Tag Archives: Shale

New study: fracking does not contaminate drinking water

Hydraulic fracturing also known as "fracking"
Hydraulic fracturing also known as “fracking”

The study comes out of Yale University, and was published in PNAS. Pretty good school, pretty good peer-reviewed journal.

Here’s the introduction:

Organic compounds found in drinking water aquifers above the Marcellus Shale and other shale plays could reflect natural geologic transport processes or contamination from anthropogenic activities, including enhanced natural gas production. Using analyses of organic compounds coupled with inorganic geochemical fingerprinting, estimates of groundwater residence time, and geospatial analyses of shale gas wells and disclosed safety violations, we determined that the dominant source of organic compounds to shallow aquifers was consistent with surface spills of disclosed chemical additives. There was no evidence of association with deeper brines or long-range migration of these compounds to the shallow aquifers. Encouragingly, drinking water sources affected by disclosed surface spills could be targeted for treatment and monitoring to protect public health.

So, the fracking – which happens deep below the earth – didn’t introduce any new chemical additives into the water. Basically, fracking involves fracturing rocks using high pressure water, sand and chemicals. The question is whether chemicals and/or the fracking fluid contaminate the water supply used by humans. The answer, according to this study, is no. The distance between the water supply and the shale is simple far, far, far too great for the cracks to traverse. The minor contamination from surface spills is easy to detect and cleanup. This is not what you see on far left web sites and Hollywood movies, but it is what you see in studies down by Yale University scientists published in prestigious peer-reviewed science journals.

Anyway, this study is consistent with a report from the far-left radically environmentalist Environmental Protection Agency.

This is reported in the radically leftist National Public Radio, of all places.

Excerpt:

The Environmental Protection Agency says it finds no evidence that hydraulic fracturing — better known as fracking — has led to widespread pollution of drinking water. The oil industry and its backers welcome the long-awaited study while environmental groups criticize it.

“We found the hydraulic fracturing activities in the United States are carried out in a way that has not led to widespread systemic impacts on drinking water resources,” says Tom Burke, Science Advisor and Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “In fact, the number of documented impacts to drinking water resources is relatively low when compared to the number of fractured wells,” he adds.

The EPA’s draft assessment was conducted at the request of Congress. “It is the most complete compilation of scientific data to date,” says Burke, “including over 950 sources of information, published papers, numerous technical reports, information from stakeholders and peer-reviewed EPA scientific reports.”

Fracking has allowed drillers to tap oil and natural gas reserves once thought off-limits deep underground. That has led to drilling booms across the country and boosted the country’s oil and natural gas production significantly. But environmental groups have long argued fracking comes with a cost to the environment, especially to water. Those groups have called for stronger regulations and even bans on fracking altogether.

[…]The American Petroleum Institute says the conclusions echo what the oil industry has argued all along. “Hydraulic fracturing is being done safely under the strong environmental stewardship of state regulators and industry best practices,” says Erik Milito, API upstream group director.

Acknowledging the potential vulnerabilities outlined in the EPA report, Milito says, “Continuous safety improvements have been an ongoing part of hydraulic fracturing for 65 years.”

Indeed. This is not the first time that the radically leftist EPA has cleared the fracking industry, either. I blogged about the last one for Dimock, Pennsylvania.

Here’s an excerpt from the EPA press release that exonerates fracking:

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has completed its sampling of private drinking water wells in Dimock, Pa. Data previously supplied to the agency by residents, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Cabot Oil and Gas Exploration had indicated the potential for elevated levels of water contaminants in wells, and following requests by residents EPA took steps to sample water in the area to ensure there were not elevated levels of contaminants. Based on the outcome of that sampling, EPA has determined that there are not levels of contaminants present that would require additional action by the Agency.

[…]Overall during the sampling in Dimock, EPA found hazardous substances, specifically arsenic, barium or manganese, all of which are also naturally occurring substances, in well water at five homes at levels that could present a health concern. In all cases the residents have now or will have their own treatment systems that can reduce concentrations of those hazardous substances to acceptable levels at the tap. EPA has provided the residents with all of their sampling results and has no further plans to conduct additional drinking water sampling in Dimock.

So, if you want to worry about fracking, it will have to be because of something other than facts. We have facts piled on facts piled on facts, and they all say that fracking is a great way for us to get cheap, clean energy that doesn’t pollute the environment or contaminate our water supply. You have to be anti-science to doubt this data. Democrats do oppose fracking. They don’t know about the science, they just oppose it because that’s what’s in the popular culture, in Hollywood movies, etc. We have to fight them with the science. Democrats are the anti-science party, so don’t expect this to alter their rhetoric.

Iraq plunges into chaos as U.S. troops withdraw

From the Heritage Foundation.

Excerpt:

The Obama Administration’s risky decision to seek the quickest possible exit from Iraq has contributed to a mushrooming political crisis there that is rapidly unraveling the hard-won gains of U.S. troops and threatens to plunge the country into a civil war that will greatly benefit Iran.

Shortly after the December 15 end-of-mission ceremony for U.S. troops, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malikipurged many senior Sunni Arab political leaders from his fractious governing coalition. Maliki’s government, dominated by Shiite political parties of various stripes, also announced that it will prosecute Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, a leader of the predominantly Sunni Arab Iraqiyah party, on terrorism charges. Hashemi, who denounced the allegations as propaganda cover for a political coup, has fled to the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

Iraq’s fragile unity is now dissolving in growing political tensions between the leaders of the Shiite majority and Sunni minority and between the Shiite-dominated central government and the non-Arab Kurdish minority. But the Obama Administration, blindsided by simmering tensions that it had downplayed in its rush for the exit, appears to be on auto-pilot.

The Administration gave a higher priority to domestic political considerations than to Iraq’s long-term security needs when it neglected to negotiate an extension of the U.S. troop presence past the end-of-year deadline set by the 2008 Status of Forces Agreement. Although the Bush Administration had envisioned a follow-on agreement to extend the military presence, and the Obama Administration had initially planned for a smaller residual force of military trainers and advisers, in the end politics trumped security in the White House’s deliberations.

Pulling troops out of the Middle East will make it harder for us to gather intelligence and support our allies against Islamic aggression. This decision to pull troops out ahead of the 2012 election is very similar to the decision to delay the Keystone XL pipeline until after the election.

Excerpt:

In November, the White House announced it would delay deciding on the project until after next year’s election. Administration officials claim they need more time to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the $7 billion, 2,100-mile project to transport crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to major American refineries in the Gulf Coast.

Not content to wait until 2013, Republicans inserted a Keystone approval provision into the payroll tax extension. The result of that move is still in flux, as House Republicans have rejected the Senate’s measure.

Regardless of the outcome, President Obama’s desire to delay the pipeline is just the latest example of his pernicious proclivity for putting politics over sound policy when it comes to energy regulations.

The president simply doesn’t want to bear the political costs of deciding either way on Keystone until after his re-election bid. He’s wants to remain non-committal.

[…]Shambling on Keystone might be smart politics — but there’s no good policy reason to delay approval. And there is a huge cost of delay, which can be captured in just four letters: J-O-B-S.

Keystone XL requires miles of pipe to be welded and installed, and at least 30 new pumping facilities to be constructed. American workers would staff many of those operations.

Indeed, if Keystone XL were allowed to proceed as planned, oil sands development and related operations would directly create thousands of new jobs. Tens of thousands additional positions would be created indirectly at businesses along the pipeline’s pathway.

That same political strategizing driving the Keystone delay also undergirds the White House’s stance on hydraulic fracturing.

Colloquially know as “fracking,” this technique has proven invaluable in extracting natural gas buried under the earth’s surface. It involves pumping a high-pressure mixture of water and sand into the rock surrounding deposits to free up gas for collection.

In the Marcellus shale — a massive reserve running from Ohio and Pennsylvania into New York — fracking is the only way for developers to get access to gas located deep underground. Unfortunately, policymakers high and low have succumbed to environmentalist alarmism on fracking.

New York — with the tacit support of the White House — has instituted a fracking moratorium and effectively prohibited exploration of the parts of the Marcellus that run under the state.

Again, the cost of currying favor with environmentalists? Jobs. According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, Marcellus development in New York could generate up to 80,000 new local positions.

The more we decline to develop our own energy resources here at home, the worse it is for our economy. But it’s also bad for our national security to continue to buy oil from people who don’t like us very much. If we could develop our own energy resources at home – and buy from Canada – then we could use the money we save to keep our commitments in the Middle East. It’s not good for our economy or our national security to make short-sighted decisions that are going to hurt us in the long-run.

Obama administration blocks oil production in Ohio: 200,000 jobs lost

Cost of renewable wind and solar energy
Cost of renewable wind and solar energy

The Heritage Foundation explains Obama’s latest effort to appease the environmentalist cult.

Excerpt:

First, it was 20,000 jobs the Obama Administration delayed by punting a decision to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada into the United States. Multiply that number by 10 and you have the amount of jobs the President is putting on hold by delaying a mineral lease sale in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest for oil and gas drilling. This decision kills jobs and denies Americans access to affordable energy.

The Washington Examiner reports that Wayne National Forest already has 1,300 oil and gas wells in operation, but access to Utica’s shale gas reserves would require hydraulic fracturing. The United States Department of Agriculture announced a six-month delay in the leasing of 3,000 acres in the forest to study the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing. This decision not only delays access to the jobs and energy that Americans need now, but it blocks an important revenue source for federal and state governments. The Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program estimated that:

Natural gas and crude oil industry could help create and support more than 200,000 Ohio-based jobs from the leasing, royalties, exploration, drilling, production and pipeline construction activities for the Utica shale reserve. The state could experience an overall wage and personal-income boost of $12 billion by 2015 from industry spending.

The study also projects royalty payments to landowners, schools, businesses and communities could increase to as much as $1.6 billion by 2015—a number that exceeds the total amount of royalties distributed by Ohio’s natural gas and crude oil industry in the last decade. Total tax revenue from oil and gas exploration and development in the Utica shale formation from 2011 until 2015, including severance, commercial activity, ad valorem (property), federal, state and local taxes, is projected to be approximately $479 billion. Industry expenditures related to Utica shale development could generate approximately $12.3 billion in gross state product and result in a statewide output or sales of more than $23 billion.

Hydraulic fracturing, known as “fracking,” is a long-proven process by which producers inject a fluid (composed of 99 percent water) and sand into wells to free oil and gas trapped in rock formations. Used in over 1 million wells in the United States over more than six decades, fracking has been successfully used to retrieve over 7 billion barrels of oil and over 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Spencer Hunt of the Columbus Dispatch reports that “Tom Stewart, vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, said shale well drilling would be less harmful to the forest than conventional drilling because as many as six shale wells can be drilled on a single pad.”

Fracking is subject to both federal and state regulations, and there have been no instances of contamination to drinking water. Groundwater aquifers sit thousands of feet above where fracking takes place, and studies by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ground Water Protection Council, and other agencies have found no evidence of groundwater contamination. Where there have been unwanted environmental outcomes—such as gas migration—they were the result of poor well construction or problems with the concrete and steel casings around the well bore. Those instances have been rare, and they were not a result of the fracking process itself.

Hydraulic fracturing will be a critical process in developing energy supplies in the future. The National Petroleum Council estimates that fracking will allow 60–80 percent of all domestically drilled wells in the next 10 years to remain viable.

You can study the effects of hydraulic fracturing for six more months, but the facts are going to remain the same. Fracking is a long-proven process that can help access our nation’s abundant oil and gas reserves. Delaying lease sales is delaying the creation of much-needed jobs.

So let me get this straight. If Obama isn’t handing out $535 million of taxpayer dollars to Solyndra and $1.4 billion of taxpayer dollars to BruightSource, then he’s busy blocking oil drilling in the Gulf and blocking oil drilling in Ohio and blocking the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s no wonder we have a 9% unemployment rate – this man doesn’t want to create jobs. He wants to reward the people who got him elected by handing out millions and billions of taxpayer dollars to millionaires and billionaires – in effect, transferring wealth from the middle class to rich Democrat fundraisers. I find it very surprising that labor unions back this man in elections. What sense does that make?

Global warming alarmism is nothing but a religion. Why do we have to have so much religion in politics? I understand if environmentalists want to practice their religion in their own homes and in the churches, but why do we have to give them taxpayer money for their environmentalist devotions? And why to we have to put our economy on hold just so that we are compliant with their religious beliefs? Why did we elect a President for believes in forcing a religious ideology onto the rest of us? Why do we have to have our freedom and prosperity – our right to produce goods and our right to purchase goods – limited by a religious ideology?

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