Fracking Takes Toll on Texas Air

Monday, March 03, 2014

Men with Cabot Oil and Gas work on a natural gas valve at a hydraulic fracturing site on January 18, 2012 in South Montrose, Pennsylvania. (Spencer Platt/Getty)

The Eagle Ford Shale formations stretches 400 miles across the great state of Texas, from Leon County in the Northeast to the Mexican border in the Southwest. It's home to more than 1.1 million people, and it's one of the most active drilling sites in America. Since 2008, the energy industry has drilled more than 7,000 oil and gas wells in the area, and another 5,500 have been approved by state regulators.

While many have profited from the energy boom, hundreds more are finding that the air smells funny, their heads hurt, and their noses are bleeding. But with minimal regulation, and no comprehensive health studies, residents have little recourse.

Lisa Song, a reporter for InsideClimate News, just completed an in-depth investigation of the Eagle Ford Shale. She joins us to explain the health impacts for local residents and the politics at play in this massive reservoir of oil and natural gas. 


Lisa Song

Produced by:

Ellen Frankman and Jillian Weinberger


T.J. Raphael

Comments [6]

R.A. Boles from Winters, Texas

My comment about the supporters of Inside Climate News was not clear. The direct donors to that organization are, indeed, charitable organizations. But, in all cases, the organizations support non-carbon fuels and have benefactors that have vested economic interests in reduction of carbon-based energy. Apologies for the confusion.

Mar. 04 2014 12:23 PM
Greg from Spuyten Duyvil

So Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, NY: we just have to--forgive the metaphor--bend over and just accept the fact that Big Energy is going to destroy the planet? You're giving up your home planet to those greed-driven creeps without any resistance? Not me.

Mar. 04 2014 11:01 AM

R. A. Boles states that Inside Climate News is funded primarily by organizations tied to renewable energy for profit. That does not appear to be true as they are funded primarily by charitable organizations. Here is a list of their funding sources.


Mar. 03 2014 10:40 PM
RT from Santa Clara

I'm concerned with the environmental effects and safety of intensive hydraulic fracturing activity.

Nevertheless, this segment seemed uncharacteristically clunky.

"InsideClimate News" doesn't seem a particularly good source of disinterested reportage.

Had Ms. Song ever been to Texas before?

Mar. 03 2014 03:34 PM
R.A. Boles from Winters, Texas

While Inside Climate News is presented by the show as non-partisan and independent, they are funded primarily by organizations tied to renewable energy promotion for profit. This is important to be stated, since the presentation is less than balanced. For instance, it is a factual error to tie a stimulation technique (fracture treatments) to the air quality in the region. Instead, the air quality may be tied to the produced fluids (gas and water, mainly) and its treatment chemicals (not related to fraccing). All of this has been in place around the world for decades. Presenting this as some new application of technology that is introducing harmful pollutants is clearly the work of someone not fully understanding of petroleum production. And, if you want to see where the tax money is going, check the schools in the area. Teacher raises, new facilities, etc. are the early benefactors. Please allow both sides on these issues.

Mar. 03 2014 12:39 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

A moratorium on Hydraulic Fracturing known as Fracking is probably needed till further research on the harmful effects of the gases released from the earth as well as the compounds injected into the earth by the companies are explored further.
But we know that won't happen. No one is going to give up on pounding this planet till every ounce of oil is sucked out of it. So, if you live by some fracking and start feeling sick, get the frick out.

Mar. 03 2014 10:39 AM

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