Tag Archive: hydro fracking


No Fracking Way in NC

Opponents to Fracking Disclosure Take Big Money From Industry

by Abrahm Lustgarten | ProPublica, Jan. 14, 2011, 2:46 p.m.

5:28 p.m.: This post has been corrected [1].

Congress isn’t going to regulate hydraulic fracturing any time soon. But the Department of Interior might. [2] For starters, Interior is mulling whether it should require drilling companies to disclose the chemicals they use to frack wells drilled on public lands, and already the suggestion has earned Interior Secretary Ken Salazar an earful.

On January 5, a bipartisan group of 32 members of Congress, who belong to the Natural Gas Caucus, sent Salazar a letter imploring [3] him to resist a hasty decision because more regulations would increase energy costs for consumers, suppress job creation in a promising energy sector, and hinder our nation2019s ability to become more energy independent.

A week later, 46 House Democrats followed up by signing a letter to Salazar [4] urging him to at least adopt the disclosure requirement because, as Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., said, communities across America have seen their water contaminated by the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process.

“The public has a right to know what toxins might be going into the ground near their communities, and what might be leaking into their drinking water,” said the letter [4], which was sent by the three initial sponsors of now-stalled legislation to regulate fracturing, Hinchey, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo.

In the context of todays roiling political and energy debates, its not at all clear who will win. But if money is an indicator, the anti-regulatory group has the upper hand.

A back-of-the-envelope analysis of campaign finance dollars contributed to the members of Congress who are speaking out on the issue shows that the Natural Gas Caucus received 19 times more money from the oil and gas industry between 2009 and 2010 [5] than the group who signed Rep. Hinchey’s letter. According to data from Open Secrets, the 32 members against disclosure received $1,742,572. The average contribution from the oil and gas sector to individuals from that group was $54,455. Oklahoma Democrat Dan Boren, who co-chairs the caucus, personally received more than $202,000, including almost $15,000 from Chesapeake Energy, one of the largest natural gas producers in the United States.

By comparison, the Hinchey-DeGette-Polis group which has 14 more people than the Natural Gas Caucus received $91,212 from the industry [6]. The average contribution to those members was $1,982, 1/27th the amount donated to members of the Natural Gas Caucus.

Requiring disclosure of the chemicals used to drill on federal lands would affect only a small proportion of gas wells drilled in the country each year roughly 11 percent, by the Department of Interior’s estimates. In 2009, 19,000 new gas wells were drilled, adding to the 493,000 gas wells already producing in the United States. According to Hinchey’s office, disclosure on federal lands would set an important precedent, because that information would become part of the public record and, when combined with state-based disclosure rules, would provide a great deal of useful information for those concerned with the risks these chemicals may pose.

Traditionally, the exact recipes of chemicals used in the fracturing process have been kept secret by the companies to protect their competitive advantage, and the fracturing process itself is exempt from federal regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The disclosure issue has become a rallying point against natural gas development in the United States because scientists have repeatedly said that they can’t thoroughly examine water contamination cases for links to drilling because they don’t know what to test for.

At least four states have already mandated some degree of disclosure of fracking chemicals: Wyoming, New York, Pennsylvania and Colorado. If federal lands are added to those states, then public disclosure of fracking chemicals would be required on roughly 40 percent of the gas wells in the United States. (It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact percentage because federal statistics don’t distinguish between oil and gas wells.)

The resistance to disclosure mandates on federal lands contradicts the public position of many of the oil and gas companies involved. Chesapeake Energy, the company that contributed so heavily to Rep. Boren, has repeatedly stated that it supports more transparency and believes the chemicals used in fracturing should be disclosed.

Nicholas Kusnetz contributed to this report.

Correction: The original version of this story represented a statement made by Rep. Maurice Hinchey about the letter he sent to the Department of Interior as a quotation from the letter itself. The story has been revised to make the distinction between his statement, and the letter.

Campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, 2009-2010

Source: Open Secrets [7]

To the: Natural Gas Caucus

Tim Murphy (R-PA)Co-Chair, Natural Gas Caucus $202,500
Dan Boren (D-OK)Co-Chair, Natural Gas Caucus $96,350
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) $57,500
Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) $0
John Shadegg (R-AZ) $12,400
Lee Terry (R-NE) $52,650
Dan Burton (R-IN) $2,600
Frank Lucas (R-OK) $48,350
Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)     $19,500
Jim Costa (D-CA) $59,900
Christopher Lee (R-NY) $16,650
Jason Altmire (D-PA) $10,450
Kevin Brady (R-TX) $91,400
John Fleming (R-LA) $121,650
John Sullivan (R-OK) $124,800
Bill Shuster (R-PA) $25,000
Sue Myrick (R-NC) $21,000
Rob Bishop (R-UT) $17,750
Glenn Thompson (R-PA) $55,072
Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) $89,550
Mark Critz (D-PA) $0
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) $7,000
Thaddeus McCotter(R-MI) $3,000
Denny Rehberg (R-MT) $35,550
Mike Conaway (R-TX) $132,100
Tom Cole (R-OK) $80,500
Gene Green (D-TX) $83,600
Wally Herger (R-CA) $7,000
Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) $49,900
Mike Coffman (R-CO) $44,250
Ralph Hall (R-TX) $48,750
Mike Ross (D-AR) $125,850
Total $1,742,572

Campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, 2009-2010

Source: Open Secrets [7]

To the: Hinchey-DeGette-Polis group

Maurice D. Hinchey (D-NY) $0
Diana DeGette (D-CO) $2,750
Jared Polis (D-CO) $0
Gary Ackerman (D-NY) $5,800
Barbara Lee (D-CA) $3,250
Howard L. Berman (D-CA) $0
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) $6,062
Lois Capps (D-CA) $0
William Lacy Clay (D-MO) $0
Steve Cohen (D-TN) $0
Gerald Connolly (D-VA) $4,500
Keith Ellison (D-MN) $1,750
Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) $0
Sam Farr (D-CA) $0
Barney Frank (D-MA) $0
Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) $2,500
Mazie Hirono (D-HI) $4,000
Rush D. Holt (D-NJ) $0
Michael M. Honda (D-CA) $1,000
Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) $0
James R. Langevin (D-RI) $0
Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) $2,500
Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) $7,700
Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) $9,500
Betty McCollum (D-MN) $0
Mike Thompson (D-MS) $5,250
James P. Moran (D-VA) $1,500
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) $15,100
John W. Olver (D-MA) $3,000
William L. Owens (D-NY) $0
John P. Sarbanes (D-MD) $4,050
Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL) $0
Jose Serrano (D-NY) $0
Jackie Speier (D-CA) $0
Fortney Pete Stark (D-CA) $0
Paul Tonko (D-NY) $4,000
Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) $6,000
Lynn C. Woolsey (D-CA) $0
Mike Quigley (D-IL) $0
Chellie Pingree (D-ME) $0
Jay Inslee (D-WA) $0
Bob Filner (D-CA) $0
Dale E. Kildee (D-MI) $0
Donna F. Edwards (D-TX) $1,000
Steven R. Rothman (D-NJ) $0
Adam Smith (D-WA) $0
Total $91,212

All but one of the hydraulic fracturing companies that received voluntary information requests in September have agreed to submit timely and complete information to help the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conduct its study on hydraulic fracturing.

Halliburton is the only one that failed to provide EPA the information necessary to move forward with the study so the agency issued a subpoena for the information. One week after EPA announced the subpoena, Halliburton announced a new microsite that, among other things, discloses some information about the identity and common uses of the additives and constituents generally involved in the hydraulic fracturing process.

EPA’s congressionally mandated hydraulic fracturing study will look at the potential adverse impact of the practice on drinking water and public health. The agency is under a tight deadline to provide initial results by the end of 2012 and, according to the agency; the thoroughness of the study depends on timely access to detailed information about the methods used for fracturing.

EPA announced in March that it would conduct this study and solicit input from the public through a series of public meetings in major oil and gas production regions. The agency has completed the public meetings and thousands of Americans from across the country shared their views on the study and expressed full support for this effort.

On Sept. 9, EPA reached out to BJ Services, Complete Production Services, Halliburton, Key Energy Services, Patterson-UTI, RPC, Inc., Schlumberger, Superior Well Services, and Weatherford, seeking information on the chemical composition of fluids used in the hydraulic fracturing process, data on the impacts of the chemicals on human health and the environment, standard operating procedures at their hydraulic fracturing sites and the locations of sites where fracturing has been conducted. Eight of those companies have either fully complied with the request or made unconditional commitments to provide all the information on an expeditious schedule.

The microsite introduces a new fracture fluid system that uses materials sourced from the food industry. The company’s new service will use ultraviolet light instead of additives to control bacteria and another system will treat wastewater at the well site so that it can be reused.

“Halliburton has just made available new web pages to emphasize our forthright disclosure of the additives and constituents that are used for several typical wells in Pennsylvania. We believe this effort represents an important and substantive contribution to the broader long-term imperative of transparency,” said David Adams, vice president of Halliburton’s production enhancement product service line.

While the initial focus of the disclosure pages are limited to activities taking place in Pennsylvania, where development of the Marcellus Shale is already well under way, the company is committed to continuing to provide hydraulic fracturing fluid disclosure information for every U.S. state in which Halliburton’s fracture stimulation services are in use, the press release stated.

Source: Environmental Protection

Source: by Marie C. Baca | ProPublica

Citing health and environmental concerns, the Pittsburgh, Pa., city council voted unanimously Tuesday to ban natural gas drilling within the city limits. It is the first such ban in a Pennsylvania city.

The 9-0 vote received a standing ovation, according to the Associated Press [1].

Pittsburgh sits on the Marcellus Shale, the gas-rich rock formation that has triggered a drilling boom in the eastern United States. The drillers use a technique known as hydraulic fracturing [2] or fracking, which shoots fluids underground at high pressures to release gas from bedrock. ProPublica has written more than 70 articles documenting the hidden costs of fracking [3].

The Pittsburgh bill was drafted by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit advocacy group.

“Commercial extraction of natural gas in the urban environment of Pittsburgh poses significant threat to the health, safety and welfare of residents and neighborhoods within the city,” the ordinance said. “[Drilling] allows the deposition of toxins into the air, soil, water, environment and the bodies of residents.”

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who has indicated he opposes the measure, has 10 days to review it before the ban goes into effect. If he vetoes the bill, six council votes would be needed to override him.

Yesterday, the city council in the Pittsburgh suburb of South Fayette passed a zoning ordinance that banned drilling in residential and conservation areas.

A FREE showing of the Sundance Award Winning Documentary film Gasland co-hosted by Clean Water for NC and the Granville Non-Violent Action Team (GNAT). The showing will include a brief discussion of how hydraulic fracturing for natural gas from deep deposits could effect your region of North Carolina and what action we can take to help prevent impacts to groundwater, quality of life and landscapes!

Bring a friend—it’s free and light refreshments will be available. Donations to help cover the cost of future showings and action are welcome, but not required. See you there!

For further information on the scheduled showings, please call Clean Water for NC (919) 401-9600 or GNAT (919) 575-5198.

HBO  aired “Gasland” in June, they have a very comprehensive slideshow from the documentary you can check it out here.

Would it surprise you to learn that Natural gas deposits, lie buried less than a mile deep throughout parts of Southern Granville, Durham, Wake and Orange counties? Moreover, according to Clean Water for NC, 14 counties in NC have  Natural gas deposits trapped in prehistoric geological formations aka gas shales. Why should you be concerned?

Here is why!

The process of Hydro-fracking is spreading all around our state, even our own NC state Sen. Richard Burr  supports it.

Its time to spread the word folks, we don’t want this here. Not now, not ever, No fracking way.

More to come.

Hydro-Fracking aka Hydraulic fracturing is an industry-wide process in which large volumes of unknown chemicals, water and sand are injected at extremly high pressure to extract natural gas from underground rock formations. Basically, the process creates fractures in bed-rock formations such as shale, allowing the natural gas to escape into a well for recovery. Once, thought of as a method of last resort, hydraulic fracturing is now the primary method used to extract natural gas and its use is literally exploding across the country.

Pa. Environmental Agency Butts Heads With Gas Drilling Company Over Towns Water Woes

by Marian Wang | ProPublica, 44 minutes ago

Residents of Dimock, Pa., whose water woes have been widely chronicled as a prime example of the hidden costs of natural gas drilling,  will get a safe and permanent water supply to replace their methane-contaminated wells, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced Thursday.

For about two years, Cabot Oil & Gas, a natural gas drilling company, has supplied drinking water to some Dimock residents after several private drinking wells were found to be contaminated with methane, the main component of natural gas. A few wells have exploded. The Pennsylvania DEP has said that Cabot is responsible for the problems and announced intentions to bill the company for the cost of an $11.8 million plan to construct a new public water line to serve these residents.

“We have had people here in Pennsylvania without safe drinking water for nearly two years,” said John Hanger, head of Pennsylvania’s DEP. “That is totally unacceptable. It is reprehensible. We have given Cabot every opportunity to resolve this matter.”

But Cabot has pushed back against the agency, taking out a full-page ad this week in several local newspapers and calling plans to construct the water system “unreasonable, unprecedented … and unfair.”

The company also issued the following statement:

Despite the fact that the company has presented overwhelming scientific evidence and historical documentation to the Pennsylvania DEP proving it is not responsible for methane gas migration to local water wells, the Pennsylvania DEP has chosen to ignore such evidence, preferring instead to base unprecedented and costly mandates on biased and unscientific opinions and accounts.

Pennsylvania’s DEP chief said earlier this week that the agency and the company would likely end up in court on this issue.

As we’ve reported, the agency fined Cabot $120,000 last fall after determining that water supplies were contaminated by methane gas leaked through Cabot’s faulty well casings. It was fined again in April for failure to address the problem of methane contamination. This time the fine was heftier 2014 a $240,000 penalty, plus $30,000 each month until the department determines that the problem has been properly addressed. It also ordered the company to permanently shut down some of its wells.

As we’ve noted, methane in drinking water itself isn’t necessarily harmful or dangerous, but it can be when it evaporates from the water and into people’s homes. If the gas becomes concentrated enough, it can ignite, even in water.

A private lab that tested water in Dimock found that water supplies in the areas affected by methane contamination were also contaminated by toxic industrial solvents including toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene, the Scranton Times-Tribune reported earlier this month.

A group of Dimock residents 2014 among them, a former Cabot employee and several residents whose wells had caught fire 2014 filed a lawsuit last year against the company for the contamination and the health risks it could pose to them.

Cabot mentioned the lawsuit in its ad this week, adding that it “does not believe it caused these conditions and intends to fight these allegations through its scientific findings.”

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