Healthy farming needs abundant supplies of clean water, clean air, and clean soil. It needs a critical mass of acreage that is not fragmented by drill pads, access roads, pipelines and compressor stations. Farms need to be free of the stigma that may be attributed to food sourced from areas where fracking could take place.
A few points to consider:
• Air-borne VOCs that are released in the drilling and transport process, and from thousands of diesel fueled truck trips per well, is converted to ground-level ozone when combined with sunlight. These emissions can cause health problems in humans and livestock. Ground level ozone has been shown to reduce crop yield by up to 30%, and endangers key feed crops such as clover, vital for pastured livestock.
• Methane and other chemicals that seep out in the process will wind up in air and surface water such as farm ponds, streams and rivers that provide irrigation for livestock and crops.
• Chemical residues in wastewater can poison animals.
• Unlike agriculture’s water usage, water used for hydraulic fracturing is consumptive and permanently removed from the hydrological cycle. This is especially foolish and wasteful in areas of extreme drought where the availability of water is already shrinking.
• It is impossible for adequate food safety inspections to occur since oil and gas companies are not required to fully disclose the chemicals used in the toxic drilling cocktail. There is no set process for testing for contaminants or complete knowledge of what to test for.
• Interestingly, the ingredients of salt and water cannot receive organic certification.
• Fragmentation of farm land leads to inefficiencies in production and the reduction of vital infrastructure and services that support agriculture in a given area
• Sales of food and farm products from fracked areas will be adversely affected by the wholesale and retail buyers distrust of the health and safety of the product, forcing the end of businesses, the loss of food, and the end of a way of life.
• The combination of well pad construction and heavy traffic from hundreds of truck trips cause soil compaction, which can negatively impact normal root development and water infiltration and drainage.
• Shale gas development can result in increased competition for resources required by both the oil and gas industries and agricultural industry, such as water, labor, and transportation.