“Get the Frack Out”: Environmental and Economic Implications of Fracking in Bradford County, PA.
Emily Clough, and Derek Bell, “Just fracking: a distributive environmental justice analysis of unconventional gas development in Pennsylvania, USA”, Environmental Justice Analysis, Volume 11(2), 2016
This source is an academic journal article that analyzes the types of people (whether they are low-income or minority residents) particularly affected by fracking in the Marcellus Shale region from the year 2005 onwards.
This paper will contribute to different preliminary sections of my paper in a variety of ways. First of all, it provides insight into the actual practices of fracking itself, and the “official” way (at least legislatively) in which certain sites are chosen, specific to the Marcellus Shale region. In this sense, it contains background information that I could use to introduce my readers to the practice of hydraulic fracturing, and a brief overview of the ways in which certain sites are chosen. More importantly, this paper is a study that offers a distributive environmental justice analysis, which considers this question: “Are there a disproportionate number of minority or low-income residents in areas near to unconventional wells in Pennsylvania?” It goes into more detail, further considering income distribution and the level of education in these areas as well. All in all, this paper will help me answer one of my questions posed in the site description: Why are communities in Bradford County, and similar neighborhoods throughout the Marcellus Shale Region, particularly selected as sites for hydraulic fracturing? It provides an administrative answer, as well as one that is more realistic and environmentally unjust.
Kathryn Brasier, Lisa Davis, Leland Glenna, Tim Kelsey, Diane McLaughlin, Kai Schafft, Kristin Babbie, Catherine Biddle, Anne Delessio-Parson, and Danielle Rhubart, “The Marcellus Shale Impacts Study: Chronicling Social and Economic Change in North Central and Southwest Pennsylvania,” The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, 2014
This source is a study undertaken by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania documenting the various changes socially and economically that have been felt throughout the Marcellus Shale region between 2005 and 2013.
I am really eager to utilize this source, because it provides a regional profile of the residents of Bradford County. It contains details about the population makeup of Bradford County before and after 2005, when a rapid expansion of hydraulic fracturing wells was undertaken; information about levels of education; the housing market, the youth and their experiences; economic details; and agricultural information. In essence, I believe that this source is more specific to Bradford County, whereas my first source is more concerned with the Marcellus Shale region as a whole. Moreover, this source addresses another one of my research questions posed in the site description: How has the community responded, and has that response led to tangible reforms or conflicts with the well operators, the local and state government, or both? It includes a compilation of personal accounts from people living in the county, and their response to the changes that they were experiencing. For example, one participant in the study discussed how they were taken advantage of:
“The other thing is, even if you have it in your agreement, like my father-in-law had it all worked out. They were gonna run the water pipeline around the edge of the field so it didn’t—and they just wore him down and wore him down and wore him down until he’s finally like, fine. Put the water line through the center of the field. Because they—that was the easiest way for them. It didn’t matter that it was gonna be a management nightmare for the farmer.”
It also has accounts from farmers, local businesses, educational organizations, as well as health and housing agencies. I believe that this source is a good starting point for me to understand how the community responded, and, maybe, how they organized.
Garth T. Llewellyn, Frank Dorman, J. L. Westland, D. Yoxtheimer, Paul Grieve, Todd Sowers, E. Humston-Fulmer, and Susan L. Brantley, “Evaluating a groundwater supply contamination incident attributed to Marcellus Shale gas development,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2005.
This source is an academic journal article that delves into the direct health impacts of fracking: the contamination of groundwater that can be directly imputed to Marcellus Shale gas development.
This source is relatively straightforward in its application to my project. It most directly addresses the question: How has fracking and its ramifications affected local communities in Bradford County in ways that extend beyond adverse health effects, especially among youth? It details the first part of the question, which pertains to the adverse health effects felt by the local community. The study confirms that drilling by Chesapeake Appalachia LLC in 2009 within Bradford County has led to the contamination of groundwater supply. The study itself is actually a chemical study, revealing that natural gas, as well as other organic contaminants stemming from fracking fluids, impacted an aquifer used as a source of potable water. These contaminants were discovered using methods and instrumentation that are not typically available in most laboratories. I accessed this scientific article from a primary source describing the study, which delves deeper into the roles that the EPA and Chesapeake Appalachia played throughout this whole scenario, as well as a brief historical overview.
Keywords: Class, Toxics, Water, Soil, Pollution, Energy