TRENTON – Environmentalists released a new report today that they said concludes the practice of gas drilling known as hydraulic fracturing is too costly: environmentally and economically.
The report, “The Costs of Fracking,’’ was released by Environment New Jersey as fracking forces – pro and con – await the governor’s decision on a bill that would prohibit the treatment of fracking wastewater in New Jersey.
Among other things, the report touches on the expenses incurred by companies and governments as a result of the process, which environmentalists said shows that fracking is simply not good business.
Its findings include:
*In Pennsylvania, where hydraulic fracturing is well under way, it costs about $60,000 – in some cases more than $100,000 – to plug and reclaim a well site.
*Cabot Oil & Gas spent $730,000 per well to cap three shale gas wells;
*University of Pittsburgh research estimated the cost of site reclamation at $500,000 to $800,000 per site, including repairs to roads and maintenance of retention ponds;
*Values of homes in Texas within 1,000 feet of a well dropped as much as 14 percent; in Colorado, properties with a methane well suffered a 22 percent drop in value.
Among other things, the report cited the risks of economic loss to farmers, in addition to the risks to health and the environment.
If fracking is to continue, the report states, governments have to hold companies accountable for the costs of fracking and the harm it causes.
“Americans deserve to know that the oil and gas industry – not the public at large – will pick up the tab,” the report concludes.