Everything’s a Mess and No One’s Responsible…

I received a link to this article from my mother who lives near the Tioga County/Potter County line and keeps tabs on that area for me. Both she and some local friends have been monitoring the smaller creeks in that area for a while now…thank you!

So the article found here talks about one of the main issues that occur when only the type of short sightedness this industry creates finally comes into play. Where the hell do we put all this radiation frack water once were done with it? (what, there’s radiation in that stuff?) If you read the article you’ll find out that nobody seems to know and apparently no one (no regulatory office, no state office, no federal office, etc) is responsible for regulating or disposing of this type of thing. It seems to fall in between the gaps of the existing laws we have, probably because this is the first time deep horizontal, hydraulic fracturing of wells has been done at this stupendously high level and SO very close to people’s homes and water supplies. In short, no one thought it through and no one bothered to test and see if there was radiation and then make a plan for disposing of it.

The finding of this article actually comes from here. This is a fellow blogger who I think is located in the Potter County area. They posted the article I mention above on February the 6th. The interesting part of this are the comments after the post. read through them to discover some scary experiences from a frack truck driver and get a bit of a feel for how some folks feel about this.

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Frack Water Missing and Unaccounted For

I just received this info from the RDA:

Over 54 million gallons of frack water missing & unaccounted for!

The PA Department of Environmental Resources has discovered that records on recycling of gas drilling wastewater have been wildly inflated due to a reporting error. Even worse, no one seems to have any idea where the missing frack water has gone.

Seneca Resources Corp., a subsidiary of Texas-based National Fuel Gas Company acknowledged that a worker gave data to the state in the wrong unit of measure, listing gallons where he should have listed barrels of water. Because of the error, every 42 gallons of wastewater was listed as just one, for a total of 54,600,000 gallons of missing toxic drilling fluids.  DEP officials did not immediately respond to inquiries about the problems with the state’s data.

The AP reported in January that previous attempts to track wastewater were also flawed. Some companies reported that wells had generated wastewater, but failed to say where it went. The state was unable to account for the disposal method for nearly 1.3 million barrels of wastewater, or about a fifth of the total generated in the 12-month period that ended June 30.

These omissions are of grave concern, because Pennsylvania’s strategy for protecting the health of its rivers is based on knowing which waterways are getting the waste and how much they are receiving.

Oil and Gas Companies Illegally Using Diesel in Fracking

By Adam Federman, Earth Island Journal

Posted on February 1, 2011

The 2005 Bush-Cheney Energy Policy Act famously exempted hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act. But it made one small exception: diesel fuel. The Policy Act states that the term “underground injection,” as it relates to the Safe Drinking Water Act, “excludes the underground injection of fluids or propping agents (other than diesel) pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities [italics added by author].” But a congressional investigation has found that oil and gas service companies used tens of millions of gallons of diesel fuel in fracking operations between 2005 and 2009, thus violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. Hydraulic fracturing is a method of drilling that injects large volumes of water, chemicals, and sand underground at high pressure to break open rock formations and release stores of natural gas. In some cases, however, water based fluids are less effective and diesel fuel or other hydrocarbons may be used.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the congressional committee noted that between 2005 and 2009, “oil and gas service companies injected 32.2 million gallons of diesel fuel or hydraulic fracturing fluids containing diesel fuel in wells in 19 states.” None of the companies sought or received permits to do so. “This appears to be a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act,” the letter states. “It also means that the companies injecting diesel fuel have not performed the environmental reviews required by the law.”

Moreover, because the necessary environmental reviews were circumvented, the companies were unable to provide data on whether they had used diesel in fracking operations in or near underground sources of drinking water. Diesel fuel contains a number of toxic constituents including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene, which have been linked to cancer and other health problems.

In the last few years, shale gas extraction has increased exponentially, raising fears that drinking water wells and underground aquifers may be at risk. It has become a particularly sensitive issue in the northeast’s Marcellus Shale, which underlies parts of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. Later this month the Delaware River Basin Commission will hold public hearings on drilling in the watershed—a source of drinking water for more than 15 million people.

The EPA is currently conducting its own study of the impact of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water supplies due out in late 2012. But will companies that have violated the Safe Drinking Water Act since 2005 be held accountable?

Matt Armstrong, a lawyer with the Washington firm Bracewell & Giuliani, which represents several oil and gas companies, told the New York Times, “Everyone understands that E.P.A. is at least interested in regulating fracking.” But: “Whether the E.P.A. has the chutzpah to try to impose retroactive liability for use of diesel in fracking, well, everyone is in a wait-and-see mode. I suspect it will have a significant fight on its hands if it tried it do that.”

To read this article online, click here:

http://www.alternet.org/story/149760/oil_and_gas_companies_illegally_using_diesel_in_fracking_

To read the New York Times coverage of this issue, click here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/01/business/energy-environment/01gas.html

To read the Energy policy Act, click here: http://www.epa.gov/oust/fedlaws/publ_109-058.pdf

To read the letter from the Congressional Committee to EPA Administrator Jackson, click here: http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?q=news/waxman-markey-and-degette-investigation-finds-continued-use-of-diesel-in-hydraulic-fracturing-f

NOTE: The letter states, “In 2003, EPA signed a memorandum of agreement with the three largest providers of hydraulic fracturing to eliminate the use of diesel fuel in coalbed methane formations in underground sources of drinking water. Two years later, Congress exempted hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act except when the fracturing fluids contain diesel. As a result, many assumed that the industry stopped using diesel fuel altogether in hydraulic fracturing…

According to EPA, any company that performs hydraulic fracturing using diesel fuel must receive a permit under the Safe Drinking Water Act. We learned that no oil and gas service companies have sought—and no state and federal regulators have issued—permits for diesel fuel use in hydraulic fracturing…

In a 2004 report, EPA stated that the ‘use of diesel fuel in fracturing fluids poses the greatest threat’ to underground sources of drinking water….

In 2005, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, which contained a provision addressing the application of Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to hydraulic fracturing. Congress modified the definition of ‘underground injection to exclude’ ‘the underground injection of fluids or propping agents (other than diesel fuels) pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas… The effect of this law is to exempt hydraulic fracturing from the underground injection control (UIC) permit requirements unless the fluid being injected is diesel fuel. As EPA states on its website: While the SDWA specifically excludes hydraulic fracturing from UIC regulation … the use of diesel fuel during hydraulic fracturing is still regulated by the UIC program. Any service company that performs hydraulic fracturing using diesel fuel must receive prior authorization from the UIC program….

Is the Gas Industry Spreading Brine on Our Roads?

Hi all. Here are some responses to the question of brine being spread on dirt roads. If you have any further info on this topic from DEP, DCNR or PennDOT please get in touch with the PA forest Coalition. They are the ones providing this info in this form. There is contact info fro Dick Martin of the PA Forest Coalition at the bottom of this post.

July 8, 2010  –  Reference to a  2005 news report:

http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/5334068/detail.html

Questions:

  • Is brine still being spread on dirt roads in Pennsylvania?
  • Are there restrictions, now that the brine could be from Marcellus drilling (with the fracking chemicals included in the flowback water).

==============================

2 ] Initial responses

  • Brine water is being applied to control dust on dirt road in PA.
  • The permit is limited to shallow gas well wastewater
  • Wastewater from deep Marcellus wells that are horizontally drilled is NOT permitted to be road –applied.            JimApparently, road application of gas drilling wastewater is:

  • Limited to certain waste fluids for rural
    dust control and winter maintenance
  • DEP approval required
    Road authorization
    Chemical analysis of brine
    Limited application rates and frequency (monthly)
  • Other factors

– weather,

location of water bodies (150’),

road gradient (<10%)

===================================

3 ]   From Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies

From: Tim Ziegler
Sent: Friday, July 09, 2010 10:44 AM
Subject: RE: Brine on dirt roads


The 2005 article exposes truths.

The ESM training for the Dirt and Gravel Road Program discusses brines in the Stabilization module, and these issues are included in that discussion.  However, the animal is bigger than we have influence over.

The Program will not fund any project that includes the use of
brine water.

Marcellus flow-back, however, has not received DEP approval for road dust control, due in large part to the chemical concoction that goes down-hole, as well as the heavy metals and the NORM.

Overall, not a good situation, but this is PA.

Tim Ziegler
Field Operations Specialist
Larson Transportation Institute
Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies
201 Transportation Research Building
University Park, PA  16802
814-865-5891
www.dirtandgravelroads.org

4 ] From DCNR

Subject: RE: Brine on BOF Roads
Date: 7/20/2010 9:17:38 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
From: ra-forestrecreation@state.pa.us

Hello Mr. Martin,

The Bureau of Forestry does not permit the use of brine on BOF roads.

5 ]  Questions remain

If you see a truck spreading what appears to be brine on a dirt road,

  • how can you tell if it is legal brine or residual waste from the
    Macellus?
  • What should a Waterdog do?
  • Why shouldn’t trucks hauling Marcellus residual waste be properly
    labeled with the appropriate hazardous materials placard(s)?
  • Have the Waterdogs called for such requirements?
  • Have the Waterdogs written any officials asking for any changes to gas production regulations?        John Kesich

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

.  .  .  So it appears that there are some regulations in place, via DEP, DCNR, PennDOT or municipalities.

One Biologist is planning a research project in Sproul State Forest, Clinton County.  Soil will be tested where water trucks have been seen spraying fluids on Forestry roads.

It would be good if that research were replicated wherever Marcellus wells are located.    Any takers?

Dick Martin Coordinator     www.PaForestCoalition.org

The Pennsylvania Forest Coalition is a unique alliance of hunters, hikers, anglers, landowners, wildlife-watchers, paddlers, bikers, churches and conservation groups who are united in our concern for the good stewardship of our public lands. Caring for what God has created

Republicans for Environmental Protection
http://www.repamerica.org/

Natural Gas Company’s Disclosure Decision Could Change Fracking Debate

By MIKE SORAGHAN of Greenwire

A Texas natural gas producer’s decision to voluntarily disclose the chemicals it injects into the ground could prompt other drillers to do the same, and pave the way for regulators to require such disclosure. But Range Resources Corp.’s move also reflects the desire of industry to get out ahead of the issue to prevent federal regulation of the key drilling practice called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. At least one other major driller, Chesapeake Energy Corp., says it is considering disclosing chemicals used in fracking on a well-by-well basis as Range is planning. And members of the industry’s main trade association, the American Petroleum Institute, are finalizing their own proposal for disclosure, an API spokeswoman said yesterday. But it could provide less information than what environmentalists and lawmakers have sought, and also less than what Range is preparing to disclose.

Read the whole thing here:

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/07/15/15greenwire-natural-gas-companys-disclosure-decision-could-5706.html?pagewanted=all

What PA residents think of Range Resources

Here is some excellent video of the meeting with range Resources that took place in Washington County, PA today. Thanks txSharon!

http://txsharon.blogspot.com/2010/04/7-videos-what-pa-residents-thinks-of.html

Disposable Workers of the oil and Gas Fields

Read the article here:

http://www.hcn.org/issues/343/16915

After watching Split Estate a few weeks ago and seeing some of the terrible effects the gas drilling industry can have on human lives and health, my mind started asking questions about the workers at these sites. If someone living 200 yards away from a well pad can have health problems that effect them neurologically to the point they can’t speak, have trouble breathing, splitting headaches, aching joints and bodily pain, and never have touched or come into hands on contact (although they probably are in their drinking water and through showering) with the chemicals used to Frack a well, then what happens to the guys who frack the wells and actually live in this stuff for weeks, months, even years?

There were some disturbing images of wells being fracked in the film Split Estate that show rig workers being doused with frack fluids while wearing nothing but T-shirts and coveralls. But we rarely hear anything about how the workers are treated or how many health issues they have and how the industry has been dealing with it.