study the effects of this development, a team led by Jon Beckmann, of the Wildlife Conservation Society, based in Bozeman, Montana, put GPS collars on 125 female pronghorn and tracked their movement.

Between 2005 and 2009 the researchers documented a five-fold decline in the use of habitat patches predicted to be of the highest quality, as the animals avoided areas disturbed by drilling. “We are seeing the abandonment of crucial winter range,” says Beckmann.

Pronghorn populations haven’t yet begun to fall, but a parallel study of the area’s mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), a more sedentary species, doesn’t bode well: its numbers declined by 50 per cent over the same period.

By 2009 more than 3300 wells had been drilled in the Upper Green River basin, many of which are fracked, and thousands more are expected to follow. The researchers want the federal Bureau of Land Management, which must approve drilling operations, to minimise wildlife disturbance. That could be done by concentrating wells onto fewer drill pads, and using “directional drilling” techniques to extend the wells horizontally.

See also here.

Silencing Communities: How the Fracking Industry Keeps Its Secrets. Mike Ludwig, Truthout: “The ‘Rogers’ family signed a surface-use agreement with a fracking company in 2009 to close their 300-acre dairy farm in rural Pennsylvania. That’s not the end of the Rogers’ story, but the public, including the Rogers’ own neighbors, may never learn what happened to the family and their land as drilling operations sprouted up in their area. The Rogers did not realize they had signed a nondisclosure agreement with the gas company making the entire deal invalid if members of the family discussed the terms of the agreement, water or land disturbances resulting from fracking and other information with anyone other than the gas company and other signatories”: here.

When Polluted Water Is Safe to Drink: Inside the Dimock Fracking Fight. Mike Ludwig, Truthout: “The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has spent the past four months testing water wells used by families in the rural community of Dimock, Pennsylvania, where residents and environmental activists have accused a gas drilling company of contaminating water supplies while drilling for natural gas in the area. The EPA found pollutants in Dimock well water … but the agency has consistently stated the contamination levels do not pose a health concern or require immediate action from regulators”: here.

Fracking Fatalities: Organized Labor Implores Federal Agencies to Stop the Killings. Mike Elk, In These Times: “According to one study by the CDC National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), workers in the oil and natural gas industries are seven times as likely to die on the job as workers in other industries. In a letter sent last week, the AFL-CIO, the United Steelworkers union and the United Mine Workers complain that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) are not doing enough to regulate the potential hazards that harm fracking workers”: here.

New Study: Fluids From Marcellus Shale Likely Seeping Into Pennsylvania Drinking Water. Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica: “New research has concluded that salty, mineral-rich fluids deep beneath Pennsylvania’s natural gas fields are likely seeping upward thousands of feet into drinking water supplies. Though the fluids were natural and not the byproduct of drilling or hydraulic fracturing, the finding further stokes the red-hot controversy over fracking in the Marcellus Shale, suggesting that drilling waste and chemicals could migrate in ways previously thought to be impossible”: here.

Minnesota Amish vs. Fracking. Steve Horn, DeSmogBlog: “The Winona, Minnesota area, it turns out, possesses a heavy concentration of Amish citizens. It is also now part of ‘Sand Land’ and the frac sand industry’s land grab. Does the industry’s ongoing land grab clash with the fundamental tenets of Winona’s Amish population? As it turns out, quite possibly…. Critics say the plan is an affront to the Amish way of life”: here.

Britain: Green campaigners slammed Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith on Tuesday for supporting fracking – a controversial method of extracting natural gas from shale rock: here.

Three leading environmental organisations are warning Government not to push ahead with UK shale gas extraction at the very least until the potential impacts are properly understood and provisions are put in place to protect the countryside and ensure that any development is in line with UK Climate Change Act commitments: here.

9 thoughts on “Fracking damages pronghorns

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