An announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency could mortally wound the drilling practice known as 'fracking."
The EPA says it has proven that groundwater in Wyoming was polluted with chemicals injected into the ground to release oil and gas.
The draft report counters the claims by the mining industry that fracking does not pollute groundwater, the CBC reported today:
As part of the investigation, the EPA drilled two deep monitoring wells in the local aquifer and found synthetic chemicals, like glycols and alcohols consistent with gas production and hydraulic fracturing fluids. It also found benzene concentrations well above Safe Drinking Water Act standards and high methane levels in the deep wells.
The EPA also sampled drinking water from area wells and found chemicals consistent with migrations from areas of gas production in the drinking water, but stll below established health and safety levels. Nevertheless, health officials advised residents not to drink their water or use it for cooking.
"Given the area's complex geology and the proximity of drinking water wells to ground water contamination, EPA is concerned about the movement of contaminants within the aquifer and the safety of drinking water wells over time," said the draft report on the investigation released on Thursday.
This, of course, will not surprise groups in North Dakota (and elsewhere), who have battled frac operations...
In Texas, some well owners e don't need the EPA to tell them what they already know. They say when a frac mining operation split into a gas deposit, their water became flammable.
But the process also has increased domestic oil production and provided thousands of jobs, especially in North Dakota. In Duluth last week, a local newspaper heralded the process as a boost to the shipping industry.
And there's the battle. In one corner: damage to water and the environment. In the other corner: jobs.
I have a feeling that many jobs could be created through environmentally friendly practices as well.
I think a movie quote best sums up my reaction to this story:
I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
-- Claude Rains as Captain Renault in Casablanca(1942)
To anyone shocked by this, I have one question. Have you heard about the Lindbergh baby?
This is such a no-brainer I can't even begin to understand how anyone doesn't understand that this practice pollutes. They INJECT it underground, where do people think it then goes? Up above in the sky? And no, they don't recapture it! It is used precisely to cause an explosion in the bedrock-it is not contained.
The "battle" should begin to be framed for what it is - polluted environment with dirty jobs vs. non polluted environment with no jobs because politicians don't offer the same incentives to renewable energy development. I get so tired of that so called "battle" being framed for what it isn't.
"And there's the battle. In one corner: damage to water and the environment. In the other corner: jobs."
Bob, you're a lot smarter than that. You're presenting a false choice, and in doing so, furthering the interests of those who don't really give a flying intercourse about water and the environment.
I extract more from MPR :-)
I predict that the videos shown will be proved to be staged by environmental Nazis.
I'm perfectly willing to be wrong. But... been there done that.
Bob - I know you like to keep the discourse civil, but to allow "environmentalist nazis" to go unchallenged?
( Or do you simply allow the likes of ol' Duke to be hoisted on his own petard? :-)
You boys take it outside so the rest of us can have an intelligent discussion.
There'll be no further discussion on why and when I eliminate comments. I've made it perfectly clear on several occasions.
Fracking to get oil happens where the oil is- and in North Dakota the Bakken Shale is THOUSANDS of feet below the surface (think over 10,000). The issue is that they only have one hole to inject the chemicals in and those hole are usually only cased over the first hundred or so feet. This means if the aquifer you are using for water is BELOW the casing, then the chemicals can migrate into your well. I don't know all the ins and outs of fracking, but I would guess not letting them spill and casing (sealing the walls of the hole) further would prevent contamination in wells.
As for the videos- I have a hard time seeing that animals who live away from these wells are having worse health than the rough-necks who work on site for weeks at a time. Also, the garden hose proves nothing since you can hook a hose up to anything (like a gasoline tank). It should be noted that lighting water on fire happens naturally. I have seen videos of people I worked with in Montana setting monitoring wells on fire in coal regions. The coal also traps methane which can leak into aquifers and into the water- all without any input from 'man'!
Here's a 60 Minutes piece from last November which has other instances of people being able to light their drinking water on fire.
The ability for gas to get into aquifers has to have a conduit. It comes naturally from faults. Fracking is essentially creating fault conduits for fluids to flow. While fracking is probably responsible for most of the new water problems, I am curious what studies have been done to see how the water was BEFORE. I mean really, who lights their water on fire without a reason? In regions that have a lot of coal or gas shale without drilling or mining, I am curious if people can light their water on fire.
The thing that I hate about the industry is that the environmental laws aren't stricter and companies' #1 priority is money and they pass that on to their workers.