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What the Frack?

This Smithsonian blog article has me thinking of that fish from The Simpsons.

It also has me worried. I have an ultra-conservative but incredibly intelligent brother who basically claims that fracking for marcellus shale is entirely safe and the best thing to do. When he explains it to me (from his entirely biased point of view) it really doesn't sound all that bad. And I know he knows his stuff. I also have friends whose families were pretty darn disadvantaged whose lives were turned around due to shale contracts. But I always knew, as I would think anyone would, that it obviously wasn't great. I guess it was one of those things I thought I'd look into more deeply a little later.


But these two paragraphs:

Other states require this wastewater to be pumped back down into underground deposit wells sandwiched between impermeable layers of rock, but because Pennsylvania has few of these cavities, it is the sole state that allows fracking wastewater to be processed by normal wastewater treatment plants and released into rivers.

These plants, many scientists note, are not designed to handle the radioactive elements present in the wastewater. Neither are they required to test their effluent for radioactive elements. As a result, many researchers have suspected that the barely-studied water they release into local streams retains significant levels of radioactivity.

really get to me. Where are the regulations? Why is this happening? This water flows into the Allegheny, which is a drinking water source for Pittsburgh! Why are there those little fish on all our sewers telling me not to put anything in there because it flows to the river, but these guys don't have to worry about it? And what about all the people who live directly where this water is? I'm not as informed as I should be on this issue, but it truly seems absurd an unethical.

There are other aspects of this article that are bad, but for some reason it's the total lack of regulation that's my takeaway. That and I just hope that somehow no one gets sick or hurt.

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