Deadly Truck Traffic: The List of Impacts From Fracking Grows
Last week I was in West Virginia talking to people who have already been impacted by fracking in the Marcellus Shale and others who may be about to see their rural communities industrialized. Besides the increasingly-documented threats to water and air, many are concerned about the effects of truck traffic. Upwards of 400 trucks a day in some places. Nonstop, day and night. The folks I spoke to in West Virginia talked about ruined roads and bridges that taxpayers had to pay to repair, living with uncontrolled dust from dirt roads, inhaling pollution from the diesel trucks (some of which idle for hours), and the safety risks of massive vehicles on their small, country lanes.
Their concerns are warranted. In Texas, truck traffic from the shale gas boom is proving deadly. Jennifer Hiller of the San Antonio Express-News writes:
Truck crashes, traffic and long commutes have woven their way into the fabric of daily life in once-quiet McMullen County, about 60 miles south of San Antonio. Delfina Bregman, a Tilden native who works at Joe's Food Market on Texas 16, said residents used to hear about fatal car crashes once a year -- and those usually were related to "old age." Now, she said, it seems that there's a fatal commercial truck accident in McMullen County about once a week. ...
More than a dozen counties have been inundated with traffic from the Eagle Ford Shale energy boom, but McMullen County has seen one of the biggest upswings in commercial vehicle wrecks.
This should all be part of the discussion about how fracking affects the quality of life for communities, as well as the environmental and health implications.