LETTER: Those at risk need to start talking

Apr. 18, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

To the Editor:

The opposition to hydraulic fracturing has mostly gone away as surrounding landowners have conceded they have no rights to protect their property from environmental damage and low property values in the years to come. The fracking for oil and gas in Central North Carolina will only last about five years. ... Then we will have a ghost town of wells and chemical contamination of the land. This will take years to clean up. However, this won’t affect most of us who live in Central North Carolina — only the few landowners who get rich quick and their neighbors who will bear the burden of cleanup and low property values for years to come. This will probably be the best outcome we can expect.

However, if things don’t go as planned, we could have a disaster on our hands. We have an earthquake fault running through Central North Carolina under the proposed fracking fields. The fracking wells can go as deep as three miles underground. We will have hundreds of wells that will be injecting chemicals and water under pressure to split the shale rock formations to release the oil and gas. ...

Will hundreds of wells splitting rock in and around this fault cause any problems? It may. Let us take a look at Oklahoma in 2011. They had a 5.6 magnitude quake there. Recently scientists have concluded that it was caused by injection wells. In 2011, Oklahoma had more than 1,400 documented earthquakes. The state is littered with oil wells. ...

Now back to Central North Carolina. What would likely happen should we have a large earthquake due to the injection wells? You all know that Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant and Jordan Lake are located on or near the fault line. If we have a large quake, will the nuclear power plant survive? Probably, since it was built by engineers who were aware of the fault line. Jordan Lake will be in a more dangerous position because it contains 14,000 acres of water and it has a earth dam. If this dam breaks, Sanford will be half underwater; Lillington will be wiped out completely ... This could be huge, even if the nuclear plant survives. If the nuclear power plant is damaged badly, it will affect 2.5 million people living in a 50-mile radius.

Those of you who are at risk need to start talking to whomever is in charge.

Bob Holder
Swann Station