Candidate Abbott Strongly Supports Oil Patch Fracking - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Candidate Abbott Strongly Supports Oil Patch Fracking

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To the Bayou City it's brought billions and is certain to bring billions of dollars more. We are talking about a particularly powerful oil patch technique known as hydraulic fracturing, "fracking" for short".

The highly refined practice has dislodged huge and once unreachable supplies of energy from shale formations across America.

Texas leaders like State Attorney General Greg Abbott are among it's biggest defenders.

"I believe that fracking is great for our energy independence and great for the Texas budget. I think it is safe and can be done in a way that we are all able to benefit from our natural resources and it needs to continue," said Abbott.

But critics claim all this frack gas comes at a terrible price. The HBO "Gasland" documentaries accuse energy companies of potentially catastrophic environmental damage and a cover-up reminiscent of the tobacco industry.


"With thousands of cases of water contamination, air pollution and heath problems across the U.S. it's not just the numbers that get you dizzy," says documentarian Josh Fox in the "Gasland II" trailer.

"Right now I could say the industry is doing a very good job. I think they can always do better," said Dr. Don Van Nieuwenhuise, director of the University of Houston's Professional Geoscience programs.

Van Nieuwenhuise says most of the burning faucet scenes in the "Gasland" films have been attributed to pockets of naturally occurring surface gas, not the hydrocarbons harvested by fracking 5,000 to10,000 feet below the surface.

"I'm not saying we will never see that happening, but it's very unlikely," said Van Nieuwenhuise.

Same goes for water. Van Nieuwenhuise says fracking takes place thousands of feet below under ground reservoirs of fresh water with layer upon layer of tightly packed rock serving as effective insulation.

"There are definite dangers. There are definite risks. There are also definite benefits and put together the benefits far outweigh the risks," said Van Nieuwenhuise who believe pesticides and fertilizers pose a much greater threat to water supplies than hydraulic fracturing.

Van Nieuwenhuise says the energy industry still has serious work to do when it comes to consistently disposing of its waste properly and figuring out how to use a lot less water.

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