Letter: Students say fracking in NC coming all too soon

To the editor:

July 1, 2015, is a date that will arise upon North Carolina sooner than you might think, and once it comes, it will be too late.

letter_logoOn this day, fracking is set to begin in our backyards. Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is where high-powered streams of water mixed with chemicals are shot underground to break up earth and release natural gas. Touted as the savior of our economy and energy issues, fracking is a burden on the backs of North Carolina citizens. We are a group of eighth graders from Exploris Middle School, located in downtown Raleigh. Through our recent lessons surrounding the topic of water issues, we became concerned with the possibility of fracking in North Carolina.

In 2012, North Carolina approved fracking, and began planning to drill in 14 counties: Anson, Chatham, Davie, Durham, Granville, Lee, Orange, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond, Rockingham, Stokes, Wake, and Yadkin.

Fracking is dangerous, especially to those who live near fracking sites. The chemicals used in fracking in other states has leaked into their groundwater supply, and poisoned their drinking water. The same will most likely happen in North Carolina if we let fracking pass. The results of poisoned water include cancer, asthma, heart diseases, birth defects, and several other dangerous ailments. A spill in Ohio triggered multiple explosions due to the flammable nature of many of the chemicals used. Because fracking companies aren’t required to disclose these chemicals, state officials had no idea what to test for in groundwater near the spill. 70,000 fish were found dead along the riverbanks in the following two days. Because a majority of the 14 counties slated to be drilled in lie within the Neuse River watershed, if a spill happens in one site, it could spread throughout the river basin and affect many counties and municipal drinking supplies here in North Carolina. Fracking is also estimated to taint the water of 2.5 million private wells. The risk is simply too great and outweighs any possible benefits.

While it is true that there are benefits to fracking, these benefits are fleeting, and will not affect the general North Carolina populace. The economic boom may affect several generations, but after that, the flow of money that we will have grown accustomed to will be gone, leaving us without jobs or a stable economy. Anything built off of fossil fuels will not last, and the economy is no exception. Our dependence on foreign energy may wane during the forty years of natural gas extraction in North Carolina, but will come back even stronger once our domestic supply has diminished. In the end, our water is more important than any money that we might get. We can’t drink money, and we need to remember that when voting time comes around.

Fracking creates health, environmental, and economic issues for North Carolinians state-wide. Our freshwater resources are diminishing, and fracking isn’t going to help this problem. No matter how little time is left until July, we, the citizens of North Carolina, still have a voice. Make the choice to protect our water sources, and tell our state officials to vote against fracking. Our water is more important than any short term benefits.

 

Leah Perry and
the eighth grade students
at Exploris Middle School
Raleigh

Filed in: Opinion

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