19 votes

Update: Fracking Is About To Go Down In America ~ Industry Insiders Are Turning Whistle Blower

Update: Pa. Supreme Court will not reconsider Act 13 decision
The court issued an order today simply stating, “the application for reargument or reconsideration of the opinions entered by this Court on December 19, 2013 is denied.”

Josh Fox is coming out with a new documentary filled with whistle blowers who point out where the bodies are buried -- literally.

I just had a phone call from a man who spent several days filming with Josh Fox.
They not only interviewed these whistle blowers, the whistle blowers took them, on camera, to sites where they were paid to bury materials from unreported spills and cuttings (by-product of drilling) that are loaded with deadly toxins.
It's going to be a blaster.
And these same whistle blowers have brought suits against the drillers and the DEP.


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Ironically, because fracking

Ironically, because fracking is being limited, this is pushing greater coal use.
People are going to get energy from somewhere. The question is what trade offs do you want to make from using different sources.

To climb the mountain, you must believe you can.

Best news of the day

I lost a dear friend a few months ago, an amazing woman. She and her husband fled to the Ozarks years ago, to live a simple life. If was just outside of Guy, Arkansas. First their neighbors sold out, eventually they did. They lived with the earthquakes and poison being injected into their aquifers. She was already fighting cancer when she moved there, and we lost her last summer.

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.

The bottom line is...

we have the technology to advance us from 18th century fossil fuels and the combustible engine but we don't have the support of our government and Big Energy to pull it off the black shelf.

I'm not talking solar, wind or bio-fuels. Tesla was working on providing energy wirelessly to the world until J.P. Morgan caught on to what he was doing and stopped funding him.

I'm sure we have reversed-engineered some alien technology by now as well.

Unfortunately, until TPTB and the wealth mongers advance spiritually, the world will be stifled and grow at the rate they dictate. That will always be at the rate that keeps them in power and protects their wealth.

The world be damned.

Pa. Supreme Court refuses reconsideration

Pa. Supreme Court refuses reconsideration in Oil and Gas Act ruling
February 24, 2014 7:00 AM
By Jon Campisi

Pennsylvania’s highest court has denied a motion by the commonwealth to reconsider its ruling late last year that struck down portions of Act 13, commonly known as the state’s oil and gas law.

In a one-sentence per curiam order Friday that contained no accompanying memorandum or explanation, the Supreme Court turned down a request by the state to rehear arguments in the case, which led to a landmark ruling that is expected to have a great impact on natural gas drilling in the commonwealth.

Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration had petitioned the high court to reconsider its Dec. 19 decision, which struck down key zoning regulations and other provisions contained within the law.

Jordan Yeager, the lead attorney representing parties who challenged the law in court, was quoted in local media saying the Supreme Court’s ruling will likely not be appealed to the federal courts because the case hinges on a state constitutional issue.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the high court’s decision was that it struck down as unconstitutional a provision that places zoning limitations on municipalities, essentially taking away their rights to regulate natural gas drilling on local lands.

The plaintiffs in the case, which included Robinson Township in western Pennsylvania, and Nockamixon Township in suburban Philadelphia, challenged the law’s prohibiting municipalities from regulating natural gas activities within their borders through zoning restrictions.

The Supreme Court also ruled that the Oil and Gas Act was unconstitutional because it violates Pennsylvania’s Environmental Rights Amendment, which says citizens have a right to clean air, pure water and to the preservation of the “natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment.”

Gov. Corbett panned the decision the day it came down, saying in a statement that, “we must not allow today’s ruling to send a negative message to job creators and families who depend on the energy industry.”

Supreme Court sends Act 13 “doctor gag rule” challenge back to lower court
The oil and gas law of the land: your guide to Act 13

not only can we do something about it but we have an obligation

Act 13 ruling buoys residents near Trax Farm gas well
Union Township homeowners want more local control
February 22, 2014 11:45 PM
By Anya Litvak / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

On Dec. 19, the Baumgardner family began to hope again. It was a rare good day among four months of bad days for a family living 500 feet from a Marcellus Shale well pad.

On that day, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared unconstitutional parts of Act 13, which limited local zoning control in favor of a statewide standard guiding where natural gas wells could be drilled.

Georgann and Gary Baumgardner saw the ruling as a turning point in their struggle against EQT Corp., which began drilling in early November on nearby Trax Farm in Washington County, just over the Allegheny County line. The process has been wafting diesel fumes, noise and vibrations into their home -- and seems to be consuming their lives.

One day, their bedroom air monitor flashed orange and the odor drove the family out of their Cardox Road house for hours. Another day, their daughter Rachel Cecchini, then eight months pregnant, moved out of the house next door and into a rental home several miles a way -- abandoning the painted nursery and her 93-year-old grandfather.

EQT has built sound walls, put residents up in hotels and offered cash settlements, while Union Township has debated the merits of residents' complaints and the company's efforts to address them at many public meetings since drilling began. Yet the state Supreme Court ruling may alter the outcome of this intransigent battle.

John Smith, an attorney at Smith Butz who successfully challenged Act 13's municipal zoning restrictions before the state Supreme Court, said the court's decision has empowered townships to challenge gas development.

"Now, the sentiment is not only can we do something about it but we have an obligation to do something about it," he said.

Mr. Smith, who serves as solicitor for Cecil and Peters townships, believes the court's decision paves the way for townships to regulate not just where a well can be placed but what environmental controls the operation should have to qualify for a permit.

Monitoring the situation

People on Cardox Road knew that drilling was coming. Everyone on the street signed a lease with Chesapeake Energy between 2009 and 2011. The Oklahoma-based company drilled one horizontal well on the pad in 2013. Later that year, EQT bought that location and began developing its own wells last fall.

Of the 13 families living on the block, some have found the process more tolerable than others.

Mickey Gniadek lives down the street from the Baumgardners and isn't much bothered by the noise or the industrial activity except for a bad day in early December when he went to pick up his mail and saw a white cloud and smelled chemicals in the air. Then he began to feel as if he couldn't breathe.

"All of a sudden, my chest feels like it's collapsing on me," he said. He began to develop red spots on his head, eyes, and cheeks, which took up to two hours to subside.

The Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, a nonprofit in Washington County that treats patients who think they've been impacted by oil and gas drilling, has installed air monitors in several homes on Cardox Road.

Andy Tullai, chairman of Union Township supervisors who lives on the street, has three air quality monitors and uses a cell phone app to monitor noise and frequency. When something seems askew, he fires off an email to the township's zoning officer.

The noise at his home, about 650 feet from the well site, isn't as intense as at the Baumgardners, but it's enough to keep the family up at night. "When you try to sleep you hear this moaning, this grinding," he said. "I put earplugs in and it still comes through. You can't stop it. You can't stop that low-frequency noise."

Mr. Tullai said he and his wife get up in the middle of the night and turn on the TV to drown out the sound.

"We've lived here 31 years. They've come at the end of October and they took our lives away. We want our lives back."

Some residents have turned on Trax Farm for allowing the well pad so close to their homes, even though Bob Trax, its president, says he had no say in the matter. "I feel bad." Mr. Trax said. "I pressured [EQT]. I said please settle, please pacify, please make do."

Company trying to help

EQT is frustrated, too.

"This is not a blip on our radar," said Linda Robertson, manager of media relations with EQT. "We have spent a lot of time and energy, and I think there are some people who have understood the attempts we've made."

The company has tried to resolve the problem, said Peter Grieb, a municipal consultant who serves as Union's zoning enforcement officer.

"They've made it known to the township and to us that they are more than willing to work with us to mitigate problems," Mr. Grieb said. "They were responsive -- it's just they kept trying things and they didn't work."

On all sides of the issue, there's a sentiment that there's only so much the company can do to ameliorate concerns given how close the well pad is to the homes on Cardox Road.

On Jan. 22, the township called a special meeting to discuss the Trax well. EQT asked residents to bear with it for the next three weeks while the company finished drilling 11 vertical wells, after which it would do another baseline sound survey.

To drill the horizontal sections would require a different rig, one that EQT community relations manager Nathanial Manchin promised would be less noisy and have fewer emissions.

"The [township] supervisors basically said, that's fine," Mr. Grieb said. "But if there is [another problem], we're going to shut you down as you figure it out."

The past week marked four weeks since the township meeting. Mr. Grieb said the latest word is that the company will finish by Monday.

Tony Cecchini, the Baumgardners' son-in-law, thinks the hotel vouchers and the sound studies are a delay tactic, and he doesn't have the time. His baby is due March 6.

EQT also has put compensation offers on the table of $50,000 per household. The money comes with the condition that residents will release EQT from any liability having to do with property or health damage. That's a standard clause for such contracts, noted Ms. Robertson.

The majority of residents have taken the deal, Ms. Robertson said.

So far, Mr. Gniadek has refused. "I can't sign this piece of paper," he says. "You're basically asking me to give up my life for you -- so next time something like this happens again ... ."

Back in local hands

Blaine Lucas, an attorney with Babst Calland, estimates more than 270 municipalities in Pennsylvania have passed more than 300 ordinances since 2010 aimed at regulating oil and gas activity.

After Act 13 was passed, about 35 municipalities adopted ordinances to comply with its limitations, he said, and a similar number were in the midst of such efforts when litigation over the act's constitutionality began. When the Supreme Court invalidated the relevant sections of the law in December, it likely killed such efforts, Mr. Lucas said.

"One would expect that in light of the decision, at least some municipalities will become more aggressive in their attempts to regulate the industry," he said.

Union Township enacted an oil and gas ordinance in 2010 that set thresholds for noise. It proposed that well sites would be given conditional permits -- meaning their approval in certain zones would be contingent on meeting the conditions of the ordinance -- something that Act 13 put on shaky legal ground.

With the Supreme Court's decision, the township now feels it can use the sound ordinance in its regulation of EQT's activities at Trax.

For its part, EQT maintains that it never violated the sound ordinance and that its data shows the diesel emissions in the air never got to an "excessive" level, said Natalie Cox, director of corporate communications. "Some people have settled with themselves that this is temporary. 'I can get through this. In a year, [it] will be back to normal,' " she said.

Be 'a good neighbor'

Mrs. Baumgardner wants EQT to buy her home. She said she wouldn't feel right selling it to someone else because she can't vouch for the immediate disturbance or long-term impacts drilling nearby might have on health and property.

Mr. Gniadek's demands are harder to quantify. He wants the company to be a "good neighbor," to show more concern when he feels his health is in danger.

When a Chevron well in Greene County exploded Feb. 11, EQT officials should have knocked on his door and calmed his fears about something like that happening at Trax, he said.

"We're 500 feet away. Five hundred feet. That's insane," Mr. Gniadek said. "My house would be gone."

The Greene County fire, which burned for several days with flames so hot that firefighters couldn't get within 900 feet of it, has added new urgency to Union Township's efforts, said its solicitor Dennis Makel.

"That makes you think twice now about having oil and gas wells close to people's homes," he said.

Mr. Baumgardner has begun going to other township meetings, waiting until the comment period and recounting his experience living near a well pad.

"I'm here as a resident," his statement goes. "What you're hearing is not the truth."

He ends it with this: "Act 13 has been declared unconstitutional. The power is back with the people."

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/#ixzz2uAXD4rFM

Re Fracking, thanks for your work in

this area and for clarifying issues raised in comments. I look forward to seeing the documentary.

How ironic that Obama basically got the support of all the "orgo's" (incl some who'd supported RP), i.e., those concerned w/pesticides, fluoridated water, GMO's, etc. - including FRACKING.

They totally bought into the GMO promise & general rhetoric, convinced he was going to be different in understanding consequences to human health. I don't watch SOTU addresses anymore, so I didn't realize what he'd said. I wonder how all those millions who voted him in feel about their hero now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnDs1wozj4g#t=453

Ha, ha. He's going to require co's to divulge the chemicals they use. Y'mean like he promised he'd require FOOD companies to divulge their GMO ingredients?

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

why would exxon and Mobile be

why would exxon and Mobile be against fracking? I'll let you think about that.

Isn't that a hoot?

Here's another one. I met this guy 3 years ago.


There is a lot of bad information out there regarding fracking. It seems like most people on this thread have picked their side, but if there's anyone who still has an open mind, maybe this will help. I do work in oil and gas, and I know that will probably turn some people off, but that is what has enabled me to gain some knowledge on the topic, and I don't intend to hide the fact.

It seems like one of the most common misconceptions is that fracking has something to do with drilling. The truth is that a well is fracked long after the drilling rig has moved on. First the well is drilled. After drilling is finished, casing is run into the well to ensure wellbore integrity. Casing is just steel pipe that is used to stop the rock around the well from collapsing and make sure the fluids get to surface. As soon as the casing is in place, the well is cemented by pumping cement between the outside of the steel casing and the rock. Not until all of this is complete will the well be fracked.

Another factoid I often hear is that only gas wells (not oil) are fracked. That is incorrect. Actually, the busiest areas right now are oil basins. Wells being developed in places like North Dakota, West/South Texas, and NE Colorado are primarily oil. If they are in shale, which the vast majority are, they must be fracked to get any production.

Also, fracking is not a new method. It has been used since the 40's [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_fracturing (fourth paragraph)]. The majority of wells in the US end up being fracked in their lifetime, whether they are in shale formations or not.

Wells are fracked deep beneath the surface. For example, in North Dakota, the Bakken and Three Forks formations are typically 9,500' below the surface. Water wells are measured in the hundreds of feet.

I can't tell you whether fracking has ever caused drinking water contamination. To be honest, I would be surprised if it never has, since over a million wells have been fracked in this country. But I would be very surprised if it was harming drinking water on a large scale- the chances are just too slim.

As for my side on the debate, I don't really like to frame it as pro- or anti-fracturing. It's too broad and there's too many different cases here and there. What I do support are personal property rights- both for those who own land over hydrocarbons, and those who drink water from wells. I'm not an advocate of banning something on a state or national level, but I am certainly against failing to hold accountable those who irresponsibly destroy the property of others. I think it would be great if disputes over these issues could be settled fairly in a court. Is that even possible today? Probably not- the legal system is broken. But maybe that's the real battle we should be fighting.

Here's the problem...

Something ALWAYS goes wrong, ALWAYS. Then, it is left to the homeowner to spend money, time and stress to prove they have been damaged and collect FAIR compensation.

The corporations bog down the effort until the homeowner is willing to settle for peanuts all the while having no use of their well. That's wrong. I don't give a damn about the legal system. It is corrupt.

Something ALWAYS goes wrong and the damage can't be reversed.

You will never convince a corporation to do the right thing unless the decision makers in the corporation fear for their life. Short of that, they don't care. It's all legal.

So, according to the video...

fracking is safe if done correctly. The problem occurs when it is not done safely.

The problem I have with it is when the water supply is contaminated, the owner's wells are lost for sometime if not forever. Their property value goes down. Sure, they can sue but what they have to go through to win is a nightmare. The corporation can declare bankruptcy and they never pay.

So, I think it is only fair that government requires that all fracking companies be bonded for several billion dollars and a streamlined process be implemented that allows claims to be verified and parties affected compensated.

If you leave it to dollars and cents, the corporation will make millions, move the money off their books before the damage is discovered and claims filed, then, go under once claims are filed. All legal and morally corrupt, like many in this business.

If they say it is safe, then being bonded shouldn't be a problem. They'll never have to worry about paying anyone.

Frack away but we are going to force you to put your money where your mouth is or STFU.


Thanks for the balanced even perspective.
Here's what I've learned first hand;
1. Drilling down 5,000 - 10,000 feet sometimes goes through a ground water formation.
2. The concrete seal that's pumped in isn't done ten minutes after an aquifer is punctured. So contamination can get started.
3. The puncture is not into a rubber, self sealing bladder. It's brittle rock and one puncture can lead to multiple fractures.
4. Even oil well fracking/drilling often produces natural gas and its distillates.
5. There are many more dangerous substances besides methane gas which is one of the least dangerous because it dissipates.
6. There are highly toxic things like radioactive uranium (here in PA) and salt concentrations that kill on contact.
7 The hydro-fracturing is often done with such force it fractures substrata formations uncontrollably in many different directions.
8. The issues are far greater than just drilling and fracing.
9. There is a huge impact with the waste water from fracing. People are in jail for disposing it improperly. And there are many sewage treatment facility managers who should be in jail for taking hundreds of takers full of produced waste water and running it through a facility not designed to remove these kinds of toxins. They were paid $250 a truck to push it through and release it into drinking water supplies. That's an act of terror against infrastructure.
10. If you're caught taking a car battery and throwing it into a body of water you could go to jail.
11. Compressor stations are a proven source of pollution.
12. Cracking plants are a proven source of pollution.
13. Pipelines are a potential source of pollution.
There are many more reasons to be concerned about this process.
Why do you think the drillers spend millions on propaganda, TV ads running every half hour?
If you really want unbiased aggregated information

Another thing specific to PA

or so I have heard it contended, is that there are thousands of
old "orphan" wells from the early days of the oil industry there which
may provide pathways for pollutants to migrate into aquifers.

There is also the issue of the bonds required to ensure that wells
are plugged being far less than the actual cost of plugging them.
This creates an incentive for operators to just walk away from wells
that are no longer productive and shifting the problem to surface
owners and taxpayers.

In general, the bonds that are required of operators are inadequate to
cover damages that can occur and the real investors are often shielded
from any liability problems that come up.


Huge problem here.

And the government lets drillers "store" waste water in some of these leaky abandoned mines and orphan wells.
"But fracing doesn't effect ground water."

Why do you think they pushed the GM bankruptcy so fast? GM dumped the cost of HAZMAT clean-up on the NY taxpayers. Common tactic.

P&A Bonds

Plug and abandon (P&A) bonds are generally payed to the state, or the regulating authority when a well is first spudded. The bonds are determined based on the P&A costs of the well should it be P&A'd that day. If we didn't inflate our money supply and the state would be responsible for holding a P&A bond, the amount would be sufficient for plugging a well that is abandoned.

Pennsylvania could have more orphaned wells than anywhere else, because it is the birthplace of oil drilling. The first well was drilled in Titusville, PA in 1859. The well's location was determined because oil was coming out of the ground. For years prior to geology being recognized as a reliable science for identifying deeper petroleum reserves, drilling locations were determined worldwide based on seeps to surface. These wells actually stemmed the flow of petroleum to surface water sources cleaning up the environment in many of the areas.

The bonds are not inadequate to cover P&A, the problem is, the bonds are not invested to keep up with inflation and often the bond resources are devoted to other public works. Also, this is not a problem unique to Pennsylvania.

Thanks BT- This is the Kind of Conversation we Should Have on DP

I appreciate eclark2006's less bias view. We in O&G can have a tendency to become overprotective of our industry and miss that nothing and no one is perfect. Before I dig into your note here, I want to let you know that I am a state certified Petroleum Engineer licensed in CO and practicing in WY. Check here. My license number is PE.0048338. If you type that license number in, you'll see my username here is nothing more than my initials.

1. Yes. You are exactly right. The process of drilling up to and through freshwater aquifers is done using water based drilling mud as opposed to the more commonly used OBM or oil based mud used beyond a freshwater aquifer. The water based mud includes essentially water and barite. Barite is a naturally occuring mineral high in density to ensure that if a formation has pressure the weight of the fluid in the pipe will contain it. I'm not a drilling engineer (or mud engineer for that matter), so I'm not sure if any additives are used, but I would guess as small amount of bacteriacide to protect the reservoir (I could be wrong though). Once the aquifer is drilled through, a surface string is run and cemented, which permanently seals off the fresh water aquifer.

2. I'm not really sure what you mean by this? But to clarify, after the surface casing is run and cemented drilling commences and eventually another string of casing (production casing or intermediate casing) is run and cemented. This is redundant protection of the aquifer. This makes two strings of casing and two cement jobs and usually a frac' string, which is essentially tubing that is run in the casing where the frac' fluids go.

3. Are you still talking about the aquifer here or the petroleum bearing reservoir? Either way, you are correct. It is brittle. This is described as Young's Modulus and is different in different lithologies. Shales have widely varying Young's Moduli. Water based muds used in drilling through freshwater aquifers ensure that no harmful contaminants enter the aquifer.

4. I've never heard a case where it does not produce gas. Even dead oil reservoirs produce gas when the pressure of miles of rock are removed when the fluids are moved to surface. Depending on regulations and the company the gas may be flared (wasteful and ugly) or sold (gas in the US is so cheap right now, unfortunately it's generally more economic to flare).

5. Yes this is true. All of the aromatics that we use in so many different ways generally come from oil and gas production and are distilled, not created synthetically. Methane is actually pretty harmless in that it will come completely out of phase with water at room temperature and pressure. The harm of methane really lies in it's explosiveness.

6. I'm not familiar with PA, so I can't comment with certainty here. My understanding is that the Rocky Mountain Region is very high in NORM (normally occurring radioactive materials). Norm can be harmful to those with poor hygiene. In my field we have some norm and washing our hands is required. As far as ending up in an aquifer- as I stated above, newer wells have a lot of redundancy to protect fluids on both sides of the pipe. Older wells can be an issue. But regarding uranium, I would be a little more skeptical of that claim.

7. This can happen, but keep in mind that an O&G company does not want to waste money by fracturing an over or underlying layer. Our goal in stimulation is to stay in zone and it can be costly not to. Also keep in mind that the freshwater aquifers are separated by thousands of feet of rock- all of which are fluid bearing making that all the more impermeable. The real risk of freshwater contimanation by frac' fluid is not coming from many thousand feet below through rock. It is a frac' job in old or mishandled casing. This ergo, is not caused by the frac' job persay, but by a poor wellbore. This is probably what happened in Pavillion, WY.

8. Yes, there are geopolitical considerations, economic, environmental and I'm sure plenty more. Are we talking about frac' here?

9. People who commit fraud should be in jail. Are we still talking about frac' here? In the Jonah Pinedale field in Western Wyoming, we had a complex reverse osmosis plant whereby we reused flowback water (the frac fluid minus the sand when it returns to surface) and produced fluid (the water that was in the reservoir with the oil and or gas) to frac' with. This is a huge breakthrough for a number of reasons I won't get into unless you're curious. But in a lot of places like CO and CA water is expensive, so when it can be reused by companies they will jump at that.

10. Ok, yea. That's kind of dumb for a battery, but I suppose it's a good rule. Are we talking about frac' here?

11. Yes, true. Are we talking about frac' here? So are human beings considering the EPA considers CO2 a pollutant.

13. Yes, true. Are we talking about frac' here?

There are a lot of reasons to be concerned with the process. It's not perfect, but it get's better every day. One major service company (frac' company) has created a food grade quality frac fluid. The governor of Colorado (a dem) drank this fluid on TV to ensure the public the fluids are safe.

At first glance the website you reference does not look unbiased. It honestly looks like a FoxNews montage convincing Americans why Iraq was a threat to the US. But I honestly wouldn't know where to point you to an unbiased resource other than a textbook.

I appreciate you bringing up specific concerns here. DP should be about testing thoughts and theories, not appealing to emotion as some of your other posts have sought to do. Ask me anything, BT. I'll give you my honest opinion. There is a lot of ugly in O&G, I won't deny that. I don't get paid for my opinions despite what you may suspect, so I will be honest with you.


Thank you ZJK

I was working on a response to Barracuda last night, but ended up getting distracted. I just got on here to finish it up when I saw your post. This is more or less what I would have said so I will leave it at that.

This is one of those topics that gets very emotionally charged when it comes under the microscope, so I appreciate that people can be civil on here. I can tell you certainly are well versed in this topic, and I really appreciate that Barracuda has educated himself as well. I can accept that people come to different conclusions as long they are getting their facts straight and their solutions are not trampling on personal liberties.

I haven't watched GasLand, but it seems like a lot of the info in the videos above are extremely skewed (such as the low level of the Brazos being solely due to fracking, failing to cite years of record drought in that part of the state, and also not mentioning that hydrocarbon development in that area is probably at its lowest level in over a decade). I think we have to keep in mind what the point of those types of documentaries are, and that is to frighten and provoke. That's not to say that documentaries such as this are inherently bad, but there is the temptation to skew facts and data in order to rile your audience.

Every word I type on this subject takes me away from making

money. I do it only to warn people. I'm an investor who has done some homework. Not reading the libtard eviro-weanie propaganda. Although some of the truth can be found there.

2. I'm not really sure what you mean by this?
BT: There is opportunity for migration/contamination to begin before cement. PA is a uranium mining state.
3. BT: aquifer
8. BT: Yes frac.
BOOM BUST CYCLES: We already have ghost towns in PA. since 2004 Boom.
Gas flares
Gas pipelines
Gathering pipelines
Marcellus pipeline
Forest division (cutting up large old growth - leaving holes)
13. BT: Governor must have had big donors to do a TV stunt. Just like Pentagon officials drank agent orange to prove how safe it was. Tactic.
ZJK, You're in the industry and you doubt fracing is a threat?
Any industry that combines corporations/lobbyists with political/governmental gate keepers and hundreds of billions of dollars is a threat. They lose all sense of moral restraint.
The EPA just fucked a farmer out west. They first said their study proved damages. Then they suddenly backed off. Range turned around like an unleashed attack dog and bankrupted that farmer: Texas Man Sued for $3 million, Defamation by Fracking Company that Contaminated his Water Supply
Lipsky, who is still tied up in a legal battle with Range Resources, now pays about $1,000 a month to haul water to his home. He, his wife and three children become unnerved when their methane detectors go off. Sometime soon, he said, the family will have to decide whether to stay in the large stone house or move.

"This has been total hell," Lipsky said. "It's been taking a huge toll on my family and on our life."

ECONOMIC THREAT: And the only hope I have is that nat gas has struggled to reach a price ($7)level that would really ignite the frenzy.
You are living in an investor driven bubble. When this baby pops you better have a back-up income.
With prices so flat for so long it's been a hyped up ponzi scheme from an investment point of view.
More investors buying energy stocks in a market environment where supply and demand have been neutralizing each other for years.
The industry is selling pie in the sky for several reasons;
a) other countries are discovering their own deposits.
b) They can't take a breather on production too long because they need the cash flow.
c) thin margins that get thinner will take a company/industry down overnight.
d) consolidation of assets will go to the few, big players like every other leveraged (debt loaded), manipulated industry.

I really appreciate you reaching out in a non-threating way

And it's cool that we can test each other's knowledge and prejudices. There's a good chance we are not going to agree on everything here regarding frac', but I can see already that there are a number of things we can agree on. Anyhow, thanks for toning it down a bit. Let me address your comments and explain in a little more depth the things I didn't explain very well:

2. If the drillers use a non water based mud, or use contaminated fluids, then absolutely contamination can occur. However, migration (and I'm presuming you are talking about the fluids- oil, gas etc- from the petroleum bearing reservoir) cannot occur. Drilling stops when depth is just below the water table. At that point a string casing is run. When the casing is in the hole, cement is pumped into the casing and forced downhole and around into the annular space between the casing and the hole. Approximately the bottom 30 feet inside the casing is filled with cement along with the annular area all the way to the surface. This is done by forcing the cement followed by a plug which seats in a special casing joint that prevents cement from u-tubing out of the annulus and back into the casing. Drilling does not recommence until this cement has hardened, at which time the cement remaining in the casing is drilled and a cement bond log is run. A CBL is an acoustic log capable of proving good bond between cement and casing and cement and formation. Since we are still several thousand feet from our petroleum target zone, migration is impossible unless done by nature. If the CBL is satifactory (many states regulate this WY included), drilling commences and water based mud is replaced with oil based mud.

8. Boom bust cycles: if Ron Paul has taught us anything it's that boom bust is caused in a large part by currency and discount rate manipulation. Booms and busts occur in oil and gas based on the health of the economy on the whole. Gas in particular is even more susceptible to boom bust cycles because prices are regionally based. Because the Marcellus primarily a gas bearing formation, the low gas prices due to economic slow downs in 2008 and excessive supply due to the O&G revolution in the US particularly devastates a place like PA. If gas hit anywhere close to $7/M you would see a surge of activity in your neck of the woods.

Gas processing and compression- yes and this is, I suppose, indirectly caused by the highly effective extraction techniques of horizontal drilling and multi stage frac'ing. I'd throw gas facilities and eqpt in this category as well. A wetter gas will have many of the more harmful BTEX (Benzene Toluene Ethylbenzene and Xylene) constituents. I'm not sure what the gas make up is there, but I'd imagine it is at least somewhat wet. When water is extracted from gas (dehydration) these constituents are removed in part with it, and generally vented to atmosphere. I disagree with this process, but it is legal. That said I think gas companies would be best served capturing or flaring these constituents and I feel lawsuits of this nature can be warranted. This however, is a gas handling issue and not an issue related to hydraulic fracturing.

I'm not sure there were doners for Gov Hickenloopers stunt (good word), but maybe I am naive. Colorado has a huge O&G industry. If the price of oil were to climb significantly CO would be considered the Saudi Arabia due to it's deep reserves of heavy crude. Hickenlooper was a petroleum geologist, so he is familiar with the industry. As I stated, a service company has created a 100% food grade quality frac' fluid- this is what he drank.

Frac'ing is a threat. A huge threat. But not to water quality. It is a threat to the status quo of where we get our energy. Gazprom is the world's largest holder of natural gas reserves. They are opposed to frac'ing b/c their reserves are conventional (do not need to be frac'ed to be economically produced). You're right about lobbying, but it's nowhere near the $100s of billions range. We have relatively low margins, believe it or not. What industry doesn't have lobbying? It's ugly, but we have to do it or we will be shut down.

I agree that a bubble has formed, but I fail to see how it is surrounding the value of what we produce. The bubbles are in student loans, housing, the stock market. When those bubbles go, the oil and gas industry, along with everyone else will be picking up the pieces. Yes, I have a back up plan.
a)yes other countries are discovering there own deposits, but America is still a net importing country, so this could only help America by causing energy prices to decline. As someone in O&G this is a prospect that can be worrisome, but me personally, as an American and a Libertarian, this is a good thing. Cheap energy means progress. Good progress, not Obama/Bush/Clinton "Progress".
b) Absolutely 100% true. Shale oil and gas production is WAY more costly b/c it requires horizontal drilling (expensive) and multistage frac'ing (expensive) just to be economic. Conventional plays do not have these requirements, but these resources are near exhaustion. The price of doing business is going up.
c) Also very true. But this also means that if the price of our non-conventional resources drop, production will decline sharply forcing the market to import, pay more or use less.
d) Again this is caused by big banks financing mergers and allowing the players (big oil) to buy out the mom and pops.

Good convo. I appreciate your insight. From an investment perspective there is a lot to be weary of. However, putting up videos of Josh Fox's documentaries offers next to nothing in this sphere. The question is- is frac' safe? The logical response is that it is, when it's done responsibly. Is every company responsible- I wish they were. But the science behind wellbore creation and frac' execution are sound when industry standards are followed. Even the bad companies would stand to lose a lot (not just in litigation, but in production) when these standards are not followed.


A few finer points Zack

I know there is a great deal of technology that goes into dropping a casing and then the fracing.
What I am justifiably alarmed with is the fact that there are thousands of wells going in (even with the reduction of rigs deployed lately) and those thousands of wells do not have seasoned workers running them. Hence the opportunity for mistakes.

I live in ground zero of the Pennsylvania BOOM. In my neighborhood if you put your house on the market, it's sold that week for full asking price.

One of my neighbors is an executive for a concrete pumping outfit.
Another neighbor owns a HAZMAT clean-up company Weavertown Environmental http://www.weavertown.com/

People here drive BMW's like most parts of the country drive Toyotas.

When I say bubble I'm talking about stockholders whose money is being invested by large funds and banks/institutions. These industry executives are borrowing money from investors on a shaky foundation.

Range Resources from Texas http://www.rangeresources.com/Operations/Marcellus-Division.... just built a new headquarters here http://themarcellusshale.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Range-Resources-CNG.jpg

Consol Energy a local company, also built a new headquarters here

We never had a slump in 2007-2009. We don't know what recession is.
And all of this gas boom came in on top of an already booming economy.

Personally I make more money faster when the markets are crashing because I'm a trader. When the local markets are booming prices are higher so real estate investing is more difficult. So I don't care about personal success as much as a BUST.

Shale wells by their nature are boom and bust because production runs down faster than conventional reserves.

And yes, we have the wettest, dirtiest shale gas. So we have more danger and most people aren't aware of it because the industry and government PR the hell out of it.

Water? Because PA is second only to Alaska in terms of it's vast water resources we are sloppy about recycling. We have tanker caravans that are endless running the roads at night.
Both fresh water and waste water.
And drillers get a pass from government on dumping inadequately treated waste water into the drinking water supply.
Our water abundance is masking a problem and putting off the day of reckoning. It also attracts the industry.

We are GasLand on steroids because we are booming and there's a lot of payola.
Everybody is fat and happy and distracted.
But the horror stories are increasing in number.
They are real.
People are getting very sick.
We have a law that says doctors are forbidden to tell their patients or other doctors what chemicals are making them sick!
What does that tell you?
Cattle are being affected.
The produce and dairy supply are gaining residual levels of toxins. Our biggest "Farmers Market" growers are leasing their land for millions.

So there are real problems developing. Economically, and environmentally.

I have a huge real estate venture http://www.dailypaul.com/303431/bring-all-your-interests-her... on hold because I fear an eminent domain issue for a proposed pipeline on that property. I've been working on the acquisition for over three years.

Your concerns are noted

And without really knowing the details of your neighborhood, they seem like they could be valid. However, back to the point of this post, which was regarding Josh Fox, a frac' activist. Your concerns are surrounding development, mishandling of fluids etc. None of your comments regard the specific stimulation process hydraulic fracturing.

I'm glad I don't live in a boom town. I've been in a lot of them. Williston, ND has the highest rent in the US and not because it is a beautiful place. A gas play like the Marcellus is not getting near the activity that an oil play like the Bakken/ Three Forks in NoDak or the Eagleford in South Texas.

I'm surprised you say you never had a slump 2007 to 2009. If you look at the spot price of Henry Hub Gas you can see gas price declines in 2006 and 2009. When gas was near $15/M people in natural gas were fat and happy. It hasn't been over $5 in years.

If your gas is "wet" it is generally much more valuable because it has a higher BTU content. According to some quick research on my part gas in Western PA has a 1350 BTU/M content vs 1000 BTU/M in other parts of play.

I appreciate your concerns regarding O&G development. I've never worked in the Marcellus, so I don't know the specific issues, but I can tell you that we don't have those issues in Western North Dakota or South Texas. I'm not sure why- it could be b/c those two plays are oil plays.

I will say this. A majority of the people upset with an economic boom are upset because they have nothing to do with it. If I owned a farm in PA but did not own the minerals underneath my farm, I would be upset. Based on FrackNation, it seems like a large number of the people who are upset with the development is because a rig went up on their neighbors property and they aren't going to see any of the benefits of the development. I realize that is anecdotal, but if you watch FrackNation, you will see how some of these people are just trying to get a pay day.


Mineral rights

If a rig goes up on your neighbor's farm they can go horizontal for a mile in radius from the bore. So the rig placement doesn't exclude you from getting drilled.

But like you said if you don't own mineral rights you don't get paid.

OPEC is getting afraid and pulling all the strings.

They need to worry more about the Iran/Iraq oil push. Or maybe they don`t because they have the USG to stir up causes that will slow and separate the Iran/Iraq force.

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people that pay no price for being wrong.
Thomas Sowell

Green is the new Red

Both government and large corporations have proven themselves unworthy of trust.
I do not believe fracking can not be done in a reasonably safe manner.

So you environment Nazis can go pack sand!

I do question if it IS being done as safe as it can be though.

"You only live free if your willing to die free."

Just another Conspiracy?

Area officials, legislators level criticism over frack PR scandal

Officials representing the Athens area at the local, county and state levels expressed strong concerns this week over news that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources developed a public relations campaign in August 2012 to promote a plan for oil and gas "fracking" in state parks and forests.

The ODNR is designated under Ohio Revised Code to have sole regulatory authority over the controversial oil-and-gas drilling technique and related activities.

The 10-page memo for the program, which was never officially implemented, warns about the need to overcome "zealous resistance by environmental-activist opponents," while stating that fracking interests such as Halliburton and other supporters of oil and gas development would be enlisted to "minimize public concern" over drilling.

The plan called for leadership from the ODNR, the governor's office, and the state's now-privatized department of development, JobsOhio, in selling job creation aspects of the program to the public.

Though the administration of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, R-Westerville, denied knowledge of the memo on Friday, emails this week showed senior administration members were contacted to set up a meeting to go over the proposal.

In a further development Wednesday, the Kasich administration reversed course on its decision less than three years ago, when the governor signed legislation opening Ohio state parks and forests up to fracking.

"At this point, the governor doesn't support fracking in state parks," Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols told The Columbus Dispatch. "We reserve the right to revisit that, but it's not what he wants to do right now, and that's been his position for the past year and a half."

WATCHDOG: Oil, gas lobby

WATCHDOG: Oil, gas lobby shell out big money to defeat Ohio tax
When Ohio Gov. John Kasich pitched his budget a few months ago, he made a big deal about a “fracking tax” that would bring billions of dollars to the state in the coming years.

It was only fair, he said, for Ohioans to share in the bounty of the shale oil boom going on in their own backyard. Almost 60 percent of Ohioans agreed, telling pollsters they favored higher taxes on oil and gas drillers.

• Weigh in: Do campaign contributions make an impact?
• Graphic: How wells are drilled and fracked

Despite that support, the tax never had a chance.

It was dead on arrival at Ohio’s House of Representatives a few weeks later.

So what happened?

If campaign contributions are any measure of influence, the oil and gas industry played an important part in the outcome.

An Enquirer analysis has found that 10 of the largest oil and natural gas companies and their main political action committee have pumped more than $660,000 into Ohio legislators’ campaign coffers since 2010.

Tax is theft via the

Tax is theft via the government

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

Right More_Liberty

Government should just take taxes out of the fruits of your labor -- not the drillers.
And just give public land minerals to the corporations
along with other tax incentives
while you pay over 50% of your produce in taxes and user fees
and inflated prices that have been taxed along the way -- before you get a turn to pay a sales tax on it.

You're a walkin' talkin' slogan app.
"Tax is theft via the government"
"Tax is theft via the government"
"Tax is theft via the government"