Monday, July 29, 2013

What The Frack?

(Cartoon by J. David Bell and published at Bell's Yells on 1/5/11.)

We all await President Obama's decision on the Keystone Pipe Line.  He keeps on saying that his decision will be based on the environmental safety involved, but I think we may already have a clue as to what that decision will be, based on this article in the Los Angeles Times.

In an internal EPA PowerPoint presentation obtained by the Tribune/Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau, staff members warned their superiors that several wells had been contaminated with methane and substances such as manganese and arsenic, most likely because of local natural gas production.

The presentation, based on data collected over 4 1/2 years at 11 wells around Dimock, concluded that "methane and other gases released during drilling (including air from the drilling) apparently cause significant damage to the water quality." The presentation also concluded that "methane is at significantly higher concentrations in the aquifers after gas drilling and perhaps as a result of fracking [hydraulic fracturing] and other gas well work."

Critics say the decision in July 2012 by EPA headquarters in Washington to curtail its investigation at Dimock over the objection of its on-site staff fits a troubling pattern at a time when the Obama administration has used the sharp increase in natural gas production to rebut claims that it is opposed to fossil fuels.

In March 2012, the EPA closed an investigation of methane in drinking water in Parker County, Texas, although the geologist hired by the regulator confirmed that the methane was from gas production. In late June, the EPA dropped a study of possible contamination of drinking water in Pavillion, Wyo., despite its earlier findings of carcinogens, hydrocarbons and other contaminants in the water.

"We don't know what's going on, but certainly the fact that there's been such a distinct withdrawal from three high-profile cases raises questions about whether the EPA is caving to pressure from industry or antagonistic members of Congress," said Kate Sinding of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.   [Emphasis added]

It certainly looks like the administration has made up its mind.  I mean why bury some studies or follow up on preliminary findings if you intend to approve the pipeline.  What is so maddening about this is that we've seen not only the effect of fracking on ground water, but the danger of transporting the natural gas in a pipeline (the people of Arkansas will attest to that).

And it's not as if this country will get the benefit of all that glorious Canadian natural gas.  It's being piped to the Gulf Coast so it can be sold and shipped to the rest of the world.

Halliburton wins again.

We lose again.

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Anonymous ErinPDX said...

I agree with you, however, KeystoneXL is not a natural gas line, it is bitumen. Has nothing to do with fracking, is a whole different hell.

11:06 AM  

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