Fracking Waste + Dubious Transportation = ????

Fracking Waste + Dubious Transportation = ????

In addition to "Oil Spills from pipeline," another recurring feature of this blog is "bad fracking ideas." Maybe it's the unregulated nature of it, or maybe it's the lingering "natural" image, or some combination thereof, but fracking leads to dubious ideas:Fracking near a fault line! Fracking in parks! Fracking in 10 million people's drinking water!

The latest is the idea to ship fracking wastewater on barges, 10,000 barrels apiece. That wastewater, as you know, is a toxic soup of chemicals not found in nature and all manner of strange stuff we dredge them up from deep within the earth. Fracking fluid spills in other states have irradiated streams, poisened drinking water, and fouled wetlands. So it's not something you want anything near actual water, particularly in something as old and leaky as a barge.

Nonetheless, our Coast Guard, which has regulatory responsibility for our waterways, is proposing this plan to ship the waste from Pittsburgh. Regular readers will recall that Pittsburgh was the first city to ban fracking, which makes this plan an ironic payback, since a ban won't help much once the wastewater is spilling towards them via the city's three rivers.

While it sounds like a blockbuster revenge movie scenario (imagine James Bond racing to stop the leaky frack barge sent by the evil Dr. Gasland, whose father never let him play in the hills near Pittsburgh as a child), it does not make sense as water or energy policy. Which brings us back to the question with fracking: If it is a "bridge" to a clean energy future, why does it involve a leaky barge filled with toxic chemicals bearing down on a city that already banned the drilling? That's before we take the leaking methane that destroys our climate, or the earthquakes caused by shattered bedrock. *sigh*

Fortunately, our friends at Delaware River Keeper have set up a petition on our MoveOn-partners page. Click here to take action against "frack on a barge."