The most common accusations against shale exploration - and yes, ANSWERS

It seems as though these days people just aren't willing to do any unbiased investigating concerning the issue of natural gas drilling before jumping on the "stop drilling - natural gas companies are evil" bandwagon.  It may not seem like it from all the news articles you come across, but the overwhelming majority of people are actually pro-drilling.  However, the majority of non-industry people (regular citizens) who are actually voicing their opinions are the anti-drilling groups. 

 

If you google Marcellus drilling, you will get 100's of pages of the fears of fracking, pollution, companies raping the land like coal companies, etc..  The problem is that the industry is painted as not caring about the environment, and going by its own rules.  Here are the most common accusations against natural gas drilling.  Again, take my comments with a grain of salt and do some real research on your own before believing anything.  And by research, I dont mean newspapers, or extreme websites... I mean peer reviewed science literature.  Here we go:

 

 

Q:  Why dont companies tell us what chemicals are in frack fluids?!?   

 

A.  This is a claim found everywhere and it's such a misleading question.  It's posed as if these companies are hiding something.  The chemicals used have never been a secret to the public.  I don't understand why this keeps coming up when the info is right there.  Example: Go to Chesapeake's website.  They put a large link to the "frac facts" right on their homepage.  Yes, their homepage.  It lists every chemical in a frac fluid.  You may not agree with the chemicals involved, but don't say that they're not telling you.  Next question. 

 

 

Q.  Why don't companies release how much of each chemical is in their frac fluid?  

 

A.   Is that really the question you're looking to get an answer to?  If Haliburton said they were putting .0001 ounces of biocide per 100,000 gallons instead of .0002 ounces per 100,000 gallons... Would that change your view of fracking?   This question is asked (like the specific chemicals used in frac fluids question) in order to make the industry appear as if it has a dirty little secret.  Let's be logical, that small difference is not going to change your opinion, but it gives you the argument they're hiding something. 

 

The exact formulas to the T are not known, but the general amounts are known (down to a hundreth of one percent).  That's pretty damn good.  Like the specific chemicals involved, this question has an answer - again it's plastered on Chesapeake's home page.

 

Q.  We need to hold companies responsible for the wastewater!  We can't let them dump it wherever they want!

 

A.  There are actually incredibly strict sets of regulations for companies to abide by when dealing with their water.  If you don't abide by them, you are gone - see ya, no drilling permits are issued.  When I hear these claims I say to myself "Yes, you're right, we should be holding them accountable...We do.   There should be regulations... and there are".    It's like a person saying "We can't let police officers wear neon green dresses to work!"...  Well, I don't think anybody is arguing against that.  And they don't. 

 

The industry IS held responsible.  People need to understand that companies can not drill if they don't get every permit approved by the DEP.  If the DEP approves it, then why is the "blame" (used loosely) on the companies?   I expect the typical "because the DEP is in the pockets of the industry"..  leads me to my next false statement.

 

Q.  The DEP is in the pocket of the industry, that's why there are no regulations!

 

A.  Well, we've discussed the regulations already as being some of the strictest regulations in the country.  Now as to the DEP being corrupt.  That's a pretty bold statement to make considering nobody has any information as to why they say that (funny word I call "data").  I'm not going to say show me the data because that's a defensive statement.  I can say, however, that for every dollar lobbyists bring in for natural gas drilling, 100 are brought in by coal or oil.  1000 for renewables (biomass especially).  To say natural gas has a stranglehold is... well..  just wrong.  Do you wonder why the US has the most natural gas in the world, yet relies on it the least for electricity and fuel (generally speaking)?  Even if lobbyists do get some more support for natural gas drilling - are you against switching from gasoline to a cleaner natural gas fueled vehicle?  Are you against America being able to finally use it's own energy source and stop funding foreign corrupt countries?

 

 

There are literally hundreds of questions/claims just like this that have answers.  I know, it is tough to be able to tell what is factual and what is propoganda when you are new to this industry.  Even this post here, don't believe a word I say until you actually do a little digging from both sides.  Yes, go check out some of the problems involved with drilling, then check out how companies are addressing it.  Let's see if the extremists environmentalists have that type of comment ever (e.g. "go check out Exxon's safety record and come back to me").  They won't ever say that, because they know the truth is there which refutes their argument.  I am pro-natural gas, a proud American.  Go Marcellus.

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Boy you're getting really good at using the phrase "finger pointing and labeling" aren't you? That just gets under your skin doesn't it? Do you believe yourself to be so unrealistically neutral that you are above it all?
Dear Drillman,
Let's take each of your observations in turn:
"Boy you're getting really good at using the phrase "finger pointing and labeling" aren't you?"

Isn't that what you're doing?

"That just gets under your skin doesn't it?"

It saddens me. Rather than light, it brings forth darkness

"Do you believe yourself to be so unrealistically neutral that you are above it all?"

Not by a long shot, but I do try to keep my emotions out of what should be a fact-finding exercise

Dan
Nonsense. Go back and read your posts: You are very emotional when it comes to how folks respond in this forum. It is impossible for you to leave your emotion out of your own comments. Again, typical of someone who believes they are above the fray. You're not. You're part of it and your posts prove it. Once again, hypocrisy as defined by your own words. You can seek information and you can seek your own truth but your berating others for how they frame their comments as if your methods are far superior is belittling to others. I'm sorry you fail to see that in yourself.
Like it or not, the debate is contentious between both parties (those that support drilling and those that are against) and is likely to continue that way long after the GEIS draft is complete, accepted and the moratorium on drilling this formation is lifted.
Debate is essential and there are people who behave in an obstructive manner with little regard for factual information. To think that those people don't participate in this forum is simply ignorant.
Dear Janice,
Perhaps you're right, and we are generating heat rather than light.
Dan
I take it you don't have any rights to your minerals because all you look at are potential problems that rarely occur. You need to stop reading all the slander of gas companies that rarely hold any truth to them. I think you should take the time to really do the research of what you think you have read about this and see if there is any credibility behind the arguements. A lot of what is being said in this statement is being created because all you seem to be reading is the anti-drilling research which is mainly coming from people who either are so misinformed they just write to hear themselves talk or don't have the mineral rights and are jealous that they are being left out. Either way everyone is entitled an opinion but I think it would be smart for you to research how often something has occured over the past 50 years they have been using frac water and it is now becoming an issue because the government is looking for another way for them to grow and control something else that has been working so they can break it.
The pros and cons of gas drilling industry are so complex that even the Sierra Club is conflicted. It may surprise some to learn that Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club campaigned for natural gas. The allure of "clean natural gas" is tantalizingly strong to those who believe that gas may serve as a transition fuel between coal/oil and alternative energy. Yet the news is rife with stories which cause concern such as radioactive waste water and benzene in the air. When one digs deeper into the data which is available on the internet, things get even more creepy. Check out the letter from Dr. Adam Law, an endocrinologist, featured in the link offered by Daniel Cohen and G van Hulsteyn. Dr. Law was compelled to share his professional concern relating to endocrine disruptors in drilling and frack fluids. If you desire to know more about this and other chemicals, go to http://www.endocrinedisruption.com/home.php. Study the section called Chemicals Used In Natural Gas Operations. The risk of aquifer contamination cannot be discounted. One community proactively implemented a watershed plan. http://www.dola.state.co.us/osg/docs/PalisadeWatershedPlan.pdf
Bottom line: risks to health and the environment must be identified and then a plan must be developed to address those risks. We are in the discovery phase of that process. It would be imprudent to move forward before the second stage of that process is completed.
Dear Dee,
You speak well and true.
Dan
There is not truth in Dee's post. It is simply more obstructionist propaganda designed to derail a much needed resource from being exploited as it should so that people like you can eat, work, live, play, travel, heat your homes, and so much more. This is the ONLY sensible transition fuel and it is desperately needed. Problem is that folks like you pontificate about the dangers while consuming the very resource you rail against. Shameful hypocrisy from a bunch of nimbys who consider themselves intellectually superior. You are a dangerous group. The internet is rife with stories of how extreme environmentalism does more harm than good. You even continue to perpetuate the global warming myth. You have reached a point where rational and reasoning no longer matter. You would rather hug a tree than your fellow human being.
Dear Drillman,
What an interesting response. You resort to name calling, finger pointing and labels. You're right to be alert to a "dangerous group". We must all be on guard against someone trying to sway public opinion for their own agenda. You, sir, appear to be part of that group.

Your original posting contained what I thought was an honest attempt to share a different viewpoint with the goal of getting to a bottom line truth without hype.

Sadly I appear to be wrong. You present hype, not facts, labels, not truth, and so I need to ask who or what is your agenda? Clearly it isn't for the environment, nor for the individual landowner. Who then?

If I have misunderstood or misrepresented anything you've said, please correct me. You know where to find me.
Dan
I've been at the forefront of this controversy for many years, even before the Marcellus hype got started. So I speak from vast experience on the issue. It continually frustrates me when people like you chastise good hard-working honest folk like myself for "name calling, finger pointing and labels." Yet in the very same paragraph you resort to labeling me as part of a "dangerous group." Your response however is quite common. You appear to be the sort that abides by the old rule of "do as I say, not as I do" which I now refer to as the Al Gore rule.

You talk about the truth but the only truth you appear willing to accept is the one you believe in. You "label" my comments as "hype" rather than facts. Yet I have studied this drilling process, have been up close and personal with it, know many landowners who have and are benefiting from the process, and the vast majority of it done without environmental degradation.

Your posts on the other hand clearly display your ignorance of the truth. You make comments based on innuendos and hearsay rather than factual information. You ignore the fact that as a country, we have a desperate need for clean energy and your posts clearly define which side of the debate you are on.

To further "label" me as someone who's agenda clearly isn't for the environment, is inaccurate. I too am a landowner and having grown up in dairy country on an old farmstead, I have complete respect for the land and the environment.

How ironic to accuse me of "labeling" only to resort to doing the same thing yourself. Frankly, I see nothing wrong with labeling. We as a race label things every day. Whether it's music (rock, jazz, folk, country, r&b) or politics (left wing, right wing, socialist, conservative, tea-bagger) or whatever. My bet is you consider yourself such an intellectual as to be above the fray. You might even be an "independent" (oops, there's another label).

Your posts are fife with the underpinnings of someone who will never be satisfied with any amount of regulation governing this industry. I've seen your type of responses a thousand fold and no matter how much studying is done, no matter how much regulatory oversight, no matter the disclosures, people like you end up excelling at one thing - to obstruct progress at every turn.

This type of drilling has been done successfully and safely in many parts of the country over many years. This is not to say that accidents and human error haven't occurred from time to time. However, in the grand scheme of things, the industry truly has an exemplary record of environmental stewardship since becoming regulated.

The other reality is no matter how many regulations are placed on the industry, accidents and human error cannot be regulated out. I'm all for safeguards but sufficient safeguards are in place or will be with the final GEIS that the DEC has been drafting. We'll certainly learn more as we move forward but the time has come to act together, as a country and wean ourselves off of our unhealthy dependency on foreign resources.

Call me a name caller, finger pointer and labeler all you want. We need to take responsibility for our own actions - for our own energy needs and to stop those that obstruct at every turn.

Back to you.
Dear Drillman,
Now that's a post and a half to reply to! Let's start at the beginning. You wrote:"I've been at the forefront of this controversy for many years, even before the Marcellus hype got started. So I speak from vast experience on the issue."

And it was precisely your experience that would have been most valuable to us. Unfortunately, you do not choose to share that with us at this time, resorting instead to appeals to emotion through labeling rather than the facts.

You wrote:"...know many landowners who have and are benefiting from the process, and the vast majority of it done without environmental degradation."

Which is exactly the point-those who have had a poor experience we need to know about to avoid our having the same outcome. Your focus only on the positive outcome doesn't help us to know what to look for or how to avoid it.

You wrote:"Your posts on the other hand clearly display your ignorance of the truth. You make comments based on innuendos and hearsay rather than factual information."

To the charge of ignorance of truth I do plead guilty. That's why I'm trying to become more educated. As for the rest of your statement- what are you talking about? Please indicate any references you can make on that point. I don't recognize it at all. To say that makes me wonder if you have even read my comments?

You wrote: " You ignore the fact that as a country, we have a desperate need for clean energy and your posts clearly define which side of the debate you are on."

How would you know how I feel about the broad topic of energy independence, since I haven't commented upon it anywhere? The rest of your sentence makes no sense, since I have not posted any position.

You wrote:"I have complete respect for the land and the environment."

That was my initial impression of your earlier positions, but unfortunately your many other posts belie that assertion. Sadly, I no longer see you as being so.

You wrote:"How ironic to accuse me of "labeling" only to resort to doing the same thing yourself. Frankly, I see nothing wrong with labeling."

We can agree that you do not.

You wrote:"My bet is you consider yourself such an intellectual as to be above the fray. You might even be an "independent" (oops, there's another label)."

You'd lose your bet

You wrote:"Your posts are fife with the underpinnings of someone who will never be satisfied with any amount of regulation governing this industry."

How would you know what I think about regulations? I haven't commented on anything other than the lack thereof to protect the landowner.

You wrote:"people like you end up excelling at one thing - to obstruct progress at every turn."

How does seeking the facts become 'obstruct progress'? Unless you mean that a different opinion other than yours is automatically wrong and gets in the way. If so, your perspective needs to be broadened- it does not do your intellect justice.

You wrote"This type of drilling has been done successfully and safely in many parts of the country over many years. This is not to say that accidents and human error haven't occurred from time to time. However, in the grand scheme of things, the industry truly has an exemplary record of environmental stewardship since becoming regulated."

If that were true, it would be appreciated. My exploration for the facts is to try to determine if, indeed, that is true. Based upon my limited searching so far, I'm far from being assured that that is the case.

Dan

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