For decades, oil and gas industry executives as well as regulators have maintained that a drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that is used for most natural gas wells has never contaminated underground drinking water.
The claim is based in part on a simple fact: fracking, in which water and toxic chemicals are injected at high pressure into the ground to break up rocks and release the gas trapped there, occurs thousands of feet below drinking-water aquifers. Because of that distance, the drilling chemicals pose no risk, industry officials have argued.
“There have been over a million wells hydraulically fractured in the history of the industry, and there is not one, not one, reported case of a freshwater aquifer having ever been contaminated from hydraulic fracturing. Not one,” Rex W. Tillerson, the chief executive of ExxonMobil, said last year at a Congressional hearing on drilling.
It is a refrain that not only drilling proponents, but also state and federal lawmakers, even past and present Environmental Protection Agency directors, have repeated often.
But there is in fact a documented case, and the E.P.A. report that discussed it suggests there may be more. Researchers, however, were unable to investigate many suspected cases because their details were sealed from the public when energy companies settled lawsuits with landowners.
Current and former E.P.A. officials say this practice continues to prevent them from fully assessing the risks of certain types of gas drilling.
…The documented E.P.A. case, which has gone largely unnoticed for decades, includes evidence that many industry representatives were aware of it and also fought the agency’s attempts to include other cases in the final study.
If the natural gas industry is so convinced of hydrofracking’s safety, then they should at least publicly reveal what chemicals they are injecting into the ground, right near our drinking water.
Until then, all their claims should be treated as suspect, at best.
Vote was: Conservatives for, socialists against. Not a typo. The bill allows gas drilling, but bans hydraulic fracking. Thus, it’s a comprise between sides - the socialists wanted a 100% ban on all drilling to protect the environment.
The French parliament voted on June 30 to ban the controversial technique for extracting natural gas from shale rock deposits known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the web sites of Le Monde and other French media reported.
The bill had already passed the National Assembly, the country’s lower chamber, on June 21, and on June 30 a Senate vote of 176 to 151 made France the first country to enact such a ban, just as New York State is preparing to lift a moratorium on the same method.
"But as West Texas’ reservoirs run dry, cities are scouring the region for their next water supply, and farmers are becoming more desperate for rainfall, oil companies here and elsewhere are pumping out millions of gallons of freshwater from underground aquifers.
The purpose: To break loose rocks to get at trapped underground oil. The water is mixed with toxic chemicals and sand, and pumped into wells at high pressure to fracture the rock to expose the oil.”
Source: Independent Mail