The Guardian Investigates Fracking in Ponder

The Guardian newspaper came to the tiny Denton County community of Ponder to see what life next to gas wells is like.

The United Kingdom is having its own debate about the costs and benefits of allowing natural gas drilling via hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking), so the Guardian newspaper came to the tiny Denton County community of Ponder (just west of Denton) to see what life next to gas wells is like.

Their story, and the accompanying video, paints a nightmare scenario:

Veronica Kronvall can, even now, remember how excited she felt about buying her house in 2007. It was the first home she had ever owned and, to celebrate, her aunt fitted out the kitchen in Kronvall’s favourite colour, purple: everything from microwave to mixing bowls. A cousin took pictures of her lying on the floor of the room that would become her bedroom. She planted roses and told herself she would learn how to garden.

What Kronvall did not imagine at the time – even here in north Texas, the pumping heart of the oil and gas industry – was that four years later an energy company would drill five wells behind her home. The closest two are within 300ft of her tiny patch of garden, and their green pipes and tanks loom over the fence. As the drilling began, Kronvall, 52, began having nosebleeds, nausea and headaches. Her home lost nearly a quarter of its value and some of her neighbours went into foreclosure. “It turned a peaceful little life into a bit of a nightmare,” she says.

(H/T: Star-T)


  • Paul

    Would you expect the Guardian to offer anything even resembling a fair account? You know how the story will end before you read a word. In fact, fracking has been used in Texas for decades, and its recent expanded use has unleashed an economic bonanza. Funny that only people without any mineral rights ever develop headaches, nausea, etc.

    • Jackson

      Are you suggesting the Guardian faked or planted these people? Their professional jobs and careers are prominently noted. It’s not an editorial, it’s their story, their lives. Ever been to Krum and Ponder? Did you even read the story or watch the video before commenting? If you’re going to carry the water for industry, show some subtlety. It this nightmare happened to you or your family or friends, you should by beyond angry….yet you trash the messenger who tells the story of the people who have endured it. Aren’t you sweet.

  • Jim Schermbeck

    In a more perfect world, local publications like the Morning News and D would have been covering these kinds of problems from the beginning of the shale boom. Stories like these are easy to find. Interesting how excited everyone is at the Guardian doing what every other major new outlet from around the world has done – come to the Barnett to see what all the fuss was about.

  • John

    All, let’s look at this story a little better. First of all, the foreclosures of her neighbors and decrease of her home value could be because of the housing market. This “nightmare” scenario has been felt all over the country, not just near oil and gas fields. Second, a 52 year old with anxiety fears about the wells behind her house….probably has high blood pressure and maybe other problems that caused the health symptoms. We don’t know because the Guardian failed to investigate or mention those details. This would not be the first time that someone was looking to blame an industry for their problems. (research your area before you buy a house) If you don’t want a well near your home don’t buy in the middle of a prospering, already underway drilling area. Third, the guardian writers are doing their job but like all other media they HAVE to write the most intrigueing story to get readers. If they had reported that everything was “peachy and rosy” it would have drawn less attention. Instead they jumped on the liberal, blame it on everyone else band wagon. Did they only interview one person? Do you really think that they did not talk to one person that loved the industry in the area…and has not had any health problems? Where are those stories? Fourth, I have been in the industry for over a decade (and yes, in the Ponder area) and work beside men and women that have done so for many decades….they are not falling out in droves with headaches, nosebleeds, nausea, etc. Last, I hate to hear that this woman is suffering from some health problems, wish the best for her, and hope that god blesses her.
    I do realize that problems do occassionally occur within this industry. Just like any other there are incidents, accidents, environmental issues to address, etc.; however, I can assure you that people like myself are out there trying to make our industry the cleanest, safest, most environmentally friendly energy source available. Fracturing and drilling are two totally different things when it comes to a well. The headline says ” the Guardian investigates fracking in Ponder” and then says problems occurred soon after drilling. did I miss the fracking part somewhere? There are thousands of details missing from this story…especially all the ones that pertain to the millions of dollars spent by energy companies to ensure safety, environmental quality, improved roads. The economic growth for local business, tax revenue (benefits hospitals, schools, creates jobs in the industry and at the local level). And lets not forget, we all like fuel for our transportation and love it when we flip a switch and the lights come on.

  • FrackingBan

    No amount of science or robustness of a regulatory regime can prove fracking is safe or ensure the level of safety now or in the future. NOBODY can predict that human error or machine and equipment failure will not occur. But history tells us that the hydrocarbon extraction industry experiences human error and equipment failure on a daily basis resulting in serious injuries and fatalities along with catastrophic environmental damages. In light of this knowledge, and the fact that fracking gone wrong can cause irreversible damage to, aquifers, soil, air quality and the climate, that affect the majority, the long-term impacts that surround the shale and coal bed methane extraction industries outweigh, * BY FAR*, the short term economic advantages to be gained by a select few.
    Neither can anybody predict whether natural events such as earthquakes, ground movements or build up in formation pressures will or will not occur during drilling, production or long after plug and abandonment that can impact on the integrity of a well.

  • Paul

    Sorry Jackson, not a shill for the industry, just a concerned citizen who’s sick of non-factual propaganda on the “dangers” of fracking. Yes, its the “story” of the people featured in the article. Just because they relate their issues to the drilling of gas wells doesn’t make it true. The article accepts the stories at face value, without any critical examination. No surprise since The Guardian and its loyal readers hate business in general, and energy companies in particular. Thank goodness for the jobs and economic bonanza they’ve provided in North Texas.