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Frack The Sky


Dear Editor:

If you drive around the area at night, you might see a flickering glow over the next hill. After reaching the summit, you're in view of an amazing spectacle: a 99-foot candle blazing out of a natural gas well. It lights the entire valley with an orange rage, somewhere between a campfire and hell itself.

The explanation: “They’re burning the gas off to get the pressure down.” Reasonable? If the gas deposits hold enough pressure to sustain a well for 20 years, can the pressure be brought from unsafe to safe in a few days?

I know people who worked in oil refineries. Every refinery has something called a flare. It burns the impurities out of the mix using a tiny version of the gas well candle. The guys would joke that they could tell who was on duty by the size of the flame. Big flame—lots of impurities—“Must be the new guy.” Small flame—few impurities—“Must be Charlie, he’s been doin’ it for 20 years.”

Natural gas burns blue. The 99-foot candle burns orange. More likely: the benzene-based recipe known as “fracking fluid” is being burned out of the well. In the water, it makes the 6 o’clock news. In the sky, it’s just another poison swept under the rug by misinformation and lobbyist dollars.

Next time you’re driving over that hill and you see the glow, enjoy the show. But don’t hang your head out the window. Roll your window up and light a cigarette, you’ll breathe easier.

Reid Carter



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