The Louisiana Oil and Gas industry is fighting back against claims fracking is a threat to drinking water. Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a process used to get natural gas out of the ground.
It's a hot button issue in many areas of the country and only recently here-- since companies are buying up leases in Beauregard and Vernon parishes.
In Beauregard Parish, land owners have been approached by companies who want to lease their property to extract natural gas from the subsurface. It's triggered an outcry from some about fracking-- a process to get the gas out of the ground.
Citizens like Bonnie McElroy fear it could threaten groundwater supplies and the environment. " They drill horizontally much deeper and they shoot thousands and thousands, over a million gallons of water mixed with toxic chemicals into the earth to cause the rocks to fracture. Then they get the gas. But the problem with that is, it has not proven itself environmentally safe in other areas."
However, Don Briggs, who is the president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association says fracking is tried and true and safe and in no way threatens drinking water. Briggs said, "There is no reason to be concerned. We have been fracking since, the first well was actually in 1947. There is not one single proven case where hydraulic fracturing has in any way contaminated a water aquifer. And there's a lot of misinformation and confusion about it."
And concerning horror stories of communties in other states whose tap water can be set on fire, Briggs says it's from naturally occurring methane-- not fracking. "Both of those cases, when it was studied by other people going in there and investigating it, found out that it's naturally occurring methane and does not have anything to do with hydraulic fracturing," said Briggs.
As well, this year there was what an in depth review of the state's program for regulating fracking. It concludes the Louisiana program is overall well managed, professional and meets its objectives.
The Louisiana Hydraulic Fracturing State Review also makes recommendations for improvements in the program. The state has made a new rule requiring companies to identify chemicals in the fluids they use in the fracking process.
For a link to the review click here.
Here's a link to the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association.
Opponents of fracking recommend this site.