To the Editor:
Wayne National Forest leaders and spokespersons expressed satisfaction with Wednesday's "open forum" on high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing (HVHHF) on forest lands: a first in their history. It's hard to understand this satisfaction.
Anne Carey, Wayne supervisor, said the forum was intended to inform; public participants disputed the "facts." Wayne spokesperson Gary Chancey repeatedly listed participating Wayne "partners"; his list ignored the county community. Asked if frackers were using Ohio River water (up to 8 million gallons per incident), the Ohio EPA educator said he didn't know. A veteran BLM well inspector had "never heard of hydrochloric acid" associated with HVHHF. But thousands of gallons of the acid are used routinely to clean wells, and some fracking cocktails include the acid (4,700 gallons spilled at a Pennsylvania frack site on July 4). Asked repeatedly why the Wayne would even consider leasing lands without a new Environmental Impact Statement (the 2006 EIS excluded HVHHF), not one Wayne official could provide a single reason.
In a typical conversation, a USDA minerals manager asserted that HVHHF wouldn't threaten drinking water for the 70,000 people who depend on Wayne watersheds. Such contamination has never occurred, he said. Hasn't this been settled, not by the smoking gun of gag orders routinely imposed along with industry settlements in these claims, but by science? Set aside the evidence that the HVHHF industry creates "communicating" pathways across geological layers (Mooney, November, 2011, Scientific American).
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