Buried Secrets: Is Natural Gas Drilling Endangering US Water Supplies?

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Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
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Buried Secrets: Is Natural Gas Drilling Endangering US Water Supplies?

Buried Secrets: Is Natural Gas Drilling Endangering US Water Supplies?

Thursday 13 November 2008

by: Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica

photo
A drill rig in Wyoming's Upper Green River Valley. (Photo: The Wilderness Society)

    In
July, a hydrologist dropped a plastic sampling pipe 300 feet down a
water well in rural Sublette County, Wyo., and pulled up a load of
brown oily water with a foul smell. Tests showed it contained benzene,
a chemical believed to cause aplastic anemia and leukemia, in a
concentration 1,500 times the level safe for people.

    The results sent shockwaves through the energy industry and state and federal regulatory agencies.

    Sublette County is the home of one of the nation's largest
natural gas fields, and many of its 6,000 wells have undergone a
process pioneered by Halliburton called hydraulic fracturing,
which shoots vast amounts of water, sand and chemicals several miles
underground to break apart rock and release the gas. The process has
been considered safe since a 2004 study (PDF)
by the Environmental Protection Agency found that it posed no risk to
drinking water. After that study, Congress even exempted hydraulic
fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Today fracturing is used
in nine out of 10 natural gas wells in the United States.

    Over the last few years, however, a series of contamination
incidents have raised questions about that EPA study and ignited a
debate over whether the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing may
threaten the nation's increasingly precious drinking water supply.

Ray Hewitt's picture
Ray Hewitt
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Re: Buried Secrets: Is Natural Gas Drilling Endangering US ...

What I don't get is what does benzene have to do with hydraulic fracturing? Maybe somebody can explain?

gyrogearloose's picture
gyrogearloose
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Re: Buried Secrets: Is Natural Gas Drilling Endangering US ...
hewittr wrote:

What I don't get is what does benzene have to do with hydraulic fracturing? Maybe somebody can explain?

Over all picture

It was believed to be one of the secret ingredients in the recipe of what they pump into the ground to achieve more effective fracturing. The companies wont tell what they are pumping into the ground, but some people tracked delivery of some of the chemicals to their depots by way of required HAZMAT transport documentation

People getting sick after drinking well water, with symptoms matching some of the secret recipe ingredients, one with a cancer child not talking now due to an undisclosed settlement...

You get the picture now ?

Now who did Julia Roberts play in a movie about something like this ?

Cheers Hamish

 

Ray Hewitt's picture
Ray Hewitt
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Re: Buried Secrets: Is Natural Gas Drilling Endangering US ...

Well then if EPA approved the process without knowing the recipe, that makes them just as culpable. If they did know the recipe, then they are equally as culpable. And especially since this is Haliburton, it's a reasonble assumption that EPA is culpable. Conclusion: EPA is culpable for criminal conspiracy. But of course it means nothing, because they are immune to prosecution.

The lesson not learned: regulators do not protect consumers; they protect big business.

 

switters's picture
switters
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Re: Buried Secrets: Is Natural Gas Drilling Endangering US ...

Not surprising in the least.  The Environmental Persecution Agency is just an oil and automobile industry proxy these days.  It's an absolute joke.  Let's hope Obama appoints someone who at least cares a shred about the environment.

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Stan Robertson
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Re: Buried Secrets: Is Natural Gas Drilling Endangering US ...

The EPA is famous for getting things wrong on environmental regulations on oil and gas exploration and production operations. The regulatory commissions of the various states do a much better job of protecting the environment. The premise that began this thread was that hydraulic fracturing operations posed a threat to the environment. This is highly unlikely. In every state there are regulations that require casing to be sealed below the level of the lowest fresh water bearing zone. The well bore is typically cased and cemented above the zone to be fracked. It is unusual for leakage of any contaminants to reach fresh water bearing zones. It is more likely that the benzene detected in the water got there from leakage in a nearby disposal well. All manner of toxic wastes and brines are routinely dumped into deep porous and permeable formations. Old disposal wells occasionally leak and this has resulted in some local salt water contamination of aquifers in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. As with all environmental contamination, this is regrettable and usually would be preventable, but such problems are usually very localized and not any kind of existential threat.

This web site has done a great service for us in explaining our impending economic hazards. It has been left up to us to become informed and to choose actions appropriate to our own circumstances. The same obligations should apply to the topics of global warming and other environmental concerns. It is pretty cleal that the author of the article that started this thread has no understanding of oil field procedures and regulations. Subsequent contributions to the confusion are not in the spirit of this forum.

 

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