EPA Says Fracking Is Safe But an Internal Report Says Different

Categories: Environment

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It must be a tricky thing being the Environmental Protection Agency, especially when it comes to the political minefield that is fracking.

Hydraulic fracturing -- the process of shooting sand, water and chemicals into an oil well to get the oil and natural gas trapped in the formation flowing -- is a drilling technique that has been around since the 1950s, but it rose to new prominence in recent years as the key to unlocking shale plays.

Since famed oilman George Mitchell figured out how to use fracking and horizontal drilling to unlock the Barnett Shale in North Texas, touching off a drilling boom and an increase in oil and natural gas production it was thought this country would never see again, fracking has become a household word.

However, in the wake of the Barnett, the Marcellus in Pennsylvania, the Eagle Ford in South Texas, the resurgence of the Permian Basic in West Texas and the Bakken in North Dakota, it's been a new world for oil production, but there have also been questions about the fracking process.

We've all seen the footage of the water coming out of the tap and being lit on fire in "Gasland." People living on top of these plays started complaining about their water, that the drilling may have contaminated their water wells.

The EPA came in and started investigating, and the activists in the area who had pushed for just this to happen got all excited. But the federal regulatory agency followed the same pattern each time. In the Barnett, the Marcellus and the Bakken, EPA investigators waded into the investigation, and early reports came out that they had found gas in the water and traced it back to drilling.



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4 comments
paul.roden
paul.roden

If fracking and the chemicals are so safe, why are the companies involved exempt from the Clean Water, Clean Air, Safe Drinking Water, Superfund, and  OSHA Acts?  How come the industry lobby s for this resists any state and local environmental, health, safety, land use zoning, regulation, and taxes?   If this gas is supposed to be the "transition fuel" to a renewable energy economy and for "our energy independence", why does the industry want to export the gas as LNG overseas?Where are all the drill cuttings which are radioactive and the bnillions of gallons of waste water going to be storedr?  Who is going to pay for the clean up of these wellsites after they are spent?  I never heard of solar panels or wind farms contaminating the Earth, causing tons of waste products, creating earth quakes, accident and injuries for millions of people from the contimination of the watershed and adding to global warming green house gasses.  For the amount of money we are spending extracting this gas we could transition the economy to renewable enery economywith existing technology by 2030, according to Jacobson and Delucchi in their Nov. 2009 Scientific American article. Fracking is too dangerous, too expensive and totally unnecessary for our energy needs. 

h_e_x
h_e_x

The companies refuse to say what those particular chemicals are, instead telling people to trust them, as if they are to be trusted in the first place. Until the public knows exactly what is being pumped into the ground fracking should stop. If it's so safe then they should have no problem saying what these chemicals are, but as it stands they refuse to and the public is left with no other choice but to be skeptical.

Luisa Inez Newton
Luisa Inez Newton

bad for the air we breathe (methane leaks), bad for the water we drink (contamination from chemicals), bad for the earth, period.

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