Jay Fergusonjay@deepcreekvacations.com301-501-0420

Will ‘waterquakes’ destroy our elixir of life?

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News Sun Sep 12, 2010, 08:00 AM EDT

— In case you aren’t aware, the incidence of earthquakes in Marcellus shale areas of West Virginia (and like adjacent areas) not seismically known Richterwise for earthquakes, has surprisingly increased recently, counter to our regular geologic timeframe historically.

Since early April more than eight earthquakes have been recorded in Braxton County, with two more in nearby Lewis and Upshur counties. Those seismic events ranged in magnitude from 2.2 to 3.4, not strong enough to cause significant damage (yet), but powerful enough to rattle shelves and awaken strong sleepers.

Three weeks later (April 29, 2010) west of Frametown three more shook topographies. May 7-8, 2010, both sides of Interstate 79 near the Servia rest stop shook. July 24-25, west of Gassaway, 2.4 and 2.2.

Ronald Martini, Marshall geology professor, addressed the topic of unusual local earthquakes when he said, “It is quite possible that these earthquakes result from fluid injection. Drilling in the Marcellus shale for natural gas in northern West Virginia has involved hydrofracking of horizontal natural gas wells (with unknown millions of gallons of unknown toxic fluids under immense pressure per square inch, insertion mine) essentially lubricating the frictional resistance to movement along the fault zone, allowing the fault to slip more readily.”

You may recall my previous letter pertaining to current natural gas production techniques endangering our pristine waters by shaking up the topography, even of our neighbors without their permission. I didn’t know about the earthquakes then. I do now and the infrastructure of the natural gas drilling process will eventually jeopardize the sanctity of everybody’s inalienable right to clean water.

Inasmuch as the above is evidentiary, safe/clean drinking water is a human right and a primary component in our right(s) to life, liberty and happiness pursuit. Water cannot morally be a commodity for exhorbitant profit(s). The cost of treated tap water in West Virginia averages a penny a gallon. An equivalent amount of bottled (for example, Dasani) water averages $4 a gallon. The Wall Street Journal said 47.8 percent of the most common type of bottled water sold by retailers came from city tap water. Feel ripped off?

Fracking our topography should be freaking us out. Bottled water prices can only escalate. Municipal water systems will have to raise their prices, too.

Eventually, our kids will need to confront their catastrophic choice of sacrifices: water or carbon-based fuels. Many postulations currently exist about what global human life will be like without sufficient water or carbon-based fuel(s).

Consciously permitting “water-quakes” to destroy our elixir of life only certifies our sometimes shortsighted/blinding human stupidity.

Bill Arnold

Romney, W.Va.

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