An excerpt from GreenMuze.com:
After her well water was contaminated by nearby fracking in 2006, Ernst decided to go public, showing visiting reporters how she could light her tap water on fire, and speaking out about Alberta land owners’ problems with the industry, especially Calgary-based EnCana. EnCana is Canada’s second biggest energy company (after Suncor) and is now also a major player in British Columbia, with hundreds of natural-gas wells in the province.
Ernst, a biologist and environmental consultant to the oil and gas industry, says EnCana “told us ‘we would never fracture near your water.’ But the company fracked into our aquifer in that same year .” By 2005, she says, “My water began dramatically changing, going bad. I was getting horrible burns and rashes from taking a shower, and then my dogs refused to drink the water. That’s when I began to pay attention.” More than fifteen water-wells had gone bad in the little community.
Tests revealed high levels of ethane, methane, and benzene in Ernst’s water. “EnCana told us they use the same gelled [fracking] fluids as in the States.” Fracking has become a huge controversy in the US, with pending legislation that would impact its regulation.
Ernst says she heard from “at least fifty other landowners the first year” she went public, and she continues to get calls. Groundwater contamination from fracking “is pretty widespread” in Alberta, “but they’re trying to keep it hidden.” Canada has no national water standards and conducts little information gathering about groundwater.
Read the complete article at GreenMuze.com: Ugly Reality of Fracking
Tip of the hat to FrackMountain for bringing this article to our attention.
Some selections from a Pennsylvania blog
“On the broadcast, Steve Corbett related how he has been unable to get anyone from EnCana to talk with him. They are about to change our world in a very surreal, industrial, and irreversible way – yet are too arrogant to address any of these potentialities with the public.
“Even if you had the perfect company doing all the right things, fracking is still a dirty, radioactive, water wasting, toxin injecting, air polluting, community disrupting, waste producing, land damaging, infrastructure intensive, property devaluing, inefficient way to produce energy. Add on top of that a secretive and entitled corporation – you are begging for trouble.”
Range Resources Corporation (hydrofrackers) filed this with the SEC in 2006 as part of their prospectus:
Our business is subject to operating hazards and environmental regulations that could result in substantial losses or liabilities Oil and natural gas operations are subject to many risks, including well blowouts, craterings, explosions, uncontrollable flows of oil, natural gas or well fluids, fires, formations with abnormal pressures, pipeline ruptures or spills, pollution, releases of toxic natural gas and other environmental hazards and risks. If any of these hazards occur, we could sustain substantial losses as a result of: • Injury or loss of life; • Severe damage to or destruction of property, natural resources and equipment; • Pollution or other environmental damage; • Clean-up responsibilities; • Regulatory investigations and penalties; or • Suspension of operations. As we begin drilling to deeper horizons and in more geologically complex areas, we could experience a greater increase in operating and financial risks due to inherent higher reservoir pressures and unknown downhole risk exposures. Source:Range Resources Prospectus
It is like a war zone up here in Dimock. Helicopters hovering overhead all the time dropping their seismic testing “pods” – spooking my horses. Workers in the fields and woods stringing miles of seismic testing wire – trucks heavy equipment driving by constantly – dust – noise – skies lit up at night from the drilling rigs – constant noise from the drilling and fracking. Drillers park their chemical trucks next door here at work and I walk over sometimes and try to read the names of the chemical containers – can’t understand the names of the chemicals but they all have skull and crossbones next to them – what would one think that means! Sorry for the rant – just have to vent once in a while. Chuck.
… our family has experienced in a very direct and personal way, the devastating impact these gas leases can have on individual property owners. Now we wonder whether anyone will want to buy my Dad’s home, and, if so, at what price? Who would have thought that the beautiful woods, meadows and ponds surrounding my Dad’s home would someday become a liability rather than an asset?
For my family, this recent experience was a wake up call. We applaud your efforts on behalf of clean water and preserving a livable environment for the residents of the Back Mountain area. These efforts serve the larger community and are clearly the more important mission of your organization. However, before it is too late, we also want to bring to the attention of Back Mountain area residents the potential impact of these leases on their property values. Like my Dad, many area residents may be unaware that a gas lease exists near their home and the activities that are allowed under the lease (testing, drilling, laying pipeline, installing lease roads, installing pumps, compressors, separators, tanks, power stations, transporting oil and gas by pipeline or otherwise, “and all other rights and privileges necessary, incident to, or convenient for the economical operation of said Leasehold Premises…” quoting from the Memorandum of Oil and Gas Lease impacting my Dad’s home). I hope that you will communicate our fears to the local area elected representatives. It is truly a scandal that at all levels – national, state and local – elected officials have failed to protect ordinary citizens with reasonable regulation of the gas industry.
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In a story published on 8/27/09, Jon Hurdle of Reuters reports:
U.S. finds water polluted near gas-drilling sites
PHILADELPHIA, Aug 27 (Reuters) – U.S. government scientists have for the first time found chemical contaminants in drinking water wells near natural gas drilling operations, fueling concern that a gas-extraction technique is endangering the health of people who live close to drilling rigs.
The Environmental Protection Agency found chemicals that researchers say may cause illnesses including cancer, kidney failure, anemia and fertility problems in water from 11 of 39 wells tested around the Wyoming town of Pavillion in March and May this year.
. . . . .
Evidence of a link between gas drilling and water contamination would set back development of a clean-burning fuel promoted by the Obama administration as crucial to the future of U.S. energy production.
. . . . .
“There may be an indication of groundwater contamination by oil and gas activities,” said the 44-page report, which received little public attention when released on Aug. 11. “Many activities in gas well drilling (and) hydraulic fracturing … involve injecting water and other fluids into the well and have the potential to create cross-contamination of aquifers.”
Among the contaminants found in some of the wells was 2-butoyethanol, or 2-BE, a solvent used in natural gas extraction, which researchers say causes the breakdown of red blood cells, leading to blood in the urine and feces, and can damage the kidneys, liver, spleen and bone marrow.
Greg Oberley, an EPA scientist who has been testing the water samples, said the agency did not set out to prove that hydraulic fracturing caused groundwater contamination, but was responding to complaints from local residents that their well water had become discolored or foul-smelling or tasted bad.
The investigation was the EPA’s first in response to claims that gas drilling is polluting water supplies, he said. Testing will continue.
LINK TO GAS INDUSTRY?
While the EPA team has not determined how the chemicals got into the water, many are associated with gas drilling, Oberley said in a telephone interview.
“The preponderance of those compounds in the area would be attributable to the oil and gas industry,” he said.
. . . . .
John Fenton, a farmer in Pavillion, a rural community of about 150 people, said residents blame gas drilling for a range of illnesses including rare cancers, miscarriages and nervous system disorders.
Families with contaminated water wells have been advised by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention not to drink the water, which in some cases was black and oily, with a petroleum-like sheen, and a smell of gas, Fenton said.
“The stress is incredible,” Fenton told Reuters. “People have built their lives and businesses here. What’s it all worth now?”
Meanwhile, from just on the other side of the hill from Bradford Township, 1490newsblog.blogspot.com reports:
“Some Foster Township residents seem to be having a problem Hedgehog Lane residents have been dealing with for months – oil and gas drilling affecting their water wells.
“Interstate Parkway resident Joe Piganelli told Foster Township Supervisors Monday night that the water in his neighbor’s well turned brown, but DEP told him his well had gone bad. However, it went bad the day fracking was done in the area.
“Piganelli asked that the supervisors contact the drilling company.
“‘If the three of you got a hold of US Energy and said ‘Hey, what the heck’s going on?’ … We had pristine water and now it’s garbage. Pretty soon you’ll be able to drink out of your sewer better than you can your water.’”
. . . . .
“Piganelli also raised several concerns about drilling company trucks and what they’re doing on the roads.
“One concern is speeding.
“‘They’re going fast up there at 2, 3, 4, 5 o’clock in the morning,’ he said. ‘And I’ll tell ya – they’re raising hell.’
“Another concern he has is the drivers using Jake Brakes when they come down the hill.
“He also said they’re leaving mud on the road, which could be dangerous. He specifically mentioned driving out of Allegany State Park when it’s raining.
“‘If you hit that mud that they’ve left there … When I worked for Halliburton we had to clean up the highway,’ he said, adding that if they came out of the woods and had mud and dirt all over their trucks they had to clean the road.
“‘There’s no reason they can’t do that,’ he said.”
The same blog post reports this irony:
“Also Monday night, supervisors reminded residents that if they’re going to repave their driveways, they need a permit.
“Supervisor Chairman Bob Slike said the reason for the permit “is not to make a buck or anything off of it. It’s to make sure that driveway is put it so in the wintertime the plows don’t gouge it out.
“Supervisors said it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to get the permit, but the contractor should know enough to ask if they have one.”
That is, townships are allowed to protect their residents from building driveways less than optimally but they’re not allowed to do much to protect their residents from gas drilling … which presents just a few more risks than a gouge or two in some asphalt.
For the complete post, visit http://1490newsblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/water-well-problems-in-ft-too.html
Update On Dead Cows In Caddo Parish
by Erica Bennett
Thursday, May 7, 2009 @06:16pm CST
“The scene of a cow pasture in south Caddo Parish Wednesday was calm, uneventful and peaceful. But, that was not the case a week ago. A spill from a natural gas well caused at least 20 cows to drop dead.
. . . . .
“C.C. Canady is head over the United Neighbors for Oil and Gas Rights in south Caddo Parish. Canady says other animals have died near this site before, and they’ve had problems with the oil and gas companies for quite some time.
“Tammy Sepulvado’s 3 day old calf died the same day the other cows did. She says she has alot of money invested in her animals, so she can’t afford anymore problems from the nearby drilling site.
. . . . .
“Early tests by the Department of Environmental Quality revealed high levels of chloride in and adjacent to the cow pasture. DEQ representatives tell us Chesapeake Energy or Shlumberger are responsible.
“‘The only thing that we’re really waiting on is something definitive of who it was - somebody did have a release. After that we will take some kime of enforcement action,’ Otis Randle with the DEQ said.”
“We asked Chesapeake Energy if it was responsible for the spill and a representative sent us this response. ‘All results are preliminary and inconclusive, so it would be innappropriate at this time to speculate on the cause of death and responsible party.’
“The DEQ is expecting their results back sometime Wednesday or Thursday. Once they’re in, they’ll know what exact chemical killed the cows and who is responsible.”
An e-mail from one citizen & taxpayer to Barbara Fiala:
I am writing in regard to Broome County’s decision to hire a lobbyist
to urge Albany not to get “bogged down” in its environmental review of
drilling in the Marcellus Shale.
The shale gas drilling techniques that have come into use over the
last decade were developed in an atmosphere of very poor regulatory
control. A May 19 press release on hydrofracturing from Congressman
“More than 1,000 cases of contamination have been documented by
courts and state and local governments in New Mexico, Alabama, Ohio,
Texas, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. In one case, a house exploded after
hydraulic fracturing created underground passageways and methane
seeped into the residential water supply.
A 2004 EPA study, which was haphazardly conducted with a bias
toward a desired outcome, concluded that fracturing did not pose a
risk to drinking water. However, Hinchey noted that the more than
1,000 reported contamination incidents have cast significant doubt on
the report’s findings and the report’s own body contains damaging
information that wasn’t mentioned in the conclusion. In fact, the
study foreshadowed many of the problems now being reported across the
We have recently seen drilling-related methane contamination of water
wells in nearby Dimock, PA. Questions still remain as to exactly how
the water in Dimock became contaminated. Once an aquifer is
contaminated, it may be extremely difficult or even impossible to
clean it up. Fortunately, so far, no one has been killed by the
drilling-related explosions that have occurred in water wells, and, in
one case, in a home. But there is certainly no guarantee that we will
continue to be that lucky.
It is often said that New York’s environmental regulations regarding
drilling are superior to those of other states, but a review of the NY
regulations does not bear out that claim. For example, NY’s setbacks
from residences and bodies of water are much smaller than those in
many other areas. Water is becoming increasingly precious as shortages
occur around the world and in other parts of our own country. Areas
possessing clean water are likely to be increasingly desirable in the
future. Our water is our area’s most valuable natural resource and we
should not endanger it.
Last summer and fall, the NYSDEC demonstrated that it did NOT have a
good grasp of the multiple issues involved in shale gas drilling.
Rather, it was members of the public and of local environmental groups
who researched the damage that has occurred from this type of gas
drilling in other areas and then made the NYSDEC aware of that damage
through the informational meetings and draft scope SGEIS hearings held
by the NYSDEC. The NYSDEC received thousands of comments on its draft
scope. Many, many of those comments were NOT in support of drilling.
I do not believe that the NYSDEC is getting bogged down in
bureaucracy. They are understaffed and do not have the resources
needed to deal with this issue in a truly thorough manner. Even if
they had sufficient resources, the environmental review would still
require a great deal of care and time. This is an extremely complex
and technical issue; the drilling’s impacts will be long-lasting and
wide-ranging and are likely to negatively affect not only our water,
but our air, the health of our forests and farmlands, the nature and
desirability of our communities, and the health of our people.
Many Broome County residents are not in favor of this drilling. While
the pro-drilling landowners’ groups may be well organized, it is
important to recognize that most of the residents of this county do
not own large tracts of land, will see little or no financial gain
from the drilling, and may suffer serious personal and financial
losses if their quality of life, their health, and/or the value of
their homes are negatively impacted by the drilling.
I would also like to point out that the current price of natural gas
is quite low, that some experts expect it to remain low for some time,
and that the first few years of production are usually the highest for
any given shale gas well. It is therefore quite likely that if Broome
County’s land is drilled in the near future, the county will be
selling a large fraction of its recoverable gas at bargain-basement
We have all seen the results of the TCE contamination in Endicott. Our
area does not need more of the same. Frankly, given the track record
of the gas industry and the high well density needed to recover
appreciable amounts of gas from the Marcellus Shale, it seems
extremely likely that Broome County will end up with a number of
seriously contaminated drilling sites, several areas in which homes
have no reliable water supply, poor air quality, a loss of green
space, lowered residential property values in areas where drilling
occurs, a loss of residents who prefer not to live in an
industrialized area, difficulty attracting new and highly skilled
residents to the area, additional costly health problems among its
residents, and probably a whole host of unforeseen problems as well.
We should not rush into this. The gas is not going anywhere. And I
would add that, in any case, the gas industry is well able to afford
its own lobbyists.
For all of the reasons explained above, I do not think it is in Broome
County’s best interest to spend taxpayer dollars to hire a lobbyist to
push for gas drilling.
May 14, 2009 – Encana buries frack pit waste onsite – right over a drinking water source.
Colorado regulators are asleep at the switch.
New York’s DEC inspectors are required to visit well sites just 3 times: before work begins, when the surface casing is cemented, and after the site is “reclaimed.”
You thinking what I’m thinking?