Article courtesy of Natalie Cullen | March 21, 2014 | 8News Now | Shared as educational material
LAS VEGAS — Environmental activists are up in arms, trying to stop what they call a huge threat to southern Nevada’s drinking water.
Nevada lawmakers are considering drilling for natural gas and oil in Elko and White Pine County, using a process called fracking. People against it say it has contaminated drinking water in other states.
However, proponents say drilling could bring big money to Nevada.
Fracking is a controversial process where energy companies extract natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth.
This makes it possible to retrieve natural gas from deep in the earth in places that were once unreachable, but at public workshop Friday, activists say the risk is too great.
“We are living in an industrial society where money is valuable and human life is not valuable,” one activist said.
Health risks have been reported from fracking in other states, including contaminated drinking water. It can happen if the protective layers of pipe cement and sealant leak.
Until now, Nevada has had no regulations on fracking and the state Department of Minerals is trying to develop them now. Administrators say if approved, Nevada will have some of the strongest regulations.
However, before moving forward, they still wanted to hear from people in the community.
“It is a good process. You need a public process for this,” Rich Perry with the Dept. of Minerals said, “We had several good comments there.”
Many of the Nevadans at the meeting left this public workshop unconvinced the proposed regulations would protect them.
“Despite any industry regulations, many times, they fail. I’m concerned our state is going to really suffer as a result, if fracking is allowed to occur here,” Las Vegan Robert Telles said.
Anyone who would like to weigh in on fracking regulations in Nevada, can submit comments to the Department of Minerals until this coming Friday. Administrators say they will spend the next two months reviewing the comments and will submit revised regulations on fracking by June 30.
However, the state stands to make money if they go forward with fracking. States get a portion of royalties for any drilling done on federal land.