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FRACKing

Wednesday Open Thread: BP Gulf Blowout Anniversary, New PA Fracking Disaster Edition

It's the first year anniversary of the BP blowout on the Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico, but this isn't the way most people expected it to be remembered:

Gas Drilling Emergency in Bradford County

Officials said thousands of gallons of fluid leaked over farm land and into a creek from a natural gas well in Bradford County.

Now there is a massive operation underway to contain the spill of drilling fluids.

The rupture near Canton happened late Tuesday night, contaminating nearby land and creeks.

The blowout happened on the Morse family farm in LeRoy Township outside Canton, a farming community.

Chesapeake Energy officials said a piece of equipment on the well failed.

Now a major response is underway to stop the leak of frack fluid and get control of the well.

[...Click for full story...]

One year ago today marks the date when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig experienced an explosion that led to a "gulf gusher," spilling millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. In spite of any claims to the contrary, the facts remain that these things happen and will continue to happen...both at sea and, as proven by this latest incident as well as the ongoing heroic blogging efforts of TXSharon at BlueDaze.

Isn't it about time we did something to regulate tighten the quality standards of the equipment and operations that have enormous potential for such disaster?

As you chew on that for a bit, keep in mind: This is an Open Thread. Your thoughts in comments are always appreciated.

Sections: 

Pittsburgh bans fracking and corporate personhood in one fell swoop!

Has the revolution begun?!

Pittsburgh Bans Fracking (and Corporate Personhood)

A historic new ordinance bans natural gas drilling while elevating community decision making and the rights of nature over the "rights" associated with corporate personhood.

...The ordinance sponsor, Pittsburgh Councilman Doug Shields, led the charge to ban drilling, and was later joined by five co-sponsors. During the months leading up to today’s vote, Shields passionately advocated for the ordinance, saying that the city is “not a colony of the state and will not sit quietly by as our city gets drilled.” He sees this fight as about far more than drilling, saying “It’s about our authority as a community to decide, not corporations deciding for us.”

Gasland, Fracking and You

I'm preparing a series of stories that will assemble loosely under the topic of 'regulation'. More precisely, it's related to the 'mis-regulation' that informed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and which carved out protection for 'fracking'.   Remember that Dick Cheney's Task Force secretly collected the industry wishlists to guide his National Energy Policy, in 2001, which guided the legislative formation of EPAct 2005..

Sections: 

Art Reflecting Life: Hydraulic Fracture, a.k.a. "Drill, Baby, Drill" -- Killing Ourselves Not So Softly

From Popular Mechanics Reviews:

When filmmaker Josh Fox got a lucrative offer to release his family land for natural gas drilling, he didn't sign it—instead, he went out to investigate the drilling process, known as hydraulic fracturing, and its effect on the environment. The technique, developed by Halliburton, has opened up new land in 34 U.S. states to drilling. At a time when the U.S. is dependent on foreign countries for most of its energy and the country is in the midst of a recession, the appeal and immediate benefits of the technique are obvious. But on his 24-state journey, Fox discovers that in disparate areas affected by drilling, streams have turned toxic, aquifers are ruined, livestock is dying, residents are ill—and their tap water is flammable.

Here's the clip they provided:

For those interested in more reading, there's a short list of pieces on hydraulic fracture already available on ePluribus Media over the fold.

  __________  

We knew how to profit, not how to protect.



Does any one think this a little out of the ordinary?

  • Saturday, 26 September, 2009, Philippines Typhoon (Hurricane) Ondoy (Ketsana)
  • Tuesday, September 29, 2009, Samoa  An earthquake measuring 8.3
  • Wednesday, September 30, 2009. Samoa Another earthquake rocked the Samoan Islands
  • Wednesday, September 30, 2009, Indonesia  An earthquake measuring 7.6
  • Thursday, October 1, 2009, Indonesia Another quake shakes Western Indonesia
  • Saturday, October 3, 2009, Philippines Typhoon Parma
  • Sunday, October 4, 2009, Taiwan Typhoon Parma approaches Taiwan
  • Wednesday, October 7, 2009, Japan Typhoon Melor
  • Wednesday, October 7, 2009, Vanuatu Earthquake

    I've been thinking about the potential impacts of climate related weather events in the future and realized that I don't actually have to imagine what it would be like, because what is anticipated to occur as our climate changes, is happening almost on a daily basis already.

  • New Studies: Natural Gas Development Releases Amazing & Very High Levels of Toxins into Air

    We are on a course for certain disaster if we don't slow down and make sure our "bridge fuel" is built with solid federal regulations!

    A recent study of Barnett Shale ambient air was evaluated by Wilma Subra, MacArthur (Genius) Award winning chemist. The study found amazing and very high levels of toxic chemicals including known and suspected human carcinogens and neurotoxins.

    Acute impacts to health will occur with these concentrations of chemicals in the air. The cancer and neurotoxins will also have an impact over the long term.

    Hydraulic Fracturing: Your Money or Your Life

    Ninety-two percent of the 278 known chemicals used to produce natural gas have adverse health effects including endocrine disruption, neurological disorders and cancer. Chemical information is limited because the industry claims formulas are trade secrets. If, like most Americans, you believe your water, air and soil are protected from these chemicals by federal environmental statutes, you are dead wrong. Loopholes in our federal environmental laws allow the oil and gas industry to endanger public health and safety and risk vital natural resources.

    Fueled by technological advances, a frenzied expansion in natural gas drilling has exploded into 34 American states. Once the burden of rural areas, it now encroaches into heavily populated cities turning neighborhoods into industrial zones. They’re calling natural gas a bridge fuel, an alternative fuel, the “clean” energy. Enough PR money burnishes a dirty fossil fuel into an environmentally friendly magic bridge to lead us far from our energy crisis. In truth, the production process that endangers public health and safety, depletes scarce water supplies, and generates colossal amounts of toxic waste cancels out the slightly cleaner burn. It's a heavy toll to cross this bridge.

    The question becomes: who pays?

    Hydraulic Fracture: The Truth About State versus Federal Regulation

    Industry is spending millions in propaganda to combat the FRAC Act that will allow citizens to know what chemicals are used near their drinking water and allow hydraulic fracturing to be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

    Industry is inciting the public by using a power grabbing Federal Government versus states' rights spin. Check out this headline:

    States Challenge Attempted Federal Power Grab in Hydraulic Fracturing Issue.

    The information in the IOGCC press release is completely false! They claim that "states do a superb job of protecting human health and the environment through sound regulation."

    Learn the truth to counter the spin:

    Close the Halliburton Loophole

    Congress Should Close the Halliburton Loophole

    Hydraulic fracturing should be regulated under the
    Safe Drinking Water Act

    Only one industry in the U. S. can legally inject known toxins directly into sources of drinking water without federal regulation, but as early as this week,  legislation may be introduced in Congress to overturn the exemption granted to Big Oil by the 2005 Congress at the urging of Dick Cheney, former Halliburton CEO

    Hydraulic fracturing (FRACKing) is a technique that was developed by Halliburton.  Millions of gallons of fresh water, mixed with sand, and often containing a witch’s brew of cancer-causing and toxic chemicals are injected under high pressure miles down the drilling hole to fracture the underground formation and release the oil and gas trapped within. Ninety percent of all U.S. oil and gas wells undergo hydraulic fracturing to stimulate the production of oil and gas.

    These chemicals can be lethal! Last month 16 cattle died a gruesome death when a spill of hydraulic fracturing fluid landed in their pasture.

    Yesterday, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told Hinchey that she believed her agency should review the risk that fracturing poses to drinking water in light of various cases across the country that raise questions about the safety. Some of those cases are detailed in a 2 page hydraulic fracturing FACT SHEET   developed by Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oil and Gas Accountability Project and Western Organization of Resource Councils   to help counter Big Oil’s 14 page "Response to Allegations" document sent to our Congress Members.

    The following key points from the fact sheet prove there is no legitimate reason to keep this exemption:

    Hydraulic Fracture Fluid Kills 18 Cattle Near Chesapeake Well in LA

    The drilling crew at a Chesapeake well site in Louisiana was "injecting fluids at high pressure to break down the shale and release natural gas," when some cattle ingested the fluid and died. 19 of the cattle died. An animal lies near the drilling site where at least 18 cows died Tuesday evening in a pasture next to a Chesapeake Energy Corp. drilling site in Caddo Parish. (Jim Hudelson/The Times) That sure sounds a lot like hydraulic fracturing. In 2005, at the urging of Dick Cheney, former Halliburton CEO, Congress exempt fracing from the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. It's way past time to repeal that exemption! Have your group, municipality, county, etc. adopt a resolution asking our legislature to remove the exemption. But, there's no need to worry because the industry tells us that hydraulic fracturing is perfectly safe and never, ever contaminates any water and... it's really precise except for when it's imprecise. From Halliburton’s Manual for the Independent Operator:

    Officials Suggest Gas Drilling Technique is Safe, Then Acknowledge Lack of Evidence

    NY State Admits Ignoring Threat to City’s Drinking Water

    Well Duh! Like I said: If hydraulic fracturing is so damn safe, why does Big Oil need exemptions?

    In two documents released last October and earlier this month, the Department of Environmental Conservation declared that it “does not…find a significant environmental impact associated with [hydraulic fracturing], which has been in use in New York State for at least 50 years.”

    Yet when EWG sent a FOIL request asking the DEC to disclose details of tests of surface and underground waters for contamination by hydraulic fracturing chemicals, department officials responded that “the division of Mineral Resources does not maintain any records which are responsive to your request.” EWG senior analyst Dusty Horwitt placed a follow-up telephone call to a state official, who confirmed that the state had done no testing and had no test results.

    “The Department of Environmental Conservation violates the public’s trust when it says that hydrofracing is safe for the environment,” Horwitt said. “New York’s taxpayers and property owners have a right to know exactly what happens when tons of water laced with carcinogens and other toxics are blasted into the earth near their water supplies. Whether out of ignorance or deceit, the DEC’s policy amounts to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.”

    Cheney Helped Halliburton Hide Secrets About Dangerous Chemicals in YOUR Drinking Water.

    This is the most important blog post I've ever written. It's cross posted at Daily Kos. Please recommend over there.

    H.R. 7231 to Close the Hydraulic Fracturing Loophole That Is Fracing Up America's Water.

    Hydraulic fracturing (fracing) is a drilling technique that was developed by Halliburton. Millions of gallons of fresh water, along with sand, and cancer-causing and toxic chemicals are injected under high pressure miles down the drilling hole to fracture the limestone shale and release the oil and gas trapped within.

    In 2005, at the urging of Dick Cheney, former Halliburton CEO, Congress exempt fracing from the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. In 2001, Cheney's energy task force report "touted" benefits and ignored consequences. His office was "involved in discussions about how fracturing should be portrayed in the [EPA] report." Halliburton earns about $1.5 BILLION annually from hydraulic fracturing. (Ibid)

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