Fracking Draws Critics at Hearing on New TDEC Rules

At a Tuesday public hearing in Knoxville Tuesday, there were many opponents of the controversial method of drilling for natural gas in deep shale and tight formations — called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” reports the News Sentinel.
About 50 people attended the hearing at the Knoxville field office of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. A second meeting was held Tuesday night.
The meetings were the latest step in an 18-month process by TDEC, as it tries to iron out standards and guidelines for fracking, which has basically been unregulated in Tennessee. A wide range of environmental groups and concerned individuals have also weighed in with their opinions.
The practice of fracking requires large amounts of water and chemicals to be injected at high pressure into the shaft, freeing the flow of natural gas.
About a dozen people spoke at Tuesday’s afternoon meeting, with most warning of dire consequences unless stringent guidelines are eventually written in law for fracking in Tennessee.
Sierra Club representative Axel Ringe said “two-thirds” of Tennessee will eventually be targeted for natural gas extraction via fracking.
Among the risks commonly associated with fracking are groundand surface water contamination, and degradation of natural habitat due to excessive water and chemical use in the drilling process.
Ringe said it’s imperative to get the rules and regulations right before fracking becomes commonplace in the state.
“This gives us time to set up regulations that are truly protective,” said Ringe.
Limestone resident Trudi Tolliver said she’s concerned that fracking could contaminate her well-water.
“I depend on a well for my drinking water,” said Tolliver.
“I would like to ban it (fracking) completely in our state. We need more evaluations on the health risks.”

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