Monday, March 23, 2009

Last Week's Contradictions

• From Fri. MAR. 13: It's All About the Water...
Industry spokesmen maintain the groundwater [in Dimock, PA] is protected by meticulous safeguards and that any chemicals used are heavily diluted and pose no health threat.
It is "impossible" that drilling has contaminated the groundwater, said Cabot spokesman Kenneth Komoroski.

• In a follow-up comment, Txsharon reports: For a frack job that uses 2 million gallons of fresh water roughly 80,000 pounds of chemicals would be used.
(How diluted is 1 lb. of toxic chemicals for every 25 gal. of water?
a. Extremely heavily diluted? b. Fairly heavily diluted? c. Slightly heavily diluted? d. None of the above.)

• From Sat. MAR. 14: Truth *and* Consequences
According a letter of violation from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. caused natural gas to infiltrate into at least nine homes in Susquehanna County. It remains unclear however, whether Cabot knowingly violated any regulations. ...
The company and DEP agree that the gas isn’t from Marcellus Shale, a pipeline leak or naturally occurring sources above ground. They also concur that the gas is likely from a gas-laden upper layer of underground Devonian shale, of which the Marcellus Shale is a component but thousands of feet deeper, Carmon said. Marcellus Shale is generally at least 5,000 feet underground, while DEP determined the gas contaminating the water wells came from a shale layer roughly between 1,500 feet and 2,000 feet deep, Carmon said.

• But then from Fri. MAR. 20: C'est la Vie...
John Hanger, acting secretary of PA's Dept. of Environmental Protection, said he could not confirm or deny reports that water in the northeast Pennsylvania township of Dimock -- where many producing wells are located -- is being contaminated by chemicals from a process called hydrofracturing, or "fracking," in which chemicals are forced deep into the rock mixed with water and sand.
On the other hand, he also said, "You can't do a large amount of drilling and have zero impact."

• From Mon. MAR. 16: To Market, to Market...
With gas prices down, industry is telling us that "the US economy and security may depend on bringing these clean burning gas discoveries in the Barnett, Haynesville, Marcellus and Fayetteville Shale to market profitably."
According to Lokke Advertising, CEO, Don Lokke, Jr. "Natural gas, locally produced, is critical to energy independence and local economies. Cities and consumers need to start thinking on a local or regional basis with regard to natural gas consumption. ... In homes, gas heating, cooking, water heating, refrigerators, grills, fireplaces and even backup generators need to regain market share. Electric vs Gas price models need to be advertised. Consumers need to see gas as the clean burning alternative to coal/oil generated electric on a local basis.

• In a comment on Sat. MAR. 21, Peacegirl reported:
I have read today that, according to the CEO of Chesapeake Energy, his goal is to look to the international market to get the best price for his natural gas. He says he can get twice as much money from foreign countries and will sell there. He is looking right now for ways to transport gas overseas. Also it looks like our own natural gas will not be cheaper here in the US. We will have to pay the international going rate. So this business of becoming less dependent on foreign oil by drilling in the shale areas is bogus.

• On Wed. MAR. 18: What's Wrong with this Picture?
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) often paints a rosy picture of the health in communities near toxic waste sites, according to a report released by the House Science Committee subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. In the process, scientific integrity has been sacrificed. An ATSDR staffer told the subcommittee, “It seems like the goal is to disprove the communities’ concerns rather than actually trying to prove exposures.”

• From Thurs. MAR. 19: EXEMPTIONS - PARDONS...
Did you know that poisonous or toxic waste becomes "safe" (or secret, like Coke!) when our government EXEMPTS the gas industry from responsibility for the impact of their acts!
"Eleven of the 65 chemicals used by the oil and gas industry were listed as hazardous wastes when disposed of unused by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The Act, passed in 1976, was designed to protect human health and the environment from the potential hazards of waste disposal. BUT, the oil and gas industry is exempt under RCRA, which (should) protect citizens from wastes classified as hazardous." (OGAP 2007)


  1. On the subject of energy independence, I want to share some research I did this morning:

    I have been researching the global aspects of natural gas drilling. We are concerned about what will happen in the US, with good reason. However, are we ready to consider the global implications of gas leasing? Here is a paragraph which tells what Chesapeake Energy is doing in Wayne County (the northeast corner of PA):

    Chesapeake Appalachia has a partner in Wayne County - StatoilHydro, a Norwegian-based energy behemoth. County records show that 590 Chesapeake land leases here were taken over this month by StatoilHydro’s U.S. subsidiary, a significant player in oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. The county deeds office has recorded these transfers as recent as Friday. The lease transfer activity is linked to an agreement between the companies.
    StatoilHydro, which is the second largest natural gas supplier to Europe, entered a joint venture with Chesapeake Energy in November.
    As part of the deal announced then, Chesapeake would relinquish 32 percent of its leases - 600,000 acres - in the Marcellus Shale area to StatoilHydro for $3.3 billion. Chesapeake will retain ownership on its remaining 1.2 million acres. The companies will also enter a strategic alliance to explore natural gas deposits worldwide.
    In Marcellus, the companies could develop between 13,500 and 17,000 horizontal wells during the next 20 years, covering more than 32,000 leases in Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Ohio.

    Read entire article:

    Gas leases are bought and sold in the business. Therefore, land owners have no control over who holds a lease. In November of 2008, Chesapeake Energy relinquished 32% of its leases in the Marcellus Shale area to the Norwegian state-controlled energy company StatoilHydro which paid Chesapeake $3.375 BILLION DOLLARS. StatoilHydro paid $1.25 billion dollars IN CASH at closing.

    There has been a, shall we say, false justification for unconventional natural gas drilling in the US. We are told that we need to become less dependent on foreign oil. That is the erroneous belief we are being asked to accept. In fact, natural gas is and will be traded on the global market, just like oil. There is no such thing as the US becoming independent, unconnected to the world markets. We are thoroughly involved with the global market. Natural gas prices will be determined by global companies who will, of course, get the most money for their gas as they can. And since we have probably reached peak oil already, we are talking about a dwindling unsustainable resource which will become more and more expensive as supplies decrease. Will wars be fought over natural gas?

    Land owners in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia, will be caught up in this web for decades. When you consider that most of these land owners are not well off, but are more often than not barely getting by, I think of the massive profits to be had by these energy corporations, both foreign and domestic, and I am sick about it. The good, hard-working people of Pennsylvania who are selling their mineral rights in desperation and, in some cases, with the hope of becoming rich, will in the end be left with contaminated land, serious illneses, no good air to breath, roads left in shambles, no potable water, deaths on country roads not built for industry, plummeting real estate values, in essence, ruined lives. This has happened in every other place in our country where the gas industry has operated. The stories are out there for the reading.

    We must look at the big picture. Halliburton developed the technology known as hydrofracking. Now other countries are learning the technique, which is an intrinsically contaminating process, and planning to duplicate it worldwide. The planet cannot sustain itself under these conditions. The billions of dollars being made by these gas companies should be spent to find new sustainable energy sources for the future. I hope it is not too late to reverse course.

  2. The industry always says the chemicals are diluted so it's no big deal that they are pumping toxic, poisonous, carcinogens underground. However, when you consider that a 2 million gallon frack would used about 88,000 pounds of those chemicals, I'm not comforted one bit by the word "diluted."

  3. yup. that's a pound of 'chemicals' for about 23 gallons of water...



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