Archives for posts with tag: fracking

From LinkTV:

An original investigative report by Earth Focus and UK’s Ecologist Film Unit looks at the risks of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. From toxic chemicals in drinking water to unregulated interstate dumping of potentially radioactive waste that experts fear can contaminate water supplies in major population centers including New York City, are the health consequences worth the economic gains?

Marcellus Shale contains enough natural gas to supply all US gas needs for 14 years. But as gas drilling takes place, using a process called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” toxic chemicals and methane gas seep into drinking water. Now experts fear that unacceptable levels of radioactive Radium 226 in gas development waste.

Fracking chemicals are linked to bone, liver and breast cancers, gastrointestinal, circulatory, respiratory, developmental as well as brain and nervous system disorders. Such chemicals are present in frack waste and may find their way into drinking water and air.

Waste from Pennsylvania gas wells — waste that may also contain unacceptable levels of radium — is routinely dumped across state lines into landfills in New York, Ohio and West Virginia. New York does not require testing waste for radioactivity prior to dumping or treatment. So drill cuttings from Pennsylvania have been dumped in New York’s Chemung and other counties and liquid waste is shipped to treatment plants in Auburn and Watertown New York. How radioactive is this waste? Experts are calling are for testing to find out.
New York State may have been the first state in the nation to put a temporary hold on fracking pending a safety review, but it allows other states to dump toxic frack waste within its boundaries.

With a gas production boom underway in the Marcellus Shale and plans for some 400,000 wells in the coming decades, the cumulative impact of dumping potential lethal waste without adequate oversight is a catastrophe waiting to happen. And now U.S. companies are exporting fracking to Europe.

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From

As of Monday, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) had received a record-breaking 20,800 public comments on the latest draft of its review of hydrofracking.

The document, called the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) has sparked a major public debate in New York.

But by Tuesday, the agency had its hands full with thousands of more comments arriving at the 11th hour.

The deadline for submitting a public comment to the DEC about hydrofracking is Wednesday, January 11th.

From Columbus Dispatch:

The long line of tanker trucks waiting to unload at the Devco No. 1 injection well shows that business is good at the underground-disposal site.

When energy companies need to get rid of the millions of barrels of brine — the salty, chemical-laced wastewater that comes out of shale-gas wells — they bring most of it to places like this.

At the Devco well, the brine is injected 8,900 feet below ground, where it is expected to stay forever.

The process has been used for decades in Ohio to dispose of wastewater from fractured and traditional gas and oil wells.

These days, more than half of the brine coming to Ohio injection wells is from the shale-gas fields in Pennsylvania, where drilling has been under way for several years. The disposal industry is expected to grow as Ohio’s shale is exploited.

After rejecting proposals to pass brine through city sewage-treatment plants and dump the wastewater into streams, Ohio officials decided that the state’s 170 injection wells should be the primary disposal method.

“We think they got it right,” said Tom Stewart, vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. “Put it back where it came from, or deeper.”

It’s a solution that doesn’t sit well with environmental advocates, who say there are too many questions about the chemicals in the wastewater and the amount that will be pumped underground.

Teresa Mills, director of the Buckeye Environmental Network, said she fears that brine will contaminate groundwater, if it doesn’t already.

“First of all, we don’t know all the chemicals that are going down there,” Mills said. “It’s out-of-sight, out-of-mind, and nobody follows it once it’s down.”

More.

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From Scientific American:

The French parliament voted on June 30 to ban the controversial technique for extracting natural gas from shale rock deposits known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the web sites of Le Monde and other French media reported.

The bill had already passed the National Assembly, the country’s lower chamber, on June 21, and on June 30 a Senate vote of 176 to 151 made France the first country to enact such a ban, just as New York State is preparing to lift a moratorium on the same method.

The vote was divided along party lines, with the majority conservative party voting in favor and the opposition voting against the bill, according to Le Monde. The Socialist Party, in particular, opposed the bill because it did not go far enough. The bill’s critics said that it left open possible loopholes and that in particular it does not prevent the exploitation of oil shale deposits by techniques other than fracking. An earlier version of the bill, which the Socialists had supported, would have banned any kind of development of the deposits, Le Monde reported.

Companies that currently own permits for drilling in oil shale deposits on French land will have two months to notify the state what extraction technique they use. If they declare to be using fracking, or if they fail to respond, their permits will be automatically revoked.

Fracking requires the injection of vast quantities of water and potentially hazardous chemicals into the ground to force the release of natural gas. The U.S. government is investigating the environmental impact of the technique, which critics say produces toxic waste and pollutes water wells.

From

“I was concerned before I heard all this,” said one resident at the end of the meeting. “Now I am terrified….” She had heard local scientist and world renowned author Sandra Steingraber explain that 40% to 70% water used in the hydrofracking process never sees the light of day again. “When you brush your teeth leaving tap water running, you are not “wasting” water in the sense that it goes into the sewage system and eventually enters a stream, a river, a lake or the ocean, evaporates, turns into rain and and falls to earth to facilitate life once again.” But the water frackers poison and then inject into the earth is gone…forever.” Steingraber, a biologist who has written extensively about environmental toxins, also expressed grave concerns about the level of carbon emissions and methane leakage which inevitably accompany large-scale industrial hydrofracking operations.

From

Hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – is a process used by energy companies to get natural gas out of the ground. Fracking involves forcing water, sand and chemicals underground to fracture rocks and release the natural gas trapped within them. But what happens to those chemicals once they’ve been injected into the ground?

That depends upon whom you ask. In a joint effort with ProPublica, the non-profit investigative journalist organization, Need to Know sent correspondent John Larson to Wyoming, where some residents believe fracking is contaminating their water and risking their health. Need to Know airs Fridays on PBS. Watch full-length episodes of Need to Know

From Times-Tribune:

A state environmental group is calling on lawmakers to restrict natural gas drilling near places people live, learn and work after it released a study Thursday showing hundreds of wells have been planned or drilled next to schools and hospitals.

The study by PennEnvironment found that Marcellus Shale gas wells have been permitted or drilled within two miles of 320 day cares, 67 schools and nine hospitals in the state, putting “our most vulnerable populations at risk,” PennEnvironment field director Adam Garber said.

State law restricts drilling within 200 feet of an occupied building regardless of its use, but local and state elected officials have introduced bills and ordinances to expand that buffer.

The PennEnvironment study found that the closest day care is 400 feet from a permitted well site, the closest school is 900 feet away and the closest hospital is half a mile away.

Although the study shows that a school and day care in Lackawanna County are each within two miles of permitted well sites, the permits for those wells expired without drilling taking place.

In Susquehanna County, wells have been drilled on Elk Lake School District property, and another well is permitted within 2,000 feet of a district school. In Wyoming County, Tyler Memorial Hospital is about a mile and a half from the closest permitted well.

The study did not look at the proximity of gas processing plants or compressor stations to schools, day cares and hospitals and it did not take into account traffic violations or accidents involving trucks operating near those facilities.

Mr. Garber said blowouts and spills at shale wells in the state demonstrate the hazards of the extraction process. A recent blowout of a Chesapeake Energy well in Bradford County that allowed toxic wastewater to reach a waterway was in a remote area, he said.

“God forbid it happen next to an elementary school,” he said.

More.

From Denton Record-Chronicle:

A mother directs her four children about the living room, helping each to comb through an assortment of papers, books, blankets and clothing. One child closes a cardboard box and carries it upstairs to a spare bedroom, already stacked high with boxes and plastic bins filled with shoes, craft supplies and keepsakes. The door to the adjacent room — the library — remains shut, the books since removed from shelves and poured into boxes that fill the room. More boxes spill out into the upstairs hallway.

In one of her rare trips upstairs to her boys’ room, Rebekah Sheffield notices a bottle collection that sits on the shelf. “I thought I told him to pack those up,” she huffs.

Since July, the Sheffields have been packing to leave their home in the country. They look forward to the day the house will be left in the rearview mirror. But outside, no moving truck waits in the driveway. No “For Sale” sign sits in the grass. The family has neither sold their home nor bought another.

They have nowhere to go.

Downstairs, boxes line the kitchen and sit atop shelves encircling the dining room. Nearly every crevice in their home has been filled with moving boxes, each neatly stacked and labeled with its contents.

The Sheffield family is packing up 15 years’ worth of belongings, collecting the items that can be stored away and keeping the necessities out, for now.

They want to be ready. They hope to move far away from Dish, far enough to escape the pollution. . . .

Each day, Dish officials estimate, about 1 billion cubic feet of gas travels through three metering stations, more than 20 major gas gathering pipelines and 11 compression plants that have been shoehorned into the town’s two square miles by energy companies.

The Sheffields are among many residents who have lodged complaints with local, state and federal officials about the noise and odors coming from facilities so loosely regulated that toxic emissions, whether the release is intentional or accidental, go unreported and uncounted.

When the wind blows from the compressor stations to the southeast and emissions are high — leaving a strangely sweet odor hanging in the air — those are the days Rebekah Sheffield and her family feel the worst. Her husband, Warren, frequently checks the readings of a new state air ambient monitor online. When the wind is blowing from the southeast, he often finds that the ambient air levels of the 46 toxic compounds being monitored are higher than normal.

“We know that we just can’t stay — for our health,” Warren Sheffield says. “Every day here we feel worse. Every day we’re a little bit sicker. We’re going to have to do something.”

Full article here.

From desmogblog.com:

In the United States and beyond, governments are praising the “clean, plentiful fuel” that is natural gas, and tout it as a viable alternative to oil and coal.  According to Abrahm Lustgarten at ProPublica, its advocates are calling natural gas a step toward a greener energy future due to the fact, they assert, that natural gas produces 50 percent less greenhouse gases than coal.

Josh Fox’s critically-acclaimed documentary Gasland tells quite a different story about the natural gas industry and its extraction process, called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.  As he journeys across the United States, he discovers the devastating environmental and health impacts of humans and animals in close proximity to gas wells, and realizes that the so-called “Saudi Arabia of natural gas” is causing more pain than it is worth.

After the release of Fox’s documentary, an oil and gas lobby group calling itself “Energy In-Depth” launched a public relations offensive against the film (apparently they didn’t like the footage of people lighting their tap water on fire).  As it turns out, the website of the lobby group was registered to a Washington, DC public relations firm called FD Americas Public Affairs (formerly FD Dittus Communications) whose clients included oil and gas lobby groups including the American Energy Alliance, run by former Republican staffers Eric Creighton, Kevin Kennedy and Laura Henderson.

More. . . .

Read more about hydraulic fracturing on Upstream Blog:

From Washington Post:

Shareholder groups have filed resolutions with major oil and gas companies urging them to disclose their plans for managing water pollution and financial risks associated with hydraulic fracturing, a technique used to extract natural gas from shale.

The resolutions announced Friday, filed with companies such as Chevron and Exxon Mobil, take aim at an increasingly common industry practice that has been blamed for tainting water supplies and land with chemicals.

Under hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, high-pressure water, chemicals and particles are injected deep underground to break up shale formations and release natural gas. Companies are turning to fracking because more-accessible deposits of natural gas have dwindled.

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The shareholder groups include the New York state pension fund, Domini Social Investments, Trillium Asset Management and The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. The resolutions called on the companies to recycle waste water, disclose the type of chemicals used in the operations and lessen their toxicity.

“This is really about enhancing the long term-value of these companies,” said Andrew Logan, director of the oil and gas program for Ceres, a coalition of investors and environmental groups that works with companies to improve their business practices.

“They want to see these companies succeed,” Logan said. “The industry’s ability to continue to develop shale gas reserves depend on the public’s acceptance of fracking that it’s safe.”

More . . .

Gasland is a documentary written and directed by Josh Fox. It focuses on communities in the United States impacted by hydraulic fracturing.

From CBS News: Gas drilling is linked to contamination in people’s drinking water and it’s dividing rural landowners. Armen Keteyian reports.

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