Saturday, June 1, 2013

A SILENT DEATH

Fracking: A Silent Death Sweeps Across the World

Fracking
15th May 2013

Farmland is tainted. Drinking water is flammable. And humans along with animals are sick.
The cause? Fracking.

It’s terrorizing the environment, destroying the health of those who live close to the sites and contaminating the food supply. With more than 600,000 fracking wells and waste injection locations around the country, if this practice is not contained soon, clean water and food will become a distant memory.

Fracking 101

What exactly is fracking? It’s a technique used by the oil industry to facilitate the flow of natural gas or petroleum by injecting mass amounts of noxious liquid deep into the earth. The chemicals used in fracking (benzene, arsenic, ethylene glycol, lead, formaldehyde, toluene, Uranium-238, Radium-226, to name a few) devastate the land and water within proximity to the poisonous injection sites. Even more alarming, the toxins are also linked with birth defects, cancer, autism, kidney failure and autoimmune disorders.

Water on Fire

One of the more dramatic illustrations of fracking contamination is water catching fire straight our of the faucet. Seriously. The methane levels are so high, tap water becomes combustible. Not only does fracking ruin the land and water, but it also infuses livestock and plants with toxins that eventually enter into the food supply. Farmers who live close to fracking wells have become seriously ill, animals die.

One example is seen with Marilyn and Robert Hunt, farmers in West Virginia. Goats, chickens and cattle are raised on their 70-acre organic farm. The Hunts turned down an offer from the Chesapeake Energy Corporation to lease their minerals rights. This didn’t prevent Chesapeake from “stealing gas from both sides of our property,” according to Mrs. Hunt in the Organic Consumers Association article, “Fracking our Farms: A Tale of Five Farming Families.” Then, in 2010, the company received a permit to dispose fracking waste on her land. She recalls, “The water got little white flecks in it, and we started to get sick. We lost a whole lot of baby goats that got gastrointestinal disorders from drinking the water.” Curiously, the cattle were spared any adverse effects. Mrs. Hunt believes this is due to the fact that the cattle drink from an uncontaminated spring high on the property.

Susan Wallace-Babb, a Colorado rancher, has also suffered from fracking. In 2005, she breathed in fumes from an overflowing natural gas tank half a mile from her property. She collapsed, unconscious. The next morning, Susan was violently ill with severe diarrhea and uncontrollable vomiting. Within a few days, a burning rash broke out over her body, lesions soon followed. Her symptoms became worse whenever she went outdoors. A year later she moved to a small town in Texas. Susan’s health improved over the course of three years until Exxon began fracking wells 14 miles away. Her symptoms returned within a few short months.

End the Madness

Until farmers refuse to lease their land to fracking operators, the problem will continue to escalate. In an effort to educate fellow ranchers about the dangers of fracking, Jacki Schilke of North Dakota, warns, “They’re here to rape this land, make as much money as they can and get the hell out of here. They could give a crap less what they are doing here. They will come on your property look you straight in the eye and lie to you.”

For those who find fracking unacceptable, a petition to ban the practice in the United States can be found here.

To learn more, the Dangers of Fracking website offers unique animated information.

stop-fracking

 SOURCE:

Sources for this article include:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Feds Let Industry Pollute

How the Feds Let Industry Pollute the Nation's Underground Water Supply

 Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation's drinking water.

In many cases, the Environmental Protection Agency has granted these so-called aquifer exemptions in Western states now stricken by drought and increasingly desperate for water.

EPA records show that portions of at least 100 drinking water aquifers have been written off because exemptions have allowed them to be used as dumping grounds.

"You are sacrificing these aquifers," said Mark Williams, a hydrologist at the University of Colorado and a member of a National Science Foundation team studying the effects of energy development on the environment. "By definition, you are putting pollution into them. ... If you are looking 50 to 100 years down the road, this is not a good way to go."

As part of an investigation into the threat to water supplies from underground injection of waste, ProPublica set out to identify which aquifers have been polluted.

We found the EPA has not even kept track of exactly how many exemptions it has issued, where they are, or whom they might affect.

What records the agency was able to supply under the Freedom of Information Act show that exemptions are often issued in apparent conflict with the EPA's mandate to protect waters that may be used for drinking.

Though hundreds of exemptions are for lower-quality water of questionable use, many allow grantees to contaminate water so pure it would barely need filtration, or that is treatable using modern technology.

The EPA is only supposed to issue exemptions if aquifers are too remote, too dirty, or too deep to supply affordable drinking water. Applicants must persuade the government that the water is not being used as drinking water and that it never will be.

Sometimes, however, the agency has issued permits for portions of reservoirs that are in use, assuming contaminants will stay within the finite area exempted.

In Wyoming, people are drawing on the same water source for drinking, irrigation and livestock that, about a mile away, is being fouled with federal permission. In Texas, EPA officials are evaluating an exemption for a uranium mine — already approved by the state — even though numerous homes draw water from just outside the underground boundaries outlined in the mining company's application.

The EPA declined repeated requests for interviews for this story, but sent a written response saying exemptions have been issued responsibly, under a process that ensures contaminants remain confined.
"Aquifer Exemptions identify those waters that do not currently serve as a source of drinking water and will not serve as a source of drinking water in the future and, thus, do not need to be protected," an EPA spokesperson wrote in an email statement. "The process of exempting aquifers includes steps that minimize the possibility that future drinking water supplies are endangered."

Yet EPA officials say the agency has quietly assembled an unofficial internal task force to re-evaluate its aquifer exemption policies. The agency's spokesperson declined to give details on the group's work, but insiders say it is attempting to inventory exemptions and to determine whether aquifers should go unprotected in the future, with the value of water rising along with demand for exemptions closer to areas where people live.

Advances in geological sciences have deepened regulators' concerns about exemptions, challenging the notion that waste injected underground will stay inside the tightly drawn boundaries of the exempted areas.

"What they don't often consider is whether that waste will flow outside that zone of influence over time, and there is no doubt that it will," said Mike Wireman, a senior hydrologist with the EPA who has worked with the World Bank on global water supply issues. "Over decades, that water could discharge into a stream. It could seep into a well. If you are a rancher out there and you want to put a well in, it's difficult to find out if there is an exempted aquifer underneath your property."

Aquifer exemptions are a little-known aspect of the government's Underground Injection Control program, which is designed to protect water supplies from the underground disposal of waste.
The Safe Drinking Water Act explicitly prohibits injection into a source of drinking water, and requires precautions to ensure that oil and gas and disposal wells that run through them are carefully engineered not to leak.

Areas covered by exemptions are stripped of some of these protections, however. Waste can be discarded into them freely, and wells that run through them need not meet all standards used to prevent pollution. In many cases, no water monitoring or long-term study is required.

The recent surge in domestic drilling and rush for uranium has brought a spike in exemption applications, as well as political pressure not to block or delay them, EPA officials told ProPublica.
"The energy policy in the U.S is keeping this from happening because right now nobody — nobody — wants to interfere with the development of oil and gas or uranium," said a senior EPA employee who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject. "The political pressure is huge not to slow that down."

Many of the exemption permits, records show, have been issued in regions where water is needed most and where intense political debates are underway to decide how to fairly allocate limited water resources.

In drought-stricken Texas, communities are looking to treat brackish aquifers beneath the surface because they have run out of better options and several cities, including San Antonio and El Paso, are considering whether to build new desalinization plants for as much as $100 million apiece.
And yet environmental officials have granted more than 50 exemptions for waste disposal and uranium mining in Texas, records show. The most recent was issued in September.

The Texas Railroad Commission, the state agency that regulates oil and gas drilling, said it issued additional exemptions, covering large swaths of aquifers underlying the state, when it brought its rules into compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act in 1982. This was in large part because officials viewed them as oil reservoirs and thought they were already contaminated. But it is unclear where, and how extensive, those exemptions are.

EPA "Region VI received a road map — yes, the kind they used to give free at gas stations — with the aquifers delineated, with no detail on depth," said Mario Salazar, a former EPA project engineer who worked with the underground injection program for 25 years and oversaw the approval of Texas' program, in an email.

In California, where nearly half of the nation's fruits and vegetables are grown with water from as far away as the Colorado River, the perennially cash-strapped state's governor is proposing to spend $14 billion to divert more of the Sacramento River from the north to the south. Near Bakersfield, a private project is underway to build a water bank, essentially an artificial aquifer.

Still, more than 100 exemptions for natural aquifers have been granted in California, some to dispose of drilling and fracking waste in the state's driest parts. Though most date back to the 1980s, the most recent exemption was approved in 2009 in Kern County, an agricultural heartland that is the epicenter of some of the state's most volatile rivalries over water.

The balance is even more delicate in Colorado. Growth in the Denver metro area has been stubbornly restrained not by available land, but by the limits of aquifers that have been drawn down by as much as 300 vertical feet. Much of Eastern Colorado's water has long been piped underneath the Continental Divide and, until recently, the region was mulling a $3 billion plan to build a pipeline to bring water hundreds of miles from western Wyoming.

Along with Wyoming, Montana and Utah, however, Colorado has sacrificed more of its aquifer resources than any other part of the country.

More than 1,100 aquifer exemptions have been approved by the EPA's Rocky Mountain regional office, according to a list the agency provided to ProPublica. Many of them are relatively shallow and some are in the same geologic formations containing aquifers relied on by Denver metro residents, though the boundaries are several hundred miles away. More than a dozen exemptions are in waters that might not even need to be treated in order to drink.

"It's short-sighted," said Tom Curtis, the deputy executive director of the American Water Works Association, an international non-governmental drinking water organization. "It's something that future generations may question."

To the resource industries, aquifer exemptions are essential. Oil and gas drilling waste has to go somewhere and in certain parts of the country, there are few alternatives to injecting it into porous rock that also contains water, drilling companies say. In many places, the same layers of rock that contain oil or gas also contain water, and that water is likely to already contain pollutants such as benzene from the natural hydrocarbons within it.

Similarly, the uranium mining industry works by prompting chemical reactions that separate out minerals within the aquifers themselves; the mining can't happen without the pollution.

When regulations governing waste injection were written in the 1980s to protect underground water reserves, industry sought the exemptions as a compromise. The intent was to acknowledge that many deep waters might not be worth protecting even though they technically met the definition of drinking water.

"The concept of aquifer exemptions was something that we 'invented' to address comments when the regulations were first proposed," Salazar, the former EPA official, said. "There was never the intention to exempt aquifers just because they could contain, or would obviate, the development of a resource. Water was the resource that would be protected above all."

Since then, however, approving exemptions has become the norm. In an email, the EPA said that some exemption applications had been denied, but provided no details about how many or which ones. State regulators in Texas and Wyoming could not recall a single application that had been turned down and industry representatives said they had come to expect swift approval.

"Historically they have been fairly routinely granting aquifer exemptions," said Richard Clement, the chief executive of Powertech Uranium, which is currently seeking permits for new mining in South Dakota. "There has never been a case that I'm aware of that it has not been done."

121212-chartIn 1981, shortly after the first exemption rules were set, the EPA lowered the bar for exemptions as part of settling a lawsuit filed by the American Petroleum Institute. Since then, the agency has issued permits for water not "reasonably expected" to be used for drinking. The original language allowed exemptions only for water that could never be used.
Oil companies have been the biggest users of aquifer exemptions by far. Most are held by smaller, independent companies, but Chevron, America's second-largest oil company, holds at least 28 aquifer exemptions. Exxon holds at least 14. In Wyoming, the Canadian oil giant EnCana, currently embroiled in an investigation of water contamination related to fracking in the town of Pavillion, has been allowed to inject into aquifers at 38 sites.

Once an exemption is issued, it's all but permanent; none have ever been reversed. Permits dictate how much material companies can inject and where, but impose little or no obligations to protect the surrounding water if it has been exempted. The EPA and state environmental agencies require applicants to assess the quality of reservoirs and to do some basic modeling to show where contaminants should end up. But in most cases there is no obligation, for example, to track what has been put into the earth or — except in the case of the uranium mines — to monitor where it does end up.

The biggest problem now, experts say, is that the EPA's criteria for evaluating applications are outdated. The rules — last revised nearly three decades ago — haven't adapted to improving water treatment technology and don't reflect the changing value and scarcity of fresh water.

Aquifers once considered unusable can now be processed for drinking water at a reasonable price.
The law defines an underground source of drinking water as any water that has less than 10,000 parts per million of what are called Total Dissolved Solids, a standard measure of water quality, but historically, water with more than 3,000 TDS has been dismissed as too poor for drinking. It also has been taken for granted that, in most places, the deeper the aquifer — say, below about 2,000 feet — the higher the TDS and the less salvageable the water.

Yet today, Texas towns are treating water that has as high as 4,000 TDS and a Wyoming town is pumping from 8,500 feet deep, thousands of feet below aquifers that the EPA has determined were too far underground to ever produce useable water.

"You can just about treat anything nowadays," said Jorge Arroyo, an engineer and director of innovative water technologies at the Texas Water Development Board, which advises the state on groundwater management. Arroyo said he was unaware that so many Texas aquifers had been exempted, and that it would be feasible to treat many of them. Regarding the exemptions, he said, "With the advent of technology to treat some of this water, I think this is a prudent time to reconsider whether we allow them."

Now, as commercial crops wilt in the dry heat and winds rip the dust loose from American prairies, questions are mounting about whether the EPA should continue to grant exemptions going forward.
"Unless someone can build a clear case that this water cannot be used — we need to keep our groundwater clean," said Al Armendariz, a former regional administrator for the EPA's South Central region who now works with the Sierra Club. "We shouldn't be exempting aquifers unless we have no other choice. We should only exempt the aquifer if we are sure we are never going to use the water again."

Still, skeptics say fewer exemptions are unlikely, despite rising concern about them within the EPA, as the demand for space underground continues to grow. Long-term plans to slow climate change and clean up coal by sequestering carbon dioxide underground, for example, could further endanger aquifers, causing chemical reactions that lead to water contamination.

"Everyone wants clean water and everyone wants clean energy," said Richard Healy, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey whose work is focused on the nexus of energy production and water. "Energy development can occur very quickly because there is a lot of money involved. Environmental studies take longer."

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source. 
 
Abrahm Lustgarten
Abrahm Lustgarten is a former staff writer and contributor for Fortune, and has written for Salon, Esquire, the Washington Post and the New York Times since receiving his master's in journalism from Columbia University in 2003. He is the author of the book China’s Great Train: Beijing’s Drive West and the Campaign to Remake Tibet, a project that was funded in part by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Source: Truth Out


Sunday, June 10, 2012

What Does Fracking Look Like?

Oh what these eyes have seen!

Over the last month I have seen more of the transformed landscape that was once Pennsylvania and is now turned gas fields than I can even understand, or fully explain. I will only attempt a synopsis of the journey.  I visited 12 different places that all had unique stories and situations, but had one thing in common: gas development has changed their lives, and not for the better.

I first went to Butler County, then Washington County, Fayette County and all over the Moshannon Forest. My mission was to see, first hand, what living in the gas fields is like for some people and to assist some of these families with independent air testing. I had already met at least 4 families that have lost their water, in Butler alone. I know that there are at least 12. Their situation is still dire, still haphazard.  Although, many kind citizens have helped to collect and deliver water to these families, a solution has yet to be found and help from the state is rather non-existent.  If anyone would like to make a donation to this water drive, please contact me directly- danadolney@hotmail.com, and I can make that happen.

On this day I ran into my favorite little girl, Skylar, who was enjoying a sponge bath on the porch in the warm sun. They are leaving. They are cutting their losses and getting the heck out and resuming a normal life, free of fear of further harm, for themselves and Skylar. I was so happy to hear that, but outraged that it had come to this for them. Leave the home and save your family, another family forced to live like refugees, here in PA. While we were there, black water ran out of her faucet in the bathroom and then dried back up as she worked to collect whatever water came out so that they could put it in a gallon container to use to flush the toilet.



 
This is how they live; this has been their life for too long.

Not everyone in that area can do what they are doing. Moving is not always an option, not everyone can afford that loss.  Too many families outright own the property, have everything in their life invested in it and have no means to start over, adding on a new mortgage payment or rent. The land they dreamed of working is now a constant nightmare for them.

I also met a dog this time around, Sam, who lived with another family that has lost their water. He has since had to be put down, less than a week after I patted his head and told him I was sorry that this was allowed to happen to him. It was heartbreaking. He reminded me so much of my best friend, and sadly, his owners feared that he had continued to drink out of a spring, nearby that may no longer have been potable. His nose and face was inflamed and infected and he seemed like he was in a lot of pain.  To be honest, I have never seen anything quite like it. If it was cancer, it was one of the most unusual cancers I have ever seen. I left there sad beyond belief and sick to my stomach. He was a very good old boy, and family that has already lost so much had to put him down, without any answers and with fear in their hearts.



Next, I saw a frack pond full of toxic waste and a drill site right next to newly tilled land that will grow food. I saw the homes of many, who once enjoyed a serene lifestyle, filled with fields and crickets that now live downwind of toxic dumps and have no choice but to wonder just what is in that air that they are now forced to breathe. All day I thought: do you know where your food is coming from? Well, you should. We must demand frack free food and frack free farming, or this will be part of the food chain for Pennsylvanians in the future. Your vegetables could be fortified with barium and radiation. Local now may mean tilled with toxins and carcinogens. Not even organic farms are safe, as many of those farmers have leased as well. Do your homework people. You are what you eat.



The next day, I met a woman who was afraid to go out on her porch and her friends were afraid to visit and sit outside, like they always have, because the fumes in the evening envelop them.  We had to encourage her to stay inside, and sadly, no one would want to buy this property now, and anyway,  she, in her 70′s, lives alone, and is in no shape to go. These are now her golden years.

I saw property value after property value slashed as shiny new compressor stations roar and spit and spew god knows what across from nicely manicured lawns and dream homes. I pulled up to the gate of one of these compressor stations, one that only seems to be getting bigger and bigger, and my companion told me to roll down the window.  I got my first big gulp of air that is created there, and the only words that came out were “OH MY GOD!” and I quickly wound the window back up and immediately wanted to leave. It was disgusting to smell, let alone breathe.

My friend said that he should have taped the moment, just to capture the expression on my face. Well, imagine that combination of shock, horror and fear. That is what my face looked like. The days we spent in Gaslandistan, I developed this strange scratch in my throat. A constant clearing of a tickle that never let up, until some time had passed and I was no longer breathing that air. It made me think that I needed to bring a respirator next time, and yet somehow, our neighbors have to breathe this 24/7.

I am sure it was coincidental, it’s just anecdotal evidence, just like every other persons’ complaints to the DEP, and the EPA, and to local government agencies.  Sure, you didn’t ever have these problems before drilling came to an area near you. Sure, your story and symptoms are similar to hundreds of others across the state, but we have the power and we can assure you that this onslaught of bad water and wretched air is coincidental, or all in your mind, and since nothing can ever be definitively proven, the burden continues to fall on the victims to prove the unprovable. Drillers just continue on with business as usual; they do not have to prove it is safe.

Why? All these families ask for and want is a life free of harm.

I went to see a family whose story I know well and to meet some of their neighbors that have had similar symptoms and experiences.  They fear for their safety, all the time.  The stress is so thick, you can see it in their eyes.  As hope diminishes, the eyes change. I saw that again and again when I had to sit in the chemo ward.  Post traumatic stress is no joke.  Anger and depression oozes from their pores. These families are surrounded. Compressor engines everywhere.  Their small country road now faces truck traffic and accidents that seem impossible. The story is the same.  The industry owns everything and everyone in these parts.  People that are suffering are just crazy or envious. Even the local radio station is now run by industry hacks. Neighbors that have known each other for generations are turning their backs on each other and on the suffering and reality for those that are in harm’s way.

Yes there are many that will continue to sing the praises of Marcellus Shale, but there are also many landowners that were bamboozled. They have realized too late that they were misled. Or, now they see what their profit has cost their neighbor.  They are surrounded by pipelines, industrial construction, toxic ponds, un-breathable air, dangerous trucks and traffic that can kill. This is their story. This is their Range Resources commercial. Sadly, this is the commercial everyone should see, but never will, and so the corporate takeover of our state continues.

(Sorry for the terrible quality of film. I wasn’t trying to film, I was just protecting myself with my phone rolling just in case any industry security folk showed up. But their stories need to be told).
The following week, HOPE made a comeback. I saw a farmer and a philosopher stand for his love and his land. I stood with him and 50 others in his stated rebellion on top of a hill, overlooking his goats and his farm. The beauty that I have always known as Pennsylvania- its rolling hills with wildflowers, dotted with farms, barns, and little white houses- not well pads and drill rigs and clear cut land.

I am proud to call him a friend. We spent 2 glorious days in Paradise with 90 happy goats, chickens roaming freely, and a pack of dogs in what really must be dog heaven, and yet outside of the bubble of the farm the development and devastation was everywhere apparent.



My boyfriend that has actively followed and stood with me in this fight was forever changed on this trip. I watched it happen. It made me realize that this is why I have such a hard time, here in Allegheny County.  I can tell you this is coming to a neighborhood near you, but until you see it, until you see well pad after well pad and truck after truck and smell the smells that your brain tells you to run from, it just doesn’t fully sink it. By the time you see the first rig,  it’s too late. The gravity of the situation only comes when the first hand experience is encountered. It is what Calvin Tillman says again and again, “Once you know, you can’t not know.”

It is not until you hear a story from a woman that explains what it was like when she had no water, and no one cared, and how her dog died later that winter from licking the salty frack fluid from his paws, that you know. You see the truth in her eyes.  She takes you to the site up the road, the one that poisoned her water, where you clearly see the toxic waste buried and imagine what harm all of this has done and what it will continue to do. Her orchards hang in the balance. Her obvious love for her land, animals, orchards and her family is only bested by her fear for their health and their future and her justified anger at what has already been done. Understandably so.

I saw a forest destroyed: an industrial wasteland now where trees and animals once lived. No trespassing signs everywhere. Nature violated at every turn.  A pipeline runs here, and there and there. Well pad after well pad after well pad. A compressor station, another compressor station.  Toxic waste buried, bad air, fouled water….more of the same, just in a different corner of the state. The land is forever scarred. It was, again, terribly depressing and completely overwhelming.



We saw this type of clearing and industry 20x over in a 2 mile radius of the Moshannon Forest.
But remarkably, in this broken forest, we also found strength in the form of standing up and fighting back. The beginnings of a rebellion. A man who spread the ashes of his wife in defiance on a hill and stated that no drill would ever permeate this land. A woman that stood up for her land and her family, and stopped a frack pond from being built across the road from her house, and now, she is winning. A group that provides independent testing to people that have no hope of help from the state.  You see, the tide is turning and its the grassroots, boots on the ground that is making that happen. We will win the PR battle with truth and we will challenge and dismiss the politicians that only serve the industry. This will not happen quickly, there are many more battles and rebellions to wage, but I know, in time, that we will win this war.


HOPE’S 2 SISTERS, ANGER AND COURAGE: 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

DOES THIS LOOK "NATURAL"?


Not only is it well documented that fracking for "natural" gas (methane) poisons groundwater as it uses a mixture of 596 chemicals, many of them proprietary, and millions of gallons of water per frack:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U01EK76Sy4A
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LBjSXWQRV8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEtgvwllNpg

but it also turns out they're only just discovering how polluting the Halliburton-owned method is to the air as well, completely offsetting any gains from the cleaner burn in the end use because "methane is 25 times more efficient than CO2 trapping heat over 100 year — but it is 100 times more efficient than CO2 trapping heat over two decades."

Modern natural gas extraction, aka "Fracking, it turns out, yields more global warming per unit of energy than coal — at least 20 percent more, and possibly up to twice as much" as a new "study estimates that natural-gas producers...are losing about 4% of their gas to the atmosphere — not including additional losses in the pipeline and distribution system."
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/02/08/421588/high-methane-emissions-measured-over-gas-field-offset-climate-benefits-of-natural-gasquot/?mobile=nc

and now they finally admit it causes earthquakes...

"A spate of earthquakes across the middle of the U.S. is “almost certainly” man-made, and may be caused by wastewater from oil or gas drilling injected into the ground. Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey said that for the three decades until 2000, seismic events in the nation’s midsection averaged 21 a year. They jumped to 50 in 2009, 87 in 2010 and 134 in 2011."
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-12/earthquake-outbreak-in-central-u-s-tied-to-drilling-wastewater.html

How long have Halliburton et al been sitting on this information as they expanded the number of frack sites by the thousands?

This is Christy Clark's big jobs plan for BC. this is another reason for her recent two week visit to China "so we can help to fuel their growth". this is another trojan horse they're slipping in here while we rightly pay attention to that ghastly Enbridge project in their unceasing assault on some of the last wild nature left on Earth.

A network of pipelines from the Peace River region in Northeast BC to Kitimat where one giant LNG storage facility and shipping terminal is already approved with another nearing approval and an application for a third terminal expected soon.

"Proponents of what could be Canada’s first liquefied natural gas export terminal have won an application to widen the pipeline feeding the proposed Kitimat, British Columbia facility."
http://www.calgaryherald.com/Kitimat+natural+pipeline+expansion+approved/6474618/story.html#ixzz1sM5ZWoGg

"You and I would directly subsidize the massive export of B.C. shale gas, for the purpose of generating colossal profits for Encana, Apache and EOG."
http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/jim-quail/2011/12/site-c-and-kitimat-lng-export-terminal-christy-clark%E2%80%99s-program-inco

and in this case at least one First Nation is on the wrong side of history: the Haisla, so strong in their stance against Enbridge, are, by a vote of 93% in favour, leasing the site to the (largely foreign) energy giants for over 3 million dollars a year.
http://www.haislabusinessoperations.ca/lng/lng.html

"My journey to the Peace River Valley offered just a glimpse of the devastation that comes with fracking: huge clear-cuts, massive tailing ponds, toxic gas flaring, and pipeline after pipeline.
All over the world, governments are taking real action to address and curtail fracking. Quebec has brought in a moratorium. So have France, and US states like New Jersey. Even Texas legislators are talking about taking action. Shamefully, BC lags far behind, with fracking expanding at an alarming rate."  -- Tria Donaldson, Wilderness Committee

read their report:
http://wildernesscommittee.org/sven/stop_fracking_now

meanwhile, in the Maritimes...

"The Nova Scotia government is putting a two-year hold on hydraulic fracturing, saying it needs more time to study a controversial oil and gas industry practice that has raised concerns about contamination of drinking water."
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/life/greenpage/nova-scotia-government-extends-review-of-fracking-for-gas-to-2014-147624595.html

Finally while natural gas pipelines are less susceptible to dangerous accidents, when they do happen and conditions are just so they are especially catastrophic

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecCnROSj70g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2ths0YAgZs
http://youtu.be/NyMbaZ9FVjA?t=1m8s

and the devastation caused by a successful terrorist attack on an LNG tanker would leave any survivors comparing the event to a nuclear explosion
http://www.cfr.org/port-security/liquefied-natural-gas-potential-terrorist-target/p9810

Watch the 2010 documentary Gasland online - and get ready for the next battle.
http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/_rRxq7qrCpk/

pictured: Jonah Field, Green River Basin, Wyoming
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonah_Field


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fracking Tied to Unusual Earthquakes

A spate of earthquakes across the middle of the U.S. is “almost certainly” man-made, and may be caused by wastewater from oil or gas drilling injected into the ground, U.S. government scientists said in a study.
Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey said that for the three decades until 2000, seismic events in the nation’s midsection averaged 21 a year. They jumped to 50 in 2009, 87 in 2010 and 134 in 2011.
Oil pipelines feed into storage tanks in Cushing, Oklahoma. Photographer: Shane Bevel/Bloomberg
An energy plant along the southern San Andreas earthquake fault near Calipatria, California. In northern California, engineers are drilling to great depths to force water into bedrock, a process that causes slippage and small earthquakes. Photographer: David McNew/Getty Images
Those statistics, included in the abstract of a research paper to be discussed at the Seismological Society of America conference next week in San Diego, will add pressure on an energy industry already confronting more regulation of the process of hydraulic fracturing.
“Our scientists cite a series of examples for which an uptick in seismic activity is observed in areas where the disposal of wastewater through deep-well injection increased significantly,” David Hayes, the deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior, said in a blog post yesterday, describing research by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey.

‘Fairly Small’ Quakes

The earthquakes were “fairly small,” and rarely caused damage, Hayes said.
He said not all wastewater disposal wells induce earthquakes, and there is no way of knowing if a disposal well will cause a temblor.
Last month, Ohio officials concluded that earthquakes there last year probably were caused by wastewater from hydraulic fracturing for natural gas injected into a disposal well.
In hydraulic fracturing -- or fracking -- water, sand and chemicals are injected into deep shale formations to break apart underground rock and free natural gas trapped deep underground. Much of that water comes back up to the surface and must then be disposed of.
There’s “a difference between disposal injection wells and hydraulically fractured wells,” Daniel Whitten, a spokesman for the America’s Natural Gas Alliance, which represents companies such as Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) and Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (COG), said in an e-mail. “There are over 140,000 disposal wells in America, with only a handful potentially linked to seismic activity.”

‘Committed to Monitoring’

“We are committed to monitoring the issue and working with authorities where there are concerns, but it should be noted that currently there is no scientific data associating hydraulic fracturing with earthquakes that would cause damage,” he said.
An abstract of the federal study, which was led by William Ellsworth, Earthquake Science Center staff director for the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California, was published online earlier this month. A full version of the study wasn’t immediately available.
The area studied included a swath of the country running from Ohio to Colorado and Oklahoma, the study said.
“A naturally-occurring rate change of this magnitude is unprecedented outside of volcanic settings or in the absence of a main shock, of which there were neither in this region,” Ellsworth and his colleagues wrote.
The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to release rules on air pollution from gas wells and on the treatment of wastewater. Other state and federal rules could force more disclosure of the chemicals used by the drilling companies.
The Interior Department is considering rules to update well-design standards and require disclosure of the chemicals in fracking on public lands.
To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Drajem in Washington at mdrajem@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Frack Free New York – Frack Free Nation – Frack Free Mother Earth

FRACK FREE NATION – Beyond Dirty Energy – A Time To Break The Silence….and Ask For What We Want!!!     The Capitol Lawn,  Albany, NY  = 11 A.M.  4/4/201212  and again on 4/5/2012       

www.April-4-2012Event.org             www.4-4-2012EVENT.info

FRACK FREE NATION – Beyond Dirty Energy – A Time To Break The Silence….and Ask For What We Want!!!     The Capitol Lawn,  Albany, NY  = 11 A.M.  4/4/201212  and again on 4/5/2012 


JOIN US on the 45th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Beyond Viet Nam speech. (King was assassinated a year to the date after giving his April 4 1967, BEYOND VIETNAM – Time to Break Silence speech… We will take this message to Albany… To HONOR the Water of Life – To move toward Clean Energy NOW!!! …And to revive His Dream 44 years later on www.4-4-2012Event.info
HELP US tell Governor Cuomo to immediately withdraw the dsGEIS as we deliver 45 samples of pure NY state water from streams, ponds, rivers, and lakes endangered by the threat of fracking.
www.FrackFreeGrassroots.org people including OCCUPY participants from all around New York and elsewhere will join us in educating our leaders that there must be life on earth for the next seven generations. 

BUSES will carry us from Rochester, Syracuse,Utica/Rome, Sidney, Binghamton, Cortland, Ithaca, Oneonta, Middletown, Kingston, and Scranton, PA and possibly other locations. GO to link @ www.frackfreenation.org Email info@frackfreenation.org . . . 

REMIND Governor Cuomo and President Obama that the way to the White House in 2012 and 2016 will not be through the manic pipeline building currently underway even while the dsGEIS is still being ‘deliberated’–WE Will REMIND GOVERNOR CUOMO THAT FRACKING IS UNHEALTHY FOR CHILDREN AND OTHER LIVING BEINGS. It is a www.crime2poison.us … www.FrackingIsOver.org

WE WILL FILL THE OUTDOOR AREAS AROUND THE CAPITOL FOR A GREAT MEDIA IMAGE OF ALL THE PEOPLE WHO ARE TIRED OF WAITING FOR THE REJECTION OF THE FAILED ‘ENERGY’ AND ‘FINANCE’ SCHEMES SURROUNDING DIRTY ENERGY PONZI SCHEMES LIKE FRACKING. www.criminalizefracking.org

ENJOY FRACK-FREE POSITIVE MUSIC FROM A GROWING LINE UP TBA., including a wide variety and traditional indigenous drums.

First Nations people will create and close our sacred space for a joyous non-violent grassroots day in the NY State Capitol. This will bring the POWER of THE GOOD MIND into being, so that the GOOD HEART can operate in it’s most pure form = LOVE.

*FIDEL MORENO – Huichol & Mexican American www.healingwinds.net wiill inform and educate the public and society about the relationship we, as Native Americans and First Nations have with the Creator and all of Creation. This includes the elements of water, air, fire and earth. Fracking is an act of violence upon our Mother Earth… we will work toward a www.FrackFreeMotherEarth.org

*Former Veterans for Peace National President (Vietnam Veteran) (and former Sharon Springs NY Mayor) ELLIOTT ADAMS will make the tie between our failed transportation/energy policies and the endless wars and end-game fossil fuel extraction mania. 

*Philidelphia Retired Police Chief Captain RAY LEWIS from the OCCUPY movement, will be fully present and will speak…

*CLARK RHOADES, who has found faults in the dsGEIS maps that show direct feeds of water into the NTC watershed from, among other places, Greene, Otsego, and Schoharie Counties.

*C. ANN LAWRENCE, who ran as a Green Party Candidate in Tioga County, long time fractivist and currently with the Move to Amend movement.

*Kelly Brannigan, public health professional, and of Middlefield Grassroots will possibly be coming on 4/4 or 4/5 to speak of health effects of fracking, and healthier alternatives.

*TBA representatives from the SUCCESSFUL Allegany County portion of the grassroots Don’t Waste NY campaign, —-including a visit by long term peaceful direct action advocate SPIKE JONES, of My Name is Alegany. www.shaleshockmedia.org/2011/12/05/my-name-is-allegany-county/

*ABRAM LOEB, founding organizer of www.frackfreenewyork.org www.frackfreenation.org and www.frackfreeplanet.org will share from his personal experiences with community outreach campaigns in which he supervised 3 offices, employing 30 activists canvassing 9,000 people weekly during the “Don’t Waste NY” campaign to stop a nuclear waste dump.

* A memorial tribute to Abram’s father, lifetime activist work of a Veteran for Peace, Dr. Eric Loeb, psychologist, who was a bus captain on King’s March On Washington in 1963, was active in the Peace movement throughout his life, and worked with dozens of www.grassrootsempowered.org organizations on environmental, nuclear freeze, and social justice issues, will be shared, to inspire others of the dream we all want to bring into being.

- If you would like to be a bus captain, please contact Bram Loeb @ 607-343-9016 or email info@frackfreenation.org

More INFO to follow – The list of speakers will likely be updated daily.
FRACK FREE NY and FRACK FREE NATION will hold their first General Assembly and Speak Out….

Peaceful Direct Action Training Sessions will be held later in the afternoon, and during 4/5/12 as well.

A large variety of musical acts are signing up….
Housing may be arranged for the www.FrackFreeGrassroots.org who decide to continue their activism into the next day.

FAMILY FRIENDLY = DRUG AND ALCOHOL FREE EVENT
THE PEOPLE will be FED… NO FOOD SALES – NO WATER SALES
Performers and speakers may sell books and CD’s , but all other donations go to the Frack Free Nation/Frack Free New York, first to reimburse, and then to continue the mission statement for a truly www.frackfreenation.com

www.crime2poison.us


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

EPA Water Samples Contained 'Dangerous' Levels Of Methane

When the Environmental Protection Agency announced last week that tests showed the water is safe to drink in Dimock, Penn., a national hot spot for concerns about fracking, it seemed to vindicate the energy industry's insistence that drilling had not caused pollution in the area.

But what the agency didn't say -- at least, not publicly -- is that the water samples contained dangerous quantities of methane gas, a finding that confirmed some of the agency's initial concerns and the complaints raised by Dimock residents since 2009.

The test results also showed the group of wells contined dozens of other contaminants, including low levels of chemicals known to cause cancer and heavy metals that exceed the agency's "trigger level" and could lead to illness if consumed over an extended period of time. The EPA's assurances suggest that the substances detected do not violate specific drinking water standards, but no such standards exist for some of the contaminants and some experts said the agency should have acknowledged that they were detected at all.

"Any suggestion that water from these wells is safe for domestic use would be preliminary or inappropriate," said Ron Bishop, a chemist at the State University of New York's College at Oneonta, who has spoken out about environmental concerns from drilling.

Dimock residents are struggling to reconcile the EPA's public account with the results they have been given in private.

"I'm sitting here looking at the values I have on my sheet -- I'm over the thresholds -- and yet they are telling me my water is drinkable," said Scott Ely, a Dimock resident whose water contains methane at three times the state limit, as well as lithium, a substance that can cause kidney and thyroid disorders. "I'm confused about the whole thing... I'm flabbergasted."
The water in Dimock first became the focus of international attention after residents there alleged in 2009 that natural gas drilling, and fracking, had led to widespread contamination. That April, ProPublica reported that a woman's drinking water well blew up. Pennsylvania officials eventually determined that underground methane gas leaks had been caused by Cabot Oil and Gas, which was drilling wells nearby. Pennsylvania sanctioned Cabot, and for a short time the company provided drinking water to households in the Dimock area.
This January, the EPA announced it would take over the state's investigation, testing the water in more than 60 homes and agreeing to provide drinking water to several of families -- including the Elys -- in the meantime.

Then, last Thursday, the EPA released a brief statement saying that the first 11 samples to come back from the lab "did not show levels of contamination that could present a health concern." The agency noted that some metals, methane, salt and bacteria had been detected, but at low levels that did not exceed federal thresholds. It said that arsenic exceeding federal water standards was detected in two samples.

But Dimock residents say the agency's description didn't jibe with the material in test packets distributed to them, and they voiced concerns about why the EPA had passed judgment before seeing results from nearly 50 homes. Several shared raw data and materials they were given by the EPA with Josh Fox, the director of the Academy Award-nominated documentary "GasLand," who shared them with ProPublica.

EPA press secretary Betsaida Alcantara said the agency was trying to be forthcoming by giving the tests results to Dimock residents and is now considering whether to release more information to the public about the water samples. "We made a commitment to the residents that we would give them the information as soon as we had it," she said. "For the sake of transparency we felt it was the right thing to do."

However preliminary, the data is significant because it is the first EPA research into drilling-related concerned on the east coast, and the agency's first new information since it concluded that there was likely a link between fracking and water contamination in central Wyoming last December. The EPA is currently in the midst of a national investigation into the effects of fracking on groundwater, but that research is separate.
As the agency has elsewhere, the EPA began the testing in Dimock in search of methane and found it.

Methane is not considered poisonous to drink, and therefore is not a health threat in the same way as other pollutants. But the gas can collect in confined spaces and cause deadly explosions, or smother people if they breathe too much of it. Four of the five residential water results obtained by ProPublica show methane levels exceeding Pennsylvania standards; one as high as seven times the threshold and nearly twice the EPA's less stringent standard.

The methane detections were accompanied by ethane, another type of natural gas that experts say often signifies the methane came from deeply buried gas deposits similar to those being drilled for energy and not from natural sources near the surface.

Among the other substances detected at low levels in Dimock's water are a suite of chemicals known to come from some sort of hydrocarbon substance, such as diesel fuel or roofing tar. They include anthracene, fluoranthene, pyrene and benzo(a)pyrene -- all substances described by a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as cancer-causing even in very small amounts. Chromium, aluminum, lead and other metals were also detected, as were chlorides, salts, bromium and strontium, minerals that can occur naturally but are often associated with natural gas drilling.

It is unclear whether these contaminants have any connection to drilling activities near Dimock. The agency says it plans further testing and research.

Many of the compounds detected have not been evaluated for exposure risk by federal scientists or do not have an exposure limit assigned to them, making it difficult to know whether they present a risk to human health.

Inconsistencies in the EPA's sampling results also are raising concerns. EPA documents, for example, list two different thresholds for the detection of bromide, a naturally occurring substance sometimes used in drilling fluids, opening up the possibility that bromide may have been detected, but not reported, in some tests.

"The threshold that it is safe, that shouldn't be changing," said Susan Riha, director of the New York State Water Resources Group and a professor of earth sciences at Cornell University. "For some reason ... one was twice as sensitive as the other one."

The EPA did not respond to questions about the detection limits, or any other technical inquiries about the test data.

A spokesman for Cabot declined to comment on the water test results or their significance, saying that he had not yet seen the data.




Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/20/dimock-pa-fracking-epa-water_n_1368148.html