Category Archives: Earthquakes caused by fracking

No need to rush on natural gas

There are still many questions about the possibility of irreparable environmental damage associated with the extraction process. To get this gas, you blast a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals, some of them highly toxic, down a well a kilometre or two deep. This compound fractures the shale, and gas is freed to flow upward.
There are big problems with this process, the most alarming one being the danger that underground aquifers can become contaminated. Further, it emits considerable greenhouse gases. And up to 40 per cent of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing make their way back to the earth’s surface. There, they must be treated, and disposed of in some cases as hazardous waste.
Companies involved in shale-gas production insist that these problems have been overestimated, and that contaminated water is the result of surface spillage only. But U.S. research suggests otherwise. In 2009, the investigative journalists of ProPublica published studies on the effect of shale drilling on water supply in Colorado and Pennsylvania. The organization reported that “houses, water wells, and pipelines have exploded and people have found methane levels in their water so high that they could light it with a match.” ProPublica also found 1,000 U.S. cases where the extraction process affected water supplies.
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Posted in air pollutants, Benzene, Chemicals, Diesel, Earthquakes caused by fracking, Energy, Environmental violations, Fracking, Fracking Fluid, Gas Drilling, Gas explosion, Gas Lobby, Hydraulic Fracturing, leaks from badly cased wells, Lobbying, Politics, Special interests, spilled fracturing fluid, Toxicity, Wastewater tanks or pits, xylene and carbon disulfide (neurotoxicants) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fracking Robs Owners of Land

•Oil and gas companies are exempt from the Safe Water Drinking Act. (It wasn’t always that way—thank the 2005 Energy Policy Act, passed under Bush and now known as the Halliburton Loophole.)
•Waste related to oil and gas exploration and production is exempt from the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. (So there are no regulations on its disposal, meaning it can be handled in any way a company pleases, from being injected into the ground—regardless of its proximity to water supplies, animal habitats, etc.—to just being left on the land.)
•Because of loopholes in the Clean Air Act, oil and gas wells are not subject to restrictions on hazardous air pollutants. Garfield County, Colorado, for example, a site where a lot of fracking has taken place, has shown elevated levels of several hazardous air pollutants. Continue reading

Posted in air pollutants, Barnett Shale, Benzene, biocides(antimicrobial poisons), Bush Cheney, Chemicals, Clean Air Act, Colorado, Contamination, Diesel, Earthquakes caused by fracking, Endocrine Disruptors, Energy, EPA, Fort Worth, FRAC Act, Fracking, Fracking Fluid, Gas Drilling, Gas explosion, Halliburton, Halliburton Loophole, Hydraulic Fracturing, Hydrolic Fracturing, leaks from badly cased wells, Legislation, loopholes, Pennsylvania, Safe Water Drinking Act, spilled fracturing fluid, Texas, Toxicity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ironic Politics of Gas Drilling

According to James Northrup, a veteran oil and gas driller, fracking a well — forcing a million gallons of water, sand and chemicals, several of them highly toxic — is like exploding an air bomb underground. “Once that thing’s gone off, it’s going to follow the lines of least resistance, and if it finds a fault in the rock, it’ll just follow it,” he says, taking with it benzene, toluene, diesel oil, and other chemicals.

This could be pretty dangerous if a well was fracked near Cooperstown’s water supply — Lake Otsego. Current regulations allow a gas well to be drilled within 150 feet of the lake, he points out, and if a frack found a fault, it could poison the lake. Lake Otsego is also the headwaters of the Susquehanna River, which flows to Chesapeake Bay.

One of the hope of the gas industry: Getting bailed out by selling some, or all, of the company to offshore investors — from India, for instance, which is about to begin developing major gas fields. Continue reading

Posted in Barnett Shale, Chemicals, Chesapeake, Colorado, Contamination, Delaware River Basin, Earthquakes caused by fracking, Energy, Environmental violations, EPA, Foreign investment, Fracking, Gas Drilling, Gas explosion, Gasland, Hydraulic Fracturing, Legislation, Marcellus Shale, Moratorium NY State, Pennsylvania, Wyoming | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Relevance of Gas Leaks in the Hydraulic Fracturing Debate

the consistent and widespread detection of methane migration from unnatural causes — in places including Colorado, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York — shows that it is not impossible, that in fact there are underground pathways for such movement. And if methane can move, it’s an indicator of other substances’ ability to migrate as well.

Many of the methane migration cases have been traced to flaws in the cementing and casing of the wells, as many of our articles have explicitly explained. Research shows that others may have migrated directly through underground faults and fissures.
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Posted in Benzene, biocides(antimicrobial poisons), Chemicals, Clean Air Act, Colorado, Contamination, Delaware River Basin, Diesel, Earthquakes caused by fracking, Endocrine Disruptors, Energy, Environmental violations, EPA, Fracking, Fracking Fluid, Gas Drilling, Hydraulic Fracturing, Hydrolic Fracturing, leaks from badly cased wells, Legislation, loopholes, naphthalene (a blood poison), Pennsylvania, Poisons, Produced Water, pyridines (potential carcinogens), Safe Water Drinking Act, spilled fracturing fluid, Strontium, Texas, Toxicity, Volatile Organic Compounds, Wastewater tanks or pits, Wyoming, xylene and carbon disulfide (neurotoxicants) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Natural Gas Industry Lobby

Natural gas has been the focus of increasing amounts of negative attention recently. In June the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection suspended the activities of two drilling companies after several well blowouts dispersed thousands of gallons of contaminated water and gas into the air. Around the same time, blowouts in Texas resulted in the deaths of three individuals. A bill introduced in the New York legislature would suspend all hydraulic fracturing until the EPA completes a study of its effects.

America’s Natural Gas Alliance, an umbrella group that represents the full spectrum of natural gas interests, from drillers to distributors, has spent $1.6 million on lobbying fees since 2009. Several members predicted its annual budget could reach upwards of $80 million. Last year the American Gas Association hosted at least a dozen fundraisers for congressmen and senators of both parties. Continue reading

Posted in air pollutants, Barnett Shale, Benzene, Bush Cheney, Clean Air Act, Contamination, Diesel, Earthquakes caused by fracking, Endocrine Disruptors, Energy, Environmental violations, EPA, Fracking, Fracking Fluid, Gas Drilling, Gas explosion, Gas Lobby, Gasland, Hydraulic Fracturing, Hydrolic Fracturing, leaks from badly cased wells, Legislation, Lobbying, Marcellus Shale, Moratorium NY State, Pennsylvania, Poisons, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment