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Dem Senators Question ‘Fracking’ Safety

From behind the pay-walled New York Times:

Senators Question Safety of Water Used in Gas Drilling

April 12, 2011

Several Democratic senators said Tuesday that the Environmental Protection Agency should step up regulation of the natural gas industry because they are concerned that toxic chemicals used in drilling could enter the public water supply.

Actually, they are concerned that we might have cheap and effective way of getting clean natural gas out of the ground, which could supply the country with much of our energy needs for decades. We can’t have that.

In a Senate hearing, Democrats pressed the agency about the consequences of a fast-growing drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, that involves pumping chemicals and water deep underground to release gas deposits.

“The industry has failed to meet minimal acceptable performance levels for protecting human health and the environment,” said Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, Democrat of Maryland and chairman of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee of the environment committee. “The question is, What is E.P.A. doing about this?”

Perhaps the EPA is wasting too much time trying to regular carbon dioxide.

A recent article by The New York Times reported that these drilling fluids, which are often processed at sewage treatment plants, contain radioactivity at levels far higher than federal regulators say is safe for these plants to handle.

No doubt these Senators read that New York Times article. And no doubt, that is why it was published by The Times. After all, who needs scientists when we have the New York Times?

Robert Perciasepe, the environmental agency’s deputy administrator, testified that state and federal regulators were collaborating to ensure that no contaminants from fracking entered drinking water.

Mr. Perciasepe said that the E.P.A. had commissioned an independent study of hydrofracking and that drilling companies had been asked for new details about the chemicals in the water delivered to treatment plants.

“Our primary role here is oversight on the state programs,” he said, “but they are running the programs. Where we see some imminent endangerment, we may take our own action.”

Republicans at the hearing expressed concern about increasing the E.P.A.’s regulatory responsibilities. Current state regulations are adequate, said Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, adding that there are no cases of contaminated drinking water being linked directly to hydrofracking.

What difference does that make? If The Times says fracking is a danger, then fracking is a danger. (Unless there is some kind of homosexual practice that is also called ‘fracking.’ Which, of course, The Times would promote with gusto.)

“These people have been doing a good job,” Mr. Inhofe said. “But the mentality in Washington is, nothing is done right unless it’s done in Washington.”

State regulators and environmental advocates from Colorado, Maryland, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania also testified that they were protecting the environment and ensuring the safety of drilling

Notice that The Times could not come up with any scary quotes about the dangers involved, even from "environmental activists." Instead, it sounds like they said they have everything under control. (Which is scary in its own right.)

The fate of the water — whether it is recycled, pumped back into the earth or sent to a treatment facility — has become a contentious environmental issue

Or, rather, the New York Times is doing its damnedest to make it "a contentious environmental issue." Apparently, the fearmongering about fracking causing earthquakes isn’t panning out.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, April 13th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

19 Responses to “Dem Senators Question ‘Fracking’ Safety”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    At the very heart of the problem of the nation is this: LAWYERS.

    They have no technical skill or know-how. They simply see the world as a place where words control everything. They are not familiar with Boyle’s Law, but they are familiar with how to manipulate law. They are not familiar with physics; They instead have geared their lives to the manipulation and control of things. Natural history and Earth Science are beyond them.

    People need to understand that just because a person is a smart lawyer, or even a not-so-smart one, that they know very little else. Their area of expertise is buried in litigation or corporate law, a very narrow band of knowledge that actually has little to do with reality, other than controlling how our daily lives can be affected on occasion. But with that said, everything that we do today, has some basis in having some court decide at some point, what was acceptable. From the amount of red dye #7 in our meat, to how fast you can drive on the interstate, to the acceptable thread count in your shirt, nothing has been left untouched by the little manipulators, the lawyers.

    They are a seedy bunch. Necessary when you are in a legal demise but in 99% of our daily lives, unnecessary. They know it. But they are ill-suited to being idle, having the personality trait to go “fix” things to their satisfaction. They have a natural instinct for desiring control…and love to argue, often inappropriately or with the wrong people or for the wrong reasons.

    The sooner we get rid of all the lawyers, the sooner this nation can be righted.

    • preparing4theworst says:

      Some years ago a friend of mine showed me a study that indicated that the more lawyers there were per capita in any given country the lower the GNP. Several months ago I did a little research and guess what? not only was it true then there are more recent studies that say exactly the same thing! I was also reading (before the last elections) that in congress more democrats were lawyers and more republicans were some type of business person….all I am saying is check it out and draw your own conclusions….

  2. tranquil.night says:

    This is Liberalism.

    We make fun of it because it’s the most civil form of engagement we can muster with Evil.

  3. usmcmgb says:

    Rusty, I couldn’t agree more. And that’s from someone who has a brother, sister and sister-in-law that are lawyers. I can rarely talk to any of them without getting into an argument. They think differently than normal people. Seedy, controlling and argumentative sums it up well!

  4. River0 says:

    T. Boone Pickens, one of the best oil and gas experts we have in America, said this morning on CNBC that he’s fracked over a thousand wells in Oklahoma and Texas, and it’s perfectly safe. Drinking water is at 1,000 feet or less; gas is at 10,000 (two miles or more). It’s very safe. We MUST HAVE our own energy. As usual, the NY Times is full of bullcr*p.

    • The Redneck says:

      And T. Boon Pickens was considered a frackin’ god by the left when he started pushing for “renewable energy.” Now it seems he’s not such a frackin’ oracle anymore.

  5. The Redneck says:

    GOPUSA printed the AP article here, wherein they claim that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire just like in the propaganda movie “Gasland.”

    The problem, of course, is that since it’s the AP we have no idea whether or not there’s any truth to their claims, but this paragraph really caught my eye:

    EPA said 3,500 people crowded its hearings in Denver; Fort Worth, Texas; Canonsburg, Pa.; and Binghamton. In New York, opponents carried signs reading “Kids can’t drink gas,” while supporters, including union workers eager for jobs, chanted, “Pass gas now!”


  6. Astravogel says:

    I’m an environmental passivist. I leave
    it pretty much alone and it reciprocates.

  7. Zilla says:

    As usual, there are numerous errors in the NYT article. They seem to tie the drilling process with the fracturing. They are seperate operations. Drilling fluids are not used in the fracturing process. I’ve been in the hydraulic fracturing business for 30 years. I should know.

    P.S. Once again, there is no “k” in fracing.

  8. Choey says:

    I’m sure the lefties will do anything they can to keep this country from having cheap abundant energy. When the news came out that fracking had opened up whole new reservoirs of gas you could almost smell their desperation.
    Also, in certain parts of the country (Louisiana springs to mind) it has been possible to light your water for decades before anyone ever heard of fracking.

  9. canary says:

    The EPA is ignoring for over 15 years people on California coast suffering from Domoic acid poisoning which kills mammals, fish, and humans in severe cases.

    Only brain damage, short memory loss, and psychotic behavior in less severe cases of humans and mammals.

    The EPA is ignoring the latest severe contamination incident when 15 tons of dead sardines tested to have toxin levels of domoic acid. They did not stop the peasants from joining in the fish clean up for future meals,
    only hearing the death was from lack of oxygen. Which is probably doubtful, because sardines thrive on algae one of the greatest oxygen provider in the water.

    The deadly poisonous fish was sent to be made into fertilizer for food process. I will now check for any food products grown in California. But, ya know what? I don’t think bleeping California has to label their produce, though they are running what the rest of the country does.

    The EPA covering up 15 years of California’s deadly toxic & insanity causing spreading disease across America, is shameful. It’s not hard to come up with a name for this poisonous pollution.

    Domoic Acid Pelosi Syndrome. DAPS

    Then add $2 for 1 gallon of algae, not including what it cost to turn it into our new fuel.
    Add the EPA checks it for carbon emissions, but doesn’t test algae fuel for other toxins


    NASA Tests New Biofuel Made With Chicken Fat

    By Karl ⋅ March 29, 2011 ⋅ Post a comment
    Filed Under chicken fat biofuel, DC-8, Dryden Flight Research Center, nasa, nasa biofuel tests


    Think of all that 99.9 % fat free chicken ratio.
    Wonder how much more it cost to remove the chicken fat.
    or is the chicken fat NASA is using 100% chicken fat.
    We don’t want that fuel stinking like the dead fish at King Port did in California.

    Either way, I believe any fuel they find to replace natural fuel will cost a bundle.

  10. Right of the People says:

    I say Frack the libs! Anything printed in the NY Fishwrap is a lie or a bold faced lie.

    If we could only drill for all our own oil and gas we could tell the towelheads to take a flying leap. And what about oil-shale? We’ve got tons of that stuff too. The EPA and DoE need to go. By the end of WWII, the Germans were powering most of their vehicles with gas made from coal and we’ve got plenty of coal. Whatever happened to that technology? I just paid nearly 4 bucks a gallon today and I’m ready to bust a gasket over this crap. I think I’d better go take my meds, wash them down with an adult beverage and go to bed before I have a stroke.

  11. canary says:

    Camels may be Solution for Pakistani Auto Club


  12. GetBackJack says:

    Well, I live out here where fracking is taking place. And I am DEDICATED to the USA exploiting all it’s energy resources to the maximum so we can be independent of the insane people who have the oil.

    That said, fracturing, or ‘fracking’ has been a Holy Grail for a long time in the energy business. Last time they tried ‘fracking out here (western Colorado) they used MF’ing Atomic Bombs


    Somewhat uncomfortable finding this out since they didn’t notify the citizenry what they were up to. I mean, a nuclear weapon by any other name is still … a nuclear weapon.

    Not once, not twice, but seven times.

    Anyway, ‘fracturing’ has a checkered past. Now, again, I assure you I am ALL FOR drill, baby, drill. But … I also personally know people whose water wells were pristine, then came the fracking and now their well water is beyond the concept of polluted. I know two ranchers whose faucet water from their wells can be set on fire (which proves fracking works, but damn). Cattle have died on at least one ranch I know of where ground water seepage near fracking sites has so corrupted the water it killed the cattle.

    AGAIN let me assure all here I say drill, baby, drill. But … whatever they’re pumping to crack the rock appears to be sensationally evil and I am hoping against hope no drilling permits are issued near our place. Over the hill, in a wasted stretch of adobe badlands named Whitewater (an improbable naming) that valley (ten miles long maybe three wide) has been approved by all the Agencies for 700 natural gas wells. It’s gonna make Rifle Valley look puny in comparison. Everyone who lives there relies on weill water.

    We’ll see.


    But I think the exploration wildcatters are using a mix that’s too damned dangerous.

    That does not make me a kook environmentalist. As with all things there’s always more than one way to skin a cat. let’s find another mud to pump other than whatever the toxic brew is they are pumping.

    • canary says:

      I’m ready to get oil some oil from the countries we’ve been building, building their armies, building & training their regimes, giving them weapons.

    • The Redneck says:

      Hell yes. We need to present Kuwait with a bill and say “If not for us, your only export would be girls for Sodom’s rape-rooms. You can pay us in oil.”

    • preparing4theworst says:

      Re: the nuclear fracturing. It was initially called Project Gasbuggy and was being tried in the 4- corners area. I was in Jr. High in the opposite corner of the state and we read all about it the local newspaper. The point is that it really was publicized to a fairly wide extent.

    • GetBackJack says:

      PreP4 – I don’t doubt it was publicized in some areas. I live in uranium country and at that time Uranium was a Godsend to local economies and nuclear events were not the ‘fraidy-cat syndromes we see now. But none of the locals I know knew anything about the four BANG(s) locally until well after the events.

  13. wirenut says:

    #1 If big oil was allowed to do their job where the resources are abundant, fracing would be used very little.
    #2 Big oil pays dearly to lease the land that those resources are under.
    #3 Big oil leases from Big government. Big gov. has pushed Big oil to less fruitful areas. Driving up costs to claim those resources. Think miles out to sea and miles below the surface. Also where the resources are trapped in porous rock.
    Fracing as I understand it, amounts to scraping the bottom of the peanut butter jar with a spatula to get the last bite.
    Still with me? Frac sand is a certain type of silica that is round like marbles, when mixed with water and the chemicals (to make it denser) it is applied under pressure deep underground. Enough frac and pressure opens up fissures to allow the resources to flow to a well. You can try this at home. Take two Mason quart jars, fill both three quarters full, one with gravel and one with marbles and pack’m tight. Next take a shot glass of water and pour into each one. The one with the marbles is frac. See how fast the water gets to the bottom of the jar? Don’t blame big oil for our energy crunch either.

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