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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Environment & Forest Defense
Bans On Coal and LNG Exports vs Ban On Residents Testimony In Rule Making Process
This is a data rich article. How did it ever get so out of control? Target logistics, instant shopping centers, food, entertainment, and instant towns. Service infrastructure demands include fuel, toilets, septic systems, drinking water, showers... all delivered by truck. And there's little to no regulation. The carbon footprint for 'fracking' is so huge, how can it be a 'clean' fuel?
How bad can it be? Tales of gag rules on residents, researchers, doctors...
On January 4, 2013 oil and gas industry lobbyists maneuvered to block Coloradans who live near drill sites from talking about their experiences during a rule-making hearing next week.
"Where oil and gas development has occurred, we have seen compromised systems and human error resulting in injury, death, loss of quality of life and land values, and pollution of our water air and soil," Garfield County resident Tresi Houpt said in her written testimony. Houpt formerly served as a state oil and gas commissioner and as a county commissioner. As county commissioner, she received persuasive evidence that residents near oil and gas operations developed health problems and that air, land and water deteriorated.
California faces the pressures of oil and gas politics, the pay zone economic gains (via massive loans and global trade agreements), and the health risks and environmental impacts of the unregulated gas rush. It is becoming increasingly clear over the last 5-7 years, that the new technology known as High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing is different than the previous so-called “safe fracking technology used for 60 years without incident” and which is often cited in Industry responses to claims of groundwater aquifer contamination and air pollution.
Without horizontal drilling and the high volume hydraulic fracturing technology of today, operators were drilling vertical holes and utilizing old single-stage fracturing technology that limited the amount of oil shale thickness that they could perforate and reach.
Here's a 'fracking' resource webpage; it's well laid out and covers in-depth the complex details of high volume hydraulic fracturing: Hydraulic Fracturing - Issues and Impacts - The process of fracturing a well is far from benign. The following (sections by title) provide an overview of some of the issues and impacts related to this well stimulation technique.
As much as 85% of fracking fluids may remain underground. Toxic, used fracturing fluids that return to the surface are often referred to as flowback, and these wastes are typically stored in open pits or tanks at the well site prior to disposal.
What do 133 tons of chemicals (including 65 tons of unknown chemicals) look like?
Artist's Perspective: 3 Vivid illustrations of the 'Frack' Family;
“The Fracks are an imaginary family who live near the real Marcellus Shale natural-gas drilling and fracking site in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. See the family in front of their house standing by a glowing green 42-gallon barrel that represents the 380 pounds of Ammonium Persulfate used in the fracking solution and a few of the 32 lavender colored barrels that represent nearly 6 tons of Potassium Hydroxide.”
“As we back up, you'll notice 235 blue barrels to the right of the Fracks. These barrels represent the 41 tons of Hydrogen Chloride used to make hydrochloric acid. Finally, the Frack Family shows you the amount of chemicals for which no Chemical Abstract Service numbers are disclosed on the ingredients list.”
These "mystery" chemicals are represented by 373 bright red barrels and weigh a total of approximately 65 tons. That is about half of all the chemicals used for this one 'fracking' job, which is 1.7% of the total weight of the mixture used (the other 98.3% by weight being water and sand). Watch the Frack Family Video (VIMEO video 3 minutes)
In Pennsylvania, Stephen Cleghorn. Is an organic farmer operating a 50-acre certified organic farm in Jefferson County, PA. Through his blog, Stephen works with others on a compilation of more than 200 cases that have appeared in the press about people and animals living in gas fields who have become sick and even died from exposure to air and water contamination associated with gas field facilities. He states:
“The powers that be may know the risk of those chemicals being known, as there is a new doctor gag rule law in Pennsylvania that provides doctors access to trade-secret chemicals used in natural gas drilling so that they can treat people who have been made sick, but
the law prohibits doctors from sharing that information with anyone, even other doctors.
On a positive note; New Jersey has voted to ban the transport of fracking wastewater into the state. Allowing fracking waste to come into New Jersey is too risky for public health.
Another good 2012 film documentary is “Unearthed: The Fracking Facade” 24 minutes
This video exposes a flawed claim often abused in the sales pitch for promoting shale gas development across the world. "With a history of 60 years, after nearly a million wells drilled, there are no documented cases that hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') has lead to the contamination of groundwater."
Health Impacts: Sand and Silica Dust Air Pollution
Video was published on Dec 30, 2012
Besides the vast amounts of water injected into wells, sand is also trucked in for the mud slurry.
“Welcome to the gasfields of PA. Silica sand is used as a proppent in the hydraulic fracturing process. The Wyalusing Silica Sand Transfer Station is located within a mile of 3 public schools and right next to a large daycare center. Silica dust causes silicosis, which is a fatal disease.
Environmental scientist Dr. Yuri Gorby and retired UAW Health and Safety Officer Joe Shervinski are featured in the video.”
Petitions, protests, and lawsuits in California led to more Administrative maneuvering.
Discussion Draft Of California Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations Released:
The Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources on December 18, 2012 released a “discussion draft” of regulations for the oil and natural gas production technique known as hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). What does “discussion draft” mean? It means that this version does not kick off the formal rulemaking process.
Instead, it is a starting point for discussion by key stakeholders industry, the environmental community, and other regulators, as well as interested members of the public in preparation for the more formal process, which probably will begin in early 2013. These “discussion draft” regulations include provisions for pre-fracturing well testing; advance notification; monitoring during and after fracturing operations; disclosure of materials used in fracturing fluid; trade secrets; and storage and handling of hydraulic fracturing fluids.
The DOGGR asks those interested, to check back for announcements about upcoming public meetings regarding the “discussion draft” regulations.
Text of the “discussion draft” of regulations
Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources hydraulic fracturing information page
Members of the public who wish to comment about the “discussion draft” of regulations are invited to email comments [at] conservation.ca.gov
Details; “hydraulic fracturing shouldn’t be blamed for any contamination unless the process of injecting fracturing fluids underground under pressure was "the sole" cause of contamination. If contamination seeped through cracks in a gas well’s protective casing under pressure of the fracturing process, for example, he wouldn’t attribute it to fracturing because the cracks may have existed before the fracturing process began and would be a well construction problem, not a fracturing problem.”
At the national level, new studies and proposed EPA regulations (2013-2014) won't limit an individual State's ability to develop more stringent regulations. The groundswell in testimony of health impacts and disruption of people's lives, unforeseeable environmental impacts, and false economics of gas plays has garnered the attention of the world.
EPA Releases Update on Ongoing Hydraulic Fracturing Study
Release Date: 12/21/2012
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today provided an update on its ongoing national study currently underway to better understand any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. Results of the study requested by Congress, are expected to be released in a draft for public and peer review in 2014.
EPA is inviting the public to submit data and scientific literature to inform EPA's research on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. EPA will accept data and literature in response to this request until April 30, 2013.
Using the online method is preferred for submitting information. Follow the online instructions at http://www.regulations.gov, and identify your submission with Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-2010-0674.
The 2004 the EPA study narrowly focused on the potential for impacts from hydraulic fracturing fluids injected underground to migrate into underground sources of drinking water.
In 2010, with the “lifecycle” approach, the EPA takes into account hundreds of reports of water contamination in gas drilling fields across the country. Although the agency hasn’t settled on the exact details, researchers could examine both underground and surface water supplies, gas well construction errors, liquid waste disposal issues and chemical storage plans as part of its assessment.”
Be aware that “while EPA conducts a thorough literature search, there may be studies or other primary technical sources that are not available through the open literature. EPA would appreciate receiving information from the public to help inform current and future research and ensure a robust record of scientific information. Consistent with our commitment to using the highest quality information, EPA prefers information which has been peer reviewed. Interested persons may provide scientific analyses, studies and other pertinent scientific information. EPA will consider all submissions but will give preference to peer reviewed data and literature sources.”
And that's that....
Another important fracking conversation surrounds the subject of money, billions of dollars of investment money, millions of lease purchases covering more than 30 states, well equipment, lobbying, overseas import/export trade negotiations, pipelines, etc.
Learn The Economics Behind Fracking" 52 minute video
Feb 6, 2012 - This is Deborah Rogers' full talk, given in Binghamton, NY, Jan 19 2012, "Shale Promises, or Shale Spin? See her methodical presentation, which takes on industry claims regarding the amount of shale gas in the United States, the number of jobs being created, the number of years the supply will last and the safety of gas drilling operations, among others.
"The story out of Texas isn't good.” Deborah Roger's presentation should serve as a cautionary tale to all Pennsylvanians. “We are putting our natural resources and health at risk for an energy source that is far from sustainable and already proven to be unsafe."
Deborah Rogers launched the Energy Policy Forum to provide a place for geologists, economists, environmental scientists, and other experts to take on the complex issues surrounding natural gas production.
It has been said that Shale Gas is “Nature's Gift To The World”, president, Conoco Phillips. But can production be counted on? The Marcellus estimates were reduced by 80% after the DOE inquiry resulting from the work of Deborah Rogers. It seems that jobs are overstated, taxes and revenues are overstated, reserves are overstated, and economic stability is overstated.
BAN Coal Exports And BAN Increased Exports Of LNG
Signing this petition sends an email directly to the State of Washington hearing officer for the Gateway Pacific Coal Terminal. The public comment period for the Gateway Pacific coal terminal EIS scoping process is open until Jan. 21, 2013. The ACOE is trying to improperly narrow the scope of the EIS process for this proposal to construct North America’s largest coal export terminal.
Petition Regarding Pacific NW Coal Exports initiated December 13, 2012
Fully assesses the increased risk of a marine accident that could result in a major oil spill in the already-crowded waters of Puget Sound and the Salish Sea, due to 900 or more container ship transits per year. This should include a major spill’s likely impact on the economy and on threatened and endangered species, including the endangered Southern Resident orca whale.
The comment period will remain open through January 21, 2013
Join the movement to protect the environment and our communities from the devastating impacts of coal mining, transport and export. Sign the petition to tell the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), State of Washington and Whatcom County to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that analyzes all the “cumulative impacts” of export terminals on communities where the coal will be mined, transported, shipped and burned.
Doctors Urge Obama Administration to Block Gas Export Terminals
December 13, 2012
More than 100 physicians urged the Obama administration not to approve the construction of liquefied natural gas export terminals until more is known about the health effects of hydraulic fracturing. Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy, which conducts research into unconventional natural gas production, organized a petition arguing that exports of natural gas would increase fracking, exposing more people to chemicals that might damage their health.
First, Do No Harm: Get the Health Facts Now - is the message from petitioners to Obama
Moving ahead rapidly with plans to approve several new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals would require "a rapid increase in fracking in the United States without credible science" and "could potentially cause undue harm to many Americans," according to 107 experts who signed on to a petition sent to the White House.
Facilitated by Physicians, Scientists, & Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE), the petition is a response to the Obama Administration's consideration of fast tracking of the permitting process for LNG export terminals that would trigger a substantial spike in the fracking of U.S. shale gas in order to meet foreign energy demands. (ed - Trade Agreements)
Read this January 2, 2013 powerhouse interview with industry insider Dr. Anthony Ingraffea. Anthony is Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering, Weiss Presidential Teaching Fellow at Cornell University and president of Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy. He says quite clearly; “Where shale gas development has not yet occurred, ban it. Period. Where it is occurring, enact ironclad regulations, inspect for compliance with them with dogged diligence, and enforce them relentlessly with fines that really mean something.”
There is a gas rush going on. It's is a runaway industry, running away with our heritage and our future. There are billion dollar loans and international trade agreements, liens on private landowner's properties, and a toxic legacy not well understood.
Bottled water and water buffaloes are not solutions to live by.