Monday, March 28, 2011

Secret Toxic Chemical Used in Fracking - They would'nt drink their own kool-aid now would they?

Frac fluids are considered "proprietary" formulas and therefore NOT subject
to full disclosure of their toxic chemical makeup, even to emergency personnel. Things will improve in this area if The FRAC Act is passed by Congress. I'd hold a glass of frack water up for the driller and supporting politicians to drink. They would drink their own kool-aid now would'nt they?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lehigh Valley Sierra Club chairman urges people to oppose Marcellus Shale fracking

Thursday, March 24, 2011
By Tom Shortell
BETHLEHEM | Drilling in the Marcellus Shale could make drinking water in the Lehigh Valley flammable, radioactive and full of cancer-causing chemicals, according to the chairman of the Sierra Club of the Lehigh Valley.

Don Miles, chairman of the local Sierra Club, said hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," will pollute wells and rivers in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and New Jersey if it's allowed to continue unchecked.

"The Marcellus natural gas drilling boom is the greatest natural threat to Pennsylvania in the last 50 years," Miles said to a classroom of mostly senior citizens at Northampton Community College on Tuesday morning.

Fracking is the process of extracting natural gas by drilling a well and pumping it full of highly pressurized liquid. The liquid causes rock to fracture, releasing natural gas for companies to collect. The practice has been commonplace for years in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and other western states.

In the past few years, companies have focused on the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation spanning from West Virginia to New York. Experts estimate it could hold as much as $1 trillion worth of natural gas.

Environmental advocates claim the pressurized liquid contains carcinogens. Pumping it underground to break rock formations could allow natural gas and cancer-causing agents to mix with drinking water, Miles said. On top of that, the Marcellus Shale has radium, a naturally occurring radioactive element, Miller said. He cited a New York Times article that found radioactive fracking waste in the Monongahela River, which provides drinking water to roughly 800,000.

While the Marcellus Shale does not extend into Lehigh or Northampton counties, Miles said, the Delaware and Lehigh rivers extend into those areas and face possible pollution. Those rivers provide the drinking water for much of the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia, he said.

However, officials in the natural gas industry insist there is no documented case of fracking causing ground water contamination....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Building Community Relationships in Northern Colorado - REALLY?

“We are dedicated to contributing to the well-being of the communities impacted by their operations,” explains Wendy Wiedenbeck, Encana Oil & Gas (USA), Inc.’s, Public & Community Relations Advisor.

“The company strives to be a good neighbor and works closely with communities to understand their needs.”


Case in Point: In 2010, Encana invested more than $1.9 million throughout Colorado; and through partnerships with nonprofit organizations and local municipalities, the company contributed more than $393,000 in northeast Colorado.

“Encana continually seeks opportunities to build strategic relationships that generate positive change and support six key areas: education, the environment, family and community wellness, sport and recreations, community enhancement and employee programs,” Wendy notes.
Last year,the energy company approved and awarded 120 grant requests that helped fund a wide range of sustainable community initiatives.

Highlights from last year’s community investment program include:


· Colorado Meth Project prevention program
· The GO3 Foundation for ozone education
· Five $10,000 high school scholarships
· Thorne Ecological Institute’s Project BEAR enviro program
· Colorado School of Mines Foundation to support laboratory facilities
· Special Transit for a new energy efficient HVAC system
· Town fairs and community events in Erie, Firestone and Frederick

Investing in the community and fostering productive partnerships enables Encana to work with area organizations to resolve local issues and contribute to the well-being of our communities.

“That’s what its all about, Wendy says. “We remain focused on being a good, responsible neighbor and actively contributing to improve, strengthen and build the towns where we live and work.”

Now let's see the list where they DO NOT INVEST.

  • How many aquifers have they potentially polluted? 

  • How many rivers have been potentially polluted.

  • How many animals and humans have been negatively been affected by their fracking practices?

  • How many  people have been told to NOT say anything?

  • How many people are out there that are afraid of losing their jobs if they said the truth about ENCANA?

  • How much should they invest in the environment as opposed to what they have stolen from it?

Tell us your thoughts...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fracking: The Great Shale Gas Rush

Natural gas derived from the process is lifting the economy, but it's environmentally risky

By Jim Efstathiou Jr. and Kim Chipman

The Pennsylvania homes of Karl Wasner and Arline LaTourette both sit atop the Marcellus Shale, a geologic formation that stretches from Tennessee to New York and holds vast deposits of natural gas. They also sit on opposite sides of a national debate over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. That's the process that makes it economical for energy companies to tunnel 5,000 feet below ground and remove the gas—but also poses environmental risks.

Wasner settled 14 years ago in Milanville, in the state's northeast corner, and will leave if drilling companies set up derricks nearby. He already moved away for six weeks last year while an exploratory well was drilled nearby. The noise, muddy water pouring from his taps, and chemicals that turned up in a neighbor's well drove him off, he says. "I moved to a beautiful rural residential area," says Wasner, "not an industrial park."

LaTourette, whose roots in the area go back five generations, is banking on the drilling. Her family has leased almost 700 acres of farmland to Hess (HES) and other companies to tap into the Marcellus Shale. She won't say what she's getting, but signing bonuses can range from $2,000 to $5,000 an acre, and royalty payments are about 20 percent of the value of the gas produced.

President Barack Obama enthusiastically backs gas drilling, and these days 90 percent of it is done by fracking, which involves forcing below ground chemically treated water under high pressure to smash through layers of rock, thus freeing the gas to flow upward. Along with wind, solar, and nuclear power, natural gas is crucial to Obama's goal of producing 80 percent of electricity from clean energy sources by 2035. But the drilling is taking place with minimal oversight from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. State and regional authorities are trying to write their own rules—and having trouble keeping up.

Now, reports of contaminated water and alleged disposal of carcinogens in rivers have caught state and federal regulators, and even environmental watchdogs, off guard. Sometimes the fracking mix includes diesel fuel. Between 2005 and 2009, drillers injected 32 million gallons of fluids containing diesel into wells in 19 states, an investigation by Representative Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) concludes. Just as it recovers its footing from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Administration faces a new threat, again involving a risky drilling technology and charges of lax regulation. Obama is "evaluating the need for new safeguards for drilling," says White House spokesman Clark W. Stevens. "It's likely that the science is going to say we need to regulate fracking," says Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program for Public Citizen, a liberal advocacy group. "But Obama's political team is going to say don't regulate, and I think the political team will win."

The Marcellus Shale may contain 490 trillion cubic feet of gas—enough to heat U.S. homes and power electric plants for two decades, says Terry Engelder, professor of geosciences at Pennsylvania State University. That makes it the world's second-largest gas field behind South Pars, shared by Iran and Qatar. The shale gas rush is creating thousands of jobs and reviving the economy in states such as Wyoming, Texas, and Louisiana. In Pennsylvania, where 2,516 wells have been drilled in the last three years, $389 million in tax revenue and 44,000 jobs came from gas drilling in 2009, according to a Penn State report. Perhaps best of all, natural gas emits half the carbon emissions of oil.

While there have been no documented cases of fracking fluids flowing underground into drinking water, there have been spills above ground. Fracking produces millions of gallons of wastewater; some of it containing benzene has spilled from holding tanks. The wastewater can overwhelm treatment plants not equipped to handle high levels of contaminants. A Feb. 26 New York Times article, using documents from the EPA and state regulators, described how radioactive wastewater is being discharged into river basins. Sierra Club Deputy Executive Director Bruce Hamilton says Obama "has been sold a bill of goods." But even the Sierra Club has struggled with fracking. Last year it overruled New York and Pennsylvania chapters calling for a national fracking ban; now it's reconsidering that decision, Hamilton says.

The Delaware River Basin Commission, which manages the watershed that supplies drinking water to 15 million people in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, has put gas development on hold while it drafts rules. Wasner and LaTourette were among scores of people to comment at a Feb. 22 hearing in Honesdale, Pa., on a commission proposal to regulate the drilling. New York also has fracking on hold while it develops a drilling playbook. The Marcellus Shale runs beneath the watershed that supplies just over 1 billion gallons of water a day to New York City, the U.S.'s largest unfiltered water system.

The White House has sent mixed signals. "It's not necessarily federal regulation that will be needed," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson told a Feb. 3 Senate hearing, noting that many communities and states already monitor parts of the process. Energy Secretary Steven Chu seems to differ. In a 2010 speech, he said fracking can be "polluting" and that rules were inevitable. "We continue to believe that state regulatory agencies have the appropriate expertise" to oversee gas production, says Dan Whitten, a spokesman for America's Natural Gas Alliance.

Even if the EPA stepped in, its authority would be limited. A clause in a 2005 energy law—dubbed the "Halliburton (HAL) loophole" for the company that helped pioneer fracking and is a supplier of fracking fluids—exempts fracking from parts of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) says Dick Cheney, once head of Halliburton, pushed for the exemption when he was Vice-President. Hinchey's evidence is circumstantial: Fracking was endorsed in Cheney's 2001 energy task force report, which led to the 2005 law and, according to Waxman, did not reflect the EPA's initial concerns about water pollution. Cheney declined to comment. Halliburton referred a request for comment to its website, which doesn't discuss fracking's risks.

So far, the EPA has begun a study of fracking's effect on drinking water. In February the agency said final results will come in 2014, two years after its initial target—and the 2012 elections. Its emphasis is "politics first and regulation second," says Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners, a Washington policy group. "It's impossible to miss the jobs power of fracking in the Marcellus."

The bottom line: The Obama Administration may need to rethink its hands-off policy on fracking, despite the national job and energy benefits.

Efstathiou is a reporter for Bloomberg News.Chipman is a reporter for Bloomberg News.
Bloomberg Businessweek - Politics & Policy March 3, 2011, 5:00PM EST