Eco-Rep Green Corner: Local fracking starts to take its toll

      When you think back to your childhood, you are flooded with memories of broken crayons and coloring outside the lines of your favorite Disney princess or superhero; today, kids have a new friend to color and his name is Talisman Terry, the friendly frack-o-saurus.

      Talisman Terry drills wells 5,000 feet below the earth’s surface to obtain natural gas that was once unreachable, using a method called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” for short. Late night television host Stephen Colbert took a look at the coloring book and said, “A rainbow that was trapped underground that fracking set free, unless, that’s not a rainbow, but a geyser of highly flammable neurotoxins.”

      According to, fracking uses high-pressure fluid containing a mixture of water, sand and over 600 harmful chemicals to break the shale formation to release pockets of natural gas. The argument for fracking is that it is cheap and will help our economy, but it’s not all it is “fracked” up to be.

      Over the past five years, wells began to sprout all across the Marcellus Shale, which spans beneath New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and problems began to arise quickly. The website went on to explain that the water that returns to the surface after fracking contains harmful chemicals traced back to the fluid such as formaldehyde, kerosene and ammonia as well as radium and uranium, which are brought up from deep below the surface.

      The Hatfield Municipal Sewer Authority treated up to 90,000 gallons of wastewater that was then released back into rivers and streams. The authority is located just 30 miles west of Rider, which means that the water they release has the potential to end up here on campus. Water can also become contaminated by fracking fluid that either spills or leaks into the soil or nearby water sources. In some cases, fracking has caused methane to be released from deep underground, which rises to the ground-water supply, causing tap water to be flammable, as seen in the film Gasland, by Josh Fox.

      The Delaware River Basin, which provides water for 15.6 million people including those in Mercer County, is at risk of being fracked. On Nov. 21 in Trenton, Governor Christie, along with the governors of New York and Pennsylvania, will vote to either allow fracking on the Delaware River Basin or ban it.

      This is an opportunity for Rider students and faculty to come together and fight for something that affects us all. We have the right to clean, chemical-free water and those rights shouldn’t be fractured along with the Marcellus Shale. Since public opinion will not be heard prior to the vote, strength in numbers at the rally stands important.

      If you are interested in joining your fellow students, you can get more information by contacting Sustainability Manager Melissa Greenberg or any Rider Eco-reps. Or visit for the time, location and other details of the rally.

– Danielle Campanella

Lawrenceville Eco-Rep

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