Let me start by saying I have no answer to the above question. If Noble Energy does indeed develop wells using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, what will that mean to Elko County residents?
Noble Energy has held informative meetings and told us everything will be fine, that fracking will be good for the county. They said there is not a single proven case of fracking chemicals contaminating drinking water aquifers, and other problems either will not occur here or have been overblown.
However, it is difficult to accept these facts with so many other states having problems. What worries me most is we will not know the problems we face until operations are well underway and it is too late to change things.
A quick Internet search using “fracking problems” followed by various state names brought up long lists of articles, including these below.
• NBC News reported fracking wastewater appears to be linked to earthquakes in an Ohio town that has not seen past quakes. The state has ordered an indefinite moratorium on fracking within three miles of the earthquake epicenters. Not only am I alarmed at the thought of fracking causing seismic activity, but Elko lies in an area of high seismic activity. In 2008, if fracking operations had been in place near Wells, what would have happened because of that earthquake?
• The Washington Post reported Pennsylvania drilling for natural gas caused “significant damage” to drinking-water aquifers. The Texas Tribune reported that due to the recent drought, oil and gas companies may run short of needed water for operations in South Texas.
• Time magazine reported the House Energy and Commerce Committee found that 14 of the country’s most active hydraulic fracturing companies used 866 million gallons of fracking chemicals between 2005 and 2009. This does not include water, which makes up 99 percent of the fluid injected into wells.
• The Herald-Standard newspaper reported Williston, N.D. has a large methamphetamine drug problem brought in by a gang selling drugs among the oil workers.
• Governing the States and Localities website reports North Dakota roads, designed for farm-to-market travel, are not holding up under the big trucks accessing rigs and wells. On the Jiggs Highway, what effect will heavy truck traffic have on this small highway?
So help me out. Help me find an answer by telling me what you think. Will fracking be good or bad for Elko County? Are the possible problems overblown? If you believe fracking will cause problems, which ones do you worry about the most? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “fracking” in the subject line.
In two weeks I will report the results. I will not be able to quote your complete comments, but will report the consensus of responses.