Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why There Is Gas In The Water

Posted on 01/18/2011 by guest

Americans should be able to drink what comes out of their taps without worrying that it will make them sick. So why would anyone insert a loophole into the Safe Drinking Water Act that subverts that basic right?
If you can’t guess the answer, a quick history refresher should tip you off.

In 2005, Congress passed an Energy Act that included (thanks to meddling by former Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney) an exemption for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) from the protections of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Clean Air Act. It’s called the “Halliburton loophole” and it’s a whopper.

Fracking, which I wrote about in August, involves injecting a pressurized mix of water, sand, and highly toxic chemicals directly into gas-rich shale formations. If you combine fracking with horizontal drilling (something that Halliburton pioneered shortly before getting its loophole), you can get exponentially more gas from shale formations, which means exponentially more profit. The U.S. has some very, very big shale formations so, even by Halliburton standards, we’re talking about a lot of money.
Back in 2005, the industry argued that fracking was so safe and so harmless, that regulation simply wasn’t necessary. It’s hard to imagine they really believed it. Chemicals used in fracking fluid are known to cause everything from cancer to depression of the central nervous system. Moreover, the chemicals underneath the earth’s surface that may be released due to gas drilling are also known to be harmful to human health and the environment.
But just for the sake of argument, let’s take a leap of faith and assume that the industry is correct and that gas drilling and fracking really don’t pose a significant threat to anyone’s water supply. If that’s the case, then why doesn’t the industry want to operate under the same rules as everyone else? Why are most companies refusing to reveal what’s in the fluid, let alone agree to safeguards?

The Halliburton Loophole perfectly represents the outsized arrogance of the big energy companies during a time when oil men were running the country. For the natural gas industry, a gold-rush mentality without common-sense safeguards to protect water quality and human health, has produced a litany of horror stories and safety violations — not to mention a popular uprising of citizens whose water supplies have been poisoned.
Times truly have changed, however, since the days when Dick Cheney held his secret meetings with energy execs and a compliant Congress opened the Halliburton Loophole. A bill widely known as “the FRAC Act” has been introduced in both the House and Senate, and if Congress passes it, the Halliburton Loophole will close. The fossil-fuel lobby, so far at least, is vehemently opposed.

I just don’t get that. Yes, we need to use natural gas as our country makes the transition from the dirtiest energy sources (coal and oil) to clean and renewable sources like wind and solar. And yes, if we want that gas, we will have to drill for it. But no, we can’t compromise when it comes to protecting our drinking water. People shouldn’t have to fear that their wells will be poisoned and communities will be destroyed. We need to close the Halliburton Loophole.

This post appears courtesy of the Sierra Club

Western Gas to buy Encana Colorado assets for $303M

Denver Business Journal
Date: Tuesday, January 18, 2011, 6:01am MST

Western Gas Partners LP has agreed to acquire gas gathering and processing assets in Weld County from Encana Corp. for $303.3 million, Dow Jones Newswires reports.

Western Gas (NYSE: WES) is a natural gas gathering, processing and transporting company formed by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and based in The Woodlands, Texas. Encana (NYSE: ECA) is based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada; its U.S. division, Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., is headquartered in Denver.

Under the deal, Western will buy Encana's Fort Lupton processing plant next to one it already owns as well as five gathering systems. "As part of the acquisition, Western Gas will enter into long-term, fee-based agreements with Encana to gather and process existing gas production, as well as to expand the existing gathering systems and processing capacity to meet future needs in the basin," a Western statement issued today says.
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Haliburtan Loophole - Interview with Josh Fox of GASLAND

Josh Fox, director of "Gasland," joins Sam Seder to discuss the film and Fracking, which was first developed by Halliburton (who else?) over 50 years ago, involves drilling a deep, L-shaped well (in the case of horizontal fracking) into an area believed to contain natural gas, then pumping in millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals (known as fracking fluid) to crack the earth around the gas deposit, allowing the gas to escape so it can be captured closer to the surface. However, natural gas as well as the toxic chemicals found in fracking fluid can make their way into aquifers used to supply drinking water, effectively poisoning wells and making tap water combustible. To listen to the rest of this interview, go to


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Naptha and Benzene Health Risks

NAPHTHAS: In a large epidemiological study on over 15,000 employees at several

petroleum refineries and amongst residents located near these refineries, no

increased ricks of kidney cancer was observed in association with gasoline

exposures (a similar material). In another similar study, no increased risk of kidney

cancers among service station employees, especially after a 30-year latency period.

BENZENE: Studies of Workers Overexposed to Benzene: Studies of workers

exposed to benzene show clear evidence that overexposure can cause cancer and

other diseases of the blood forming organs including Acute Myelogenous Leukemia

(AML), and Aplastic Anemia (AA), an often fatal disease. Some studies suggest

overexposure to benzene may also be associated with Myelodysplastic Syndrome

(MDS). Findings from a Case-Control study of workers exposed to benzene was

reported during the 2009 Benzene Symposium in Munich included an increase in

Acute Myeloid Leukemias and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoid Neoplasms (NHLN) of the

subtype follicular lymphoma (FL) in some occupational categories. Some studies of

workers exposed to benzene have shown an association with increased rates of

chromosome aberrations in circulating lymphocytes. One study of women workers

exposed to benzene suggested a weak association with irregular menstruation.

However, other studies of workers exposed to benzene have not demonstrated clear

evidence of an effect on fertility or reproductive outcome in humans. Benzene can

cross the placenta and affect the developing fetus. Cases of AA have been reported

in the offspring of persons severely overexposed to benzene. Studies in laboratory

animals indicate that prolonged, repeated exposure to high levels of benzene vapor

can cause bone marrow suppression and cancer in multiple organ systems. Studies

in laboratory animals show evidence of adverse effects on male reproductive organs

following high levels of exposure but no significant effects on reproduction have been

observed. Embryotoxicity has been reported in studies of laboratory animals but

effects were limited to reduced fetal weight and minor skeletal variations. Benzene

has been classified as a proven human carcinogen by OSHA and a Group 1

(Carcinogenic to Humans) material by IARC.

The current proposed IARC classification for benzene is summarized as follows:

Sufficient evidence for Acute Myeloid Leukemia; limited evidence for Acute

Lymphatic Leukemia, Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia, Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, and

Multiple Myeloma.

Central nervous system, heart, eyes, skin, liver, kidney, blood bone marrow, and numerous additional unknown effects.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Bay Harbor Injection Well Permit Hearing Parts 1-2 - Michigan

Public Permit Hearing

CMS Land has applied for a permit from the EPA & MDNRE to have a injection well at Bay Harbor near Petoskey MI, to dispose of leachate collected at the Bay Harbor development. These are excerpts from the public hearing that was held on January 10, 2011. This is in 2 parts.

Topics: 'Non hazardous' liquid waste injections. Injection well targeted one mile below aquifers.