west virginia
© Jeff Turner/Flickr
This is what's at risk.

Fracking fluid, the liquid waste left over from the controversial mining technique, wreacked havoc on a test plot of land in a test by the U.S. Forest Service.

A study by the U.S. Forest Service concluded that fracking wastewater, left over from hydraulic fracturing natural gas mining, is deadly when dumped on forestlands. A quarter acre section of forest was covered with 75,000 gallons of wastewater over a two-day application period. Two days after it was applied, all the ground plants were dead. Within 10 days, all the leaves on the trees started turning brown. After two years, more than half of the trees on the plot were dead.

Fracking fluid is made up of a slurry of caustic and toxic chemicals. Each company uses a different blend and is allowed to keep the ingredients secret in the name of protecting intellectual property. The fracking process kicks up a lot of really nasty water that is often dumped, untreated, into nearby waterways. It's disgusting.

New Jersey, which admittedly has few gas reserves, just imposed a ban on fracking, but states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia have embraced the practice whole heartedly. Regulations and rules are fought by the industry with simple platitudes and assurances of safety.

We're heading down a dark path with fracking. It's only going to get worse.