Study says costs of fracking are big

News and analysis by Dan Telvock, Investigative Post's environmental reporter

A new report from the Environment America Research & Policy Center highlights how fracking has more problems than just environmental ones.

The study states that the state governments are expending big money for new infrastructure and road repairs because of fracking efforts.

But there’s more:

  • A 2010 study in Texas found homes within 1,000 feet of a well saw values drop as much as 14 percent.
  • Texas has earmarked $40 million in road repairs in the area called the Barnett Shale region and Pennsylvania estimated $265 million is needed to repair damaged roads in the Marcellus Shale region. The study states that the damage caused by truck traffic needed to deliver water to one fracking well equals that of 3.5 million car trips.
  • Fracking requires copious amounts of water, which is driving Texas to plan for $400 million in projects that supports the mining industry for 50 years.
  • All of the orphaned wells that need to be plugged—more than 7,800 in Texas—cost the state $247 million. Similar costs have popped up in Pennsylvania: “Cabot Oil & Gas claims to have spent $730,000 per well to cap three shale gas wells in Pennsylvania,” according to the study.

The study details numerous of other costs, including those related to health, as a result of fracking. Similar reports have been released for numerous other states, too.

How is the industry responding?

Brad Gill, Independent Oil and Gas Association (IOGA) of New York executive director, told Innovation Trail that the report is overstated and makes patently false claims.