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Fracking Companies Promote Jobs Across The US Hoping To Conceal The Risks

By Theodora Filis

The “Halliburton loophole” was created by Congress in 2005, at the “urging” of then, Vice President, Dick Cheney. Despite serious concerns, from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that chemicals used in Hydraulic Fracturing (fracking) demonstrated spoiling and contamination of drinking water, Cheney's “energy task force” promoted the benefits of fracking and disregarded any references to human health hazards.

Halliburton, previously led by Cheney, reportedly earns $1.5 billion a year from its energy operations – which relies heavily on its fracking business.

This week, Bloomberg reported “Thirty-four years after Black Monday, the day Youngstown Sheet & Tube announced shutdowns marking the end of the Ohio city’s steel era, a $650 million mill is coming to life thanks to the natural-gas drilling boom.”

The Vallourec SA's V&M Star factory will employee 350 workers and produce seamless pipes used in fracking. “It’s part of a development that an oil and gas industry study calculates will mean more than 200,000 jobs and $22 billion in economic output in Ohio by 2015 -- and which has neighboring states looking to get in on the action.”

According to the Pennsylvania Center for Workforce Information and Analysis, Marcellus shale grew 114 percent in the first quarter of 2011 – up form the same period in 2008.

According to the center, wages in Marcellus industries average $76,036 compared with the state average of $46,222.

Despite reported earthquakes in Youngstown, Ohio – so sever the mayor of Youngstown has decided to take out earthquake insurance on his home – a new mill is being built about 2 miles from where an injection well was closed after 11 earthquakes shook the Youngstown area in 2011.

Last week, AlterNet reported, “To what should be the surprise of no one, earthquakes caused by the junkie gas sector's hydraulic fracturing process, known as fracking, have been cropping up like Freud's repressed. The latest ominously arrived in Republican-dominated Ohio on New Year's Eve, quickly prompting Youngstown's mayor to buy earthquake insurance and lament, "You lose your whole house, that's your life savings, and if you have no money or no insurance to replace it, then what do you do?"

During an energy summit in Columbus, last September, Aubery K. McClendon, chief executive officer of Chesapeake Energy Corp – the most active oil and natural gas driller in the US – said “This will be the biggest thing to hit the state of Ohio economically since maybe the plow.”

While Cheney and his pals over at Hailburton are patting themselves on the back for a very lucrative job well done – thousands of residents across the US are living with, and trying to avoid, the very costly side effects of fracking.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called for a study to determine whether fracking is a hazard to people or food sources. The EPA in conjunction with the Interior Department is working now to prepare regulations to govern fracking and plans to study the effect of the hydraulic fracturing on drinking water.

Christopher Portier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, said that studies should be initiated to examine whether waste water from the wells can harm people, livestock and food sources.

Mr. Portier stated: “We do not have enough information to say with certainty whether shale gas drilling poses a threat to public health.”

Lisa Jackson, the EPA’s Administrator told Congress in May that the EPA “will use its authorities to protect local residents if a driller endangers water supplies and the state and local authorities have not acted.” She further stated that President Obama “has made clear that we need to extract natural gas without polluting our water supplies.”

People living close to drill sights will tell you it does cause a very serious health risk to both human and animal life. Many community residents have tested their water and soil and have found it to be contaminated.

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