maiforpeace wrote:Since I started this thread I have been doing a bit of study on the subject of fracking. I just watched Gasland and am reeling from what I have learned so far. I keep on telling myself, "Why should I care? I don't have kids. I live in an area where I guarantee no one would allow the industry to frack here".
"Gasland" is eco-wanker alarmist propaganda.
Do you pro-frackers honestly believe that pumping 596 different chemicals (many of which that are KNOWN carcinogens, in addition to some surfectants and lubricants) mixed with 1 to 7 million gallons of water, under enough pressure to essentially create a small earthquake that pulverizes solid bedrock 5000 ft underground is not going to have any negative effects?
Ooooh..."earthquakes!" Gives one visions of San Francisco in 1906...buildings collapsing, fires, mass destuction...
Utter horseshit. Where injection of fluids underground has been identified as the culprit in "earthquakes," they are virtually all tiny, harmless tremors that do no damage to homes on the surface.
And since the chemicals are being injected 5000 or more feet underground, as long as the cementing of the well is done properly, which is the goal of gas companies so that they can sell it, the chemicals are not a problem, and when the fracking fluid is extracted and properly disposed of it's still not a problem.
Are there "negative effects" from oil and gas drilling? Of course there are. But the question is whether or not the need for domestically produced energy outweighs the negative impacts. If you want to heat your house and have electricity, it's necessary to drill gas wells because the EPA has made it functionally impossible to build a new coal-fired powerplant in the US.
So, you can freeze in the dark, or you can put up with the short-term, temporary negative effects of gas well drilling and fracking, and the long term minor negative effects of having well heads in your area in return for cheap electricity and heating fuel. Take your pick because there's no such thing as a free lunch.
The environmental whackos who made "Gasland" don't give a flying fuck about energy needs, they are brainless Luddites who would have us living in wattle-and-daub huts and grubbing in the ground with sharpened sticks for nourishment, so who cares what they have to say?
We don't even know what all of those chemicals are yet, since the "cocktail" is considered "proprietary" and therefore is not required by law to be disclosed.
This is a valid concern, and Colorado just passed a law requiring fracking companies to reveal the chemical constituents of fracking fluid, although not necessarily their proportions, so that proper analysis and oversight of both leaks/contamination and remediation/disposal can be done by state officials. This particular aspect is one of the only areas were we have agreement, and states are beginning to demand disclosure in the interests of proper monitoring of oil and gas extraction and protection against aquifer contamination as well as identification of culprits who may be operating ILLEGALLY by contaminating water sources.
Do you know how many wells there already are, and at what alarming rate they are being drilled at?
Many, and not nearly fast enough. We need to exploit ALL of our available oil and gas reserves and reduce our dependence on foreign oil sources as a matter of national security and economic common sense.
Do you know that only half of the "cocktail" of chemicals and water pumped in is actually reclaimed for purification?
Did you know that the other half remains 5000 or more feet underground and is utterly harmless to shallow aquifers?
And, for the purification that occurs, there are little, if any measures in place should there flooding in areas where the percolation ponds exist?
Lie. Such facilities are closely regulated by the EPA against water quality violations. They are permitted and licensed by state governments and are required to have mitigation and protection plans. You're relying on information that is no longer valid for your argument. In the past, frac pits were simply buried and they did not have mandatory liners. Today, pits must have liners, the frac fluid must be recycled or properly disposed of, and the pit liners must be removed and disposed of and all contaminated soil remediated.
But hey, the industry has copped to 6% leakage which was voluntary, and it sounds good and honest so here you go folks, here's a pig in a poke. We promise that the benefits realized will far outweigh the cons. What they failed to add at the end of that last sentence was FOR THE INDUSTRY.
How, exactly, do you think it's beneficial to the "industry" if it's not beneficial to consumers. "The industry" sells oil and gas to meet the needs of consumers for gasoline, oil products, heating fuel, transportation fuel and electrical production. How the fuck do you expect all those demands to be met without oil and gas exploration and extraction?
So I wasn't the least bit surprised to learn the politics behind fracking in the US. As others have already mentioned, fracking has been around for a while. Until 2005 the policy has been simply to buy off the people who who have suffered any ill effect to keep silent, including the many employees who have come in contact and been injured by these dangerous and toxic chemicals. So the companies that engage in fracking already have a history of being exploitive and secretive, not to mention their extremely powerful lobby.
Yes, that WAS true, although there is still little or no evidence that fracking actually caused any problems. Companies paid compensation in many cases even though it was never proven that they were actually responsible for the alleged harms. In the past, abandoned frac pits were (and in some cases still are) a problem, but that particular problem has been largely resolved by state and federal regulation.
Then with the energy policy acts of 2005, the gas industry was exempted from complying to any environmental regulations when it comes to fracking. This was, unsurprisingly pushed through by Cheney, with his newly formed task force of industry leaders that met ONCE over fracking. Oh, and the company that started fracking and sells this wonderful technology of fracking to the gas industry? Halliburton.
You forget that the states have the power to regulate fracking environmental impacts, and have done so. Things have changed since 2005 as well, and the situation continues to improve.
But the essential question remains. Without fracking, most of the oil and gas we can produce domestically would not exist, or would be much more expensive and would require MORE WELL BORES, so do you want to freeze in the dark or have heat, air-conditioning, electricity, vehicle fuel and all the things that are part of the energy economy?
Fracking, combined with multiple-bore directional drilling has MINIMIZED the long-term surface impacts by concentrating surface drilling and well-head production equipment in one small area that covers square miles of underground resources. The alternative is what you see in West Texas, where there's a pumpjack every 10 acres or less from the highway to the horizon. That's the technology that's needed to extract oil (and gas well heads likewise) from "tight" formations because the flow to the well is very slow. With directional drilling having as many as two dozen individual bores from a single drill pad, and fracking, much greater quantities of oil and gas can be economically extracted to MEET THE ENERGY NEEDS OF THE NATION.
Essentially, at least here in the US, there are no real, solid and comprehensive studies on the short and long term effects of fracking outside of the industry. There weren't any before 2005, and there still aren't. Without any of the regulations in place THAT EVERY OTHER INDUSTRY MUST COMPLY TO, they can just frack away and it's up to us poor fools to figure out whether or not it's dangerous.
They show up at your door, offer you a bunch of money to own a part of your property rights to something that doesn't have a obviously apparent value to you (the ground underneath your property thousands of feet down) and tell you whatever they want to because there's no studies to back up the cons of fracking. The industry has already voluntarily copped to 6% leakage of this "supposedly" properly disposed of toxic waste. Well, that must mean they are honest and ethical since it was voluntary.
Nobody's required to sell mineral rights if they own them, but if the landowner does own them, they have every right to lease them out if someone wants to pay them for the minerals. It's up to the landowner to do his homework though, and if he doesn't, and he doesn't require stringent environmental protection contract provisions in the contract, it's on his head.
The real problem is in the West where the mineral estate was severed and retained by the government, something that never should have happened, and so the surface owner MUST allow drilling, although the law requires the gas company to be reasonable, although that term is rather vague and flexible. But, if you bought property without the mineral estate, that's a risk you accepted and you paid less for your land than you would have otherwise, so there's that.
Yes, the prime culprit in most of the cases of environmental damage is the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT which owns the mineral rights but fails to set stringent environmental standards for extraction.
That's clearly a political matter, but again one must balance the need for energy with the "six percent" failure rate. Shall we shut down domestic energy production entirely because six percent of the time something goes wrong? Or should we try not to have accidents (and they are accidents) and provide compensation when landowners are damaged by such accidents and let the other 94 percent of production remain reasonably economical and possible?
THE PLAN - to sell the public the same bill of goods that the tobacco industry did years ago, and was hugely successful with. They are even using the same exact PR company that came up with the idea. That the science behind the long term effects of fracking is sound and that the negative effects are nominal, back by almost 100 years of fracking experience. The discrediting of the anti-frackers, as emotional and hysterical.
Well, that's because they ARE emotional and hysterical, and they are being used for propaganda purposes.
Let's say, arguendo, that six percent of all wells drilled do actually, provably cause irreparable harm to the owner's property. The solution is not to shut down fracking or drilling, the solution is to strengthen regulations to make it very expensive for gas companies to make mistakes. They should be required to either completely remediate any surface contamination, regardless of the cost (something that's already required in many areas), provide damage compensation to the landowner, provide, if necessary, a permanent, at-their-expense water system that provides uncontaminated water to everyone affected by their negligence, or simply buy out the landowner so he can move somewhere else.
you connect to what's going really going on here and what I've learned so far, you should be at minimum concerned - admittedly I am hot under the collar about being raped again by Cheney. By feeding the public a few bones, like admitting to some leakage, describing detailed science and processes that have not been vetted that sound good and scientific, that the anti-frackers don't know what they are talking about (well yet anyway), the industry paints themselves as ethical, honest and patriotic even, since they are promoting energy independence. They are even countering terrorism! (some of the arguements made by pro fracking legislators.
Meh. Environmental alarmism fomented by environmental alarmist propaganda.
So let me ask you pro-frackers, in the US. If you already haven't sold the fracking rights to a company for your property, would you if you were approached by them? Even given the admitted 6% leakage?
They aren't "fracking rights," they are drilling and extraction rights. Fracking is just one of the processes that takes place to free-up the gas trapped in the gas layer so it flows at greater rates, which in turn requires less surface disturbance and impact through many-hole directional drilling. And me, I'd sell the mineral rights in a heartbeat because it can take marginal agricultural land and provide a permanent, substantial income to the surface owner, which allows the property to remain rural rather than having it subdivided and having houses put on it, which causes environmental impacts that far outstrip the six percent risk of groundwater contamination or minor, remediable surface contamination. I'd happily look at a gas well head for several thousand dollars a month in return. On the other hand, I'd make sure that if they did fuck up while drilling, they would be required to remediate, mitigate and compensate for any and all damages, surface or otherwise.
Better yet, why don't you put your money where your mouth is and and put some more money in your pocket for your retirement and your heirs, who will probably need a lot of money to pay their medical bills, and make an offer to sell the right to frack under your property ...I know at least one of you lives in a state that is on a fracking frenzy (Colorado), I'm sure they would be delighted.
I sold the whole ranch, and the new owners can drill and frack to their heart's content.