Author Topic: GIFile: Re: FRACK - W.Va. eyes fluid disclosure; quote from Lachelt  (Read 2021 times)

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Offline jujyjuji

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Re: FRACK - W.Va. eyes fluid disclosure; quote from Lachelt

Released on 2012-03-01 01:00 GMT
Email-ID    386876
Date    2010-03-09 00:33:32
From    [email protected]
To    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]


I don't know. Threaten the fluids' profitability, and they'll make more
money By leaving the US market. At least that is what I thought.

On Mar 8, 2010, at 6:22 PM, Kathleen Morson <[email protected]> wrote:

did we ever figure out who looses when nat gas companies agree to
disclose frack fluid ingredients? halliburton of course -- what are the
others? why does rex not care?


----- Original Message -----
From: "Joseph de Feo" <[email protected]>
To: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected],
"pubpolblog post" <[email protected]>
Sent: Monday, March 8, 2010 3:14:40 PM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: FRACK - W.Va. eyes fluid disclosure; quote from Lachelt

Lachelt raises the example of an Alabama requirement that coalbed
methane extraction use a toxic-free freshwater process as evidence that
industry could do better.

The Observer | House Bill Eyes Shale Gas Drilling
3 March 2010

by Glenn Scherer

The rush to tap vast natural gas reserves trapped in the Marcellus Shale
bedrock underlying rural West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio
has led to a heated regional debate concerning the safety of a
controversial drilling process known as a**fracking,a** or natural gas
hydraulic fracturing. Legislation introduced in the West Virginia House
by Delegate Tim Manchin, D-Marion, would begin to regulate the large
volume of water withdrawn for drilling and fracturing. It would also
require drilling companies to identify the contents of potentially
polluting frac fluids, and set up a system for tracking the disposal of
those fluids.

Fracking, combined with horizontal drilling, is a process by which
millions of gallons of water, mixed with a brew of chemicals and sand,
are pumped thousands of feet underground, then forced sideways for as
much as a mile, shattering bedrock strata, and thereby releasing natural
gas impounded there. High-end estimates say that there may be more than
500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas locked up in the Marcellus Shale,
enough to supply the entire United States for two years. The value of
the gas could be as high as $1 trillion.

Fracking in shale, say public health advocates, differs from traditional
petroleum fracking. The oil industry has been using freshwater for
decades offshore without concerns of chemical contamination of

At issue are safety claims made by the drilling industry, as compared to
a growing number of citizen complaints about polluted air, poisoned
drinking water, dead livestock, and an industrial infrastructure
inappropriate to rural and suburban landscapes. Fracking damage has been
reported in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas,
Louisiana, New Mexico, Kansas, Colorado, Montana, Virginia, Washington,
and Wyoming.

In September 2009, for example, in Dimmick, Pennsylvania an 8,000-gallon
gas drilling wastewater spill involving toxic frack chemicals caused a
major fish kill in Stephens Creek. Also in Dimmick last year, a home
drinking water well exploded after it was contaminated by methane from a
fracking operation. In 2007, a home blew up near Cleveland, Ohio, when
it was infiltrated by methane from a fracked natural gas well.

A catastrophic fish kill that wiped out all life on a 30-mile stretch of
pristine Dunkard Creek on the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border has also
raised questions about fracking safety. Though officials are still
uncertain as to the disastera**s cause, one source under investigation
is the improper disposal of contaminated frack wastewater.

Other U.S. communities have reported fracking problems. Last year, the
air above the little town of DISH Texas (pop. 181) turned so foul that
officials used one sixth of the annual municipal budget to fund an air
quality study. Findings showed that local air seriously violated state
carcinogenic and neurotoxin safety standards. Fumes are reportedly
rising from natural gas wells, compressors, condensate tanks and
pipelines a** part of massive fracking operations there, says the Denton

In Louisiana, also last year, 16 cattle died after a**apparently
drinking from mysterious fluid adjacent to a natural gas drilling
rig,a** according to the Shreveport Times. In 2008, in Hill County,
Texas, three landowners found their pristine drinking water wells
polluted with sulfates and toluenea**a gasoline additive and solvent
toxic to humans and animals. All three properties are adjacent to
fracking wells, reports the Fort Worth Weekly.

The potential for harm from fracking is not yet known. The concern is
that frack water, polluted with toxins, is left underground and could
over the years rise through strata to contaminate groundwater. The
problem, environmental advocates say, is that neither industry nor
government has done any long-term studies. What is known is that
aquifers once polluted are nearly impossible to clean up.

Other worries center around the millions of gallons of flowback water
that do return to the surface at each well, which must be treated as
hazardous waste because it contains toxic fracking chemicals, plus
toxins leached from bedrock such as benzene and radioactive materials.
Open pits, used to store wastewater, can leak into groundwater and also
cause air pollution. Toxic wastewater either must be trucked to already
overtaxed waste treatment plants for cleanup, or injected back

Finally, there are concerns about the pressures that the fracking
infrastructure places on communities. The tens of thousands of new
fracking wells planned for the Marcellus Shale will need acres each for
well pads, plus land for noisy air-polluting compressors, wastewater
tanks and pits, and miles of pipeline (which may leak) and new roads.
Rural homeowners who abut drilling sites compare the foul air and
constant roar of compressors to living in an industrial zone.

Oil and Gas Accountability Project Director Gwen Lachelt thinks the
industry isna**t looking hard enough for solutions, and notes for
example that offshore fracking wells, and coalbed methane wells in
Alabama are required to use a**freshwater fracka** when drilling, a
process that is free of toxic chemicals. a**So why doesna**t industry
use freshwater frack in shale drilling?a** she asks. a**The industry has
armies of engineers and scientists. I have all the faith in the world in
them that they can develop fracturing fluids that are not harmful to
public health and wildlife.a**

Fracking worries have resulted in a push in West Virginia, Pennsylvania,
New York and Ohio to strengthen state safeguards regarding fracking
operations. In Pennsylvania, a statewide debate is ongoing whether to
allow further expansion of natural gas drilling on state forestlands.

The West Virginia bill, should it become law, would give public-health
advocates what theya**ve been asking for, and what industry has been so
far unwilling to provide: a table of contents about what is in the
fracking fluids. The Bush administration had exempted fracking from the
Safe Drinking Water Act, allowing industry to guard fracking fluids as
trade secrets. Without a list of those chemicals, states and citizens
cannot know what toxins to test for in potentially contaminated drinking
water. This so-called Halliburton Loophole especially benefited Dick
Cheneya**s former employer Halliburton, inventor of the fracking

Some in Congress want to pass the FRAC Act (the Fracturing
Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Bill; S.1215, and H.R. 2766),
requiring drilling companies to make fracking chemicals public, and
allowing EPA to set fracking minimum standards for states to enforce.
The economic downturn has dimmed likelihood of FRAC Act passage this

Still, many in the natural gas industry resist revealing secret frack
chemicals. a**It is much like asking Coca-Cola to disclose the formula
of Coke,a** said Ron Heyden, a Halliburton executive, in testimony
before the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in 2008.

Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson speaking at a January 2010 congressional hearing
concerning the $41 billion merger of Exxon with XTO Energy (one of the
worlda**s biggest natural gas drilling companies), said he could support
revealing toxic frack mixes. He added that, by combining the hydraulic
fracturing and horizontal drilling processes a**we can now find and
produce unconventional natural gas supplies miles below the surface in a
safe, efficient and environmentally responsible manner.a** Exxon has
threatened to nix its XTO acquisition if Congress makes fracking
a**illegal or commercially impractical.a**

At press time, Del. Manchina**s bill was moving toward a vote in the
House. Senate passage remains uncertain.

A(c) 2010