Many places across America lament the urban sprawl taking place in their midst. Meanwhile, parts of Texas have a different kind of sprawl to contend with – fracking sprawl. As can be seen in the photos taken as I flew home from Tucson two weekends ago, the numerous fracking sites are quite troubling – they almost look like a sea of new home building sites from the air.
Probably the most poignant photo (below) is the one showing the City of Andrews, Texas, where the town’s urban form is largely bookended by fracking sprawl. This is especially evident to the north of town, where the number of fracking sites in close proximity to each other looks almost like another town.
One has to wonder how these multitudes of fracking sites simply don’t siphon off the oil/gas from one another, but maybe that’s the whole point – I’ll get mine from my property before you suck it dry from nearby. It’s almost like couples both sipping a milkshake from straws competing for the last bits liquid – add an little directional drilling [like a corrugated straw] and you can just siphon off the residue from your neighbors.
I also wonder about the current and future impacts from these sites on neighbors and on area communities. Would anyone ever desire to build and home and drill a water well on a site that had been fracked previously? What about the folks already living next to one of these things? Does all this fracking impact area aquifers and city water supplies? Are the short term gains really worth the long term costs?
Below are links to several articles/studies on the impacts of fracking and what is is like to have a fracking site be developed next door. Here are two eye-popping stats gleaned from them:
- Each and every fracking shale well site requires between 2 and 20 million gallons of water.
- The EPA estimates each [site] produces between 300 and 1,300 truck trips per well site.