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View Diary: DO NOT PUBLISH. To the Gas Industry: "What the frack are you doing to our air and water?" (71 comments)

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  •  That's quite an effort (9+ / 0-)

    Some of your sources are better than others, but good job on pulling together a substantial amount of information.  

    For the record, hydraulic fracturing and drilling are two completely different things. It's silly to conflate the two. Drilling is a term for advancing a borehole into the earth. Hydraulic fracturing is a term for what is sometimes done to increase the permeability of the formation into which a well is drilled.

    One clear error that should be corrected is this:

    What kind of chemicals? Fracturing companies have the Halliburton Loophole to protect them from being forced to disclose what chemicals were used in the process. The fracking industry is exempted from regulation under the Clean Water Act in the USA.
    (emphasis mine)

    It's not the Clean Water Act.  It's the Safe Drinking Water Act.  That's where the Underground Injection Control provisions are. The link you provided in that sentence correctly states that it's the SDWA.

    •  Thanks for the correction (6+ / 0-)

      Will fix that.

      ❧To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 07:21:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i don't think that we improperly conflated... (7+ / 0-)

      hydraulic fracturing and drilling:

      "Fracking" is a combination of a number of extraction technologies, some which have been around for 60 years and some much newer.  Vertical drilling and vertical fracturing have been in use since the 1940's, horizontal drilling technology was developed in the 1990's and the current technique known as fracking combines those technologies with the use of a chemical cocktail (whose exact constituents the industry is exempt from disclosing - thanks Dick Cheney) which is called by the industry, "High Volume Slickwater Hydraulic Fracturing."

      Despite gas industry claims that "fracking" technology is 60 years old, what we know now as fracking (hydraulic horizontal fracturing) has been in use on a large scale for less than 10 years.

      "Fracking and drilling are not the same thing," said University of Houston engineering professor Michael Economides, who consults for drillers on fracturing. "We drill wells. Then we frack."

      i thought that we made the distinction pretty clear, ymmv.

      thanks for the tip re: the safe water drinking act.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 07:37:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't say you conflated the two (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack, Agathena

        But you've included a statement from an ill-informed source that attempts to do so.

        •  not to belabor the point, but... (8+ / 0-)

          to say that drilling and fracking are not related is silly.  you have to create a horizontal bore before you can frack.  while you can drill without fracking, you can't frack without drilling.  fracking is not a stand-alone technology - drilling is inextricably intertwined with the process of fracking.  if you are describing the technology of fracking, it cannot be described faithfully without including drilling technology.

          anyway, that's how i see it.  thanks for your input.

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 08:07:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You need to understand the situation better (0+ / 0-)

            Hydrofracturing is relatively rare, compared to the number of wells and boreholes that are drilled.  It's wrong and misguided to demonize drilling by itself.

            Of course you need a hole before you can hydrofracture.  And, despite your assertion, hydrofracturing does not need a horizontal well.  It can (and is) done in vertical wells.

            And hydrofracturing is done for more than gas recovery.  It's also done to open fractures in formations with low hydraulic conductivity so in situ treatment of contaminated groundwater can be done more effectively.

            My advice is to focus on the hydrofracturing; not the drilling. The most risky elements in hydrofracturing, in my opinion, are:

            (1) The geologic setting in which it occurs; specifically, the natural protection (if any) afforded by the stratigraphy in the area being fractured.

            (2) The quality of the well seal and any mechanical integrity testing completed to confirm an effective and adequate seal exists.

            (3) The storage (generally in ponds) and ultimate disposal of brines and hydrofracturing liquids. They are a major potential source of contamination to underground sources of drinking water.

    •  It is stated that fracking and drilling are two (6+ / 0-)

      completely different things here.

      "Fracking and drilling are not the same thing," said University of Houston engineering professor Michael Economides, who consults for drillers on fracturing. "We drill wells. Then we frack."
      That some environmentalists dismiss the distinction makes sense because the entire process has a destructive environmental impact beginning with stripping the land for the drill pads, thousands of them...

      ❧To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 07:37:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

        dozens if not hundreds of wells are drilled for every one that is subsequently subjected to hydraulic fracturing.  

        If some choose to blur the distinction they are making a mistake.

        •  Thanks for reading the diary so carefully. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe shikspack, shaharazade

          ❧To thine ownself be true

          by Agathena on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 08:58:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The drilling also contaminates the well water (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe shikspack

          do you think the people like Louis Meeks care if it is drilling or fracking that contaminated their well water? They just want clean water, the same sweet clean water they had for 30 years before the drilling/fracking began.

          ❧To thine ownself be true

          by Agathena on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 06:09:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  In general, that's incorrect (0+ / 0-)

            Drilling -- by itself -- generally doesn't contaminate aquifers.

            It's not impossible, but it's unlikely.

            Look - I'm a hydrogeologist with 3 decades of experience dealing with contaminated groundwater. I know what I'm talking about.  I am glad you're concerned and I absolutely agree that hydrofracturing needs to be thoroughly regulated and, in many cases, curtailed.  It's simply too risky in many geologic settings.

            But you don't help your cause by citing unreliable sources or making incorrect statements.

            •  Could you cite what you think are "unreliable (0+ / 0-)

              sources" and what you think are the "incorrect statements?"

              I'm not going to be put on the defensive over vague accusations.

              If you are glad that we are concerned, then help us out here by being more specific.

              I respect your experience and appreciate your input, when it is specific.

              ❧To thine ownself be true

              by Agathena on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 11:48:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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