Protecting the Public?


!!@@#dddddd444193mProtecting the Public?

Government exists to protect people industry.

James Pilant

Republicans in North Carolina want to make it a felony to disclose fracking chemicals – Salon.com

Just when we thought we were making the first steps toward transparency in fracking — in the form of EPA indicating it might require frackers, at long last, to reveal the names of the chemicals they blast into the ground in order to extract oil and gas — three GOP state senators in North Carolina stepped in to put a stop to all that.

The senators, who seemed to have taken a page out of the ag-gag book, last week introduced a bill that would slap any individual who disclosed information about confidential chemicals with a felony charge. Such individuals could include fire chiefs and health care providers, who might require access to the information in order to respond to emergencies. Environmental groups see the provision allowing for easy access to that information as a good thing, but worry about the bill’s harsh terms for making sure those in-the-know keep it to themselves.

via Republicans in North Carolina want to make it a felony to disclose fracking chemicals – Salon.com.

From Around the Web.

From the web site, Lenin2u.

http://lenin2u.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/fracking-chemicals/

Shale needs to be fracked using a mixture of hot water, sand, and poisonous chemicals, the composition of which fracking companies claim to be proprietary secrets, and disclosing them would make them less competitive. However, scientists who have analyzed fracking fluid discovered the following substances common to diesel fuel: Benzene, Ethylbenzene, Toluene, Xylene, Naphthalene, Methanol, Formaldehyde, Ethylene glycol, Glycol ethers, Hydrochloric acid, Sodium hydroxide. Most fracking companies surveyed by a 2010 Congressional Committee admitted that diesel fuel is part of their fracking mixture. Where diesel fuel was not used, chemical mixtures includes high levels of benzene, a tiny amount of which can poison millions of gallons of water.

Theo Colburn, PhD, director of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Colorado, identified 65 chemicals that are probably used in fracking fluids. These included benzene, glycol-ethers, toluene, and ethanol, all of which have been linked to health problems when human exposure is too high. In 2012, ShaleTest visited many fracking sites in North Texas, monitoring ambient air using stainless steel summa canisters. Results showed the presence of the known carcinogen benzene. “It is unacceptable that the natural gas industries are ignoring the devastating impacts they have on citizens and the environment”, commented Susan Sullivan, board member of ShaleTest.

Another study in 2012, led by Lisa McKenzie, Ph.D., MPH, of the Colorado School of Public Health, concluded that air pollution caused by fracking may contribute to acute and chronic health problems for those living near natural gas drilling sites. The study, based on three years of monitoring, found benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene in the air around the frack sites. Other chemicals included heptane, octane and diethylbenzene ‘The greatest health impact corresponds to the relatively short-term, but high emission, well completion period’. The study said that this was due to exposure to trimethylbenzenes, aliaphatic hydrocarbons, and xylenes, all of which have neurological and/or respiratory effects, including eye irritation, headaches, sore throat, and difficulty in breathing. … ‘We also calculated higher cancer risks for residents living nearer to the wells as compared to those residing further’, the report said. ‘Benzene is the major contributor to lifetime excess cancer risk from both scenarios’.

Fracking Causes Earthquakes?


006thFracking Causes Earthquakes?

It is truly interesting to discover an industrial process that literally undermines the earth upon which we stand but combine American know-how, de-regulation and greed, and the sky is just the limit.

James Pilant

Ohio earthquakes linked to fracking | Al Jazeera America

Ohio authorities shut down a hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) natural gas operation in Mahoning County on Monday after two earthquakes were felt in the area, which is near the Pennsylvania border, local newspapers and broadcasters reported.

The quakes registered magnitudes of 3 and 2.6, the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center said on its website.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) halted operations of Texas-based Hilcorp Energy — which conducts fracking in the area — while experts from the department analyze data from the earthquakes, the Columbus Dispatch newspaper said, citing a statement it received from the ONDR.

“Out of an abundance of caution we notified the only oil and gas operator in the area, and ordered them to halt all operations until further assessment can take place,” the department was quoted as saying.

There were no immediate reports of injury or damage.

The magnitude 3 quake at about 2:26 a.m. was strong enough to wake up some residents in Poland Township, according to local NBC affiliate WFMJ. Reports said the smaller quake followed at 11:44 a.m.

via Ohio earthquakes linked to fracking | Al Jazeera America.

From around the web.

From the web site, Akron Dave.

http://akrondave.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/fracking-suspected-as-cause-of-texas-earthquakes/

A group of residents of a small Texas community traveled to the state capital to protest hydraulic fracturing, “fracking,” in their community that is being blamed for about 30 earthquakes since November.

This follows reports of earthquakes near Youngstown, Ohio, last year that were linked to fracking wells, which led the usually business-friendly Gov. John Kasich to order the operation to shut down.

If Texas quakes are like the Ohio seismic activity, the problem could be the injection of fracking wastewater into the ground near a fault line. Geologists say the liquid can create “slippage” in faults, which triggers the quakes.

The fact that fracking has helped dramatically reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil and natural gas makes shutting down fracking operations highly unpopular in some circles. But when the earth is shaking under your feet, you gotta take it seriously.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this.

Fracking Job Numbers in Question


oilderrick1000075461Fracking Job Numbers in Question

Well, how about this? The pro-fracking governor of Pennsylvania says that fracking has created 200,000 jobs but there is an analysis by a state newspaper indicating a number of 30,000 and that the number of these kinds of jobs is falling.

Who’s telling the truth? On one side we have an industry devoted to secrecy and non-disclosure on a scale not seen since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This sides also includes pro-natural gas groups and politicians who have benefitted from generous campaign contributions. On the other we have a state newspaper doing an analysis as part of its news gathering.

I’m going to go with the newspaper. The other guys will profit and advance based on their stance while the best the newspaper can do is get increased circulation. One side has more motive to lie.

What’s more, I have some experience with fracking as an issue. What I have read and seen is that fracking creates a lot of jobs during the initial stages of drilling but then the jobs move on to the next drilling sites and there is little permanent job creation.

Based on my knowledge, since the state has had much of the drilling done, those jobs are moving on while the wells and the problems remain.

I believe that fracking could have been done in an environmentally protective way that took care not to destroy water resources or endanger the stability of the earth’s crust. But since fracking was exempted from a host of environmental laws and has operated in the realm of secrecy, I don’t see them having much reason to act responsibly.

Is it not written: John 3:20: For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

James Pilant

Pennsylvania fracking-related jobs numbers questioned | Al Jazeera America

Facing a daunting re-election year, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has been touting his all-out support for natural gas drilling as a job creator in his state.

But economists and environmentalists are questioning his claim that the industry props up more than 200,000 Pennsylvania jobs. They say that the governor’s administration has greatly inflated the number and that it may be getting lower every day.

A new analysis by The Allentown Morning Call newspaper and published Monday indicates that growth in the industries associated with drilling in the Marcellus Shale — one of the country’s main areas for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — fell by 29 percent from 2010 to 2013. There are now just under 30,000 that can directly be linked to the Marcellus.

Industry supporters say that the decline is a temporary fluctuation and that ancillary jobs created and supported by shale gas development — including ones in trucking, engineering and construction — boost the number to more than 200,000.

But as Corbett continues to support natural gas development in his bid for re-election, those job numbers have come under more scrutiny. Activists and economists say that while there is no doubt natural gas has contributed to the state’s economy, it is likely the practice’s impact has been exaggerated, perhaps for political gain.

via Pennsylvania fracking-related jobs numbers questioned | Al Jazeera America.

From around the web.

From the web site, NCC Ecojustice Web Site.

http://ecojustice.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/fracking-jobs-what/

Supporters of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale have promised new drilling could create up to 100,000 jobs in Pennsylvania this year, but actual job creation appears to be falling well short.

According to a report last year by Penn State University’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Marcellus Shale drilling directly and indirectly created more than 29,000 jobs in Pennsylvania in 2008 and 48,000 jobs in 2009. The report, commissioned by the Marcellus Shale Gas Committee, predicted drilling operations would create at least 107,000 jobs this year.

Critics say those numbers are not borne out by reality. According to a report released last month by J.M. Barth & Associates, a New York-based research and consulting firm, the number of jobs in the oil and gas extraction industry has remained virtually flat in recent years despite increased investment in the Marcellus Shale.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that Pennsylvania’s mining and logging sector gained 2,500 jobs over the past three years, growing from 20,800 jobs in February 2007 to 23,300 jobs in February 2010.

“There’s a lot of wishful thinking out there,” said Jannette Barth, president of J.M. Barth & Associates. “They’re not [accurate] — or at least, they’re biased. They leave a lot of things out” (Bill Toland, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 9). – GN

From the web site, Frackorporation.

http://frackorporation.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/no-frack-class-in-hazleton/

Last month Marcellus Shale Drilling News (i.e. think Rush Limbaugh sans Cigar) broke the news with a screaming headline “Cabot to Teach Hazelton, PA 9th Graders How to Frack“.

On August 30, the Hazleton School Board delayed approval of the proposed course on Natural Gas Drilling until they learned more about it.   The proposed course was presented as being taught by volunteers from Junior Achievement and Cabot Oil & Gas would be paying for the materials.

A bit more drilling into the proposed course turned up a very heavily one-sided course curriculum. Read it for yourself – JA Careers in Energy – Guide for Volunteers and Teachers.

I learned tonight, the Hazleton School Board met last night (9/26/13), and said thanks by no thanks and voted down Cabot’s Fracking Class by a 6-1 vote.

Sources stated the board felt uncomfortable with a corporate designed and financed course.   They were especially uncomfortable with Session #7 which simulates a town meeting with carefully prepared profile cards and positions each “character” was to take.

A Fracking Earthquake?


006thA Fracking Earthquake?

This is just another one of those things the industry doesn’t like the rest of us to talk about. The cloak of secrecy the industry continues would rival any military operation in the world. We do know that they contaminate wells, bring up radioactive water from deep in the earth,  damage the health of both humans and animals, and evidence is stacking up that they cause earthquakes.

It’s kind of interesting to have a business ethics story of this kind. While it is a national tragedy, academically it’s a beauty of a disaster which will change the field of business ethics forever. After all. we now know when the Vice-President is a former CEO of Haliburton and has years of closed door meetings with energy companies, something bad is about to happen. We now know that when the Congress votes to protect a single industry from government from the laws protecting air and water, that industry is going to do something to the air and water. We now know that when the government is prevented from doing studies and overseeing an industry that our information about the effects of that industry will fragmented, often anectdotal and take years before enough evidence is accumulated before action can be taken.

And as usual, we know that it would have been so much better if we knew then what we know now.

James Pilant

Is Fracking Causing Earthquakes? | Crooks and Liars

In Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio and other states, people who have rarely experienced earthquakes in the past are getting used to them as a fairly common phenomenon. This dramatic uptick in tremors is related to drilling for oil and natural gas, several reports find. And the growing popularity of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is in part to blame.

Between 1970 and 2000, there was an average of 20 earthquakes per year within the central and eastern United States. Between 2010 and 2013, there was an average of more than 100 earthquakes annually. A United States Geological Survey released last month summarized research on man-made earthquakes conducted by one of the agency’s geophysicists:

USGS scientists have found that at some locations the increase in seismicity coincides with the injection of wastewater in deep disposal wells. Much of this wastewater is a byproduct of oil and gas production and is routinely disposed of by injection into wells specifically designed for this purpose.

So, the actual hydraulic fracturing process itself is not to blame in these cases; instead, it’s the injection of wastewater into deep wells that accompanies it.

Hydraulic fracturing produces a higher volume of wastewater than traditional drilling — as the name implies, drillers use millions of gallons of high-pressure water, sand and chemicals to break apart rock and release gas trapped in pockets in the earth. The wastewater generated is often contaminated with salt or poisonous chemicals, and environmental regulations bar drilling companies from allowing it to mix with drinking water; oftentimes, the most economical way for these companies to  dispose of it is to sequester it deep in the ground, below aquifers. Once there, it changes pressure underground and lubricates fault lines, with the potential effect of causing earthquakes.

In both Texas and Oklahoma, the number of earthquakes per year has increased ten-fold. And wells storing wastewater from fracking have also been linked to hundreds of earthquakes near Youngstown, Ohio.

Is Fracking Causing Earthquakes? | Crooks and Liars.

From around the web.

From the web site, Akron Dave.

http://akrondave.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/fracking-suspected-as-cause-of-texas-earthquakes/

A group of residents of a small Texas community traveled to the state capital to protest hydraulic fracturing, “fracking,” in their community that is being blamed for about 30 earthquakes since November.

This follows reports of earthquakes near Youngstown, Ohio, last year that were linked to fracking wells, which led the usually business-friendly Gov. John Kasich to order the operation to shut down.

If Texas quakes are like the Ohio seismic activity, the problem could be the injection of fracking wastewater into the ground near a fault line. Geologists say the liquid can create “slippage” in faults, which triggers the quakes.

The fact that fracking has helped dramatically reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil and natural gas makes shutting down fracking operations highly unpopular in some circles. But when the earth is shaking under your feet, you gotta take it seriously.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this.

Andrew Comments On My Post, Gasland – The Documentary


Andrew Gates once again provides his usual intelligent commentary to one of my postings, in this case, Gasland – The Documentary.

These companies will DEFINITELY take advantage of land owners in a second if they can.

My paternal ancestors were coal miners from Kentucky. My great grandfather worked for the mining company for a very long time. When he retired, the company gave him a piece of land on one of the mountains (that they thought was worthless, of course) that they owned. That was sort of a tradition back in that time.

Anyways, about 10 years after he retired, another company comes to him and says that they found more coal on that mountain and that they wanted his permission to mine the coal from under his property. They offered him a fixed amount per month for the rights to mine.

My great grandfather, being a veteran of the mining industry, knew that the company would mine the coal as quickly as possible without regard to his property, so that they would only have to pay him a few thousand dollars for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of coal.

So my great grandfather told them that he would not give them rights to mine unless they paid him a fixed amount per ton of coal that was mined from his property. The company did NOT like those terms and tried everything in the book to get around it, but eventually they caved and accepted his terms. Because the company gave him so much grief about the terms of the mining deal, he also forced them to pay him a fee for every truck that went up and down HIS road to the mountain.

Its always a good story to tell to people who think that one man cant stand up to a large company.

I’m glad for the comment. There is no one in my family that has that kind of experience. (Pilants tend to be ministers, teachers and farmers although on rare occasions they may be found as Internet bloggers.)

Here’s another preview of Gasland:


Gasland – The Documentary


From the Huffington Post

Josh Fox’s home sits in the woods of Milanville, Pennsylvania, near the rushing waters of the Delaware River. In May 2008, a strange letter appeared in his mailbox. A natural gas company was offering him $100,000 if he granted them permission to drill on his property.

Instead of signing, Fox decided to investigate. Armed with a video camera and a banjo, he set off on a journey up and down the Marcellus Shale, a massive reserve of natural gas that stretches 600 miles from Pennsylvania to Maryland, Virginia and into Tennessee. Known as the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas,” the shale contains billions of dollars in untapped fuel.

Fox wanted to know: What happened to other families who agreed to drilling on their property?

What he found was a heartbreaking collection of severely ill families whose aquifers had become so tainted by the gas, they could literally light their tap water on fire. He edited his footage into a modest documentary, Gasland, which was soon embraced by outraged viewers across the country. It won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, the Lennon-Ono Peace Prize, and now has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary.

I was reading about the Academy Award nominations when I came across this film. I read up on it. I find it compelling, it’s a moving story about real people who lose the right to have clean water.

James Pilant