Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Why Increased Fracking Means More Fatal Auto Crashes

Energy
Why Increased Fracking Means More Fatal Auto Crashes

States like North Dakota, Texas and Pennsylvania are among those that have experienced the biggest fracking booms in the U.S. They also have reported more auto crashes as a result.

To the supporters of oil and natural gas extraction, correlating traffic collisions with fracking will likely sound like another attempt to bash their favorite means of obtaining energy. However, The Associated Press has the numbers to back it up—there are more fatal car crashes in areas of heavy fracking. Many more.

"We are just so swamped," Sheriff Dwayne Villanueva of Karnes County, TX told the AP. "I don't see it slowing down anytime soon."

An Associated Press analysis revealed increases in traffic fatalities in areas of heavy fracking, compared to other regions.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The AP's analysis reveals alarming figures. For instance, the average rate of deaths per 100,000 people in North Dakota drilling areas grew by an average of 148 percent from 2009 to 2013, compared to the previous five years. For the rest of the state, that measure fell by 1 percent in the same time frame.

Even in drilling areas where an increase was nowhere near that dramatic, it still tells the same story. In Pennsylvania drilling areas, traffic fatalities rose by 4 percent during that time frame. They fell by 19 percent everywhere else in the state.

The root of the AP's findings are the growing presence of large trucks hauling fluid and/or equipment. Regardless who is at fault in the crashes, more trucks hit the roads quickly in those areas to cash in on the booming industry. That usually occurs before communities can build better roads or ones with more lanes. When it comes to the cash cow that that fracking can be, there's no time to wait on more traffic signals or even addition shifts for officers who might help direct traffic, according to the AP.

Fracking requires 2,300 to 4,000 truck trips per well to deliver oil and gas or the chemicals involved in the fracking process. According to the AP, older drilling techniques needed one-third to half as many trips.

In 21 Texas counties where drilling expanded in recent months, deaths per 100,000 residents are up an average of 18 percent, the analysis found. In the rest of the state, they are down by 20 percent.

Traffic fatalities in West Virginia counties known for drilling grew by 42 percent last year, compared to an 8-percent decline elsewhere in the state. including where the Mazzei-Saum boys were killed, rose 42 percent in 2013. Traffic deaths in the rest of the state declined 8 percent. In Clarksburg, WV, a truck carrying drilling water overturned onto a car carrying a two boys. Nicholas Mazzei-Saum, 7, and his brother, 8-year-old Alexander, were both killed.

"We buried them in the same casket," their father, William Saum, told the AP.

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

Film Exposes Harsh Reality of Living Amid North Dakota’s Oil Boom

Gripping Report and Film Reveal How Fracking Boom Destroys Texans’ Lives

Anti-Fracking Group Pressures Pennsylvania Governor Candidates For Moratorium Commitments

——–

Valley of the Gods in the heart of Bears Ears National Monument. Mint Images / Getty Images

By Sharon Buccino

This week, Secretary Haaland chose a visit to Bears Ears National Monument as her first trip as Interior Secretary. She is spending three days in Bluff, Utah, a small town just outside the monument, listening to representatives of the five tribes who first proposed its designation to President Obama in 2015. This is the same town where former Secretary Sally Jewell spent several hours at a public hearing in July 2016 before recommending the monument's designation to President Obama.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Pexels

By Anthony Richardson, Chhaya Chaudhary, David Schoeman, and Mark John Costello

The tropical water at the equator is renowned for having the richest diversity of marine life on Earth, with vibrant coral reefs and large aggregations of tunas, sea turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. The number of marine species naturally tapers off as you head towards the poles.

Read More Show Less
Trending
"Secrets of the Whales" is a new series that will start streaming on Disney+ on Earth Day. Disney+

In celebration of Earth Day, a star-studded cast is giving fans a rare glimpse into the secret lives of some of the planet's most majestic animals: whales. In "Secrets of the Whales," a four-part documentary series by renowned National Geographic Photographer and Explorer Brian Skerry and Executive Producer James Cameron, viewers plunge deep into the lives and worlds of five different whale species.

Read More Show Less
Spring is an excellent time to begin bird watching in earnest. Eugenio Marongiu / Cultura / Getty Images

The coronavirus has isolated many of us in our homes this year. We've been forced to slow down a little, maybe looking out our windows, becoming more in tune with the rhythms of our yards. Perhaps we've begun to notice more, like the birds hopping around in the bushes out back, wondering (maybe for the first time) what they are.

Read More Show Less
The brown pelican is seen on Queen Bess Island in Louisiana in March 2021. Casey Wright / LDWF biologist

Who says you can't go home again?

Read More Show Less