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cherrypoptart
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http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/06/gasland-documentary-film-trailer-natural-gas-fracking.php

I was just watching this documentary and was thinking that this is the type of situation where President Obama and Democrats could really do some good. This is the type of pollution that we should be doing something about, pollution that directly impacts the health of people.

One unconvincing rebuttal:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/gasland-film-is-full-of-ahem-naturally-occurring-methane-97070864.html

"But industry experts say that after 60 years of hydraulic fracturing in one million wells, there are no proven cases of ground water contamination from the process."

That reminds me of how there were no proven cases of lung cancer being caused by cigarettes. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that after decades of clean water from a well, shortly after gas fracturing is done in the area water becomes flammable.

But my question is: Now with President Obama and Democrats in charge for over a year, what have they done to protect us and to clean up the environment as far as gas fracturing goes?

http://www.congress.org/congressorg/bio/userletter/?id=3181&letter_id=5399123351

What would I do?

First off, take away their exemptions from the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act and subject them to all of the pollution control laws just like everybody else. Second, clean up the mess, whether it's the industry paying for it, tax dollars paying for it, or some of both, our environment and the health of our citizens need to be protected.

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yossarian22c
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I heard several interviews with the guy who made the film and came to the same conclusions. The environment is the one policy area where you and I see pretty much eye to eye.

It is sad that our media has become a partisan pundit echo chamber and it takes some guy going around with a camera to document and bring attention to these problems.

[ July 13, 2010, 01:05 AM: Message edited by: yossarian22c ]

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cherrypoptart
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This issue is back in the news:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/report-natural-gas-drillers-injected-tons-of-carcinogenic-chemicals-into-wells

Mon Apr 18, 9:10 am ET

Report: Natural gas drillers injected tons of carcinogenic chemicals into wells

By Brett Michael Dykes


By Brett Michael Dykes brett Michael Dykes – Mon Apr 18, 9:10 am ET

The New York Times' Ian Urbina reported over the weekend that, according to a report released by three House Democrats--Representatives Henry A. Waxman of California, Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and Diana DeGette of Colorado--natural gas drillers injected hundreds of millions of gallons of 29 known carcinogens into the ground in 13 states while fracking for gas.

Reports Urbina:

Some of the ingredients mixed into the hydraulic fracturing fluids were common and generally harmless, like salt and citric acid. Others were unexpected, like instant coffee and walnut hulls, the report said. Many of the ingredients were "extremely toxic," including benzene, a known human carcinogen, and lead.

Companies injected large amounts of other hazardous chemicals including 11.4 million gallons of fluids containing at least one of the toxic or carcinogenic B.T.E.X. chemicals — benzene, toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene. The companies used the highest volume of fluids containing one or more carcinogens in Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas.

In February a congressional investigation found that natural gas drillers injected over 32 million gallons of diesel into the ground in some states during the fracking process.

----------------------------------------------

I doubt that there's any possible way to clean up that mess. Obviously, it should never have been done in the first place.

I liked this guy's comment:

Remember when Cheney crafted his "energy policy" behind closed doors with un-named "industry executives"? Guess what they were up to? Developing exepmtions to the the CWA. Did you know that they don't have to disclose the toxic brew they are putting into the ground - they say its a "trade secret" and to reveal their methods would make them less competitive - also a Cheney gift to industry. Guess who is one of the biggest "frackers" out there - yup, Halliburton!

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Pyrtolin
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By about 10% PA elected a governor who essentially ran on letting the gas companies rob the state blind and poison us at will. (In part because the Democratic candidate couldn't even win his home county, where he's currently the county executive, because he did an absurdly lousy job of selling a poured drink tax that was supposedly going to help protect public transportation, and then allowed transit funds to drop anyway instead of standing up for them.)

It frustrated me to no end to hear Corbett when he talks like there's some risk that the companies won't be interested in the gold mine that we're sitting on if we don't just hand it over to them for peanuts, never mind stand up for health, safety, and a fair share of the value of what they're taking. The entire Marcellus Shale region should be making deals like Alaska has as a bare minimum, along with exceptionally strict environmental controls.

We managed, though pure public outcry when documents were leaked, to prevent a plan that would have essentially made any regulation impossible (imagine, as a parallel, if every cop had to ask the Attorney General for permission for each ticket they wanted to issue) but the state policy on this is basically "La, la, la! Can't hear you!" and lots and lots of disingenuous claims that these companies are doing us such a huge favor by taking this junk off of our hands and even the suggestion that they should pay us for it might send them running for the hills.

quote:
Some of the ingredients mixed into the hydraulic fracturing fluids were common and generally harmless, like salt and citric acid
Salt isn't harmless- especially at the concentrations produced by fracking (6x normal sea water; which they get rid of by just dumping into the rivers).

The nature of the process means that they can easily play neighbor against neighbor and township against township against each other easily; the only effective stand that can be taken is at the state level, and the only support we're getting from the state is "Lie back and think of England"

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cherrypoptart
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I'm glad this is an issue we'll find a lot of agreement on. I appreciate what the Democrats do for the environment, when they are willing and able to do something. The Republican/Rush Limbaugh cost benefit approach that basically says if it's going to benefit the economy by over a billion dollars but the cost is a few hundred thousand kids have trouble breathing because of asthma and other respiratory ailments, then we should do it and with all that money floating around they can afford to buy inhaler is a mindset that leaves me breathless, literally.
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DonaldD
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Interesting. We had the same situation up here in Quebec - maybe not so far along, but almost no controls on the process once contracts were just about given away, way low royalties and ground water pollution. I think the main difference was that the government felt exposed and the public outcry was nearly universal, well organized and bipartisan. The fact that Quebec is xenophobic and the gas companies could be painted as foreigners didn't hurt, either.
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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by yossarian22c:

It is sad that our media has become a partisan pundit echo chamber and it takes some guy going around with a camera to document and bring attention to these problems.

Yeah, about that ....
quote:
Other “pollution” cases collapsed in Wyoming and Colorado. Even Josh Fox, who with his Oscar-nominated documentary “Gasland” first raised concerns about flammable water, has had to admit he withheld evidence that fracking was not responsible.
The "Gasland" documentary was essentially a fraud. How about the rest of the fracking controversy?
quote:
here was Dimock, Pa. — the likely inspiration for “Promised Land,” [a movie about fracking by Matt Damon] which is also set in Pennsylvania. Dimock featured in countless news reports, with Hollywood celebrities even bringing water to 11 families who claimed fracking had destroyed their water and their lives.

But while “Promised Land” was in production, the story of Dimock collapsed. The state investigated and its scientists found nothing wrong. So the 11 families insisted EPA scientists investigate. They did — and much to the dismay of the environmental movement found the water was not contaminated.

There was Wolf Eagle Environmental Engineers in Texas, a group that produced a frightening video of a flaming house water pipe and claimed a gas company had polluted the water. But a judge just found that the tape was an outright fraud — Wolf Eagle connected the house gas pipe to a hose and lit the water.

It seems it was all hysteria and lies... I think that's the new hope and change.
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Mynnion
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I live in PA and have serious concerns about fracking. They are not however associated with the fracking itself but with the total lack of regulation on the storage and treatment of the waste pumped to the surface.

I have a cousin that is a strong environmentalist who happens to be a geophysicist. His wife is an environmental engineer. Both believe that fracking itself is safe and that the water contamination is occurring because of lack of waste controls.

Normally I am skeptical of claims of safety by the gas companies but in this case they appear to be telling the truth about fracking. Just failing to mention the real cause for concern.

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Brian
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Part of the problem in Dimock is that the gas field is under a lot more pressure than the drillers expected, so the thickness of the sleeve around the well was insuficient in some cases.
And we have had methane in the water forever; I'm not suprised that all of the vibration from the drilling and fracking has released a bit more into the water table from the layers at that level.

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Grant
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That "sleeve" is called "casing". Casing is made of iron and held in place by cement. Fracking takes place way way way wayyyyy below the water table. Drilling fluid and frakking acid can however leak out of the hole through the casing if the casing job is crappy. Which is why they are required to pressure test the casing before calling it good (at least offshore). Drilling fluid and frakking acid are indeed carcinogens, but so is sweet n low. Diesel fuel is a carcinogen.

Your geophysicist cousin and his environmental engineer wife are both right Mynion, frakking is the least of your worries on land jobs. Even the EPA agrees. Waste disposal and bad casing jobs are much more dangerous.

Good to see how a BS documentary can absolutely fool everybody. Even I was a little skeptical until I actually started digging past all the cac websites that you hit when you put "fracking" into Google.

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cherrypoptart
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I never even doubted that video as I almost always fall for the hype and drama. Thanks for the update on it. Cases like this damage the credibility of the environmental movement kind of like women who falsely accuse men of rape hurt the women who were really victims because then it's hard to know who you trust.
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AI Wessex
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Good point, environmentalists are like rapists or women who falsely accuse men of rape. The environment is doing just fine.
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cherrypoptart
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I wouldn't put it that way Al. Women do get raped, and so does the environment. Before people get too outraged at comparing the two, an argument can be made that people can be damaged by environmental rape as well as any other kind. I was going to say more damaged but maybe that's going too far. I don't know, but for the people who have trouble breathing or get cancer and other ailments because of pollution, it can be traumatic and deadly.

The environment really isn't doing fine. We can just look at the mercury in the fish to see that without the need for artificial theatrics like we saw in Gasland. I'm sure I've said it before but I'll say it again. If we could just get the mercury in the fish situation under control, our lifespans and quality of life could be improved dramatically just by switching from most of our other sources of protein to fish.

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AI Wessex
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Thanks for clarifying. Your initial analogy was disturbing to me.
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G3
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Interesting update on fracking:
quote:
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper went to unusually great lengths to learn firsthand the strides the oil and gas industry has made to minimize environmental harm from fracking.

The first-term Democrat and former Denver mayor told a Senate committee on Tuesday that he actually drank a glass of fracking fluid produced by oilfield services giant Halliburton.

The fluid is made entirely “of ingredients sourced from the food industry,” the company says, making it safe for Mr. Hickenlooper and others to imbibe.

Fracking fluid is basically a food product safe for human consumption? Who knew? I wonder if it comes in different flavors...
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Fracking fluid is basically a food product safe for human consumption?
Except that that's not exactly true.
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G3
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Except that it is:
quote:
Mr. Hickenlooper stressed that the Halliburton food additive mixture is so safe, one can literally drink it.


[ February 13, 2013, 09:58 AM: Message edited by: G3 ]

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DonaldD
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Since the purpose of tracking fluid is to directly break up the shale and other minerals trapping the desired hydrocarbons, creating conduits for the product to flow, and since that fluid will necessarily mix with those compounds in the process, it's somewhat academic whether the frakking fluid is itself edible. Besides which, there are many things that are edible but which would cause a significant amount of environmental damage if spilled indiscriminately.

That being said, not ALL frakking fluid used in the past or currently is edible, at least not to any great extent. You wouldn't want build a diet based on methanol, isopropyl alcohol, 2-butoxyethanol, or ethylene glycol, for instance.

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TomDavidson
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G3, a not incidental concern re: fracking fluid is that the fluids used for fracking are not consistently monitored or audited. While the mixture provided to the poor gullible idiot may well have been drinkable -- although even that, in and of itself, does not mean that it's exactly environmentally-friendly -- it's highly unlikely that the mixture in question is the only fluid that's going to be used. And at least here in Wisconsin, mining companies are pursuing legislation that would limit the public's ability to investigate which fluids were used.
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G3
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All that is largely beside the point. Fracking fluid can be used that is safe to humans and fracking has long been used with minimal environmental impact - it has been for decades. If you're simply against fracking, that's one thing and I'd understand that. What we're seeing is that relying on the innuendo, hysteria and outright deceptions that has been created around fracking by such "documentaries" as Gasland is a bit of willful self delusion - what some may refer to as "A self-reinforcing mechanism, that is, a pattern of thought and information processing that puts a weight towards reinforcing the thinker's own biases, is, by its very nature, a thing that will lead you into ignorance."
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Fracking fluid can be used that is safe to humans and fracking has long been used with minimal environmental impact
Except that it isn't always. And the new push towards fracking is coming alongside a push to dramatically deregulate fracking, making it harder to ensure that the right fluids are used and environmental impact is minimized. I would personally feel far, far better about fracking if the legislative actions accompanying it weren't all -- and I mean all -- about making it easier for mining companies to get away with dangerous pollution.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by G3:
Except that it is:
quote:
Mr. Hickenlooper stressed that the Halliburton food additive mixture is so safe, one can literally drink it.

Let's see him willilng repeat that wiht used fluid after it comes back up out of the ground.

The fluid itself isn't the issue, it's disposal of the waste minerals at the end of the process- especailly at that liquid, now moving and full of previously soild minerals works its way toward lower pressure areas, like old gas wells and toward the water table from there.

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Pyrtolin
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(And that's assuming upfront responsibility on their part and they're not just dumping it into local water directly whenever regulations don't actively prevent them from doing that.
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G3
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Regarding the safe consumption of the fracking fluid, are you guys thinking there is any food safe for human consumption after running it down a well? I'm betting there's not so the point that this fluid is not safe after going down a well is pretty silly.

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
And at least here in Wisconsin, mining companies are pursuing legislation that would limit the public's ability to investigate which fluids were used.

If it goes through the government, it must be ok. Trust them, they're here to help. [Cool]
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by G3:
Regarding the safe consumption of the fracking fluid, are you guys thinking there is any food safe for human consumption after running it down a well? I'm betting there's not so the point that this fluid is not safe after going down a well is pretty silly.

No, claiming that it's safe before it goes down the well is what's silly, because it's what comes up that's relevant, not what goes down. The stuff that goes down is not what people are complaining about causing problems- it's the suff that comes back out along with the gas.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
If it goes through the government, it must be ok.
In general, yes, I trust the Wisconsin DNR to preserve Wisconsin's environment more than I trust a fracking company owned by some old men in Florida.
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G3
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Most of what comes up is vital to the US economy. The stuff people are complaining about has been, in most cases, exposed and fraud and hysteria.
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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
If it goes through the government, it must be ok.
In general, yes, I trust the Wisconsin DNR to preserve Wisconsin's environment more than I trust a fracking company owned by some old men in Florida.
Then you have nothing to worry about. [Smile]
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TomDavidson
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Except that I do, because those mining companies are busy pushing legislation that says the DNR doesn't actually get to tell them what to do. [Frown]
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