The Laredo Safe Fracking Coalition held a town hall meeting this evening, attempting to explain the process of hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling. Issues have come up over the pollution that can be caused by this kind of drilling. Our Ryan Bailey was there and brings us more in our top story tonight at ten.
According to U.T. San Antonio researchers, well over 12,000 full time jobs and almost $3 billion were created in 2010 because of the Eagle Ford Shale, but concerns about water use and pollution have followed hydraulic fracking, wherever it has been used.
"The time to act is right now, because the activity is exploding right now."
Representatives from the Texas Railroad Commission and the Texas Water Development Board were on hand this evening discussing the positives and negatives of hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling. One of the concerns that has been raised by the Safe Fracking Coalition is the water that is used for this kind of drilling, with millions of gallons of water being used in each well.
"Much of Texas is in a drought at this point and we are concerned that we're sending a lot of water down a hole that never comes back."
Another concern is the chemicals that are typically used during this process.
"Chemicals such as benzene, toluene, cancer causing chemicals and these are sent down the hole as well. There’s a chance they may seep into our water supply."
The Railroad Commission is in charge of regulating the drilling. Their website says the radioactive chemicals produced are not normally at harmful levels. The Laredo coalition says they are not sure if this is true.
"We need a lot more studies and research to be done to find out what exactly is the impact to that exposure."
The economic possibilities and ability as a country to be more self sufficient on energy usage is very difficult to ignore.
"We're not against fracking. We appreciate the jobs, the industry and the energy supply, but we want to make sure this is safe. Once this boon is all over we have to live here and we have to live with whatever's left behind."
"This is just the first step. We're just starting the dialog now with the regulatory agencies."
The Railroad Commission approved 575 drilling leases for Webb County in 2010 and another 154 in the first three months of this year. If you would like to learn more about the fracking process, you can visit the Texas Railroad Commission website at the address listed below.