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Molly Rauch Headshot

True or False: Is Arkansas Fracked?

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After my visit to the Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas to see fracking close up, I got to talk with community members who have been impacted by the frack-fueled increase in natural gas development.

Here's a quiz based on what I learned. The answers might surprise you.

True or False: What Is Fracking Doing To Arkansas?

  1. You are a tax-paying landowner in Arkansas. A natural gas company wants to come onto your land, build a well pad, hydraulically fracture the shale gas under your land, extract the gas, and sell it for profit. You fiercely oppose, but the company can build their well on your land without your permission. True or False?
  2. You are a rancher raising cattle for beef near Greenbrier, Arkansas. Your cattle graze on land on which there is a natural gas well pad, which requires the use of industrial chemicals for pump maintenance and which emits volatile organic compounds into the air. There is no fence around the well pad and your cattle therefore walks freely over the packed gravel pad, potentially exposed to any industrial chemicals that may leak onto the well pad. True or False?
  3. You are a landowner in Arkansas who has managed to prevent well pads from being installed on your land, though there are dozens within a mile of your house. Your cat dies of kidney failure, and the vet determines that the kidney failure was caused by an excess of 2 butoxyethanol, a chemical widely known to be used in fracking. You ask your doctor to test you for that same chemical, but he says he won't do it, and won't discuss the chemical with you. True or False?
  4. You grew up in a proudly rural, quiet area of Arkansas in the Fayetteville Shale. You notice an influx of out-of-state natural gas workers, and an increase in heavy truck traffic to service the new wells. With this boom in gas production, the quiet fields, clean roadsides, and fresh air that you remember from your childhood have been replaced with a constant stream of beer cans, plastic bags, and other litter along even the dirt roads in the county. True or False?
  5. You live in Faulkner County, Arkansas, and see the heavy truck traffic that builds and services fracked natural gas wells. The increased truck traffic kicks up a lot of dust, so even more big trucks come in to spray the roads and keep dust down. Those spray trucks use "produced water" to spray the roads -- the water that comes up out of the fracked gas wells, laced with a mix of known and unknown industrial and hydrocarbon chemicals, and possibly radioactive material as well. These chemicals are now being aerosolized and spread on miles of roads in your Faulkner County community. True or False?

Answers: 1. True. 2. True. 3. True. 4. True. 5. True.

Let us know in the comments what you learned. Do you think that sharing these stories will drive meaningful regulations of natural gas development?

Photo: Shutterstock

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