Defusing the explosive conversation on fracking

Americans revel at horror stories, true or not, and the media make fracking to be scarier than Jason!

  • frack

Hydraulic fracturing started out as an “exploding torpedo” back in 1865. Today, nearly 150 years later, the actual process has made giant technological strides, but now, it’s the topic that’s explosive.

While the White House has been encouraging Christmas dinner table conversation to center around Obamacare, in my experience, it is fracking that came into the conversation—and when it did, the results had the potential to be as explosive as the early practice.

Over the holidays two young adults came home for Christmas. Somehow hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” came into the conversation. Dad, a reader of my column whose employment is also peripherally connected to the oil-and-gas industry, spoke up in support of the practice that has unleashed America’s natural resources and made us the world leader in energy production. His children, and their friends who had gathered in his home, were shocked and spouted the usual claims of water contamination, harsh chemicals, and flaming faucets. The topic became so explosive that his kids packed up and left before the festivities even began.

I was in California for Christmas. I visited a cousin in Napa Valley whose adult son is in the wine business. He was at her home when I arrived. She told him what I do and stated that he had many friends in the oil-and-gas business. I smiled and said: “I can talk oil, gas, coal, nuclear, fracking, whatever…” My cousin quickly interrupted and stated: “We probably don’t want to talk fracking.” I took the hint, and we moved on to another topic. Driving back to my brother’s house, I wondered: “When did fracking become an explosive topic.”

With the Christmas prime rib consumed, my family and friends were still gathered around the table. Once again fracking came up. I shared the previous two recent stories. One woman asserted that if her sister, who was arriving in a few days from Boulder, Colorado, was there and we talked fracking, the results would be explosive, too.

Because they are not in the industry, I found that the group gathered around our table had misconceptions about the process that they’d been fed by the media.

While I don’t have an exact date when the topic of fracking became explosive, I do know, from my speaking and writing on the topic, from radio interviews with listener call-ins, and private conversations, that the explosive reactions are due to a lack of understanding about the process—with the biggest concerns being about water, chemicals, and flaming faucets.

Water

As I’ve written previously, there are accusations that fracking is taking billions of gallons of water out of the hydrologic cycle. Especially in the southwest where water is scarce and drought conditions persist, this poses a problem.

The process of hydraulic fracturing has advanced from the first nitroglycerin “torpedo” that was shot down a well hole on April 25, 1865, and well acidizing that was used in the 1930s to enhance productivity, to the modern mix of high pressure, water, and chemicals began in 1947 in Grant County, Kansas—and it continues to evolve and become more economical.

In a piece addressing water used in fracking, The Economist describes the process this way: “Water injected at high pressure into rock deep underground reclaimduring the process of hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking,’ often returns to the surface as brine, having picked up a lot of salt on its journey. It is also contaminated with chemicals from the fracking process itself.”

Today, less and less freshwater is being used—especially in the arid southwest where water for drinking and agriculture is at a premium. A typical frack job can use as much as 5 million gallons of water and lasts about 3 days. The procedure can result in decades of oil or gas production.

With the development of new technologies, the fracking process can be done with brackish water that may be as much as ten times as salty as seawater. A recent report from Reuters, titled “Fracking without freshwater at a west Texas oil field,” documents some of the advancements. Billions of gallons of brackish water are located far below the fresh water aquifers. Producers in west Texas are fracking with the brackish water from the Santa Rosa aquifer. They are then recycling the produced water—a byproduct of oil and natural gas drilling, and the flowback water—the fluid pushed back out of the well during fracking. Both forms of wastewater have historically been trucked to underground disposal wells.

A couple of months ago, I participated in the Executive Oil Conference in Midland, Texas, where a panel of water experts addressed the crowd of more than 800 attendees and discussed the new technologies.

Now, instead of trucking wastewater to a remote location, mobile systems can treat the water onsite and condition it to meet almost any specification the driller wants—resulting in a reduction of expensive truck traffic. The portable systems can treat 20,000-30,000 barrels of water per day. For bigger frack jobs, additional units can be added—making the system totally flexible.

These new water solutions can reduce the total dissolved solids in the water from as high as 200,000 to below 200. For reference, the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for drinking water is 500. The same water can be recycled and used over and over again. Addressing the new technologies, James Welch, Global Business Development Manager, Water Solutions, with Halliburton, told the crowd: “Produced water is not a waste. It is an opportunity. It is an offset to freshwater usage.” Halliburton is able to fracture with water that’s 280,000 TDS.

The result of these new procedures is, according to The Economist: “Clean water …pure enough to be used for irrigation, or even drinking water. …Alternatively, it can be re-injected into the ground during the next frack.”

Rather than taking water out of the hydrologic cycle, the oil-and-gas industry is actually often taking formerly unusable water, using it in fracking and then cleaning it up to a level where it can be introduced into the cycle as either irrigation or drinking water.

Stan Weiner, Chairman and CEO at STW Resources, was one of the panelists. He summed up the new water solutions by saying: “Now we’ve figured out a way to clean it up economically. There’s no reason not to use it. Companies nationwide, worldwide, all want to do this. We get no resistance from them. They want to see it work. It’s a go.”

GE (as addressed in The Economist), Apache Corp. (as covered by Reuters), Halliburton, and STW Resources are just a handful of the many companies that are developing revolutionary water treatment processes that neuter one of the biggest arguments against fracking.

Chemicals

In our Christmas conversation, someone asked: “Why do they need chemicals? Why don’t they just frack with water?” She’d heard stories.

I explained that the so-called chemicals are needed to provide lubrication for the tiny particles of sand that hold open microscopic cracks in the “fractured” rock that allow the oil or gas to escape. “As a woman, I am sure you’ve had your fingers swell. That makes it hard to get your rings off.” She nodded. “What do you do then?” I queried. “Soap my hands up,” she replied.

Bingo!

That is the role the chemicals play in the fracking process. But those chemicals are now mostly food-based and can be consumed with no ill effects—both fractoastGovernor Hickenlooper (D-CO) and CNBC’s Jim Cramer have had a drink.

So, even if the chemicals did somehow defy geology and migrate several miles from the fracked well through the layers of sedimentary rock to the aquifer, they are not harmful.

To illustrate the point, I am in the process of organizing what I am calling “the great New Mexico fracktail party.” I have several state legislators lined up—and am looking for more. I need to find an operator who is willing to invite us onsite when a frack job is being done. The legislators, industry folks, and anyone else who wants to participate, will be invited to the location with cocktail glass in hand (umbrella, fruit, olive—whatever—included). With media cameras rolling we’ll pour the fracfluid from the tank to our glasses and toast to American energy freedom.

Flaming Faucets

flamingtapMy sister-in-law asked: “What about the flaming faucets?” “Those are real,” I explained. “But they have nothing to do with fracking.” Natural gas, or methane, was found in water wells long before any fracking was done in the area. In fact, it was the gassy smell that often alerted explorers to the potential oil and gas in the region. Oil-and-gas drilling didn’t cause the flaming faucet phenomenon. Quite the contrary. The presence of gas near the surface brought about the “don’t smoke in the shower” adage. While the water is harmless to consume, a gas build up in the house could cause an explosion.

Lies about hydraulic fracturing are rampant. If fossil fuel opponents can spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about fracking—with the goal of causing a federal fracking ban — they can virtually stop oil-and-gas development in America, as it is estimated that 90% of producing wells have been fracked. Without American ingenuity and increasing production, gasoline prices and utility bills will skyrocket. Economic ruin will reign. America will, once again be beholden to increasingly hostile foreign sources.

A fracking conversation shouldn’t be explosive. Today’s hydraulic fracturing is really benign, American technology that is ecologically sound and economically advantageous. Keep these facts in mind. As my stories illustrate, not everyone will listen—but if more people, such as my brother and sister-in-law, know the truth they can help de-fuse the explosive conversation.

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About the Author: Marita Noon

Marita Noon

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

  • FrankSW

    Burning gas produces water and it can be argued that fracking returns more water to the hydrological cycle than it takes out.

    From
    http://energyindepth.org/national/turning-natural-gas-into-water-hydraulic-fracturing-doesnt-deplete-water-supplies/

    “Therefore, our typical gas well will yield about 22 million gallons of
    water over 10 years as compared to the four million gallons sent
    permanently below the earth. The four million gallons temporarily
    removed from the water cycle is replenished within less than six
    months of production when combusted”

  • colleenf

    If the eco terrorists have their way, we peons will all be walking…..but they will ride in comfort.
    Their base is populated by a bunch of knee jerk fools who have not just little knowledge…..they usually have none.

    • Old Khem

      Not an “Eco Terrorist” here, but Fracking HAS proven itself to be hazardous. Go explain to the people affected by this. Whole communities, that they are stupid… Then get the hell out of town if you can.

      • Sean

        What communities? When you environmentalists can actually cite communities, or factual data showing what you claim, then you have the right to dispute the FACTS in this article.

        • EagleEye

          Dimock, Pa. is one community that comes to mind off the top of my head. Google the rest yourself Sean and open up your mind as there are literally hundreds of places around the country that have been harmed and devastated by fracking. Sean if you read the article carefully enough, the author purposely glossed over the “FACTS.” You have been had by someone claiming to have “facts.” But are they really facts when the “science” is bought and paid for by the industry that has the most to profit from it?

          • EagleEye

            “What about the University of Texas Study showing no connection between fracking and water contamination?

            The University of Texas at Austin has withdrawn that study after an
            investigation revealed that the lead investigator, Charles “Chip”
            Groat, has financial interests in the natural gas industry, which he did
            not disclose in his report.

            Hmm sounds like the industry is paying shills to create “science” to support their claims, eh Sean?

        • Old Khem

          Try Pavillion, Wy. for one in that state. I use that because it is less than a 2 hr. drive from where I am sitting.

      • CraigOlsen

        It’s not fracking that causes problems, but people doing things incorrectly. According to your statement, nobody should go to work or have kids or even drive a car.

        • Old Khem

          LOL… No, your just saying “according to”.. This isn’t like people going to work in a factory that turns out a given product. This is work that needs, Requires oversight. By others than the States it is being done in. If water supplies are tainted. It is a No Go. And once it’s done and it affects people. WHERE is the benefit? I have had one of the Owners of Husky Oil (sold)…tell me directly, there have to be acceptable losses in endeavors like this. The people farther down the line like the drillers and such, they don’t give two shits what it might entail. Pumpers working the fields have to bear the brunt of any problems after that to a big extent, but they have the backing of their Field Managers and such. “Oh, No no… Don’t call them, Bury that!” ‘Containment fails and raw oil flows over the landscape of an area… “We can’t get THEM involved in that, do you know what it costs???”

          But back to fracking, on “thing” done incorrectly can and does lead to terrible outcomes. Affecting people, their property and families.

          • CraigOlsen

            Sounds like the gun control issue. Sumebody misuses a gun, so therefore all gun owners are bad people. Common sense and I don’t buy it.

            • EagleEye

              With all due respect, that might be the stupidist thing I have ever heard. Everyone who has read it is now dumber for reading it. Fracking is plain and simple dangerous to everyone except those that are profiting from it.

              • CraigOlsen

                ….or perhaps we should ban all cars because of drunk drivers.

                It’s the same thing over and over. Certain people lack reasoning and basic math skills. Nothing new here.

                • EagleEye

                  I sure hit the nail on the head…

                  Another paid gas industry shill. Thanks for playing Craig. You and the original author are a case in point on how the gas industry works regarding fracking. “One guy lyin’. And two guys swearing to it!”

                  Show me an independent peer reviewed study that is NOT paid for by the gas industry to prove me wrong. You can’t. So this stupid equivocating of “banning cars because of drunk drivers and lefties banning guns” has no place in the gas fracking argument. You guys may fool the average “drill baby drill” rube. But a lot of people are waking up to the serious damage fracking is causing, and what fracking is doing to the water supply and the people who depend on it.

                  • CraigOlsen

                    I have two brothers who work in the fracking industry. One for 34 years and the other for 29 years. I’ve toured the facilities many times. They always leave the land better than they found it. There are zero complaints. I worked for them one summer when I was younger. Very strick environmental rules. People still complained because they were really bad at simple math and reasoning. You know, someone will complain about anything. They take a few bad cases and apply them to the whole industry. Good thing most of us are not at poor at reasoning as you, or there would be no industry, no production, no USA, and you would not have had a chance to complain because you would not have been born.

                    • EagleEye

                      C’mon Craig, THAT’S your best stuff? To again refer to me as a “lefty” who is against all that is good in America? Here are some more facts that you cannot refute about this issue. As a land owner in most of America you and I as American citzens have less rights than the corporations. We have little or no rights or recourse when a gas or oil company decides to drill under our properties and spoil our water supply. We have little or no rights when a sand frac mining operation decides to move in next door and not only spoil our view and our solitude, but ruin our roads and water supply and land values. And YOU support this! What does this say about your AMERICAN values? This all sounds fascist to me!

                    • CraigOlsen

                      You have obviously had some sort of bad experience. But your insistence that it somehow represents the whole industry is not only misguided, but shows your basic mathematical incompetence. Your position is one weed in the garden and the whole garden should be plowed under. Mine is to pull the weed and expand the garden.

                    • EagleEye

                      Go back and re-read my last post and answer the very specific issues I raised about American citizen’s land rights vs these oil and gas corporations. Are you for or against American citizens land rights, Mr Patriot? You always go back to your lame analogies without addressing the issues. I’m not sure if you are obtuse or just deliberately obtuse.

                  • BillClintonsShorts17

                    Except our research shows that you, EagleEye, are lying. Through your teeth with your forked tongue.

              • BillClintonsShorts17

                Direct us to the list of people who have died as a result of fracking.

  • Ruth Bard

    With usable water being added, and more CO2 in the atmosphere, Texas should start to green up like the Sahel. Arid land will become arable, and abundant, cheap energy will enable more and better food production, driving down world prices and reducing malnutrition among the world’s poor. Better yet, let’s just ensure the world’s poor a reliable supply of that abundant, cheap energy – then sit back and watch them change their lives (except, of course, the “entitled” welfare bums of the West).

    • Chrstian Patriot

      My compliment’s to Ruth Bard and Colleenf; You bothh have hit the nail right on the head. The anti fracking crowd has once again revealed their Stupidity and ignorance! Why do they continuously attempt to disrupt America’s need to rely on Middle east oil who are now using our oil dollar’s too advance the Islamic goal to overtake and destroy the Western Worlds Christianity as they seek to dominate the world by forcibly Imposing their Islamic/ Muslim Sharia Law on our peace loving
      Judeo/ Christian Sanctuary’s! It is now time for the Western Civilization’s To join forces and defeat the Hitleristic, Cruel, Sadistic, Islamic Zealot’s Army’s before it is too late!! Tom Z an America Patriot

      • Old Khem

        No they haven’t hit anything. If something is Hazardous, it is Hazardous, end of story. There are no such thing as “acceptable losses” (communities, people having to move, local water poisoned, Nat Gas in the damned plumbing??) No, It does not pan. Attempt to disrupt “Americas Need”??? (Or an attempt to disrupt the flow of Billions of Dollars? ) Now, although off topic… Judeo/Christian Sanctuary’s???? We have to remember that the Earth was given to us as our home. To be Taken Care of not jerked around to meet the demands of the avarice of a relative few!

        • BS7SDEN

          The earth is here for man to utilize. Man was given a brain, ability to think and reason, and learn to uses its resources.
          Part of the learning activity is to use, enjoy and care for our planet. Man is learning to use without destroying, it is part of our knowledge process. This process must be embraced, not feared or ignored!

          • EagleEye

            Yes, Man was given a brain, but when it comes to greed and ungodly profit he usually fails to use it. You know that is true. I agree with you about the process being embraced. However the side that is making all of the profit including the original author above have no interest in a “process.” They just want to ram their will and their “rights” to their greed down the rest of our throats with no due process for those that don’t agree with them.

            • CraigOlsen

              Harnessed greed is good. Without greed, there is no incentive. Without incentive, no production. Production is the reason behind success. Socialist systems create poverty and those societies can never last.

          • Old Khem

            But at what costs? it sure isn’t the multi-billion dollar Petrol folks, is it? No, It’s the guy that just happens to live eat and breath across the way or down the road taking care of his cows, fields, or just living out his life that is usually affected. Learning processes when they affect human beings need to be discarded for something more amiable to say the least. My Biggest gripe is that of the push for Deregulation across the board. Then the Learning process would be whatever the Company damn well pleases. And not only that, there have already been those that have lobbied for Drilling our National Parks? It’s not all that big a matter about having enough oil or gas, It’s about how much money can these jokers make! Not ONLY that, Deregulation as many want also affects the working class, of which a good piece works the Oil patch. Deregulation has NO ONE in mind but the oil people.

        • BillClintonsShorts17

          Driving down the highway is hazardous. VERY hazardous. I advise Old Khem to stay in bed with the blinds pulled and the covers pulled up over his head. Hell, if he goes outside an ant might bite him.

          • Old Khem

            Yeah, that’s a good one there Billy. I am not talking about one person. It stands to hose up the lives of many more than that. The communities that have already been affected attest to that. You can sleep better knowing that I have been in many life threatening lol, to say the least, situations in my life as not to choke over something that might be “negligible”, but we are not talking that here. Getting out of bed might be hazardous in your case Billy.

  • alpha2actual

    Yet it is entirely appropriate for a water driven Solar Concentrator to draw off 65 million gallons of water a year from a non-replenishable prehistoric aquifer. Then there’s the 250 thousand gallons a day used to clean the solar panels at a large commercial solar installation in California. That pesky dust diminishes the panels already sterling efficiency by one order of magnitude don’t you know.

  • SierraRose

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who are not interested in the truth, or in scientific evidence. They are highly invested both philosophically and economically in their program.

    • Old Khem

      Truth?? Yes, but any “Truth” presented by those that have interest in a particular thing, is going to present their particular version of the “Truth”. Especially where Money In vast quantities is concerned.

  • jameshrust

    One of the environmental movements victories for American citizens is ethanol from corn which is supposed to cut down on greenhouse gases, reduce oil imports, and increase the countries security. All false premises. When you look at water requirements for ethanol from corn, all other energy sources pale in comparison.
    Corn is a debilitating crop that requires much water and fertilizer for its growth. A Purdue University study claimed 18 inches of rainfall is necessary for a thriving corn crop. With a corn yield of 150 bushels per acre and 2.4 gallons of ethanol per bushel of corn, this requires 1360 gallons of water for plant growth per gallon of ethanol. Adding in 200 gallons of water to process corn into ethanol, yields a water requirement of 1560 gallons of water per gallon of ethanol. The 2014 EPA proposed 13 billion gallons of ethanol from corn mandate requires 20 trillion gallons of water annually. This is more water than 320 million Americans use for all activities. The 20-40 billion gallons of water used annually by the oil and gas industry for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) pale in comparison to ethanol requirements.
    James H. Rust, Professor of nuclear engineering

    • darwinfinch

      Funny that you would include rainwater in your analysis, considering that it runs through the plant and back into the soil before harvest.

    • CraigOlsen

      It is not possible to use up water. If you heat it to a boil – it cools back to water. If you freeze it to a solid, it warms back to water. If you separate the oxygen and hydrogen, the atoms always seek each other again and turn back to water. Even with photosynthesis or hydrolysis! Like air, it is IMPOSSIBLE to deplete water. Let’s use all the water we can to our benefit!

  • CraigOlsen

    Like air, water cannot ever be used up. It can only be boiled off into a gas which cools back to water, or it can be frozen to a solid which melts back to water. You can’t get rid of water! Water at the surface, contaminated or not, becomes filtered by the earth as it percs back to the nearest aquafer. I’m not sure why treehuggers tend to insist that any process uses up water. This is one example of their religion, and there is no telling them that one plus one is two. They will insist it’s three and that’s that.

    • JinCLE

      This is completely wrong. Water is a molecule with 2 hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom. There are any number of chemical reactions that use water as an input and rip apart the water molecules resulting in no water in the output. A common naturally occurring example is photosynthesis, where plants convert water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) into sugar (C6H12O6) and Oxygen (O2). Water in, no water out. Luckily for the earth, there’s a lot of water and plenty of other things that create water, like Humans through respiration for example. But to say “water cannot ever be used up” is simply ridiculous.

      • CraigOlsen

        Boy, you’ve had your fill of the kool-aid and then some. I suppose along with your water and air shortage, you also believe in global warming.

        • JinCLE

          Does High-C Ecto Cooler count as kool-aid? Because I probably did drink some of that during my high school chemistry class.

          • CraigOlsen

            Yes, it does! You’ve been slimed, lol! I was thinking about your statement that water can be used up. Whenever we break down water in any way, it always naturally seeks to bind itself again as molecules of combined oxygen (O2) and hydrogen (H). Two common examples are photosynthesis and hydrolysis. We cannot assume a temporary state is permanent! Another great example is electrolysis. As an engineer, I build a lot of things. I built a fuel cell with plates of direct current to separate hydrogen from oxygen as a fuel source (electrolysis). But even after hydrogen is separated out, it always seeks out its partner, oxygen, to recreate the original resting water state. Inversely similar to all of the simple sugars and salts examples, your example of human respiration is simply a transfer, not a creation, of hydrogen and oxygen into water. So we see various temporary conditions that appear to be something else, such as in simple solutions; but hydrogen always seeks out oxygen again to regain its resting state: WATER. Bottom line: water cannot be used up.

    • FreeSpeechIsntCrime

      What a deflecting argument. Whatever we do- lets not talk about subsidence or chemical contamination or lack of regulatory oversight???
      ‘Water not being used up’ is not the issue.
      Droughts are the issue. Contaminated Irrigation is the issue. Contaminated soil is the issue. Foundation problems due to subsidence are the issue.
      There used to be an adage- something about “Not sh*tt*ng where one eats.”
      Apparently such ‘wisdom’ is ‘all used up’.

  • EagleEye

    There are at least two fatal flaws in this author’s fracking arguments. First she claims that natural gas was in everyone’s water prior to fracking. Maybe in the very specific case she sites. But there are literally hundreds of cases from around the country where there was zero gas in the water prior to fracking and then not coincidentally, AFTER the fracking started in the area, the gas in the water was so bad it could be lit on fire at the faucet.
    The second aspect she does not even touch is frac sand mining. The industry needs very specific Jordan sand to accomplish fracking. It is largely mined out of southwestern Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota in the upper Mississippi valley. They are totally leveling pristine and beautiful bluffs for this sand, and ruining forever some of the most beautiful areas in the midwest if not the entire country. They are able to do this largely because of the lack of proper zoning ordinances. Ironically in the counties they have taken advantage of the weak protections, where they philosophically left weak zoning laws as they didn’t want to impose “larger government” on their people. Now despite the promise of jobs, the locals are ruing the onslaught of truck and mining operations noise and traffic, dust and health issues. The jobs are usually for specialists who are moved in from elsewhere and then move on when the resource is consumed. It was a Faustian bargain that the locals have realized too late.
    Contrary to the author’s empty assertions, this industry is NOT benign but very malignant and needs greater over-site and regulation before it is too late.

    • http://www.cfact.org/ CFACT Ed

      The scientific evidence is to the contrary. Even Obama’s EPA has found no harm done and even Obama’s Energy Dept. acknowledges the need for the energy.

      • EagleEye

        What evidence? Got an independent link to a study that isn’t bought and paid for by the gas industry? No doubt about the need, sir. What is missing is proper oversite and regulation, not another free pass to the fox who is guarding the chicken coop.

      • Old Khem

        You bet… LOL… Go explain the to the people that are and have been affected by Wonderful Fracking in Pavillion, Wy. about 100 Miles south of where I am sitting. People in the industry ought to get on their knees and thank whatever God or Demon they worship, that neither I nor my family was affected. Speaking to a couple folks down there, it was/IS a terrible situation and NOT just some sort of “Acceptable Loss” due to the needs of of ANY DAMN BODY!

    • Informed engineer

      EagleEye your response contains misinformation and misinterpretation at best. First of all, the possible flaws in the author’s arguments are not fatal. She didn’t claim that everyone’s wells had natural gas, but that wells in the area had natural gas in them before fracking ever began – implying that fracking could not be the sole cause, although admittedly, it could exacerbate a previous problem. Secondly, you are incorrect that only Jordan sand can be used. Jordan sand is indeed a common source for frac sand, but not the sole source — there are several suitable sand formations around the country. If the local zoning ordinances and other regulations don’t adequately protect the area you’re concerned about, that is a problem not exclusive to fracking and is a very weak argument on your part. With all due respect, perhaps a better use of your efforts would be to work to improve (honestly and fairly) the environmental protections in the place you live. And even if the sand mining activities in your area are causing problems, there are very few if any truly benign activities. Everything comes with a cost — as other commenters point out, many renewable energy sources favored by “the left” have severe and negative consequences that aren’t often understood or fully explained by alternative energy proponents. Oversight and regulation are certainly appropriate, but trying to shut down an industry that has significant benefits to our society isn’t the right way to go about protecting the world we live in.

      • EagleEye

        Informed engineer. While you obviously disagree with my post, you didn’t even scratch the surface of my arguments. Namely, there are literally hundreds of incidents of “faucet fires” all over the country after fracking began in an area, where no gas had been detected in the water prior to the fracking. The point being that fracking DOES indeed cause faucet fires all around the country. How could this possibly not have serious health consequences? Which the author rather lamely tried to gloss over, and your argument backing her was so weak as it didn’t even address the cause and effect of fracking and faucet fires. With all due respect perhaps you could come up with a better argument and address the core issue of it.

        Jordan sand may not be the ONLY sand that will work but somehow it is the best option both in quality and in price when you consider how many gas and mining companies have come to the pristine upper Mississippi river valley to literally level hundreds of 600′ sandstone bluffs and leave denuded pits behind. How would you like corporate interests coming into your back yard and destroying your way of life with little gain (in fact, huge loss when you consider the drop in property value) for you? And little recourse for damage to roads and infrastructure and open pits?

        The catastrophic costs of the fracking industry and frac sand mining need to be examined closely and debated vigorously. Instead we have little or no oversite and loose regulation. Why all the skulking around if it is so safe and “benign”? The author of the article didn’t even address this part of the industry. BTW, I never once said shut it all down. I just said, we need facts not shills. Right now the misrepresentations appear to be coming from those that have the most to profit from this dubious enterprise.

    • Old Khem

      In spite of the mouthings of the “Informed “Engineer” down below here. You’re right. The fact of gas showing up especially in in absurd quantities in peoples plumbing AFTER the Fracking wells were placed was handily left out of the authors, arrogant support of a proven hazard is reprehensible. And yes, the assertion of that industry’s being benign by any stretch is either just severe lack of knowledge on her part, or chosen ignorance. Period. And these same people holler for DEREGULATION !!!
      Arrogant Idiots.

    • BS7SDEN

      Unfortunately, your comments about gas in water are absurd and false. Each of the published examples used to mislead the public have been completely found to be fraudulent with regard to fracking! Has there been an accident some where? Yes, but very rare and correctable.

      Your comments about the sand do have merit. Although use of the Earth’s resources has advanced mans living standards and quality of life for thousands of years. I would encourage the reclamation of the area and its restoration. It won’t be the same, but it won’t be a disaster either.

      Some changes are inevitable, but acceptable if reasonably returned to a natural state.

      • EagleEye

        @BS you make a loud declarative statement that my claims are false, yet you provide zero evidence to back it up. Go back to the article and reread how the original author purposefully glosses over the facts to fit her story. It is the industry who has been proven to be making misleading and fraudulent statements about fracking. Industry shills are entitled to their opinions, however that are not entitled to their own set of facts.

  • Old Khem

    The Hell with Fracking. Chemicals are chemicals and hazardous chemicals are just that. You people do not have to live around shit like this so shut the hell up! The BS about “Natural Gas” being there before….” Then why did it not show up in peoples PLUMBING until AFTER the Fracking Process? Please, your Petroleum Companies (which do so want deregulation), do NOT give a damn about anything but the buck, period. I live in an oil producing state, I have worked Rigs and Work Overs in several states. And yes, I know the some of the industries peoples attitudes. Drill baby Drill! These people are irresponsible, self-involved, scum. If the Petrol industry was ever deregulated (as the Cons have wet dreams over), there would be Rigs in the National parks. More places people go, would be places where people USED to go. This is NOT acceptable.

    • BS7SDEN

      Khem, it must be difficult living in the stone age. Be careful not to step off the edge of the Earth!

      • EagleEye

        @BS Your buddies in the frac sand mining are clearly bombing the rest of us back to the stone age by literally leveling hundreds of 600 foot sandstone bluffs for the fracking industry. Where there was once some of the prettiest landscapes in America in the upper Mississippi river valley, they leave behind barren wasteland. All with little or no accountability. Speaking of stepping off the Earth, if you keep fouling the nest like this, eventually it won’t support you any longer. Be careful what you wish for BS.

    • CraigOlsen

      So I take it you don’t drive a car, or rely on foods or merchandise moved by gasoline-powered vehicles?

      • Old Khem

        That’s not even a viable question CraigOlsen. We have Beau-Coup capped wells around the U.S., Oil Wells, that have been capped for decades now. All waiting to go into production.

        • CraigOlsen

          Now that I agree with – it’s their “reserves”. However, done properly, silica sand mining and fracking have been shown to be safe and environmentally friendly, but only to those without preconceived notions.

          • EagleEye

            Says WHO? Site ANY safety study not bought and paid for by the gas industry that says fracking is safe. It ain’t science if the study is paid for by the guys standing to make the most money. Since they are paying, they always drive the “study” to its logical conclusion that it is “safe.” You are either totally naive or else totally bought off by them. You don’t seem naive, so let me guess, you have ties to the industry don’t you?

            • EagleEye

              I sure hit the nail on the head. Another gas industry paid shill. Thanks for playing Craig. You and the original author are a case in point on how the gas industry works regarding fracking. “One guy lyin’. And two guys swearing to it!”

              You guys may fool the average “drill baby drill” rube. But a lot of people are waking up to the serious damage fracking is causing, and what fracking is doing to the water supply and the people who depend on it.

              • CraigOlsen

                What kind of damage?

      • Scottar

        Old Khem claims to be a former well worker in the industry and made the claim of capped oil well as a method of fixing prices. What he may fail to mention when in the 70’s~9s well had lots of cheap middle eastern oil being imported. The domestic producers could not compete so they capped wells.

        Furthermore, when a well losses it gas head it become increasingly more expensive to extract the oil. Also with the EPA constantly coming up with new, draconian regulations the oil companies find it more unprofitable to extract the oil or remaining oil.

        So naturally the enviro anti-fossil alarmists will claim price fixing as the reason. Their overwhelming reason- fossil emissions are causing global warming, and global warming, according to the alarmists, is causing every malfeasance from A~Z. Like Eisenstein once stated, there are 2 things that are infinite, the universe and stupidity!

  • BillClintonsShorts17

    The paragraph below is from this article: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/352936/our-fracking-future-rich-lowry
    Read the whole thing.

    “Slowly, the agency retreated in ignominy. It turned out that the well wasn’t contaminated at all, but contained levels of methane typical in the area and below levels that the federal government considers a threat to health. “Area residents,” Loyola writes, “had found natural gas in their water wells years before any drilling for natural gas. Some water wells were even ‘flared’ for days after drilling, to release dangerous levels of methane. One area subdivision’s water tanks warn ‘Danger: Flammable Gas.’”

    I had an aunt in eastern Oregon who had methane in her kitchen faucet. We kids thought that was very amusing. So did she. This was in the early sixties, WAYYY before ‘tracking’.

    The problem for all you Chicken Littles is that you have lied so much and so often that people increasingly just don’t believe you any more. “WOLF! WOACK! WRACK!! FRACK!!!”

    • EagleEye

      The EPA recanted its whole testimony in Pennsylvania regarding the gas in the water. I never said cases don’t occur like the example you mentioned. However there is clear cut evidence that fracking causes natural gas (not the methane gas in your example) to seep into the water supply.

      Also look at the University of Texas Study showing no connection between fracking and water contamination.

      The University of Texas at Austin has withdrawn that study after an
      investigation revealed that the lead investigator, Charles “Chip”
      Groat, has financial interests in the natural gas industry, which he did
      not disclose in his report.

      Hmm sounds like the industry is paying shills to create “science” to support their claims, eh Bill’s Crusty Shorts?

      • BillClintonsShorts17

        And the ‘Warmists’, like you and AlGore, are in it for the government money.

        • EagleEye

          As Stated above BillClintonsCrustys show me some real hard science to support your case that isn’t baked up by the gas industry. You can’t, because it doesn’t exist. The reason? BECAUSE THE FRACKING INDUSTRY IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS! And you can’t prove me wrong, no matter how loudly you lie!

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            Natural gas is 70 to 90 percent methane. That is hard science, BlindEagle. You wouldn’t recognize hard science seeing as how you live in a universe of lies.

            • EagleEye

              “Mr. Patriot” eer BillClintonsCrustys answer the very specific issues I have
              raised about American citizen’s constitutional land rights vs these oil and gas
              corporations. Are you for or against American citizens land rights, Mr
              Patriot?

              • BillClintonsShorts17

                Here: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/21/frackings-safety-gets-boost-from-federa-377430624/?page=all

                Is a Federal study ‘Independent’ enough for you?

                And quit trying to change the subject when you are losing. You insisted that fracking was ‘dangerous’, not an infringement on property rights. We are all committed to protecting property rights. If you own the mineral rights under your property then of course you should be sharing in any money made by the sale of those minerals. What does that have to do with safety?

            • EagleEye

              Its truly amazing how a few corporate dollars can get a rube like you to argue against your own interests. You don’t care about constitutional land rights and other basic rights of regular American citizens being violated by your corporate buddies. You won’t open your eyes and your pat response is that I am a liar. So you are either a bought off pawn of the gas industry or else a fascist. Which one is it?

  • FreeSpeechIsntCrime

    Running away from the (scientifically well documented) Air, Water, Soil chemical contamination argument and running away from the (scientifically well documented) subsidence/earthquake argument is typical of the Fracking industry/Injection Well Industry. Soon- Fossil Fuel subsidies will fund our science museums and teach ‘Cause’ without ‘Effect’- which is REALLY what Fracking needs to succeed- until eventually a surprise methane bubble is exploded- which will ultimately reveal how dangerous Fracking is. Think about this: Texas leaders like Rick Perry can’t keep ‘Fertilizer Plants’ at ground level from becoming exploding mushroom clouds- yet these same leaders claim that they can control what happens miles below the earth’s crust when dealing with vast amounts of methane!
    Talk about ‘Hogwash’!!!

  • Scottar

    I heard several claims here that fracking is contaminating well water without substantiating their claims, typical enviro balderdash. One of the proponents here backed up his claims with a independent source- the Washington Times. But Noon also has backed-up her claims in a previous post: “Fracking: Environmentally Safe and Economically Stimulating”

    To repeat the evidence:

    At a speech in Columbus, Ohio, former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said that fracking “is something you can do in a safe way” and dismissed a study critical of fracking by saying: “we didn’t think it was credible.”

    At the Domenici Public Policy conference in Las Cruces, New Mexico, former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar stated: “I would say to everybody that hydraulic fracking is safe.”

    In a meeting with the NY Daily News editorial board, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz asserted: “Fracking for natural gas is climate-friendly, environmentally safe and economically stimulating” and added: “Which is just what America and New York need.”

    Then, in the same month, in the greenest state of the Union, against strong opposition, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a hotly-contested bill that reflects the fact that he favors some level of fracking.

    At an August 1 breakfast, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, stated: “To my knowledge, I still have not seen any evidence of fracking per se contaminating groundwater.”

    Ken Kopocis, President Obama’s nominee to be Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Water, was asked recently in testimony before Congress if he was aware of any cases of groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing. His answer? “No I am not.”

    Lisa Jackson, President Obama’s former EPA chief, said: “In no case have we made a definitive determination that the [fracturing] process has caused chemicals to enter groundwater.” This comment follows her previous testimony before Congress, when she explained that she is “not aware of any proven case where [hydraulic fracturing] itself has affected water.”

    Here’s another article that dispels fracking myths:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/nov/18/global-warming-hysteria-will-kill-jobs/?page=2#ixzz2Cj3zvI6T

    Global Warming Hysteria Will Kill Jobs