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Is Fracking Really Safe for the Environment?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource Center page and our Organic Transitions page.

 Recent headlines in the American press would have you believe we're in for a robust economic boom, courtesy of the new shale gas revolution. Some forecasters claim the US will outstrip Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer by 2017, effectively rendering the US self-sufficient in terms of energy production.

 But are we really "swimming in oil"? And is the shale revolution really the answer to all our energy and economic problems?

 In pictures and words, three different publications tell the story, while EPA documents add a twist as to how wetlands should be protected through all this, but aren't.

 In 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed Executive Order No. 11990 for the protection of wetlands,1 which prohibits anyone, including farmers, from altering wetlands in any way.

 As a result of that legislation farmers are unable to touch wetlands without fear of federal prosecution, which can at times put extreme limits on their farming protocols due to the stringent way wetlands are defined. Sometimes a simple puddle in a farmer's field can be defined as a wetland.

 Conversely, oil companies now come in and wipe out huge tracts of wetlands without any repercussions at all, showing that, apparently, wetland protection loses its importance when oil company profits are at stake.

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