Fracking and Pipelines

Photo by Sierra Shamer / FracTracker

Photo by Sierra Shamer / FracTracker

Over the past decade, natural gas has exploded on the American energy market as a supposed “bridge” fuel to transition the economy from dirty coal to cleaner sources of electric generation. But gas is far from clean, and the dire environmental and human costs of the boom grow more apparent by the day.

Gas production jumped 34% between 2005 and 2015, due in large measure to rapid growth in a drilling method called horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” In 2015, it provided more electricity than coal for the first time. In the last several years, thousands of miles of pipelines have been proposed in the mid-Atlantic region to siphon the fracked gas out of the Marcellus and Utica shale regions to supply the surge in new gas-fired power plants also being proposed.

The frenzy to frack more gas and build more gas pipelines and power plants threatens to lock our region into decades more of fossil fuel pollution and climate disruption. Each fracking operation, pipeline and gas plant poses unacceptable risks to the local communities’ water and air quality, health, safety and property values.

Studies show that investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency are on par with, or sometimes more affordable than, building new gas infrastructure. Yet the industry’s rush to build gas infrastructure puts most of the financial risk on ratepayers and threatens to derail the growing movement to shift the United States to cleaner, more sustainable energy sources.

Appalachian Voices is working with citizens, community groups and state and national organizations to raise these concerns, oppose the expansion of fracking and gas infrastructure in our region, and continue advocating for swift and significant investments in clean energy.

Photo by Ed Wade, Jr, courtesy of the Wetzel County Action Group

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