Across the U.S., the shale rush has unleashed a frenzy of excitement about domestic energy supplies.
But the oil and gas produced from fracking comes along with billions of gallons of wastewater and tons of mud and rock that carry radioactive materials and heavy metals.
As problems with disposal mount, the industry has offered mostly vague promises of “recycling” to describe how the waste will be handled over the long run.
As the nation gears up to produce vast amounts of shale oil and gas — and the toxic waste that comes along with it — it’s worth taking a look back at the failures of another industry to handle its toxic waste responsibly — the coal industry.
Communities across America are still struggling to resolve problems left behind decades ago from coal mining and related industrial pollution.
These aren’t merely yesterday’s problems – the ash from burning coal at coal-fired power plants remains the single largest wastestream in the U.S.