Wednesday, December 14, 2011

EPA Study: Ground Water Contamination “Consistent With" Fracking

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Activist Post

West Virginia’s The State Journal published a story today that you should read and share with others.

You might be familiar with news articles discussing the debate on hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” Fracking is controversial because of the risk it poses to supplies of water. The issue is really that simple.

The trickiest parts for us to decipher in all of these arguments are that they are tainted by both sides of of this debate.

On one hand, you have companies such as Chesapeake Energy who promote the practice because of their for-profit existence, citing safe practices and employing subtle and persuasive language. Even on the opposing hand, you have public organizations and governmental departments such as New York’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). I commend them for issuing the following statement on their website, in specific regard to fracking in the Catskill and Delaware watersheds:
This area [Catskill and Delaware watersheds] is also underlain by relatively thick sections of the Marcellus shale that is targeted for natural gas development. Natural gas development at the rates and densities observed in comparable formations will be accompanied by a level of industrial activity and heightened risk of water quality contamination that is inconsistent with the goals and expectations for an unfiltered water supply system. While DEP is mindful of the potential economic opportunity that this represents for the State, hydraulic fracturing poses an unacceptable threat to the unfiltered water supply of nine million New Yorkers and cannot safely be permitted with the New York City watershed.

I strongly urge anyone interested in exploring the issue further to watch the movie by Josh Fox, titled Gasland. Here is the trailer:



Do not get lost in the debate that the Executive Director, Nicholas “Corky” DeMarco, of West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association offers on the matter. He follows in the same pattern that other execs display in representing their companies. They seek to divert attention, and distract from the primary issues which are evident in the data presented against them. For example, DeMarco defers to a colleague’s comments in order to cast doubt on the credibility of contamination:
'He said they don’t have aquifers, they have pockets where water collects…Here in the Kanawha Valley, everybody’s well is generally in the same aquifer.  His explanation to me was that there, water pools up in pockets rather than in one formation that might go on for miles and miles and miles. Wells could be in totally different pockets.'
Furthermore, similar statements calculated to discredit the EPA’s findings were mentioned by Encana Oil and Gas.

Please take the time to visit and read Pam Kasey’s article, available by clicking HERE.


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1 comment:

Anarcho-Capitalist said...

I've seen Gasland and it provides compelling anecdotal info on water contamination. Aquifers should be treated with the utmost respect and care. Contamination of aquifers should be a criminal offense in some instances of negligence.

Having said that, nowhere in the anti-fracking movement (including Gasland) have I seen one explanation, or diagram that shows geologically how the fluids travel into the aquifer.

An aquifer can be contaminated simply be drilling a water well.

Drilling in the Bakken, which is at 12,000 ft, fractures tend to travel about 300 feet in the shale. It is highly unlikely that they travel upward because of bedrock.

Furthermore, 2,000 ft of surface casing is cemented in place to protect ground water from ALL types of breaches.

Until I see an explanation as to how the fluids migrate from a fracture, or bore-hole, into an aquifer, the anti-fracking movement appears to be co-opted, propaganda movement. It is highly effective because of the compelling issue of ground water contamination, which is a very real problem.

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