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DocWatch
fracking
Twitterit?
News stories about "fracking," with punchlines: http://apocadocs.com/d.pl?fracking
Related Scary Tags:
contamination  ~ health impacts  ~ climate impacts  ~ toxic water  ~ toxic leak  ~ methane release  ~ water issues  ~ anthropogenic change  ~ corporate malfeasance  ~ oil issues  ~ carbon emissions  



Tue, Jan 5, 2016
from E&E Publishing:
Okla. shaking jumped 50 percent in 2015
The number of earthquakes in Oklahoma rose 50 percent last year, easily surpassing the record number that hit the state in 2014. Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) data show that the state was shaken by 881 earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater, or an average of 2.4 per day. That's up from 585 in 2014. U.S. Geological Survey data show that California had 128 such quakes in 2015. Scientists and state officials say the increase in earthquakes in Oklahoma likely has been caused by wastewater disposal from oil and gas operations. Oil production methods that yield unusually large volumes of water have combined with favorably aligned faults under the state to cause the unprecedented shaking. ...


I feel the earth move under my feet I feel the sky tumbling down, tumbling down...

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jul 1, 2015
from New York Times:
Oklahoma Court Rules Homeowners Can Sue Oil Companies Over Quakes
The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that homeowners who have sustained injuries or property damage from rampant earthquakes they say are caused by oil and gas operations can sue for damages in state trial courts, rejecting efforts by the industry to block such lawsuits from being decided by juries and judges. ... ...


Okla-frackin'-homa, you just changed the game!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jun 4, 2015
from Beaver County Times:
Pitt study shows link between fracking, lower birth weights
University of Pittsburgh researchers say a groundbreaking study focusing on southwest Pennsylvania released Wednesday shows that pregnant women living near natural gas fracking wells are more likely to have babies with lower birth weights... The team determined that the mothers closest to wells with hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, were 34 percent more likely to have babies who were "small for gestational age" compared to mothers who lived farthest away from wells. ...


An easier fit on a crowded planet.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, May 20, 2015
from InsideClimate News:
In Heavily Fracked Ohio County, Unsafe Levels of Toxic Pollutants
Emissions generated by fracking operations may be exposing people to some toxic pollutants at levels higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for long-term exposure, according to scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Cincinnati... The team found chemicals released during oil and gas extraction that can raise people's risk of cancer and respiratory ailments. ...


Industry, why have you fracksaken me?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Nov 19, 2014
from Associated Press:
Fracking to be permitted in GW National Forest
Environmentalists and energy boosters alike welcomed a federal compromise announced Tuesday that will allow fracking in the largest national forest in the eastern United States, but make most of its woods off-limits to drilling. The decision was highly anticipated because about half of the George Washington National Forest sits atop the Marcellus shale formation, a vast underground deposit of natural gas that runs from upstate New York to West Virginia and yields more than $10 billion in gas a year. ...


Fracking one of the Frounding Frathers.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Oct 17, 2014
from Associated Press:
Study: Natural gas surge won't slow global warming
...Five teams of experts from around the world, using five different sets of computer model simulations, looked at what would happen if natural gas -- also known as methane -- remains cheap and plentiful and nothing else changes, such as policy mandates. They all came to the same conclusion. "It doesn't reduce climate change," said study lead author Haewon McJeon, an economist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Two computer models even found that when considering other factors like methane leaks, cheaper natural gas could lead to more trapping of heat by greenhouse gases, the mechanism that drives global warming. Methane traps even more heat than an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. ...


It won't "slow global warming" but it will make it more fun!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 19, 2014
from Associated Press:
Less shake from artificial quakes, fed study says
Man-made earthquakes, a side effect of some high-tech energy drilling, cause less shaking and in general are about 16 times weaker than natural earthquakes with the same magnitude, a new federal study found. People feeling the ground move from induced quakes -- those that are not natural, but triggered by injections of wastewater deep underground-- report significantly less shaking than those who experience more normal earthquakes of the same magnitude, according to a study by U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Susan Hough. ...


Frackquakes are more lubricated.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 13, 2014
from Los Angeles Times:
Oil companies fracking into drinking water sources, new research shows
Energy companies are fracking for oil and gas at far shallower depths than widely believed, sometimes through underground sources of drinking water, according to research released Tuesday by Stanford University scientists.... "Thousands of gallons of diesel fuel and millions of gallons of fluids containing numerous inorganic and organic additives were injected directly into these two formations during hundreds of stimulation events," concluded Dominic DiGiulio and Robert Jackson of Stanford's School of Earth Sciences... they point out that there is no way of knowing the effects of fracking into groundwater resources because regulators have not assessed the scope and impact of the activity. ...


It's only water!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 12, 2014
from Center for Effective Government:
GAO Report Finds Problems with EPA Groundwater Protection Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not adequately monitoring more than 172,000 wells used to enhance oil and gas drilling and dispose of drilling wastewater, according to a July 28 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report, based on two years of research, identified several significant problems with EPA's program to protect groundwater from drilling chemicals and wastes. Since millions get their drinking water from groundwater, these problems raise significant questions about how effectively and consistently we are protecting public drinking water. ...


Who cares? It's underground.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 6, 2014
from Columbus Dispatch:
Ohioan gets prison after workers dump toxic drilling brine
The owner of a northeastern Ohio business that collected and stored toxic fluids from oil- and gas-drilling operations was sentenced yesterday in Cleveland to 28 months in federal prison and fined $25,000.... "Clean air and fresh water is the birthright of every man, woman and child in this state," U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said in a statement after the sentencing. "Intentionally breaking environmental laws is not the cost of doing business. It's going to cost business owners their freedom." ...


And brine is exactly what he'll eat for lunch in prison.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 28, 2014
from Mother Jones:
Halliburton Fracking Spill Mystery: What Chemicals Polluted an Ohio Waterway?
On the morning of June 28, a fire broke out at a Halliburton fracking site in Monroe County, Ohio. As flames engulfed the area, trucks began exploding and thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals spilled into a tributary of the Ohio River, which supplies drinking water for millions of residents. More than 70,000 fish died. ... This episode highlights a glaring gap in fracking safety standards. In Ohio, as in most other states, fracking companies are allowed to withhold some information about the chemical stew they pump into the ground to break up rocks and release trapped natural gas.... According to a preliminary EPA inquiry, more than 25,000 gallons of chemicals, diesel fuel, and other compounds were released during the accident, which began with a ruptured hydraulic line spraying flammable liquid on hot equipment. The flames later engulfed 20 trucks, triggering some 30 explosions that rained shrapnel over the site and hampered firefighting efforts. ...


Sounds like a summer blockbuster!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jun 15, 2014
from Chronicle-Herald:
Fracking's magic-bullet moment fading fast
I was cruising the Internet a couple of weeks ago when this headline in the Los Angeles Times made my eyes pop: "U.S. officials cut estimate of recoverable Monterey shale oil by 96 per cent." Ninety six per cent! Since the Monterey formation accounts for two-thirds of the supposed reserves available for fracking that would make the U.S. not only energy independent but a powerhouse exporter to the world, this was a big bubble bursting. Amazing that you haven't heard of it, but such is the tenacity of the world's built-in resistance to energy reality. ...


That bubble metaphor is so stale. The fracking ship came in and then left the station of the crossroads when failure was not an option. That's metaphoric flexibility. Got it?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jun 6, 2014
from The Tyee:
Canada's 500,000 Leaky Energy Wells: 'Threat to Public' -- Fracking Makes It Worse
Alberta, for example, has failed to collect baseline data on the state of its groundwater resources prior to and after intense oil and gas activity for decades despite repeated warnings by scientists to do so. In recent years the increasing use of hydraulic fracturing has had the effect of drawing a red circle around the hidden liability of wellbore leakage. Fracking has not only added more wellbores (and methane pathways) to the landscape in the rush to develop difficult hydrocarbons trapped in shale rock and coal but added more pressure and stress to wellbores causing more leaks. The Waterloo report, quietly released last month, notes that the fluid injection of steam, water, sand or chemicals to force out more hydrocarbons "elevates the mechanical and thermal loading on wellbores, and significantly increases the probability of leakage problem development during the operational lifetime of the wellbore, before final abandonment." ...


This looks surprisingly like cause, followed inevitably by effect. How crazy is that?

ApocaDoc
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Want more context?
Try reading our book FREE online:
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Tue, May 6, 2014
from LiveScience:
Rare Earthquake Warning Issued for Oklahoma
Mile for mile, there are almost as many earthquakes rattling Oklahoma as California this year. This major increase in seismic shaking led to a rare earthquake warning today (May 5) from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey. In a joint statement, the agencies said the risk of a damaging earthquake -- one larger than magnitude 5.0 -- has significantly increased in central Oklahoma... While scientists haven't ruled out natural causes for the increase, many researchers suspect the deep injection wells used for the disposal of fracking wastewater could be causing the earthquake activity. ...


The cause could be where the wind comes sweeping down the plain.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, May 5, 2014
from Columbus Business First:
Fracking disposal wells may cause quakes 30 miles away, researchers say
Oil and gas development could induce earthquakes at a further range than previously thought, according to new seismic research. Wastewater disposal wells, which hold millions of gallons of leftover fracking-related fluid, may be changing stress on existing faults and causing earthquakes spread out from the actual well. "Our results, using seismology and hydrogeology, show a strong link between a small number of wells and earthquakes migrating up to 50 kilometers (31 miles) away," Katie Keranen, assistant professor of geophysics at Cornell University, said in a release. ...


My faults are often exploited.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 25, 2014
from Associated Press:
Major oil and gas firm to list fracking chemicals
A major supplier to the oil and gas industry says it will begin disclosing 100 percent of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluid, with no exemptions for trade secrets. The move by Baker Hughes of Houston is a shift for a major firm; it's unclear if others will follow suit... "This really good news. It's a step in the right direction," said Dr. Bernard Goldstein, the former dean of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. "One hopes that the entire industry goes along with it." But Goldstein noted one "major hedge" in the Baker Hughes position, since the company said it will provide complete lists of the products and chemical ingredients used in frack fluids "where accepted by our customers and relevant governmental authorities." ...


Two steps forward, one toxic step back.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Apr 14, 2014
from Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Ohio acknowledges connection between hydraulic fracturing and Youngstown quakes, will require seismic testing near known fault lines
...The Ohio Department of Natural Resources on Friday said that it will require companies seeking horizontal well drilling permits within 3 miles of known fault lines or where quakes have already been recorded will first have install a network of seismic monitors. If the monitors detect a "seismic event" larger than a magnitude of 1.0, the fracturing would have to pause. State seismologists would then try to pinpoint exactly where the quake had occurred, and at what depth. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources on Friday said that it will require companies seeking horizontal well drilling permits within 3 miles of known fault lines or where quakes have already been recorded will first have install a network of seismic monitors. If the monitors detect a "seismic event" larger than a magnitude of 1.0, the fracturing would have to pause. State seismologists would then try to pinpoint exactly where the quake had occurred, and at what depth. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources on Friday said that it will require companies seeking horizontal well drilling permits within 3 miles of known fault lines or where quakes have already been recorded will first have install a network of seismic monitors. If the monitors detect a "seismic event" larger than a magnitude of 1.0, the fracturing would have to pause. State seismologists would then try to pinpoint exactly where the quake had occurred, and at what depth. ...


Nobody sneeze!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 11, 2014
from Forbes:
Pollution Fears Crush Home Prices Near Fracking Wells
Whether or not fracking causes groundwater pollution, people fear the risk enough that property values have dropped for homes with drinking-water wells near shale-gas pads, according to new research. Researchers from the Unviersity of Calgary and Duke University studied property sales from 1994 to 2012 in 36 Pennsylvania counties and seven counties in New York. They mapped sales against the locations of shale-gas wells, and they compared homes connected to public drinking-water systems to homes with private wells. Properties with private wells suffered a loss in value compared to properties connected to a municipal water system, they found, offsetting gains in value from mineral-rights royalties. The loss varied with distance from the nearest shale-gas well. At 1.5 kilometers, properties with private wells sold for about 10 percent less. ...


This puts the "morte" in mortgage!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Apr 6, 2014
from Grist:
Pennsylvania officials have no idea how to assess health threats of fracking
An alarming new study by the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, published in the journal Reviews on Environmental Health, finds that current methods and tools used to measure harmful emissions from fracking wells don't accurately assess health threats - not even close, in fact.... Another method is to track hourly emissions over a given day or week. These might not capture rapid and brief increases in chemical exposure, which can cause real harm to bodily systems. SPEHP reports that emissions near drilling sites can fluctuate wildly, and toxic chemical particles can reach high levels of concentration in the air in a very short period of time - as little as a minute or two - and then drop back down. This can occur repeatedly throughout drilling, but might not be captured by the tools or methods customarily used to measure emissions. SPEHP researchers collected data on levels of four toxic chemicals in 14 households near fracking sites in southwestern Pennsylvania, and found that contamination was concentrated at peak levels - three times the median level of concentration - about 30 percent of the time, but in spurts. These short blasts of contamination can go undetected by tools customarily used to measure emissions. ...


Are you implying we have to pay attention all the time?

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 20, 2014
from Al Jazeera:
After fracking blast, Chevron offers pizza
A Chevron well in the preparation stages for hydraulic fracturing exploded last Tuesday 50 miles south of Pittsburgh, Penn., causing a fire that lasted for four days and left one Chevron contractor unaccounted for and another one injured. The fire is now out, but Chevron's damage control efforts may be far from over. An image of a coupon from Chevron offering free pizza to residents near last week's disaster was posted online Monday, prompting outrage, mockery and disbelief among activists and the Internet commentariat.... The coupon was handed out along with a letter apologizing for the blowout to about 100 residents near the gas well, local media reported. ...


At least we know the ingredients in a pizza.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 11, 2014
from Al Jazeera:
Report: Ohio oil industry paying to educate teachers about fracking
An Ohio association funded by oil and gas drillers has been paying for teacher-training seminars in which industry-funded representatives demonstrate how students can learn about oil and gas extraction in fun ways, the Columbus Dispatch newspaper reported. Environmentalists said Saturday that the program, being conducted by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP), is an interference in the state's public education system by an industry that has come under increasing scrutiny over practices including hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The seminars, which are held around the state, show teachers how to use props such as Twinkies to demonstrate how gas drilling works: Teachers are instructed to ask students to think of the cream in the Twinkie as oil, and a straw to demonstrate how gas drillers find their target. ...


At least Twinkies list their ingredients.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jan 23, 2014
from High Plains Public Radio:
Study Links Natural Gas Drilling and Spills to Hormone Disrupting Chemicals
Chemicals used in gas drilling work against our endocrine system, a network of glands and cells that release hormones into our bodies. The chemical disrupters can effect fertility, sperm counts, cause breast and prostate cancer, compromise our immune system, and even contribute to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. ...


Drill fatty drill.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jan 22, 2014
from Texas Observer:
North Texans to Texas Railroad Commission: Stop the 'Frackquakes'
The North Texas citizens at the Texas Railroad Commission hearing this morning tried to make it as simple as possible: For as long as anyone could remember, there hadn't been earthquakes in Azle and surrounding areas. Then the fracking boom took off and the wastewater injection wells went in. Soon the earthquakes started, more than 30 in just the past few months, rattling homes and nerves. A considerable amount of research, including work by SMU scientists, links wastewater injection wells to earthquakes. ...


Let them eat frackcakes.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 14, 2014
from The Independent:
Government accused of 'bribing local councils' on controversial fracking projects
MPs accused the government of seeking to bribe local councils to grant planning permission for controversial fracking projects today, just as new figures showed Britain's shale gas regulator has only six staff dedicated to fracking full time. They fear that the shale gas industry could be allowed to balloon without proper scrutiny and are especially concerned because, in only a fortnight, the regulator will be required to issue new fracking permits within two weeks, compared to the current 13-week wait. David Cameron declared that his government is "going all out for shale" as he announced that councils will be allowed to keep all of the business rates raised from fracking sites in a deal that is expected to generate millions of pounds for local authorities. His announcement came as the French energy giant Total became the first of the world's major oil companies to buy into Britain's shale gas industry, acquiring a stake in a project in Lincolnshire.... The change in business rates comes as Environment Agency – which regulates fracking as part of a much broader remit – prepares to cut about 15 per cent of its staff. An agency spokesman declined to comment on whether any of its fracking staff would be made redundant in the cuts. ...


It's so easy to make the future pay for today's convenience!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jan 8, 2014
from Associated Press:
4 states confirm water pollution from drilling
In at least four states that have nurtured the nation's energy boom, hundreds of complaints have been made about well-water contamination from oil or gas drilling, and pollution was confirmed in a number of them, according to a review that casts doubt on industry suggestions that such problems rarely happen. ...


Regarding fracking, industry fribs.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 7, 2014
from Huffington Post:
Disney And Oil Industry Team Up For 'Rocking In Ohio' Event
Radio Disney, "home of the hottest kids' music," is teaming up with Ohio's oil and gas industry to teach school kids that pipelines are awesome. "Rocking In Ohio" is an interactive, game show-like presentation entirely funded by the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and presented jointly with Radio Disney. This "special partnership," as they call it, "highlights the importance of Ohio's oil and gas industry, and why science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are crucial in developing energy resources in Ohio," according to the association.... Among the show's stops was a visit to Youngstown's OH WOW!, a children's science and technology center that opened in 2011. Youngstown previously saw a whole year of "rocking in Ohio" as the city was struck by 167 earthquakes between January 2011 and February 2012. A recent study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research concluded the quakes were linked to an injection well that was used for disposing of the wastewater from oil and gas operations. No earthquakes had been recorded in Youngstown between the late 18th century and 2010, and the tremors have stopped since the well was shut down. ...


Brought to you be the same people who made WALL-E.

ApocaDoc
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You're still reading! Good for you!
You really should read our short, funny, frightening book FREE online (or buy a print copy):
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Tue, Nov 5, 2013
from USA Today:
Could fracking boom peter out sooner than DOE expects?
Surging oil and gas production is nudging the nation closer to energy independence. But new research suggests the boom could peter out long before the United States reaches this decades-old goal. Many wells behind the energy gush are quickly losing productivity, and some areas could hit peak levels sooner than the U.S. government expects, according to analyses presented last week at a Geological Society of America meeting in Denver. ...


E'en the sun herself / will someday extinguish her / beatific rays

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Oct 24, 2013
from Huffington Post:
CNRL Primrose Oil Leak Likely Contaminating Aquifers
The leak at the Primrose oilsands project in northern Alberta has likely contaminated groundwater aquifers, the province states in an environmental order. Sticky bitumen, which rose to the surface over six months ago, says the order, "has entered local non-saline groundwater aquifers, likely contaminating the groundwater," according to the Edmonton Journal.... The new order confirms a major problem, groundwater contamination, and should raise a red flag about CNRL's high-pressure steam process known as fracking, for extracting bitumen, New Democrat environment critic Rachel Notley told the Edmonton Journal. ...


Well? Water yer options?

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Oct 20, 2013
from KASA:
Fracking fluid blows out nearby oil well
More than 200 barrels of fracking fluid, oil and water blew out of a traditional oil well on BLM land in the San Juan Basin... On Sept. 30, one of Encana's fractures reached Parko's neighboring vertical well. The pressure was too much for the older well to handle. "Our highest pressure is around 150 pounds," said Parko Oil pumper Johnny Aragon. "The pressure we were experiencing was in excess of 2,000 pounds, which is a lot more than what the wells are designed to hold." Encana's operations were approximately 0.5 miles from the Parko well that had the blowout. "An Encana well, undergoing stimulation operations, may have communicated with the well of a nearby operator," said Encana spokesperson Doug Hock. "That operator's well became over-pressurized resulting in the release of fluid from both the wellhead and a nearby tank." ...


Not to worry. That's just the wells networking.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Oct 9, 2013
from Reuters:
Special Report: U.S. builders hoard mineral rights under new homes
...In golf clubs, gated communities and other housing developments across the United States, tens of thousands of families ... have in recent years moved into new homes where their developers or homebuilders, with little or no prior disclosure, kept all the underlying mineral rights for themselves, a Reuters review of county property records in 25 states shows. In dozens of cases, the buyers were in the dark. The phenomenon is rooted in recent advances in extracting oil and gas from shale formations deep in the earth, fueling the biggest energy boom in modern U.S. history. Horizontal drilling and the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," have opened vast swaths of the continental United States to exploration. ...


Now THAT'S what I call getting frucked!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Oct 2, 2013
from Duke University :
Streams Below Fracking Wastewater Treatment Show Elevated Salts, Metals, Radioactivity
Elevated levels of radioactivity, salts and metals have been found in river water and sediments at a site where treated water from oil and gas operations is discharged into a western Pennsylvania creek. "Radium levels were about 200 times greater in sediment samples collected where the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility discharges its treated wastewater into Blacklick Creek than in sediment samples collected just upstream of the plant," said Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. ...


I'd hate to see what untreated wastewater is like.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Oct 2, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Chambers of Commerce want fracking oversight left to states
Calling shale gas a "great new resource of energy" that "creates millions of quality jobs," Chambers of Commerce in 20 states are calling on the EPA to leave fracking oversight to state regulators. In a letter sent to Administrator Gina McCarthy on September 20, the group points to Illinois as an example of states that have "passed legislative regulations ensuring that hydraulic fracturing is employed safely, transparently and with a continued commitment to environmental protection." ...


What could go wrong?

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Mon, Sep 30, 2013
from Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
W.Pa. forests being fragmented by natural gas drilling
A U.S. Geological Survey study of Butler and surrounding counties found thousands of acres of land and forest disturbance because of Marcellus shale and traditional gas well drilling.... The USGS study also examined forest fragmentation, which occurs when large areas of forest are altered into smaller, "less functional" habitat areas. The smaller sections reduce the amount of "central forest," which is preferable to many species because it's the inner-most part of the forest, according to the study. ...


Fracking frosters frorest fragmentation.

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Thu, Sep 26, 2013
from Charlotte Observer:
North Carolina rejects $600,000 in grants to study fracking impact
North Carolina's environment agency has taken the unusual step of returning a federal grant to study streams and wetlands that could be harmed by hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources had itself recommended last year that baseline water-quality data be collected where drilling might occur. The information would help document any problems linked to drilling. But under new leadership appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory, the department now says it doesn't want the $222,595 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. The department also returned a second grant of $359,710 for wetlands monitoring. Division of Water Resources director Tom Reeder said the fracking study will be done, but not now and not by the unit that applied for the grant. The Program Development Unit, which housed experts in aquatic ecosystems, is being disbanded in a reorganization of the division.... "This is not a grant being imposed on North Carolina by a federal agency that doesn't really know what we need," she said. "This was a grant being sought by DENR to meet known challenges." Diggins added: "It raises the concern of whether this is part of a trend of backing away from science." ...


Who needs science, when hope springs eternal?

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Tue, Sep 24, 2013
from EarthWorks, via TruthOut:
Eco-Investigators Say Fracking Air Pollution Is Poisoning Families in Texas
In 2012, the Cernys and other residents filed a total of 30 air quality complaints with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), but, after the agency failed to provide them with an adequate response, the Cernys reached out to the environmental advocacy group Earthworks. The group's team of investigators, who had already investigated the health impacts of fracking in Pennsylvania, made some startling discoveries. Records requests filed by the investigators revealed that TCEQ field workers had visited facilities emitting pollution near the Cernys' home in 2012 on several occasions, and twice the officials evacuated themselves due to high levels of pollution in the air, according to a report released by Earthworks.... ...


"We can't test there -- it's dangerous!"

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Fri, Sep 20, 2013
from Climate Progress:
Study Of Best Fracked Wells Finds Low Methane Emissions, But Skips Super-Emitters
The good news: A sample of what are probably the best fracked wells in the country finds low emissions of methane, a potent heat-trapping gas. The bad news: The study likely missed the super-emitters, the wells that are responsible for the vast majority of methane leakage. The ugly news: Same as ever οΏ½" natural gas from even the best fracked wells is still a climate-destroying fossil fuel. If we are to avoid catastrophic warming, our natural gas consumption has to peak sometime between in the next 10 to 15 years, according to studies by both the Center for American Progress and the Union of Concerned Scientists. If natural gas is a bridge fuel, it has got to be a very short bridge. Otherwise it is merely "a bridge to a world with high CO2 Levels," as climatologist Ken Caldeira put it last year. ...


Natural gas might be a bridge to nowhere.

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Wed, Sep 18, 2013
from Politico:
Hearing leaves Ron Binz with few votes to spare
Ron Binz, the president's pick to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, charged into his Tuesday confirmation hearing with a central message: I'm no radical tree-hugger. But critical pieces moved into place that could sink or stall his bid -- for instance, losing the support of the Energy Committee's top Republican, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.... Binz used his hearing at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to tout his support for natural gas and pointed out that Colorado's largest coal-fired power plant was approved while he chaired the state's public utilities commission. ...


Future FERC chief is fond of fracking.

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Tue, Aug 20, 2013
from Wiley:
How Shale Fracking Led to an Ohio Town's First 100 Earthquakes
Since records began in 1776, the people of Youngstown, Ohio had never experienced an earthquake. However, from January 2011, 109 tremors were recorded and new research in Geophysical Research-Solid Earth reveals how this may be the result of shale fracking. The study authors analyzed the Youngstown earthquakes, finding that their onset, cessation, and even temporary dips in activity were all tied to the activity at the Northstar 1 well. The first earthquake recorded in the city occurred 13 days after pumping began, and the tremors ceased shortly after the Ohio Department of Natural Resources shut down the well in December 2011. ...


Perhaps the cause is fracking frairies.

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Tue, Aug 13, 2013
from London Guardian:
A Texan tragedy: ample oil, no water
...Across the south-west, residents of small communities like Barnhart are confronting the reality that something as basic as running water, as unthinking as turning on a tap, can no longer be taken for granted. Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry's outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse. In Texas alone, about 30 communities could run out of water by the end of the year, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. ...


And the parched shall inherit the earth.

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Wed, Aug 7, 2013
from Environment 360:
With Tar Sands Development, Growing Concern on Water Use
Opposition to the mining of Alberta's tar sands -- and the Keystone and Gateway pipelines that would carry their oil to the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean -- has largely been focused on the project's greenhouse gas emissions and threats to pristine environments along the pipeline rights-of-way. But another serious issue is coming to the fore -- the massive amounts of freshwater being used by the industry. In 2011, companies mining the tar sands siphoned approximately 370 million cubic meters of water from the Athabasca River alone, which was heated or converted into steam to separate the viscous oil, or bitumen, from sand formations. That quantity exceeds the amount of water that the city of Toronto, with a population 2.8 million people, uses annually. ...


Perhaps we could use child labor instead of water to separate the bitumen from the sand?

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Mon, Jul 15, 2013
from The Daily Climate:
Big temblors halfway across the globe can trigger smaller shakers in oil and gas fields pockmarked with waste injection wells, a study finds
Wells filled with waste injection fluids at oil and gas fields across the United States are at risk of small earthquakes triggered by larger temblors across the globe, according to a new study published Thursday. Waste injection wells are on the rise as domestic energy production soars and companies increasingly use water and chemicals to unlock natural gas from shale or force oil from wells, a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. As oil and gas industries pump waste into sub-surface wells, the pressure can weaken nearby faults and leave them vulnerable to seismic waves passing by from other earthquakes -- even ones on the other side of the Earth, according to a new study published in the journal Science. ...


If, like, the earth was flat, like it should be, we wouldn't have this problem.

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Mon, Jul 15, 2013
from Akron Beacon Journal:
Portage County is No. 1 in Ohio for injecting drilling wastes
Portage County injected enough drilling wastes deep into the ground in 2012 to fill a train of tanker cars that would stretch nearly 37 miles from downtown Akron to the center of Garrettsville. State records show that Portage was No. 1 in Ohio last year for waste injections, delivering 2,358,371 ... barrels of brine and other wastes into 15 active wells -- nearly two-thirds of it from out of state. The volume grew 18.7 percent from 1,986,653 barrels in 2011. ...


Portage County: Dumping ground of the Midwest!

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Sun, Jun 30, 2013
from The National:
Renewable power to eclipse natural gas within 3 years, says IEA
Clean power is set to eclipse gas-generated electricity by 2016, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast in a report that challenges conventional knowledge about economic hurdles to renewables.... The number of gigawatts generated by hydro, solar, wind and other renewables is set to increase by 40 per cent in the coming five years, making them the fastest-growing segment in the global energy mix. "As their costs continue to fall, renewable power sources are increasingly standing on their own merits versus new fossil-fuel generation," Maria van der Hoeven, the executive director of the IEA, said at a presentation in New York.... “And worldwide subsidies for fossil fuels remain six times higher than economic incentives for renewables.” ...


That's why I say "let's frack this afternoon whatever we can sell to investors this morning." Time's a-wastin'!

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Sun, Jun 23, 2013
from Guardian:
Shale gas won't stop peak oil, but could create an economic crisis
One internal EIA document said oil companies had exaggerated "the appearance of shale gas well profitability" by highlighting performance only from the best wells, and using overly optimistic models for productivity projections over decades. The NYT reported that the EIA often "relies on research from outside consultants with ties to the industry."... Independent studies published over the last few months cast even more serious doubt over the viability of the shale gas boom.... "Shale gas can continue to grow but only at higher prices and that growth will require an ever escalating drilling treadmill with associated collateral financial and environmental costs - and its long term sustainability is highly questionable." ...


But those Enron guys seemed so trustworthy.

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Wed, May 29, 2013
from State Impact:
Gas Industry Building Database Of Water Test Results, But Won't Make It Public
More than two years ago the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a gas industry trade group, began building an electronic database to house information about the water quality in thousands of private wells across Pennsylvania. It's made up of "pre-drill" or baseline data critical information that helps establish whether drilling operations may have caused water contamination issues. The project is already up and running, but there are no plans to make it public. ...


Don't you worry your pretty little head!

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Mon, May 13, 2013
from Associated Press:
Plans to export US natural gas stir debate
A domestic natural gas boom already has lowered U.S. energy prices while stoking fears of environmental disaster. Now U.S. producers are poised to ship vast quantities of gas overseas as energy companies seek permits for proposed export projects that could set off a renewed frenzy of fracking. Expanded drilling is unlocking enormous reserves of crude oil and natural gas, offering the potential of moving the country closer to its decades-long quest for energy independence. Yet as the industry looks to profit from foreign markets, there is the specter of higher prices at home and increased manufacturing costs for products from plastics to fertilizers. ...


A fwacking fwenzy? Vewy fwightening!

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Wed, May 1, 2013
from Slate:
Natural Resource Scarcity Is a Real Thing
Long story short, we're in nothing like the peak oil nightmare that a naive forward projection of the 2003-08 hockey stick would have led you to expect. But we've hardly conquered oil scarcity either. New discoveries are having trouble keeping pace with rising car ownership in Asia and declining production from many established oil sources. Meanwhile, unconventional oil is coming onto the market in part because oil is scarce and expensive, which makes it profitable to extract hard-to-extract oil. That's better for the economy than if we didn't find any, but it also means we haven't returned to the 1990s oil bounty and most likely never will. ...


And I was so looking forward to a remake of Titanic.

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Mon, Apr 29, 2013
from Associated Press:
EPA methane report further divides fracking camps
The Environmental Protection Agency has dramatically lowered its estimate of how much of a potent heat-trapping gas leaks during natural gas production, in a shift with major implications for a debate that has divided environmentalists: Does the recent boom in fracking help or hurt the fight against climate change?... The scope of the EPA's revision was vast. In a mid-April report on greenhouse emissions, the agency now says that tighter pollution controls instituted by the industry resulted in an average annual decrease of 41.6 million metric tons of methane emissions from 1990 through 2010, or more than 850 million metric tons overall. That's about a 20 percent reduction from previous estimates. ...


Does this mean we are only 80 percent frucked, after all?

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Tue, Apr 9, 2013
from Planet Ark:
Greens ask U.S. to delay Keystone decision after Arkansas leak
Environmental groups on Monday asked the Obama administration to extend the approval process of the Keystone XL pipeline, using last month's spill of heavy Canadian crude oil in Arkansas as their latest reason to delay the project. The Obama administration is deciding whether to approve the Canada-to-Nebraska leg of TransCanada Corp's proposed pipeline, which would link Canada's oil sands, the world's third richest crude oil deposit, to refineries in Texas. The State Department, which issued a draft environmental assessment of the $5.3 billion project on March 1, indicated then that a final decision could come by July or August. ...


Remember the Mayflower!

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Mon, Apr 8, 2013
from TomDispatch:
Is the Keystone XL Pipeline the "Stonewall" of the Climate Movement?
...Recently, I had a long talk with an administration insider who kept telling me that, for the next decade, we should focus all our energies on "killing coal." Why? Because it was politically feasible. And indeed we should, but climate-change science makes it clear that we need to put the same sort of thought and creative energy into killing oil and natural gas, too. I mean, the Arctic -- from Greenland to its seas -- essentially melted last summer in a way never before seen. The frozen Arctic is like a large physical feature. It's as if you woke up one morning and your left arm was missing.... ...


And, the missing arm returned to choke you to death!

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Mon, Apr 8, 2013
from The Hill:
US carbon emissions drop as gas displaces coal
A switch from coal to natural gas in electricity production helped drive down energy-related U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in 2012 to their lowest level since 1994, the federal Energy Information Administration said Friday. The carbon emissions have fallen every year since 2007, with the exception of 2010, according to the agency.... The biggest drop in 2012 came from declining use of coal, a fuel facing fierce competition from low natural gas prices, according to the EIA, which is the Energy Department's independent statistical arm. ...


Great news! Except for the methane emissions and the fact that once natural gas prices rise, um ... blergh

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Fri, Apr 5, 2013
from Washington Post:
Methane leaks are undermining the shale-gas boom. Here's how to fix that.
At first glance, the recent shale-gas boom in the United States looks like excellent news for efforts to slow climate change. Natural gas is nudging aside dirtier coal in the electric-power sector, which is driving down U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions. But the one huge caveat in this story has always been methane.... That brings us to a big new study from the World Resources Institute, which tries to compile everything we know about methane leaks. The bad news: We have no idea how much methane is actually seeping out of our natural-gas wells and pipelines. The good news: The technologies to plug those leaks are readily available, but new regulations may be necessary to make sure they're widely adopted. ...


That sounds like a bad news/good news/hopeless news scenario to me.

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Mon, Mar 18, 2013
from Reuters:
U.S. utilities to burn more coal as natgas prices climb -traders
... The relative price difference between NYMEX Central Appalachian coal and NYMEX Henry Hub gas is at its widest since June 2011 at almost $1.50 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), according to Reuters data. Natural gas traded at $3.87 per mmBtu on Friday morning, while Eastern coal was selling at $2.40 per mmBtu. Prices of Central Appalachian coal have slipped to their lowest levels since late January. Meanwhile, natural gas prices climbed to their highest levels since November due to four straight weeks of larger-than-expected drawdowns from inventories. ...


The cheapest form of energy remains my sequestered belches.

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Mon, Mar 4, 2013
from Associated Press:
Climate-change activists jeer as U.S. report says Keystone XL pipeline would have no major environmental impacts
A new U.S. State Department report is the latest evidence that the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada should be approved, supporters say. The draft report, issued Friday, finds there would be no significant environmental impact to most resources along the proposed route from western Canada to refineries in Texas. The report also said other options to get the oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries are worse for climate change.... The State Department analysis for the first time evaluated two options using rail: shipping the oil on trains to existing pipelines or to oil tankers. The report shows that those other methods would release more greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming than the pipeline. The Keystone XL pipeline, according to the report, would release annually the same amount of global warming pollution as 626,000 passenger cars. ...


Pity the antiquated thinking of our so-called leaders.

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Sun, Mar 3, 2013
from Dave Weigel, in Slate:
"They're the Birthers of Fracking." A Conversation with Josh Fox.
... "I wouldn't blame a person for leasing if he's one mortgage payment away from foreclosure, and the lease can fix that," says Fox. "But these companies are exploitative. The government's not helping by providing a way out. These same people could lease their land for solar, we're one line change away in the solar power laws, to allow this. Instead, they're turning PA into Nigeria as we speak." Meaning: The fracking business is expanding faster than its affects can be studied. "The impacts of fracking go far beyond methane migration," says Fox. "Chemical migration has been confirmed by the industry. That's not surprising -- we're talking about wells up to three miles deep, with one inch of cement keeping the chemicals inside. We've seen industry documents saying 5 percent of wells fail immediately, and 50 percent to 60 percent fail over a 30-year period. And they have known about this problem for decades. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection did the same thing, they had video of cracking cement. they didn't publish for 16 months until Rendell said, you should do something." ...


It's obvious: those so-called "leases" were printed in Kenya!

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Mon, Feb 11, 2013
from Associated Press:
Billionaire fracking brothers top political donors
Two billionaire brothers who made a fortune in the fracking industry and have begun buying up eastern Montana land were the top donors to successful 2012 legislative candidates, according to a new report from the National Institute on Money in State Politics. The Helena-based organization tabulated the more than 60,000 individual donations, worth more than $10 million, to 379 candidates for state offices from governor on down last year. A recent report released by the group focused on donations to state legislative candidates, whose donations don't receive as much scrutiny as candidates for governor and higher offices. It found that the largest donor to legislative candidates was Dan and Farris Wilks and their wives, who all list Texas as home. The group donated to more than 70 candidates, all Republicans, and generally gave the maximum contribution allowed by law to legislative candidates, $160 for a general election. The total exceeded $51,000. ...


Are there any eco-progressive billionaire brothers? Or are they ALL rapacious earth haters?

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Mon, Jan 28, 2013
from Oil Change International:
US Gas Flaring Visible from Space
...The volume of gas flared in the US has tripled in just five years due to the boom in shale oil. And the flares from the main oil shale fields are now so great they are visible from space... The US is now the fifth worst country for flaring, behind Russia, Nigeria, Iran and Iraq. Not only is this an ecological disaster but also a complete waste of a natural resource. The FT reports that fracking companies in the US are burning off enough gas to power all the homes in Chicago and Washington "in a practice causing growing concern about the waste of resources and damage to the environment." ...


Perhaps now the aliens will arrive and save us!

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Tue, Jan 22, 2013
from The Globe and Mail:
Is there water enough for U.S. to frack its way to energy independence?
In chemistry you quickly discover that oil and water don't mix. The same is true in the energy industry. It's unfortunate, because the new fuel sources that the International Energy Agency claims will allow North America to reach energy independence require tremendous amounts of water. Whether from shale plays or the oil sands, millions of gallons of water are needed to pull that energy out of the ground.... The industry's growing need for water comes at a time when much of the country is grinding through the worst drought in more than half a century....it takes about 600,000 litres to drill a single well. And that's a drop in the bucket compared to the 23 million litres that are needed to frack that same well. ...


I'd rather die of thirst than a lack of energy!

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Mon, Jan 21, 2013
from Associated Press:
Fracking for natural gas being powered by it, too
Advances in hydraulic fracturing technology have powered the American natural gas boom. And now hydraulic fracturing could be increasingly powered by the very fuel it has been so successful in coaxing up from the depths. Oil- and gas-field companies from Pennsylvania to Texas are experimenting with converting the huge diesel pump engines that propel millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals thousands of feet down well bores to break apart rock or tight sands and release the natural gas trapped inside. It's the latest way for drillers to become consumers of the product that they are making broadly available in large amounts -- and extremely cheap. ...


Sounds like a form of cannibalism to me!

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Wed, Jan 9, 2013
from Indiana Living Green:
Promised Land is squandered opportunity
The new film Promised Land is certainly one thing: the world's first major motion picture about hydraulic fracturing. It misses an opportunity, however, to truly advance the conversation about one of the most contentious and important issues of time.... At no point does anybody in the film actually do any research. It's just Matt Damon vs. environmentalist John Krasinski, each trying to win the town to their side. ...


Research? Who needs research?

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Mon, Jan 7, 2013
from Associated Press:
EPA fracking study may dodge some tough questions
An ongoing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study on natural gas drilling and its potential for groundwater contamination has gotten tentative praise so far from both industry and environmental groups. Glenn Paulson, the EPA's science adviser, describes the project as "one of the most aggressive public outreach programs in EPA history." The final report won't come out until late 2014. But a 275-page progress report was released in December and, for all its details, shows that the EPA doesn't plan to address one contentious issue -- how often drinking water contamination might occur ... for example, once every 100,000 wells or once every 1,000. ...


I've never really cared much for numbers anyway.

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Mon, Dec 10, 2012
from NPR:
Conflicts, Errors Revealed In Positive Fracking Study
A report that shed favorable light on fracking is at the center of a controversy at the University of Texas ... The author of the study, Dr. Charles Groat, retired in the wake of the scathing review ... The original fracking study concluded that hydraulic fracturing was safe, the danger of water contamination low and suggestions to the contrary mostly media bias. But then it was reported this summer that Professor Groat sat on the board of a natural gas drilling company and received more than a million and a half dollars in compensation. That information was not disclosed in Groat's report. ...


We appear to have been fracked over by Prof. Groat.

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Mon, Dec 10, 2012
from Midwest Energy News:
Will Ohio legislation reveal secret fracking chemicals?
Each year, tanker trucks carrying fracking fluid or fracking wastewater log hundreds of miles on Ohio's rural roads. What if one crashes into a car and tips, injuring and spilling fracking fluid on the car's passenger? ... Would doctors treating the accident victims know what they'd been exposed to? Under a 2012 Ohio fracking law, maybe not, says Melissa English, development director of Ohio Citizen Action, a Columbus-based ratepayer and environmental advocacy group (and a member of RE-AMP, which publishes Midwest Energy News). English is among a group of environmentalists and health professionals who say the law makes it nearly impossible for doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians to get the chemical information they need in time to protect patients. ...


That's why I support prophylactic antibiotics.

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Tue, Dec 4, 2012
from E&E Publishing:
Scientists link Colo., Okla. temblors to drilling activities
Scientists are saying with increased certainty that two damaging earthquakes in 2011 -- one in Colorado, the other in Oklahoma -- were triggered by oil and gas production activities. Studies by seismologists from the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Oklahoma and Columbia University have found the quakes were caused by the deep underground injection of drilling waste. ...


Lesson learned: Don't frack on frualt lines!

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Tue, Dec 4, 2012
from InsideClimate News:
First Study of Its Kind Detects 44 Hazardous Air Pollutants at Gas Drilling Sites
For years, the controversy over natural gas drilling has focused on the water and air quality problems linked to hydraulic fracturing, the process where chemicals are blasted deep underground to release tightly bound natural gas deposits. But a new study reports that a set of chemicals called non-methane hydrocarbons, or NMHCs, is found in the air near drilling sites even when fracking isn't in progress. According to a peer-reviewed study in the journal Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, more than 50 NMHCs were found near gas wells in rural Colorado, including 35 that affect the brain and nervous system. Some were detected at levels high enough to potentially harm children who are exposed to them before birth. ...


I've always thought fracking might make me want to frart.

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Mon, Dec 3, 2012
from FuelFix.com:
Coal power plants to lose up to a quarter of capacity by 2035
Nearly a quarter of the nation's coal power generation capacity could shut down by 2035, as natural gas gains popularity as a cleaner and cheaper fuel for producing electricity, the U.S. Government Accountability Office forecasts. In a report released this week, the agency determined that power industry could retire between 15 percent and 24 percent of its coal-fueled power generation capacity over the next 22 years. The fuel source has been hurt by a combination of lower electricity use, stiffer regulations on pollutants and a rapid decline in the price of natural gas. ...


Too little ... too late.

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Mon, Nov 19, 2012
from Youngstown Vindicator:
City seeks input on fracking in Youngstown parks
The city doesn't have plans to lease park land to companies for oil and gas drilling, but its parks and recreation commission will take comments from the public about the issue.... City council gave the board of control approval Oct. 17 to move ahead with a plan to solicit offers from companies to lease city-owned land for fracking. The proceeds are to be used for neighborhood improvement work, primarily demolitions.... "Right now, I wouldn't be in favor of any fracking in parks," said Mayor Charles Sammarone. "But if the city has the chance to make a zillion dollars, we'd have to re-evaluate." ...


Hey, for a zillion dollars, I'd wreck the entire planet!

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Tue, Nov 13, 2012
from Crain:
Splitting the state
In any discussion about "fracking" natural gas and oil wells from layers of shale deep beneath the surface, the talk quickly steers to the balancing act between those natural resources -- how much water is used and its source, where to put fracking fluid after it more resembles turpentine than water, and how much gas and oil can be captured in the tradeoff.... Opponents say that oil and gas companies consume on average the equivalent of a small lake of water -- about 3 acres by 5 feet deep -- to use hydraulic fracturing to open a horizontally drilled well in deep shale. The dark sedimentary rock splits easily into plates to release oil and gas. Proponents say a fracked well may produce enough natural gas to meet the needs of 30,000 to 50,000 homes for a year. ...


Apparently these 30,000 to 50,000 homes don't need water.

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Fri, Oct 26, 2012
from Yahoo Finance:
Chesapeake Is Planning To Frack Within A Mile Of A Nuclear Plant
Natural gas giant Chesapeake Energy has been given permission to drill for natural gas via hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," one mile away from the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station in Shippingport, Pennsylvania, according to multiple reports.... "We're not aware of any potential impacts and don't expect any," Jennifer Young said Monday. "We see no reason to be particularly concerned."... "[T]here are no required setbacks specifically relating to a required distance between unconventional wells and nuclear facilities, just a blanket regulation requiring a 500-foot setback from any building to an unconventional well." ...


As long as they're not breaking any laws, right, Mr. Murphy?

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Tue, Oct 16, 2012
from EcoWatch:
New Report Confirms Fracking is Reckless
A new report1 on shale resources and hydraulic fracturing from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) -- an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress -- concludes that fracking poses serious risks to health and the environment. The report, which reviewed studies from state agencies overseeing fracking as well as scientific reports, found that the extent of the risks has not yet been fully quantified and that there are many unanswered questions and a lack of scientific data. Major reports and studies were also released in Europe the past two months, all of which came to the conclusion that fracking poses serious risks to water, public health, and the environment, and that additional scientific study is necessary. Meanwhile, in NY hundreds of doctors, scientists, and medical organizations have renewed calls for an independent, comprehensive health impact assessment and additional scientific research. ...


This is getting quite fractious!

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Tue, Oct 9, 2012
from Charleston Daily Mail:
Natural gas wells proposed on Capital High grounds
Kanawha County Schools officials say natural gas wells might be drilled on Capital High School property. School officials said Friday no plans are finalized and there would be no risks to students associated with drilling on the large property. Instead, they believe it could provide much needed savings and revenue to the school system for years to come. "Any relief to the taxpayers is always welcome," said board President Pete Thaw. ...


What could possibly go wrong?

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Tue, Sep 25, 2012
from Midwest Energy News:
Environmental group hopes to empower communities facing fracking
As hydraulic fracturing for natural gas has taken off, communities have scrambled to control fracking within their borders, while the oil and gas industry has fought in state legislatures and courts to stop communities from hampering their operations. The Natural Resources Defense Council hopes its new legal and policy defense fund, which was announced last Friday, will boost communities in their efforts...NRDC Community Fracking Defense Project, as the group calls it, will employ 12 NRDC staffers, including geologists, health experts, policy advocates who work with state legislatures, and "a corps of lawyers," Henderson said. ...


Ideally, they'll throw some superheroes into the mix as well.

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Mon, Sep 24, 2012
from Associated Press:
Decades of Federal Dollars Helped Fuel Gas Boom
It sounds like a free-market success story: a natural gas boom created by drilling company innovation, delivering a vast new source of cheap energy without the government subsidies that solar and wind power demand. "The free market has worked its magic," the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council, an industry group, claimed over the summer... But those who helped pioneer the technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, recall a different path. Over three decades, from the shale fields of Texas and Wyoming to the Marcellus in the Northeast, the federal government contributed more than $100 million in research to develop fracking, and billions more in tax breaks. ...


Buncha fracking welfare queens.

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Mon, Sep 24, 2012
from Midwest Energy News:
Minnesota scientists develop bacteria to clean up fracking water
A new biotechnology developed by a team of University of Minnesota scientists could help clean up wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, preventing contamination of rivers, streams, lakes, and even drinking water with toxic chemicals from coal and shale beds. The new method employs chemical-eating bacteria encased in a silica gel. The contaminants from the fracking wastewater slip inside the gel, where they are destroyed by enzymes in the bacteria. The bacteria remain encapsulated and do not contaminate the wastewater themselves... ...


Bacteria ... has our back!

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Wed, Sep 12, 2012
from Mother Jones:
Is Fracking Good for the Environment?
Is increased production of natural gas from shale deposits good for the environment? At first glance, yes: natural gas releases less CO2 into the atmosphere than coal, so replacing coal-fired electrical plants with gas-fired plants is a win for global warming. And since fracking makes natural gas cheaper, it helps stimulate a switch from coal to gas. But wait: It turns out you also have to account for leakage. The problem is that natural gas is methane, a powerful greenhouse gas in its own right, and when you extract natural gas from shale formations, some of it inevitably leaks out. That's decidedly bad for global warming. But David McCabe, an atmospheric scientist at the Clean Air Task Force, reports that the news is fairly good on this front: "From the best of the collective work, we believe that burning natural gas for electricity produces about 30-50 percent less greenhouse gas than burning coal, even accounting for the emissions of methane (and carbon dioxide) from producing and transporting the natural gas." Unfortunately, the story doesn't stop there, and it gets a lot grimmer as you dig deeper. The problem is simple: If you make something cheaper, people will use more of it. ...


Looks like we're frucked no matter what.

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Tue, Sep 4, 2012
from Columbus Dispatch:
'Fracking' brine | Gas-well waste full of radium
Millions of barrels of wastewater trucked into Ohio from shale-gas wells in Pennsylvania might be highly radioactive, according to a government study. Radium in one sample of Marcellus shale wastewater, also called brine, that Pennsylvania officials collected in 2009 was 3,609 times more radioactive than a federal safety limit for drinking water. It was 300 times higher than a Nuclear Regulatory Commission limit for industrial discharges to water. The December 2011 study, compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey, also found that the median levels of radium in brine from Marcellus shale wells was more than three times higher than brine collected from conventional oil and gas wells. ...


Arrrrr! Is that radium in your brine or are you just happy to see me!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 23, 2012
from Bloomberg News:
Frackers Fund University Research That Proves Their Case
Pennsylvania remains the largest U.S. state without a tax on natural gas production, thanks in part to a study released under the banner of the Pennsylvania State University. The 2009 report predicted drillers would shun Pennsylvania if new taxes were imposed, and lawmakers cited it the following year when they rejected a 5 percent tax proposed by then- Governor Ed Rendell.... What the study didn't do was note that it was sponsored by gas drillers and led by an economist, now at the University of Wyoming, with a history of producing industry-friendly research on economic and energy issues.... As the U.S. enjoys a natural-gas boom from a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, producers are taking a page from the tobacco industry playbook: funding research at established universities that arrives at conclusions that counter concerns raised by critics. ...


This is a fracking outrage!

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Tue, Jul 10, 2012
from ProPublica:
New Study: Fluids From Marcellus Shale Likely Seeping Into PA Drinking Water
New research has concluded that salty, mineral-rich fluids deep beneath Pennsylvania's natural gas fields are likely seeping upward thousands of feet into drinking water supplies. Though the fluids were natural and not the byproduct of drilling or hydraulic fracturing, the finding further stokes the red-hot controversy over fracking in the Marcellus Shale, suggesting that drilling waste and chemicals could migrate in ways previously thought to be impossible... The study is the second in recent months to find that the geology surrounding the Marcellus Shale could allow contaminants to move more freely than expected. ...


Fluids: a most magical elixir!

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Mon, Jul 9, 2012
from New York Times:
Drilling for Gas Under Cemeteries Raises Concerns
FORT WORTH -- Henry Donald Young Sr. is buried in a small pioneer cemetery next to his parents here, beneath the drooping leaves of an old tree at the industrial edge of one of the largest cities in Texas. But Mr. Young's relatives wonder how restful his final resting place has become. Thousands of feet beneath the cemetery, a company has been drilling for natural gas using the controversial technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. "I would imagine that drilling and fracking and all that vibration is bound to cause some damage," Mr. Young's son, Don, said of the 134-year-old Handley Cemetery. ...


Have these frackers never seen Poltergeist?

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Thu, Jun 14, 2012
from New York Times, via Treehugger:
New York Fracking Proposal Creates Sacrificial Zones in Poor Counties
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's administration is pursuing a plan to limit the controversial drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing to portions of several struggling New York counties along the border with Pennsylvania, and to permit it only in communities that express support for the technology.... The strategy has not been made final and details could change, but it has been taking shape over several months. It would be contingent on hydraulic fracturing's receiving final approval from state regulators, a step that is not a foregone conclusion but is widely expected later this summer. Department of Environmental Conservation regulators last year signaled their initial support for the drilling process around the state, with exceptions for environmentally sensitive areas like New York City's upstate watershed.... "Sending a polluting industry into our most economically impoverished communities is a violation of environmental justice," Sandra Steingraber, the founder of an umbrella group called New Yorkers Against Fracking, said in a statement. "Partitioning our state into frack and no-frack zones based on economic desperation is a shameful idea." ...


Just make Mississippi, West Virginia, and Arkansas sacrificial zones. Problem solved!

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Tue, May 15, 2012
from NPR:
Sick From Fracking? Doctors, Patients Seek Answers
...People living near gas well drilling around the country are reporting similar problems, plus headaches, rashes, wheezing, aches and pains and other symptoms... patients and doctors don't have a lot of options. In western Pennsylvania, a lot of them are referred to Charles Werntz at West Virginia University. Werntz, an occupational medicine specialist, is used to dealing with chemical exposures. Lately, he's seeing more people who live near the drilling. But for now, he says he can't really do much more than offer basic advice: Drink bottled water, air out the house, leave your shoes outside. If it's still too bad, move -- if possible. ...


These poor frolks are frucked.

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Tue, Apr 24, 2012
from AP, via HuffingtonPost:
Ohio 'Pooling' Laws Allow Drilling Even Where Owners Object
Retired police officer Ed Hashbarger is watching in anger as drillers converge on his part of eastern Ohio, at times gaining access to coveted oil and gas deposits through a state law that can trump objections of individual property owners. The U.S. Army veteran contends the practice called mandatory pooling violates his constitutional rights, his Catholic faith -- which calls for safeguarding the environment -- and what his country stands for. "We do not defend the United States of America so the government can strip me of my rights to my land," said Hashbarger, who expects his land in Bloomingdale will soon be pooled as such deals engulf neighboring properties. "I'm furious over the whole thing." Mandatory pooling gives drillers the ability to overcome a landowner's objections to drilling on his property if enough neighbors have agreed to the well drilling. The resisting landowner is paid for the oil or gas taken.... He said the well has marred the air in his neighborhood, the view and quiet enjoyment of his property. He's now saddled with a ruling that he said appears to make him legally responsible for spills and other damage. Chodkiewicz said he felt he didn't have a chance before the state board that considers mandatory pooling requests, the Technical Advisory Council, because it is dominated by energy industry executives. ...


Oh, that's right: the corporate economy always evolves into corporate fascism.

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Fri, Apr 20, 2012
from USAToday:
EPA issues air pollution rules for fracking wells
Federal regulators issued first-ever air pollution rules for "fracking" wells on Wednesday, requiring that drillers burn or capture the gas and its smog-producing compounds released when the wells are first tapped. Going into effect in 60 days, the rules cover the period when a well is first drilled when natural gas is still venting but before it begins actual production. In a compromise with the industry, regulators said the drillers can flare, or burn off, the gas for now, a process that can last for weeks. But starting in 2015 they would lose that option. Instead, they'll be required to collect it -- so-called green completion of new fracking wells. "We wanted to encourage 'green completions' as soon as the technology can become widely available," McCarthy said, explaining the 2015 "phase-in" of the rules. The announcement came in response to a lawsuit involving the Clean Air Act. EPA estimates the rules will cut 95 percent of the smog-related chemicals released by fracking wells, ones linked to asthma, respiratory ailments and cancer. ...


Something still stinks around here.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Apr 17, 2012
from New York Times:
More on the Link Between Earthquakes and Fracking
Scientists from the United States Geological Survey have cautiously weighed in on a subject that has sparked public concern in some parts of the country: spates of small earthquakes in oil- and gas-producing areas. In a report to be presented next week at a meeting of seismologists in San Diego, the scientists say that increases in the number of quakes in Arkansas and Oklahoma in the last few years are "almost certainly" related to oil and gas production. ...


I shudder to think!

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Tue, Apr 10, 2012
from HazMat Management Magazine:
Important ruling on "fracking": HazMat Management
Just eight weeks before ExxonMobil's annual shareholder meeting, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has sided with the company's investors in their battle to address concerns about the energy giant's hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") operations.... In response to the shareholder proposal, ExxonMobil argued to the SEC that it had substantially implemented the requests shareholders laid out in their resolution. However, deeper research revealed a large gap between information shareholders requested and what ExxonMobil disclosed. "ExxonMobil has provided fragmentary and incomplete information on some of the community concerns, does not disclose government enforcement actions as requested by the proposal, and has disclosed far too little analysis useful to investors on the short- and long- term risks posed by these developments," says As You Sow's attorney Sanford J. Lewis.... ExxonMobil asserted to the SEC that it had no hydraulic fracturing-related environmental violations. It made this claim by limiting reportable violations to activities detectable deep underground, ignoring impacts occurring near the surface. In fact, in Pennsylvania alone, 156 notices of violations related to natural gas extraction operations where fracking is underway were issued to ExxonMobil or its recently acquired subsidiary, XTO, between 2010 and 2011. ...


We tell all the truth that fits our business model. Something wrong with that?

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Apr 7, 2012
from ArtVoice:
Son of Frackenstein: Even Worse is Planned
Welcome to the post peak oil energy economy. What's online to follow fracking is even scarier. The problem is we're addicted to oil, and like most addicts, we can't take that first step and admit our addiction. For over a century, we mostly glided, enjoying the high that cheap oil gave our economy and consumptive lifestyles, while not facing many consequences -- at least none that we could yet recognize. But, like the meth-head whose body was rotting from the inside out, our addiction was poisoning our atmosphere, our oceans and in places, our land and fresh water. Now we're seeing the results of that five generation-long binge.... As China and India develop as oil hungry consumer cultures, and as hydrocarbon addiction grows amid a growing global population, energy prices will continue to rise, opening the door of economic opportunity to a plethora of fracking-like energy extraction technologies. These are wildly irresponsible, terribly dangerous processes that only an addiction-maddened mind would contemplate, and only a greed-addled sociopath would execute. Think of this as taking fracking to the next level so that we can continue to speed along on our highway to hell--peak oil, and the earth, be damned. ...


The problem is, we're really high-functioning addicts.

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Thu, Mar 22, 2012
from Truthout:
About That Dimock Fracking Study: Actually, Result Summaries Show Methane and Hazardous Chemicals
Claire Sandberg, in an interview with Christine Shearer:
The industry likes to state that their number one safety precaution is thousands of layers of impermeable rock and that essentially there is no possible way for the methane to get into the ground water. And we know that the available science conclusively debunks that. The only peer-reviewed study that has been done on groundwater contamination from fracking has found that it occurs a majority of the time, so there is something really wrong here if methane is getting into the groundwater a majority of the time, often at explosive levels of methane. At the same time, the industry does have a point that a lot of the contamination is not from the actual fracking itself - the process where you are injecting chemicals deep into the ground. A lot of the contamination is just from drilling and I think a lot of people are discovering - and this is part of our message with Water Defense - that the risks to water and health are just endemic to drilling and to fossil fuels and it is not specific to fracking. In general, this is the way these companies operate; it is how they have operated around the world, it's "pump and dump." The difference now is that, for the first time, the impacts of fuel extraction are literally in millions of Americans' backyards. And increasingly, it is extreme fossil fuels, more devastating kinds of extraction as we run out of the easier-to-access sources of fossil fuels, but ultimately these problems are inherent to fossil fuels. We need to move to a renewable energy economy. ...


OMG! This could mean turning away from our comfortably suicidal course!

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Mon, Mar 19, 2012
from McClatchy Newspapers:
As natural gas production grows, questions arise about methane leaks
As natural gas production in the United States hits an all-time high, a major unanswered question looms: What does growing hydraulic fracturing mean for climate change? The Obama administration lists natural gas as one of the "clean energy sources" it wants to expand. When burned, natural gas emits about half the heat-trapping carbon dioxide as coal. Yet natural gas production can result in releases of methane into the atmosphere. Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Methane can enter the atmosphere when gas is stored or transported, but it's particularly a concern with shale gas production during flowback -- when fracking fluids, water and gases flow out of a well after drilling but before the gas is put into pipelines. ...


This leak is the Mother of all farts!

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Mon, Mar 12, 2012
from Washington Post:
As eco-terrorism wanes, governments still target activist groups seen as threat
Ben Kessler, a student at the University of North Texas and an environmental activist, was more than a little surprised that an FBI agent questioned his philosophy professor and acquaintances about his whereabouts and his sign-waving activities aimed at influencing local gas drilling rules. "It was scary,” said Kessler, who is a national organizer for the nonviolent environmental group Rising Tide North America. He said the agent approached him this past fall and said that the FBI had received an anonymous complaint and were looking into his opposition to hydraulic fracturing, also known as "fracking." The bureau respected free speech, the agent told him, but was "worried about things being taken to an extreme level." ...


Beware of extreme free speech!

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Thu, Mar 8, 2012
from ProPublica:
What the Frack is in That Water?
Environmentalists have repeatedly pressed regulators to compel oil and gas companies to report what chemicals they use in the drilling and fracking process. Drilling companies add these chemicals to perform particular functions (for example, to prevent corrosion or give the fluid the right consistency), or leave them in because they're too expensive to remove. According to a 2011 congressional report, many of the chemicals used can pose a serious health risk. No one knows the exact makeup of the frack mixture, drilling muds and other stuff used at well sites (which change from well to well), but this list breaks down the main ingredients revealed so far. Click on the chemical name for more detailed information. ...


Your one-stop-spot to grok the frack.

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Tue, Feb 28, 2012
from The Denver Post:
Hickenlooper's spiel in oil, gas ad irks environmentalists
Environmental groups on Monday urged Gov. John Hickenlooper to yank ads paid for by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association in which he claims there has been no contamination of groundwater associated with drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Hickenlooper's office declined to address that request, but COGA issued a statement saying it stands by "our Public Service Announcements." ...


This cozy relationship between government and business is fascistnating.

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Wed, Feb 22, 2012
from Reuters:
New York judge upholds fracking ban in towns
In a blow to the oil and gas industry, a judge has ruled small towns in New York have the authority to ban drilling -- including the controversial method known as fracking -- within their borders. In a ruling released late Tuesday, state Supreme Court Justice Phillip Rumsey of Tompkins County held that the Ithaca suburb of Dryden's recent ban on gas drilling falls within the authority of local governments to regulate local land use. ...


Dang fractivist judge!

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Wed, Feb 8, 2012
from Nature:
Air sampling reveals high emissions from gas field
When US government scientists began sampling the air from a tower north of Denver, Colorado, they expected urban smog -- but not strong whiffs of what looked like natural gas. They eventually linked the mysterious pollution to a nearby natural-gas field, and their investigation has now produced the first hard evidence that the cleanest-burning fossil fuel might not be much better than coal when it comes to climate change. Led by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado, Boulder, the study estimates that natural-gas producers in an area known as the Denver-Julesburg Basin are losing about 4 percent of their gas to the atmosphere -- not including additional losses in the pipeline and distribution system. This is more than double the official inventory, but roughly in line with estimates made in 2011 that have been challenged by industry. And because methane is some 25 times more efficient than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere, releases of that magnitude could effectively offset the environmental edge that natural gas is said to enjoy over other fossil fuels. ...


This natural gas leak is the Mother of all Flatulence!

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Tue, Jan 24, 2012
from Charleston Gazette:
DOE slashes gas estimate for Marcellus Shale
Federal government analysts on Monday slashed their estimate of the natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale formation, and at least one major producer announced plans to cut in half its expenditures on new gas leases in the wake of dropping prices. The U.S. Department of Energy cut its estimate of the Marcellus reserves from 410 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to 141 trillion cubic feet, citing better production information that emerges as drilling operations in the region mature and the exclusion of data from the pre-shale area. ...


Woe is DOE.

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Wed, Jan 18, 2012
from National Geographic News:
Shale Gas: A Boon That Could Stunt Alternatives, Study Says
A team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology used economic modeling to show that new abundant natural gas is likely to have a far more complex impact on the energy scene than is generally assumed. If climate policy continues to play out in the United States with a relatively weak set of measures to control emissions, the new gas source will lead to lower gas and electricity prices, and total energy use will be higher in 2050. Absent the shale supply, the United States could have expected to see GHG emissions 2 percent below 2005 levels by 2050 under this relatively weak policy. But the lower gas prices under the current shale gas outlook will stimulate economic growth, leading GHG emissions to increase by 13 percent over 2005. And the shale gas will retard the growth of renewable energy's share of electricity, and push off the development of carbon capture and storage technology, needed to meet more ambitious policy targets, by as long as two decades. ...


GHG me with a spoon.

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Tue, Jan 17, 2012
from Akron Beacon Journal:
Three years after drilling, feds say natural gas in Medina County well water is potentially explosive
A federal health agency says potentially explosive levels of natural gas at two houses in eastern Medina County are a public health threat. The problems in the two drinking water wells appear linked to the nearby drilling of two natural gas wells in 2008, says the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That news contradicts repeated statements from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on the connection between the drilling and problems at the two houses at State and Remsen roads. "We are the victims of fracking ... and natural gas drilling gone wrong," said Mark Mangan, one of the affected homeowners. ...


These poor frolkes are fracked!

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Mon, Jan 16, 2012
from News Solutions, via Internet Archive:
Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human and Animal Health
Two cases involving beef cattle farms inadvertently provided control and experimental groups. In one case, a creek into which wastewater was allegedly dumped was the source of water for 60 head, with the remaining 36 head in the herd kept in other pastures without access to the creek. Of the 60 head that were exposed to the creek water, 21 died and 16 failed to produce calves the following spring. Of the 36 that were not exposed, no health problems were observed, and only one cow failed to breed. At another farm, 140 head were exposed when the liner of a wastewater impoundment was allegedly slit, as reported by the farmer, and the fluid drained into the pasture and the pond used as a source of water for the cows. Of those 140 head exposed to the wastewater, approximately 70 died and there was a high incidence of stillborn and stunted calves. The remainder of the herd (60 head) was held in another pasture and did not have access to the wastewater; they showed no health or growth problems. These cases approach the design of a controlled experiment, and strongly implicate wastewater exposure in the death, failure to breed, and reduced growth rate of cattle. ...


You might say the cows anecdotally died.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jan 16, 2012
from Columbus Dispatch:
Most 'brine' is from out of state
The industry uses the terms brine or produced waters to describe the salty waste fluid that constantly percolates out of wells drilled to tap oil and natural gas. For decades, the best way for Ohio oil and gas companies to get rid of the stuff was to send it back underground. It's the sole purpose of a network of 177 disposal wells that state regulators have overseen since the 1980s. State records show that nearly 60 percent of the brine that's injected into Ohio disposal wells these days doesn't come from Ohio. It's trucked in from shale gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Though this flood of brine has been linked to a series of earthquakes in Youngstown, state regulators and industry officials say they have no ability to stop it. ...


That brine ain't mine.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 10, 2012
from Bloomberg News:
Fracking Moratorium Urged as Doctors Call for Health Study
The U.S. should declare a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in populated areas until the health effects are better understood, doctors said at a conference on the drilling process.... "We've got to push the pause button, and maybe we've got to push the stop button" on fracking, said Adam Law, an endocrinologist at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, in an interview at a conference in Arlington, Virginia that's the first to examine criteria for studying the process. ...


Precautionary kooks!
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Thu, Dec 29, 2011
from Slate:
What the Frack?
The recent press about the potential of shale gas would have you believe that America is now sitting on a 100-year supply of natural gas. It's a "game-changer." A "golden age of gas" awaits, one in which the United States will be energy independent, even exporting gas to the rest of the world, upending our current energy-importing situation. The data, however, tell a very different story. Between the demonstrable gas reserves, and the potential resources blared in the headlines, lies an enormous gulf of uncertainty.... Assuming that the United States continues to use about 24 tcf per annum, then, only an 11-year supply of natural gas is certain. The other 89 years' worth has not yet been shown to exist or to be recoverable. ...


Damn you, data!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Dec 29, 2011
from ProPublica:
Oh, Canada's Become a Home for Record Fracking
Early last year, deep in the forests of northern British Columbia, workers for Apache Corp. performed what the company proclaimed was the biggest hydraulic fracturing operation ever. The project used 259 million gallons of water and 50,000 tons of sand to frack 16 gas wells side by side. It was "nearly four times larger than any project of its nature in North America," Apache boasted. The record didn't stand for long. By the end of the year, Apache and its partner, Encana, topped it by half at a neighboring site. ...


Come on baby light my faucet...

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Dec 23, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
The Coal Age Is Nearer to Its End
After burning coal to light up Cincinnati for six decades, the Walter C. Beckjord Generating Station will go dark soon -- a fate that will be shared by dozens of aging coal-fired power plants across the U.S. in coming years. Their owners cite a raft of new air-pollution regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, including a rule released Wednesday that limits mercury and other emissions, for the shut-downs. But energy experts say there is an even bigger reason coal plants are losing out: cheap and abundant natural gas, which is booming thanks to a surge in production from shale-rock formations... ...


RIP: Rest In Particulates

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Mon, Nov 7, 2011
from Pittsburg Post-Gazette:
Corporate funding of Marcellus Shale studies at universities raises alarms
As development of the Marcellus Shale spreads across Pennsylvania, Penn State University has taken a central role in doing research about the industry, from its economic impact to its geological properties. Some of the research is paid for by companies extracting the gas, according to petroleum geologists who do the work. But the state-related university, which took in $214 million in taxpayer funding last year, declined to say how much individual companies spend or what the money pays for. Universities welcome the money and say there's no impact on their research, but critics are concerned that the lack of transparency is dangerous to independence. ...


So that's what they mean by the trickle-down effect.

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Sat, Sep 10, 2011
from GDACC:
Pennsylvania Groups Express Concerns over Fracking Fluids in Flood Water
As tropical storm Lee continues to dump massive amounts of rain throughout Pennsylvania, concerns are growing over natural gas drilling pits overflowing and spilling their toxic contents into flooded creeks, streams and rivers. There are no currently safeguards in place by the State of Pennsylvania to prevent natural gas drilling and the placing of open pits containing toxic fracking fluids in flood plains.... "While the industry mouths rhetoric about 'safe and responsible' drilling, they do the absolute opposite in fact, storing hundreds of millions of gallons of toxic flowback fluid in open frack pits, now flowing into floodwaters," said Iris Marie Bloom, director of Protecting Our Waters. "Fracking fluid chemicals, and even worse, the radioactive materials, arsenic and other deadly contaminants brought up from the deep shale, should never come into contact with air, water or earth. But here they are flowing with flood waters irreversibly into our ecosystem. This is a public health disaster in the making. Not one more fracking permit should be issued. All open frack pits must be permanently abolished and life-cycle cumulative impact studies done." ...


Who could have predicted that every day wouldn't be sunny and bright!?

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Aug 20, 2011
from EcoHearth:
Millions of Abandoned, Leaking Oil Wells and Natural-Gas Wells Destined to Foul Our Future
Other instances of leaking oil from just the past 30 odd years (millions of gallons noted in parentheses) have occurred in Kuwait during the Gulf War (240-336); Bay of Campeche, Mexico (140); Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies (88.3); Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan (87.7); Nowruz Oil Field, Persian Gulf (80); Angolan coast (80); Saldanha Bay, South Africa (78.5); off Brittany, France (68.7); off Nova Scotia, Canada (43); Genoa, Italy (42); Exxon Valdez spill off Alaska (11); and BP's Deepwater Horizon platform leak in the Gulf of Mexico (205). This in-depth EcoHearth report indicates these are but a prelude more numerous catastrophes to come.... Each day hundreds of thousands of abandoned leaking oil wells and natural-gas wells spew toxic pollutants into the environment--and tens of millions more will soon join them--thanks to fatally flawed gas and oil-well capping and lax or nonexistent industry and government oversight. A three-month EcoHearth.com investigation has revealed this developing environmental calamity that almost no one is paying attention to and that gravely threatens ecosystems worldwide. There are at minimum 2.5 million abandoned oil and gas wells--none permanently capped--littering the US, and an estimated 20-30 million globally. There is no known technology for securely sealing these tens of millions of abandoned wells. Many--likely hundreds of thousands--are already hemorrhaging oil, brine and greenhouse gases into the environment. Habitats are being fundamentally altered. Aquifers are being destroyed. Some of these abandoned wells are explosive, capable of building-leveling, toxin-spreading detonations. And thanks to primitive capping technologies, virtually all are leaking now--or will be. ...


I'm confident that the technology of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s is both dependable and safe, in perpetuity. How about you?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Aug 12, 2011
from The Coast, Nova Scotia:
The fracking truth
Here's a rundown of the process, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council: First, clear a couple of hectares of land for each natural gas well. Drill down a few hundred (or thousand) metres and slice around underneath the shale, blast in at least nine million litres of water, plenty of sand and a variety of chemicals (many of which are known or possible human carcinogens, air pollutants or cause other chronic health problems) in order to access the gas. Bonuses include heavy metals, volatile organic compounds and radioactive elements. Score for the environment! Life might just be that easy if it wasn't for annoying Cornell professors like Robert Howarth, who likes to pee on clean-air parades by looking at the "big picture," the impacts of natural gas beyond just how it burns. Howarth found that the harvesting, transport, processing and use of natural gas leaks so much methane (which fudges the climate 72 times worse than carbon dioxide) that you can't really call it significantly greener than coal, and it's worse than oil. That's going only on reported leakages. The reality is worse, "big picture" wise. ...


And your concern is...? I mean really, isn't this normal?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 10, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Colorado Officials Investigating Hydrogen Sulfide Reports At Oil And Gas Drilling Sites
When it comes to oil and gas news, it's hard to beat 'fracking' for a more buzz-worthy topic. Add 'hydrogen sulfide gas' to the headline, though, and and expect eyebrows to rise. A Sunday report in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent presented evidence the toxic gas, which can cause severe respiratory distress and death, has been documented in various concentrations at oil and gas drilling sites in Colorado. Exposure to the gas at low concentrations can cause headache, dizziness, and upset stomach. At higher concentrations, gas inhalation triggers unconsciousness and death through respiratory paralysis. A 2006 study titled 'Hydrogen Sulfide, Oil and Gas, and People's Health,' notes hydrogen sulfide develops naturally in conjunction with crude oil and natural gas, with 15 to 25 percent of U.S. gas wells likely 'soured.'... A report published in July tested nine of the samples and found 22 toxic chemicals, including four carcinogens at levels ranging from 3 to 3,000 times higher than established safety limits. A sample by the Bucket Brigade contained hydrogen sulfide gas at levels 185 times higher than a threshold set by the EPA as posing long-term health risks to humans. ...


Good jobs! The economy! Shareholder value! Charlie Sheen! Pay no attention to the corporation behind the screen.

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Tue, Aug 9, 2011
from Politico:
New York Times vs. natural gas industry
The fight between The New York Times and the natural gas industry is going nuclear. A series of critical articles in the paper of record has the natural gas industry fuming as it struggles to persuade the public that hydraulic fracturing is a safe, clean, inexpensive and reliable way of securing the nation's energy supply for decades to come. The stories from reporter Ian Urbina have spurred federal investigators and caused falling stock prices. They've questioned the environmental impacts of gas drilling on drinking water as well as the economic health of the industry, casting doubt on rosy federal projections of gas's future and using anonymous quotes to compare the shale gas boom to Enron and the dot-com stock bubble. ...


Fracking sounds like a WMD to me.

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Thu, Aug 4, 2011
from Technology Review:
New Process Could Make Canadian Oil Cheaper, Cleaner
New technology for extracting oil from oil sands could more than double the amount of oil that can be extracted from these abundant deposits. It could also reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from the process by up to 85 percent. The technology was developed by N-Solv, an Alberta-based consortium that recently received $10 million from the Canadian government to develop the technology.... The idea of using solvents to get at oil sands was proposed in the 1970s, but early experiments showed that the process couldn't produce oil quickly enough. Two things changed that, according to N-Solv. First, horizontal drilling technologies now make it possible to run a solvent injection well along the length of an oil sands deposit, increasing the area in contact with the solvent, thus increasing production. Second, N-Solv determined that even small amounts of methane--a by-product of using a solvent--could contaminate the propane and degrade its performance. So N-Solv introduced purification equipment to separate methane from the propane before it is reused. The separated methane can also be used to heat the propane, further reducing energy costs. N-Solv's process requires less energy because it uses a solvent rather than steam to free the oil, says Murray Smith, a member of N-Solv's board of directors. The solvent, such as propane, is heated to a relatively low temperature (about 50 deg C) and injected into a bitumen deposit. The solvent breaks down the bitumen, allowing it to be pumped out along with the propane, which can be reused. The solvent approach requires less energy than heating, pumping, and recycling water for steam. And because the heaviest components of the bitumen remain underground, the oil that results from the solvent process needs to be refined less before it can be transported in a pipeline. ...


Is cognitive dissonance is the sound of three hands clapping?

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Fri, Jul 29, 2011
from Associated Press:
EPA targets air pollution from gas drilling boom
Faced with a natural gas drilling boom that has sullied the air in some parts of the country, the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed for the first time to control air pollution at oil and gas wells, particularly those drilled using a method called hydraulic fracturing. The proposal, issued to meet a court deadline, addresses air pollution problems reported in places such as Wyoming, Texas, Pennsylvania and Colorado, where new drilling techniques have led to a rush to obtain natural gas that was once considered inaccessible. More than 25,000 wells are being drilled each year by "fracking," a process by which sand, water and chemicals are injected underground to fracture rock so gas can come out. The proposed regulations are designed to eliminate most releases of smog- and soot-forming pollutants from those wells. New controls on storage tanks, transmission pipelines and other equipment, at both oil and gas drilling sites on land, would reduce by a quarter amounts of cancer-causing air pollution and methane, the main ingredient in natural gas, but also one of the most powerful contributors to global warming. ...


Can somebody remind me why fracking is supposed to be a good thing?

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Sun, Jul 17, 2011
from Huffington Post:
'Talisman Terry' the Friendly Frackosaurus coloring book dropped
A natural gas drilling company says it's no longer distributing a children's coloring book featuring a hard hat-wearing dinosaur that's been criticized by a Massachusetts congressman and lampooned by Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert. Talisman Energy says "Talisman Terry's Energy Adventure" is no longer being distributed following a barrage of criticism. Critics called the coloring book's depiction of land before and after drilling overly rosy. The post-drilling image adds a rainbow and an eagle to the scene where the hydraulic fracturing drilling process took place. U.S. Rep. Ed Markey mocked the depiction of the "friendly Fracosaurus" in remarks last week on drilling safety. Colbert spoofed the book earlier this week. Spokeswoman Natalie Cox says the coloring book distributed in northeastern Pennsylvania has received more attention than it should have. ...


Those Yes-men are a hoot. No? Then, The Onion, surely.

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Sun, Jul 10, 2011
from DesdemonaDespair:
Fracking fluids poison a national forest
A new study has found that wastewater from natural gas hydrofracturing in a West Virginia national forest quickly wiped out all ground plants, killed more than half of the trees and caused radical changes in soil chemistry. These results argue for much tighter control over disposal of these "fracking fluids," contends Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The new study by Mary Beth Adams, a U.S. Forest Service researcher, appears in the July-August issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Environmental Quality. She looked at the effects of land application of fracking fluids on a quarter-acre section of the Fernow Experimental Forest within the Monongahela National Forest. More than 75,000 gallons of fracking fluids, which are injected deep underground to free shale gas and then return to the surface, were applied to the assigned plot over a two day period during June 2008. The following effects were reported in the study: * Within two days all ground plants were dead; * Within 10 days, leaves of trees began to turn brown. * Within two years more than half of the approximately 150 trees were dead; and * "Surface soil concentrations of sodium and chloride increased 50-fold as a result of the land application of hydrofracturing fluids..." These elevated levels eventually declined as chemical leached off-site. The exact chemical composition of these fluids is not known because the chemical formula is classified as confidential proprietary information. "The explosion of shale gas drilling in the East has the potential to turn large stretches of public lands into lifeless moonscapes," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that land disposal of fracking fluids is common and in the case of the Fernow was done pursuant to a state permit. "This study suggests that these fluids should be treated as toxic waste." ...


If the chemicals were applied where they belonged, a mile underground, they'd be no trouble at all!

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Fri, Jul 8, 2011
from GreenBiz:
How Shareholder Activism Moved the Needle on Sustainability in 2011
From fracking by companies such as Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Ultra Petroleum to greater use of recyclable cups by McDonald's and Starbucks, a host of CSR issues captured shareholders' attention and support this year, according to reports on the 2011 proxy season from As You Sow and Ceres. A record number of shareholder resolutions calling for companies to be more responsible in handling corporate sustainability challenges were filed, according to Ceres' report.... "The number of shareholders that actually realize they have power has been increasing and, overall, the number of votes have been increasing," Behar told GreenBiz.com. On matters such as natural gas fracking, the votes on resolutions clearly show that "shareholders are looking at issues and saying, 'This is really risky and the company has to do something about it,' " Behar said. ...


The new protest tactic is a good investment!

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Thu, Jul 7, 2011
from Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Pennsylvania fracking water being disposed in Ohio
Pennsylvania's waste is becoming Ohio's million-dollar treasure. Marcellus shale drillers are shipping more fracking waste to the Buckeye State, on pace for Ohio to bank nearly $1 million in fees this year from out-of-state drillers pumping hazardous fluids deep under Ohio. The amount of wastewater Ohio accepted from out-of-state drillers jumped 25 percent in the first quarter, compared to the last quarter of 2010, likely in part because Pennsylvania officials this year increased pressure on drillers to keep fracking waste out of surface water, said Tom Tomastik of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Drillers "have to do something with this waste," said Pam Melott, manager at WTC Gas Field Services in Indiana County, one of several haulers newly registered to ship to Ohio. "There's a lot of prospective customers. Our customers have called me and they want to know, 'What are we going to do?' ... So, yes, they're very interested in this."... More haulers are registering to carry shipments to Ohio, and one developer is considering a rail line covering several hundred miles, Tomastik said.... Drillers were taking some of it to plants that treated it, then dumped it into rivers. The Pennsylvania DEP in August set stricter standards for the amount of solids those plants could allow in treated water. This spring, the agency asked drillers to stop taking Marcellus water to those plants, sparking the search for options.... Some water used in shale gas drilling won't be recycled, usually because there's no place to use it or no convenient place to recycle it. That water is distilled into a highly concentrated brine and that goes to underground disposal wells, said Matt Pitzarella, spokesman for Texas-based Range Resources, which has offices in Cecil.... In the second half of last year, drillers produced almost as much liquid waste -- 5.3 million barrels -- and started sending more than 6.6 percent of their waste to injection disposal wells, all in Ohio. ...


Injection wells kick ass, in the race to the bottom.

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Thu, Jun 30, 2011
from Grist:
In the worst drought in Texas history, 13.5 billion gallons of water used for fracking
Texas is experiencing the driest eight-month period in its recorded history. But in 2010, natural gas companies used 13.5 billion gallons of fresh water for hydraulic fracturing, and that could more than double by 2020. Where's all this water coming from? Oh, it was just lying around, in these aquifers! You guys weren't using it to drink or irrigate or anything, right? Guys? Crockett County, Tx., near San Angelo (which you probably also haven't heard of, but it's not near much else), has gotten less than two inches of rain since October. But water for fracking could soon make up 25 percent of the county's water usage, according to its groundwater conservation manager. Fracking takes between 50,000 and 4 million gallons for a single well, on average, and could take as many as 13 million gallons. And most of that water is gone for good -- 75 percent of it can't be recovered. ...


Think we slow down business just because of drought? You don't know Texas!

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Sun, Jun 26, 2011
from New York Times:
Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush
Natural gas companies have been placing enormous bets on the wells they are drilling, saying they will deliver big profits and provide a vast new source of energy for the United States. But the gas may not be as easy and cheap to extract from shale formations deep underground as the companies are saying, according to hundreds of industry e-mails and internal documents and an analysis of data from thousands of wells. In the e-mails, energy executives, industry lawyers, state geologists and market analysts voice skepticism about lofty forecasts and question whether companies are intentionally, and even illegally, overstating the productivity of their wells and the size of their reserves.... "Money is pouring in" from investors even though shale gas is "inherently unprofitable," an analyst from PNC Wealth Management, an investment company, wrote to a contractor in a February e-mail. "Reminds you of dot-coms." "The word in the world of independents is that the shale plays are just giant Ponzi schemes and the economics just do not work," an analyst from IHS Drilling Data, an energy research company, wrote in an e-mail on Aug. 28, 2009. ...


Madoff... Enron... Disaster Capitalism... Inverse Credit Default Swaps... what is the best comparator?

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Sun, Jun 26, 2011
from AP, via PhysOrg:
Sportsmen monitor gas drilling in Marcellus Shale
A new coalition of outdoors groups is emerging as a potent force in the debate over natural gas drilling. The Sportsmen Alliance for Marcellus Conservation isn't against the process of fracking for gas, but its members want to make sure the rush to cash in on the valuable resource doesn't damage streams, forests, and the various creatures that call those places home. The movement grew out of grass-roots anger as passionate outdoorsmen found their questions about drilling and wildlife brought few answers from local or state officials. "Either we didn't get a response or the answer we got didn't seem feasible or acceptable. It didn't seem like the people who were in charge had their pulse on what was actually happening," said Ken Dufalla of Clarksville, Pa.... Already, preliminary water testing by sportsmen is showing consistently high levels of bromides and total dissolved solids in some streams near fracking operations, Dufalla said. Bromide is a salt that reacts with the chlorine disinfectants used by drinking water systems and creates trihalomethanes.... Dufalla stands alongside Whiteley Creek, a little mountain stream in Greene County. But something is wrong. The grass is lush and the woods are green, but the water is cloudy and dead-looking. "It used to be a nice stream," teeming with minnows, crawfish and other aquatic life, he told The Associated Press. No more, said Dufalla, a former deputy game and fish warden for Pennsylvania. He's worried that nearby gas drilling has damaged the creek, either from improper discharges of waters used in fracking, or from extensive withdrawals of water. ...


Fracking makes strange Earthfellows.

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Tue, Jun 14, 2011
from change.org:
Calls Escalate for a US National Fracking Ban
America's early fracking frenzy has subsided into a rolling boil of controversy in states where the controversial natural gas drilling technique now threatens to expand its reach. Seeing the disaster that fracking has become in places like Texas and Pennsylvania, citizens and environmentalists are pushing state legislatures and the U.S. Congress to stop it now. This doesn't mean wait-and-see. This doesn't mean letting drillers frack-up more rivers and aquifers, and then regulate later. This means, Ban fracking now. Food & Water Watch has launched a campaign on Change.org asking Congress to do just that. They are already gaining momentum around the country, and have released a report today making their case.... More than 1,000 cases of water contamination have already been reported near fracking sites, and in the past 18 months, at least 10 studies by scientists, Congress, investigative journalists and public interest groups have documented environmental problems with fracking, according to Food & Water Watch. ...


You can't tell us what to do. We own you.

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Sat, May 28, 2011
from Reuters:
Big oil companies face growing concern on fracking
Large blocks of investors in the two biggest U.S. oil companies on Wednesday demanded more disclosure about the environmental risks of extracting oil and gas through hydraulic fracturing. Exxon Mobil Corp defended the practice at its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, even as investors peppered Chief Executive Rex Tillerson with concerns and questions about it. A proposal requiring more disclosure by Exxon on the impact of "fracking" received about 30 percent of the votes by shareholders in the world's largest publicly traded oil company. At rival Chevron Corp, which became heavily involved in fracking through a recent acquisition, 41 percent of shareholders backed a similar resolution. "Breaking 40 percent on a first year resolution has only happened a few times in the last few decades, so it shows how seriously the company's shareholders are taking this issue," said Michael Passoff, who focuses on fracking at San Francisco-based corporate responsibility group As You Sow.... However, Passoff said even regulators acknowledge that the current regulation by states is inadequate. ...


It's as if stockholders recognized a potential liability from pumping toxics willy-nilly into shattered subterranean layers. Can it be so?

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Fri, May 13, 2011
from Post Carbon Institute, via Huffington Post:
Natural Gas Revolution Is Overblown, Study Says
A veritable explosion in the number of natural gas wells in the United States in the late 2000's resulted in only modest gains in production, a new study finds, suggesting that the promise of natural gas as a bountiful and economical domestic fuel source has been wildly oversold. The findings, part of a broader analysis of natural gas published Thursday by the Post Carbon Institute, an energy and climate research organization in California, is one of a growing number of studies to undermine a natural gas catechism that has united industry, environmental groups and even the Obama White House in recent years.... But the actual productivity profile of new, unconventional wells -- often tapped at tremendous expense -- is far less clear than is normally portrayed, Hughes said. Studies at existing fields, or plays, suggest that many shale wells tend to be highly productive in their first year, and then decline steeply -- sometimes by as much as 80 percent or more -- after that, requiring new wells to be plumbed.... If that's the case, Hughes said, then those hoping that the shale gas boom might one day provide enough natural gas to replace coal for electricity generation, or oil as a transportation fuel, will be sadly disappointed. Indeed, he said, the number of new wells that would be needed to meet these goals would create a dystopian landscape of well pads and gas pipelines that few people would want to inhabit. ...


If energy was too cheap to meter, who knows what I'd put up with.

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Wed, May 11, 2011
from Philadelphia Inquirer:
Duke study finds methane in well water near gas drilling sites
A Duke University study has found that methane levels in private water wells are, on average, 17 times higher when within 1,000 yards of a natural gas drilling site. Of 60 wells that the researchers tested for methane in northeastern Pennsylvania and New York, they found the gas in 85 percent. When they fingerprinted the methane - comparing the chemistry of the methane in the wells with that from natural gas wells in the region - "the signatures matched," said Robert Jackson, a professor at Duke and a study author. "At least some homeowners who claim that their wells were contaminated by shale gas extraction appear to be right," he said. ...


Methinks methane is metoxic.

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Fri, May 6, 2011
from The Telegraph:
All the pro-growth pro-fracking implicit denier arguments rolled into one
... As Dyson puts it in his foreword: Because of shale gas, the air in Beijing will be cleaned up as the air in London was cleaned up sixty years ago. Because of shale gas, clean air will no longer be a luxury that only rich countries can afford. Because of shale gas, wealth and health will be distributed more equitably over the face of our planet.... And hey presto, before the shale gas industry can properly take off the image has already been planted in a susceptible public's brain: shale gas is bad because it involves a process called "fracking", which sounds unnatural and frightening and a bit swear-wordy, and because it involves gas leaks into the water table and methane leaks into the atmosphere or something like that, and because all the "experts" say it ought to be investigated further (ie delayed indefinitely) on the "precautionary principle." We have been here before, haven't we?... [I write to] remind you of the horrendous socio-political crisis we in the free world are facing today: one in which economic progress and commonsense threaten to be undermined at every turn by an insidious, mendacious and terrifyingly powerful global green movement which has its tentacles in almost every pie from the Obama administration to David Cameron's Coalition to the EU to the UN to the MSM to the schools, universities and NGOs. The ideology of these Watermelons has virtually nothing to do with saving the environment (if it were, they'd be embracing shale gas wholesale) and almost everything to do with an instinctive loathing for economic growth combined with a bullying, puritanical urge to impose energy policy by diktat rather than by allowing the market to decide the most effective method. ...


We can grow forever, shit in our sink, use up our savings, buy on credit, and consume everything we desire. Best of all, there are no consequences!

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Fri, Apr 22, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
Drilling fluid gushes from northern Pa. gas well
A blowout at a natural gas well in rural northern Pennsylvania spilled thousands of gallons of chemical-laced water Wednesday, contaminating a stream and leading officials to ask seven families who live nearby to evacuate as crews struggled to stop the gusher. Chesapeake Energy Corp. lost control of the well site near Canton, in Bradford County, around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, officials said. Tainted water flowed from the site all day Wednesday, though by the mid-afternoon, workers had managed to divert the extremely salty water away from the stream. ...


Sounds like that gas well... had gas.

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Thu, Apr 21, 2011
from Guardian:
Fossil fuel firms use 'biased' study in massive gas lobbying push
Senior executives in the fossil fuel industry have launched an all-out assault on renewable energy, lobbying governments and business groups to reject wind and solar power in favour of gas, in a move that could choke the fledgling green energy industry. Multinational companies including Shell, GDF Suez and Statoil are promoting gas as an alternative "green" fuel. These companies are among dozens around the world investing in new technologies to exploit shale gas, a controversial form of the fuel that has rejuvenated the gas industry because it is plentiful in supply and newly accessible due to technical advances in gas extraction known as "fracking".... Burning gas in power stations releases about half the carbon emissions of coal, allowing gas companies to claim it is a "green" source of fuel. Central to the lobbying effort is a report claiming that the EU could meet its 2050 carbon targets 900 billion euros more cheaply by using gas than by investing in renewables. But the Guardian has established that the analysis is based on a previous report that came to the opposite conclusion - that renewables should play a much larger role. The report being pushed by the fossil fuel industry has been disowned by its original authors who referred to it as "biased" in favour of gas.... For the last two months, company lobbyists have been besieging government officials in Europe, the US and elsewhere to push the report. Their efforts are being boosted through alliances with energy-intensive industries, which are joining in the pressure on government in the hope of securing cheap energy. ...


It ain't biased if I agree with it, and it makes me more money.

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Thu, Apr 14, 2011
from TreeHugger:
Oil Company Document Instructs Agents to Mislead Landowners About Drilling Dangers
Entitled 'Talking Points for Selling and Gas Lease Rights', the document implores its 'Field Agents' to mislead people about the risks of drilling, to omit important facts, and even, on occasion, to outright lie. Again, it's important to note that TreeHugger has not confirmed the authenticity of the document, nor have we identified which oil company it belongs to.... "Oil and Gas exploration and drilling is meeting increasing resistance from local community groups, so it is essential to contact land holders and acquire signatures before sentiment by environmental and other public organizations limits our ability to obtain access to private land for oil and gas development.... "Tell the landowner that all their neighbors have signed. Even if the neighbors have not, this often will push an undecided landowner in favor of signing.... ENSURE you tell the landowner that we use NO RADIOACTIVE materials. The radioactivity comes from natural sources in the ground and is released by the process, but don't tell them this. Most landowners will not know." ...


What they don't know, won't hurt 'em.

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Wed, Apr 13, 2011
from Greenwire:
Shale Gas Isn't Cleaner Than Coal, Cornell Researchers Say
Cornell University researchers say that natural gas pried from shale formations is dirtier than coal in the short term, rather than cleaner, and "comparable" in the long term. That finding -- fiercely disputed by the gas industry -- undermines the widely stated belief that gas is twice as "clean" as coal in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. The gas industry has promoted that concept as a way for electric utilities to prepare for climate change regulations by switching from coal-fired plants to gas.... "Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20 percent greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years," states a pre-publication copy (pdf) of the study... ...


Sounds like just another shale game to me.

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Tue, Apr 5, 2011
from ProPublica:
Deteriorating Oil and Gas Wells Threaten Drinking Water, Homes Across the Country
In the last 150 years, prospectors and energy companies have drilled as many as 12 million holes across the United States in search of oil and gas. Many of those holes were plugged after they dried up. But hundreds of thousands were simply abandoned and forgotten, often leaving no records of their existence. Government reports have warned for decades that abandoned wells can provide pathways for oil, gas or brine-laden water to contaminate groundwater supplies or to travel up to the surface. Abandoned wells have polluted the drinking water source for Fort Knox, Ky. [2], and leaked oil into water wells in Ohio and Michigan. Similar problems have occurred in Texas, New York, Colorado and other states where drilling has occurred.... The task of finding, plugging and monitoring old wells is daunting to cash-strapped state governments. A shallow well in good condition can sometimes be plugged with cement for a few thousand dollars. But costs typically run into the tens of thousands, and a price tag of $100,000 or more isn't unusual.... The vents and alarms are just part of life in Versailles. The mayor, James Fleckenstein, recently bought a house with two vents on the property and an alarm in the kitchen. "We've been living with this problem forever," Fleckenstein said. "People would have a vent in their yard burning 24 hours a day all year long, a one-inch pipe sticking out of the ground. People would put a coffee can and light it and it would just burn all the time." ...


Oh, right! We forgot to factor in time!

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Mon, Mar 28, 2011
from Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Ohio poised to take center stage in natural gas drilling debate as it considers tapping park lands
...geologists, energy experts and gas well drillers fully believe Ohio might be sitting atop a gold mine of natural gas embedded in the long-known, but only recently accessible shale deposit. They also are hopeful that those riches will soon be more available now that Ohio Gov. John Kasich favors and the legislature is considering allowing drilling companies on state park land to reach those deposits... The drilling and fracking questions are particularly acute in Ohio right now because of the state's financial woes and the promise that leasing of land for drilling could net untold millions of dollars, some of which could help cover a $500 million backlog in maintenance and repairs in the parks themselves. ...


I prefer we frack the wealthiest two percent instead.

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Fri, Mar 18, 2011
from Greenwire:
Christian Coalition Visits Hill for Energy Discussion
The Christian Coalition of America came to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, not to proselytize or discuss issues like abortion or gay marriage, but to talk about the United States' energy policy and the need to end the country's dependence on foreign oil....Announcing the event, the coalition said in a statement, "We believe that there needs to be a conservative discussion on a national energy policy that speaks to the values of energy independence, national security, prosperity, family and stewardship. That is why we are sponsoring this discussion."... Other speakers who addressed the group were C. Boyden Gray...Gray said, "The United States is drowning in substitutes for oil." He said the country must become more reliant on natural gas, which is plentiful in the United States, to become less dependent on oil. ...


That frucker Gray apparently hasn't been reading how frucked fracking is on the environment.

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Tue, Mar 15, 2011
from TEDX:
What you need to know about natural gas exploration
An astonishing 48 minutes of Dr. Theo Colborn, on the mechanics, engineering, resource use, health impacts, and environmental impacts of fracking and the natural-gas process. Wordy, nerdy, factual, but utterly straightforward. A natural-gas version of "An Inconvenient Truth." Scarier, in many ways, than GasLand, the Oscar-nominated documentary. ...


Toxic from top to bottom, side to side, inside and out. What's left?

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Wed, Mar 9, 2011
from ProPublica:
Former Bush EPA Official Says Fracking Exemption Went Too Far; Congress Should Revisit
When Benjamin Grumbles was assistant administrator for water at the Environmental Protection Agency in the George W. Bush administration, he oversaw the release of a 2004 EPA report that determined that hydraulic fracturing was safe for drinking water. Then he watched as Congress used those findings to bolster the case for passing a law that prohibited the EPA from regulating fracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act.... Whether it's hydraulic fracturing or any other type of practice that can have an impact on the environment, one single report shouldn't be the basis for a perpetual, never-ending policy decision. It wasn't meant to be a bill of health saying 'well, this practice is fine. Exempt it in all respects from any regulation.' I'm sure that wasn't the intent of the panel of experts, and EPA never viewed it that way. That's one reason why we were urging Congress to say 'look, if you are going to issue an exemption, ensure that it is not perpetual.' ...


The novelty of selective science to justify lucrative destruction has worn off.

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Wed, Mar 9, 2011
from ProPublica:
PA Dep't of Environment Protection Gets the Axe - Environmental Permitting To Be Streamlined
A budget proposal [1] released today by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett emphasizes jobs creation and looks to cuts in environmental protection and permitting as one way to save money.... But a quick glance shows that the Department of Environmental Protection will face reduced funding across the board, including in its water safety and water treatment programs. The state has been under pressure recently to reign in environmental damage from its fast-growing natural gas drilling industry, and has faced criticism--including in a 2009 ProPublica investigation [2]---for its inability to handle and safely treat wastewater produced from the drilling process. In response, the DEP has added staff, implemented stricter drilling rules, and begun permitting and building new and improved water treatment plants. That momentum could now change.... "Regulatory Reform:... In addition, the DCED secretary is empowered to expedite any permit or action pending in any agency where the creation of jobs may be impacted." ...


What a great job that would be!

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Tue, Mar 8, 2011
from Montreal Gazette:
Fracking will cause 'irreversible harm'
A geological engineering professor whose specialty is rock mechanics and hydrogeology says hydraulic fracturing to free natural gas from shale rock formations will cause "irreversible harm" lasting thousands of years. And the gas companies will be long gone, leaving behind costly remediation, Marc Durand said in an interview, suggesting the gas producers should be forced to establish a reserve fund. "The billions required would be much more than all the profits beckoning now," said the retired Universite du Quebec a Montreal professor. The circulating gas left behind will threaten the water Quebecers drink and could jeopardize agriculture, he said. The Utica shale field gas deposits between Montreal and Quebec City lie under some of the best farmland in the province.... The rock formations shattered by fracking will be "thousands of times more permeable," allowing the remaining 80 per cent of shale gas and underground water, 10 times more salty than sea water, to continue circulating, bubbling to the surface through the disused gas wells. Over time, methane could leak into the groundwater and gas leaks could gush, uncontrolled, into the air. ...


Why should we believe someone who's retired? If he's so smart, why isn't he rich? And besides, the economy.

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Sat, Mar 5, 2011
from DemocracyNow:
Leaked EPA Documents Expose Decades-Old Effort to Hide Dangers of Natural Gas Extraction
Efforts by lawmakers and regulators to force the federal government to better police the natural gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," have been thwarted for the past 25 years, according to an expose in the New York Times. Studies by scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on fracking have been repeatedly narrowed in scope by superiors, and important findings have been removed under pressure from the industry. The news comes as the EPA is conducting a broad study of the risks of natural gas drilling with preliminary results scheduled to be delivered next year. Joining us is Walter Hang, president of Toxics Targeting, a firm that tracks environmental spills and releases across the country, based in Ithaca, New York, where fracking is currently taking place.... And if we want to make this an honest process, if we want to make sure that this extraction mining is properly regulated, there's no better time than right now. We've never seen these documents before. I've been doing this work for 34 years. All of those internal communications, as you know, are excluded from Freedom of Information, so this is really a cornucopia of documents revealing how the EPA thinks. And that's how come, for the first time, we know what they wanted to do, to their credit, to protect the environment. And in fact, there's even one document that said that the authorities didn't want EPA to write down what their best hopes were, because if it ever came to light, the public could hold their feet to the fire to implement it. So this is a tremendous opportunity to regulate an industry that's really never been regulated before. ...


Why would we want to regulate things as if our lives depended on it?

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Fri, Mar 4, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Natural Gas Industry Dumping More Wastewater Into Rivers Than A Year Ago
Pennsylvania's natural gas drillers are still flushing vast quantities of contaminated wastewater into rivers that supply drinking water, despite major progress by the industry over the past year in curtailing the practice. Under pressure from environmentalists and state officials, energy companies that have been drilling thousands of gas wells in the state's countryside spent part of 2010 overhauling the way they handle the chemically tainted and sometimes radioactive water that gushes from the ground after a drilling technique known as high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.... But drilling in the vast, gas-rich rock formation known as the Marcellus Shale is growing so explosively that some of those gains are being erased by operators that still send their waste to plants that discharge into rivers.... By comparison, some 3.6 million barrels were sent to those same plants during the 12-month period that ended on June 30. That means that even with the recycling effort ramping up tremendously, more tainted wastewater is being dumped into rivers now than was the case a year ago. A total of 1,386 new gas wells were drilled in the state last year, up from 768 a year earlier. Thousands more well permits have been approved. ...


Is there any evidence that contaminants have been making us smarter?

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Wed, Mar 2, 2011
from New York Times:
Distilled fracking wastewater residue can be sold as road salt without regulations
Under federal law, hydrofracking enjoys a number of important regulatory exemptions or exclusions that are not applicable to most other heavy industries. While it is not exempt from all federal environmental statutes, some of the rules in these laws do not apply to the industry. For example, the waste produced by hydrofracking is not categorized as hazardous material under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (R.C.R.A.), the law governing hazardous waste. This series of e-mails, sent between September 2009 and February 2010, concern this point. Industry representatives ask state regulators whether their waste would still be exempt if they distilled it and sold the resulting salts for road application. State and federal regulators confirm that, no matter how it is handled, waste from the oil and gas industry cannot be classified as hazardous material. Asked about this e-mail exchange, a spokesman for the E.P.A. said in an e-mail, "Yes, gas brine road salts are exempt under R.C.R.A., which was passed by Congress in the 1980s. Currently, wastewaters associated from exploration and production of natural gas are exempt from federal hazardous waste regulatory requirements under R.C.R.A. These wastewaters are regulated under state waste management programs. The federal exemption extends to salts derived from these wastewaters." Asked about the R.C.R.A. exemption, Jamie Legenos, a spokeswoman for Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection, declined to comment. ...


Just think of the possibilities!

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Sun, Feb 27, 2011
from New York Times:
Regulation Lax as Gas Wells' Tainted Water Hits Rivers
The American landscape is dotted with hundreds of thousands of new wells and drilling rigs, as the country scrambles to tap into this century's gold rush -- for natural gas.... energy companies are clamoring to drill. And they are getting rare support from their usual sparring partners. Environmentalists say using natural gas will help slow climate change because it burns more cleanly than coal and oil. Lawmakers hail the gas as a source of jobs. They also see it as a way to wean the United States from its dependency on other countries for oil.... thousands of internal documents obtained by The New York Times from the Environmental Protection Agency, state regulators and drillers show that the dangers to the environment and health are greater than previously understood. ...


Seems we've been bio-fooled again.

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Sat, Feb 26, 2011
from ProPublica:
Hydrofracked? One Man's Mystery Leads to a Backlash Against Natural Gas Drilling
But in the spring of 2005, Meeks' water had turned fetid. His tap ran cloudy, and the water shimmered with rainbow swirls across a filmy top. The scent was sharp, like gasoline... In that process, called hydraulic fracturing, a brew of chemicals is injected deep into the earth to lubricate the fracturing and work its way into the rock. How far it goes and where it ends up, no one really knows. Meeks wondered if that wasn't what ruined his well. Meeks couldn't have foreseen it when he began raising questions about his water, but hydraulic fracturing was about to revolutionize the global energy industry and herald one of the biggest expansions in U.S. energy exploration in a century.... As a result, drilling was about to happen in states not typically known for oil and gas exploration, including Michigan, New York and even Maryland. It would go from rural, sparsely populated outposts like Pavillion to urban areas outside Dallas, Denver and Pittsburgh. Along the way, a string of calamitous accidents and suspicious environmental problems would eventually make hydraulic fracturing so controversial that it would monopolize congressional hearings, draw hundreds in protests and inspire an Academy-Award-nominated documentary produced for Hollywood. Louis Meeks, unintentionally, would be a part of that fight from the very beginning. His personal fight began with something simple: the energy industry's insistence that fracturing couldn't contaminate water. ...


That well-water smells just fine to me.

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Mon, Feb 21, 2011
from Charleston Daily Mail:
W.Va. Marcellus gas legislation ready for review
West Virginia lawmakers hope to focus this week on a single, catchall bill for developing the Marcellus shale natural gas field. The legislation up for review seeks to address industry needs, environmental concerns, and the rights of mineral and surface owners. The proposal would cover everything from applying for needed permits and drawing boundaries for drill sites to storing the large volumes of water needed to extract the gas. Operators face $10,000 permit fees in the bill, along with paying $100 annually for the water storage impoundments. The measure also increases potential civil penalties, from a maximum of $2,500 to one of $10,000. ...


Gee, I wonder whose needs will come first?

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Wed, Feb 16, 2011
from Politico:
Greens sour on natural gas
Whatever happened to the romance between the environmental lobby and natural gas? After years of basking in a green glow as the cleanest fossil fuel and a favorite short-term choice to replace cheap-but-dirty coal, gas now finds itself under attack from environmentalists, filmmakers and congressional Democrats -- and even from some scientists who raise doubts about whether its total emissions are as climate-friendly as commonly believed. Case in point: the Sierra Club, whose former executive director, Carl Pope, has spoken warmly in recent years about gas as an alternative to coal in power plants. Now, the group is considering calling for natural gas to be phased out by 2050 -- about 20 years after it wants coal eliminated. ...


No coal... no natural gas... How will we fuel our lifestyle, with farts?

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Mon, Feb 14, 2011
from The Columbus Dispatch:
Ohio EPA tries to limit brine dumps in rivers
Fast-growing interest in natural-gas drilling could create a flood of cash for Ohio cities eager to treat wastewater used to coax the gas from deep inside Utica and Marcellus shale. But what's good for the cities might be bad for the state. The process could pollute Ohio streams and rivers, environmental officials say.... With the new drilling technique, called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," drillers shoot millions of gallons of water laced with industrial chemicals down the wells to break the shale and release the gas. About 15 percent of the water shot down the well comes back up, tainted with salt and hazardous metals that can include barium, cadmium and chromium. After the initial surge of "flow back" water, wells continue to produce brine that contains even higher concentrations of salt, metals and minerals. ...


Brine sounds like a goldmine.

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Fri, Feb 11, 2011
from ecohearth:
Abandoned Oil Wells: The Coming Environmental Disaster of Epic Proportions
Failed gas and oil well capping technology and lax oversight make tens of millions of abandoned oil and gas wells ecological landmines. A three-month EcoHearth.com investigation has revealed this developing environmental catastrophe that almost no one is paying attention to and which gravely threatens ecosystems worldwide. There are at minimum 2.5 million abandoned oil and gas wells, none permanently capped, littering the US, and an estimated 20-30 million globally. There is no known technology for securely sealing these tens of millions of abandoned wells. Many--likely hundreds of thousands--are already hemorrhaging oil, brine and greenhouse gases into the environment. Habitats are being fundamentally altered. Aquifers are being destroyed. Some of these abandoned wells are explosive, capable of building-leveling, toxin-spreading detonations. And thanks to primitive capping technologies, virtually all are leaking now--or will be. Largely ignored by both industry and governments, this problem has been growing for 150 years--since the first oil wells were drilled. Each abandoned well is an environmental disaster waiting to happen. The triggers include accidents, earthquakes, natural erosion, re-pressurization (either spontaneous or precipitated by fracking) and, simply, time. ...


I'm sure the oil companies are on it.

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Thu, Feb 10, 2011
from Associated Press:
New drilling method opens vast oil fields in US
new drilling technique is opening up vast fields of previously out-of-reach oil in the western United States, helping reverse a two-decade decline in domestic production of crude. Companies are investing billions of dollars to get at oil deposits scattered across North Dakota, Colorado, Texas and California. By 2015, oil executives and analysts say, the new fields could yield as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day -- more than the entire Gulf of Mexico produces now.... Environmentalists fear that fluids or wastewater from the process, called hydraulic fracturing, could pollute drinking water supplies. ...


Whew! We can remain addicted to oil after all!

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Wed, Feb 9, 2011
from Reuters:
Buffalo, NY bans hydraulic fracturing
The city of Buffalo, New York, banned the natural gas drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing on Tuesday, a largely symbolic vote that demonstrates concern about potential harm to groundwater from mining an abundant energy source. The city council voted 9-0 to prohibit natural gas extraction including the process known as "fracking" in which chemicals, sand and water are blasted deep into the earth to fracture shale formations and allow gas to escape. The ordinance also bans storing, transferring, treating or disposing of fracking waste within the city. ...


Frack you, natural gas industry!

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Tue, Feb 1, 2011
from Reuters:
U.S. fracking firms may have broken enviromental law: probe
Several energy companies may have violated environmental rules by injecting diesel into the ground without permits as part of a controversial natural gas drilling technique, according to findings from Congressional probe released on Monday. The probe of diesel use in hydraulic fracturing, a practice that has allowed drillers to tap abundant shale gas, found that oil services firms such as Halliburton and BJ Services, which was bought by Baker Hughes Inc, injected millions of gallons of fluids containing the fuel into wells between 2005 and 2009. A total of 12 companies were cited in the probe for using diesel without proper permits.... Halliburton said there are currently no federal requirements that companies obtain permits for the use of diesel in fracking and therefore it does not believe its "activities have resulted in a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act or any other federal environmental law." ...


Just call it "carbon sequestration," guys, and then you'll get a tax break!

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Wed, Jan 26, 2011
from ProPublica:
Climate Benefits of Natural Gas May Be Overstated
The United States is poised to bet its energy future on natural gas as a clean, plentiful fuel that can supplant coal and oil. But new research by the Environmental Protection Agency -- and a growing understanding of the pollution associated with the full "life cycle" of gas production -- is casting doubt on the assumption that gas offers a quick and easy solution to climate change. Advocates for natural gas routinely assert that it produces 50 percent less greenhouse gases than coal and is a significant step toward a greener energy future. But those assumptions are based on emissions from the tailpipe or smokestack and don't account for the methane and other pollution emitted when gas is extracted and piped to power plants and other customers. The EPA's new analysis doubles its previous estimates for the amount of methane gas that leaks from loose pipe fittings and is vented from gas wells, drastically changing the picture of the nation's emissions that the agency painted as recently as April. ...


Can we at least still call it natural?

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Thu, Nov 25, 2010
from Scripps Howard:
Rural residents say natural gas drilling has tainted their drinking water
Wetzel County, W. Va. -- When the horses stopped drinking, residents here became convinced of their worst suspicions. The water had gone bad. Bonnie Hall's eight horses take a lot of water. Fifteen gallons a day, each. Hall was puzzled the November 2008 day the horses left their water bucket untouched... the horses' drinking water -- drawn from a 300-foot well -- smells like an industrial-strength cleaning solvent... At the center of their grievance is a natural gas-drilling process called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." It uses millions of gallons of water, mixed with sand and toxic chemicals, to blast open underground rock formations that contain natural gas. Drilling companies insist that the fluids they use stay securely underground or are captured cleanly when they come back up through the well. But Hall and her neighbors are convinced otherwise. ...


You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink it if it's fracked up!

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Wed, Oct 27, 2010
from ScienceDaily:
Uranium in Groundwater? 'Fracking' Mobilizes Uranium in Marcellus Shale
Scientific and political disputes over drilling Marcellus shale for natural gas have focused primarily on the environmental effects of pumping millions of gallons of water and chemicals deep underground to blast through rocks to release the natural gas. But University at Buffalo researchers have now found that that process -- called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking"-- also causes uranium that is naturally trapped inside Marcellus shale to be released, raising additional environmental concerns.... "Marcellus shale naturally traps metals such as uranium and at levels higher than usually found naturally, but lower than manmade contamination levels," says Tracy Bank, PhD, assistant professor of geology in UB's College of Arts and Sciences and lead researcher. "My question was, if they start drilling and pumping millions of gallons of water into these underground rocks, will that force the uranium into the soluble phase and mobilize it? Will uranium then show up in groundwater?" ...


Oh, Cassandra, will you fracking shut up?

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Tue, Oct 12, 2010
from Philadelphia Inquirer:
Philly academy study finds gas drilling threatens streams
A preliminary study by Academy of Natural Sciences researchers suggests that even without spills or other accidents, drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania's rich Marcellus Shale formation could degrade nearby streams. The researchers compared watersheds where there was no or little drilling to watersheds where there was a high density of drilling, and found significant changes. Water conductivity, an indicator of contamination by salts that are a component of drilling wastewater, was almost twice as high in streams with high-density drilling. Populations of salamanders and aquatic insects, animals sensitive to pollution, were 25 percent lower in streams with the most drilling activity. ...


Streams are nothing but wannabe rivers.

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Thu, Sep 9, 2010
from ProPublica:
Do "Environmental Extremists" Pose Criminal Threat to Gas Drilling?
As debate over natural gas drilling [1] in the Marcellus shale reaches a fever pitch, state and federal authorities are warning Pennsylvania law enforcement that "environmental extremists" pose an increasing threat to security and to the energy sector. A confidential intelligence bulletin [2] sent from the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security to law enforcement professionals in late August says drilling opponents have been targeting the energy industry with increasing frequency and that the severity of crimes has increased. ...


"Environmental extremists" = people who give a shit about the planet.

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Tue, Jun 8, 2010
from Associated Press:
Pa. halts drilling by company after gas accident
Pennsylvania regulators halted work Monday at dozens of unfinished natural gas wells being drilled by the company whose out-of-control well spewed out explosive gas and polluted water for 16 hours last week. The order against Houston-based EOG Resources Inc. will remain in place until the Department of Environmental Protection can finish its investigation and until after the company makes whatever changes may be needed, Gov. Ed Rendell said. he order stops EOG from drilling and hydraulically fracturing wells. It affects about 70 unfinished EOG wells into the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation. ...


Let's just stop drilling, period -- especially at the dentist!

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Wed, Apr 28, 2010
from GOOD:
On Fracking and Human Folly
The [Columbia Natural Gas] man described how they would get through the Devonian shale beneath Ingraffea's 70 acres using a method called hydraulic fracturing, and that it was very safe and the impact on the surface of his land would be minimal. Ingraffea didn't buy the woods with the small trout stream for the Devonian shale or natural gas reserves, so he was surprised--but not for the reasons the man at his door that day might have thought. Ingraffea has his Ph.D. in rock fracture mechanics and knows all about Devonion shale. He also knows all about hydraulic fracturing: He's been teaching courses on fracture mechanics at Cornell since 1977.... When fracking knocked on his front door that day, he knew it was also coming to his neighbors' doors, to his whole community around Ithaca. "I looked at my situation and said: Crap, I know a lot about what's going on here and I know that what's being told to the public is not the complete story. If I don't say something, I'm just like one of my bad examples." So, like a true professor, he made a PowerPoint lecture about it. In fracking, the actual splitting of the rock is only one part of a very large, very complex process. Ingraffea uses that word throughout his lecture: "large" (also "big," "huge," "immense," "giant"). Focusing on the fracking itself to determine the safety of a given mining operation, he says, is like looking at a generator to find out if an engine is good or bad. Yeah, it's a key part of the process, but it's also just that: one part of a very (you guessed it) big process. In order to hydraulically fracture, a company has to use certain chemicals--hydrochloric and citric acid, ammonium persulfate, dimethylformamide, petroleum distillate, potassium chloride..... Rather, Ingraffea suggests we use natural gas as a way to wean ourselves off coal, the dirtiest fuel we burn. But this, he says, points to the largest myth of all, the myth that "somebody's in control." We have, he says, "No national energy strategy, no oversight to maintain the standard of living while decreasing our impact on the environment, which should be the cornerstone of any energy policy." ...


I'm reasonably sure the Holy Ghost of the Invisible Hand is "in control."

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Mon, Apr 5, 2010
from Guardian:
BP fights to limit controls on shale gas drilling
BP is lobbying on Capitol Hill against a federal US environmental agency being given jurisdiction over the use of a controversial method of extracting gas from shale deposits, ahead of an important meeting this week. The London-based oil company wants decisions on drilling techniques such as hydraulic fracturing - which uses high-pressure liquids to force fissures - to be taken at state level, rather than being left to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose specialist committee meets on Wednesday to discuss its concerns. BP is also opposed to the public disclosure of the chemicals used in fracturing, on the basis that the information is commercially sensitive - something that will anger environmentalists, who are highly suspicious of the process. ...


This is no frackin' surprise.

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Wed, Feb 3, 2010
from Associated Press:
Gas drilling in Appalachia runs into resistance: What do you do with the wastewater?
A drilling technique that is beginning to unlock staggering quantities of natural gas underneath Appalachia also yields a troubling byproduct: powerfully briny wastewater that can kill fish and give tap water a foul taste and odor. With fortunes, water quality and cheap energy hanging in the balance, exploration companies, scientists and entrepreneurs are scrambling for an economical way to recycle the wastewater. ...


We could always bottle it.

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Sun, Dec 27, 2009
from ProPublica:
New gas wells leave more chemicals in ground
Three company spokesmen and a regulatory official said in separate interviews with ProPublica that as much as 85 percent of the fluids used during hydraulic fracturing is being left underground after wells are drilled in the Marcellus Shale, the massive gas deposit that stretches from New York to Tennessee.... for each modern gas well drilled ... more than three million gallons of chemically tainted wastewater could be left in the ground forever. Drilling companies say that chemicals make up less than 1 percent of that fluid. But by volume, those chemicals alone still amount to 34,000 gallons in a typical well. These disclosures raise new questions about why the Safe Drinking Water Act, the federal law that regulates fluids injected underground so they don't contaminate drinking water aquifers, should not apply to hydraulic fracturing, and whether the thinking behind Congress' 2005 vote to shield drilling from regulation is still valid. When lawmakers approved that exemption it was generally accepted that only about 30 percent of the fluids stayed in the ground... Ninety percent of the nation's wells now rely on the process, ...


Doesn't "aquifer" translate to "hairy water"?

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Mon, Nov 23, 2009
from Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
State is asking Barnett Shale drillers to voluntarily cut air pollution
State environmental regulators want natural gas companies to voluntarily emit less air pollution after tests showed high levels of a cancer-causing chemical near wells in the Barnett Shale gas field....Air samples showed significant levels of benzene in several locations. One sample taken downwind from a tank seven miles west of DISH showed a level of 1,000 parts per billion, which is more than five times the commission's short-term exposure limit of 180 parts per billion. That level is the equivalent of a person sniffing a can of gasoline, and it shows the need for more tests, including long-term sampling, Honeycutt said. A sample at another site found benzene at 500 parts per billion. Long-term exposure to benzene -- a year or more -- can lead to health problems including anemia, immune disorders and leukemia. ...


Sounds like a plan!

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Mon, Jun 29, 2009
from Durango Herald (Colorado):
Expert questions gas-drilling chemicals
The toxic chemicals used to extract natural gas from deep underground and process it are among substances creating a dizzying list of embryonic -- and subsequent -- developmental aberrations in animals, including humans, an environmental health analyst is set to say tonight.... "I'll be talking about what we know about the chemicals used in drilling for and production of natural gas," Colborn said by telephone from Paonia. "I won't talk about exposure, but I'll explain what we know about the health effects from the chemicals." A Durango nurse was sickened in July 2008 after she treated a gas-field employee who had cleaned a chemical spill near Bayfield. Bayfield is in the San Juan Basin, which includes much of the southern part of La Plata County, and is one of the largest gas fields in the country.... "The problem is non-disclosure on the part of the industry. They're not telling us everything," Colborn said. "We have limited information." ...


Hey, it seems fine to me!

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Tue, May 26, 2009
from Denver KUSA-TV:
Contamination concerns rise out of gas wells
..."We're starting to see complaints by people that live in the area," said Geoffrey Thyne, a professor at Colorado School of Mines. For years, Thyne has been studying the technique often used to remove gas from the ground. It's called hydraulic fracturing, or fracing (pronounced "fracking"), and it involves injecting chemical-filled fluid thousands of feet below the surface, which expands existing fractures in the rock and allows gas to rise. Allegations are now popping up across the country that fracing is contaminating groundwater and causing illnesses and environmental problems. But Thyne says no one can prove a link because no one outside the oil and gas companies knows what chemicals are going into the ground. "Without that knowledge, then there's always going to be some ambiguity or lack of positive assignment of responsibility," Thyne said. The oil and gas industry won the right to keep their chemical mixture secret in 2005, when the government exempted fracing from the Safe Drinking Water Act. ...


What's really freaky about fracing is the freakin' fibbing going on!

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Thu, Apr 30, 2009
from Shreveport Times:
'Frac' fluid kills 19 cattle
An unidentified substance that apparently flowed from a natural gas drilling site into a pasture is being eyed as a potential cause of the deaths of 19 head of cattle Tuesday evening, according to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.... Authorities believe the cows ingested the [milky white] liquid before dying. Tracks went to and from the puddles, a Caddo sheriff's office spokeswoman said. ...


Thank goodness that stuff would never get into groundwater! (Halliburton said so!)

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Mon, Oct 20, 2008
from The Intelligencer:
Well-grounded fears of aquifer depletion
But this year, as Palisades' well dropped to its lowest level, as housing and commercial development expanded, as quarry production continued and as natural gas drilling stood on the horizon in Nockamixon, Stanfield said homeowners should start taking notice. Stanfield, who volunteers as vice chairman of the Bridgeton-Nockamixon-Tinicum Groundwater Management Committee, said in the several years he has monitored water levels, the high school's well is at the highest variation he has seen — with the water level rising and falling. "It suggests that the aquifer they are drawing from is seriously stressed and there needs to be a review of how to respond to this," he said. ...


Water, water, once was there
now fewer drops to drink.


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Mon, Sep 1, 2008
from Gant Daily (PA):
Deep-well Natural Gas Drilling a Concern for State's Water Quality
Scientists have known for years the gas was there, but it wasn't until new drilling technology was developed that it could be extracted. This method uses hydraulic pressure to fracture the shale layer so trapped gas can escape. "Fracking, as they call it, can require several million gallons of water for each gas well, and some wells may be fracked more than once during their active life, which might span more than a decade," Swistock explained.... In other states, fracking water has been found to contain numerous hazardous and toxic substances, including formaldehyde, benzene and chromates. ...


We're fracking ourselves up. Again!

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