A New Threat To Arizona Water. Mike Cosentino welcomes Bill Pierce, Wayne and Martha Pearce and John Stuckey of Protect Our Water Arizona to discuss the push to extract helium from northern Arizona and the risks it poses. The big problem is that it involves hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) which requires tens of thousands, if not millions, of gallons of water for each well. The technology involves using chemical-laced water under high pressure to fracture underground rock formations to release the helium. Says Wayne Pearce, “It’s not a matter of if there will be an accident. It’s when. A contaminated aquifer could stretch throughout the state and beyond affecting the water for 40 million people.”
Bill Pierce, candidate for Arizona Mine Inspector, notes an additional threat to our water supply. “One of biggest problems we have with water is that much of it is already contaminated with uranium,” he says. “The biggest radiation spill in the US was in Church Rock, New Mexico. That aquifer runs under New Mexico and part of Arizona.” Pierce adds that there are 592 abandoned uranium mines in the region that aren’t sealed, which could lead to further water contamination. And, if that isn’t worrisome enough, he says the threat to aquifers will be difficult to stop as the mining industry in Arizona is guaranteed unlimited water supply by statute.