Study Finds Fracking Causing Contamination Of Chemicals Linked To Birth Defects And Other Harms To Human

220px-Process_of_mixing_water_with_fracking_fluids_to_be_injected_into_the_groundEnvironmentalists have been fighting the expanding use of fracking operations in the United States as a harmful practice, particularly for water contamination. The practice involves injecting millions of gallons of chemical-laced water and sand deep underground to crack shale formations to extract oil and gas. Not only does it use a huge amount of water in areas of water shortage but the chemicals contaminate both surface and underground water resources. Now a study in the journal Endocrinology has found a linkage to chemicals that have been linked to infertility, birth defects and cancer as well as elevated levels of the hormone-disrupting chemicals in the Colorado River.

The danger to people in these areas has been routinely denied by the oil and gas lobby as well as members of Congress and state legislators who have advanced the interests of the fracking industry. Worse yet, some current laws exempt fracking from protections for safe drinking water and energy companies do not have to disclose the chemicals they use if they consider that information a trade secret.

The team in the study tested for endocrine-disrupting chemicals and found that, out of 39 water samples collected at five drilling sites, 89% showed estrogenic properties, 41% were anti-estrogenic, 12% were androgenic and 46% were anti-androgenic. The chemical found in the sample can interfere with human sex hormones.

The response from the industry was predictable. Katie Brown, a spokeswoman with the industry advocacy group Energy In Depth, dismissed the study as “inflammatory.” With a study showing a danger to people and birth defects, the industry and its lobbyists respond with a shrug and a dismissive comment. Politicians are also conspicuously silent. These same politicians celebrate “family values” but it appears that birth defects in families does not fall within the scope of such concerns.

There may be counter-arguments to be made to these concerns but what concerns me is the success of this lobby in cutting off this debate. I would like to see a substantive response to this report, but I fear that we are not going to have a full public debate on the risks of this expanding form of extraction.

Source: LA Times

65 thoughts on “Study Finds Fracking Causing Contamination Of Chemicals Linked To Birth Defects And Other Harms To Human

  1. They’re ruining not only people’s health but the health of the animals. Family values? Well they care about their family’s health. But not anyone else.

  2. Not a fan of the Oll Bidness by any means. But I read some of the stuff on which these reports were based (tho admittedly not the scientific findings themselves). Not enough of the dots are connected, unfortunately. Stuff like ethylene glycol (on which JT has reported recently re murder) gets pumped underground – true. The study indicates that ethylene glycol (aka antifreeze — its near neighbor, propylene glycol, is mouthwash) is linked to hormonal effects, and is present in surface water in counties where there is fracking. But there is no link here to whether the stuff gets into the community water supply, or whether the concentrations found in the surface water are harmful, or whether there is any reason to believe that there is any sort of correlative effect in the population in the areas. Given that EG is toted around in the environment every day by the gazillions of gallons, the use of it in “slickwater” fracking does not automatically mean that it has or will cause specific harm to our hormones.

    We need always to look critically at the science behind reports like this; it’s the other guys who declare that HPV vaccine makes you retarded, not us. BTW, “Slickwater” would be a great name for a C&W band.

  3. A former student of mine works for a Wi. environmental group. Attacking fracking on all fronts is now @ the top of the list. The sand needed for fracking has to meet certain specifications and apparently sand in northwest Wi. is primo. There are several large sand mining operations in Wi. His group is attacking the mining of sand on the grounds that it could cause respiratory problems. Now, I’ve known this kid for many years and I love him. But, I taught him to be intellectually honest. I asked him if they have any data on the dangers and got a sheepish, “No.”

    What we have in fracking is the classic battle between big oil and environmentalist. I have learned over the years to trust neither. Oil has profits as their motive. Environmental groups has the elimination of both fossil fuels and nuclear energy as their motive. Question both sides, trust neither.

  4. The sand used for frackng comes from Wisconsin in some quantity. Western Wisconsin residents have faced air buy offs of farms leaving lone farmer holdouts surrounded by the sand mines and the disruptions, pollution and noise they bring.The mines don’t employ many Wisconsinites, the towns do get get tax revenue, but some things aren’t worth the money.

    Now we hear of studies about harmful chemicals and hormones in the water supply from fracking, have we gone backwards as far as EPA protections in recent years?

  5. SWM, There’s no oil in Wi. They don’t frack in NW Wi., they simply mine the sand used for fracking in North Dakota. Good try, though.

  6. Swarthmoremom,
    You are correct. The blasts from the sand mines are disruptive, the noise and dirt in the air 24/7. The mines do not shut down. The farm animals that dwell on neighboring farms are not liking it much either, so the farmers report.

  7. Yes, Swarthmoremom, it was. We miss it dearly and hope one day to right the many wrongs done by the Walker administration. It’s a mess.

  8. There are quarries and mines that mine all types of minerals EVERYWHERE in the US. They almost all use blasting. The most physical job I ever worked was a summer spent going to different quarries[silica, trap rock, etc.] around New England drilling and blasting rock in quarries. Roads built, tunnels for trains and roads, etc. all require drilling, mining and blasting. But, you folks are behind the curve. These blasting environmental screeds haven’t worked. The new one is the air pollution of sand in the air. Get up to speed! Big oil has more money and smarter spinners which is why they usually win.

  9. nick spinelli 1, December 18, 2013 at 9:57 am

    A former student of mine works for a Wi. environmental group. Attacking fracking on all fronts is now @ the top of the list. The sand needed for fracking has to meet certain specifications and apparently sand in northwest Wi. is primo. There are several large sand mining operations in Wi. His group is attacking the mining of sand on the grounds that it could cause respiratory problems. Now, I’ve known this kid for many years and I love him. But, I taught him to be intellectually honest. I asked him if they have any data on the dangers and got a sheepish, “No.”

    What we have in fracking is the classic battle between big oil and environmentalist. I have learned over the years to trust neither. Oil has profits as their motive. Environmental groups has the elimination of both fossil fuels and nuclear energy as their motive. Question both sides, trust neither.
    Nice anecdote Nick, but issues are not resolved by the lowest common denominator.

    Sand is not a problem because it is not a poison, and that argument is a distraction and irrelevant.

    Water loss and poisons is relevant, as are earthquakes generated by fraking. Texas is inspecting its resoirvoirs following a slew of quakes in areas where there were none till fraking started taking place.

    But the biggest issue is what happens after the oil is extracted with those poisons.

    The result is that the global climate system, composed in part by the atmosphere, is damaged more and more, leading to ever more catastrophes around the globe.

    It takes major league psychopaths to destroy a civilization, and that is exactly what is taking place.

  10. SWM, I agree, Walker would frack if there were deposits. But, please read what I said originally. I trust neither side.

  11. nick spinelli 1, December 18, 2013 at 10:46 am

    … Big oil has more money and smarter spinners which is why they usually win.
    This is not a game, it is about the destruction of civilization and billions of deaths because “big oil” i.e. Oil-Qaeda “is smarter” …

    Psychopaths are very smart in one sense but psychopathic-ally dumb in another sense … their future is to become funeral directors … and to become broke because money is useless without a civilization (Oil-Qaeda: The Deadliest Parasite Of Civilization).

  12. Fracking is good for business….. Just not the rest of the world…. For each well sunk or drilled whether its productive or not takes between 1 million to 10 million gallons of water…. No real issue until until you realize that it will take more than 30/40 thousand years before the water makes it back to use ability….. Never mind the fact that while processing….in the ground it leeches into the permeable ground water tables…..

    Interesting as been pointed out there have been numerous earth quakes in areas that are not in fault lines…. For some reason houses are blowing up…. Natural gas has no smell until an accelerate in put in it……

    Mining is important to the economy…. That’s why… Miners tale birds down the mine shafts….. If the bird dies…. It’s time to go…..

    I think Elaine and I talked about this last night…. She did an excellent piece in 2011….,

  13. Dredd, I know this is an emotional point for you and I respect that. And, I really respect the fact that you admit sand isn’t the problem. This kid as much as admitted it also. My point was environmental groups have made fracking number one on the list and they are creating a multi front war, which is sometimes effective, sometimes not. I am proud of my former student working for an environmental group for peanuts. He’s a very educated, smart kid and could be making big bucks.

    However There is one person here who thinks sand is the problem. It’s called beach phobia.

  14. Opponents of fracking shouldn’t have to prove it is dangerous to humans. Supporters should have to prove it is safe. There are plenty of studies that show that fracking contaminated the water table; depletes water for human consumption and generally pollutes the air. What is a little genetic damage to humans if it means oil companies can make more $$$$$$$$$! The suggestion by oil companies that a little poison is good for you is ludicrous but then they seem to be learning from the Chinese government on that or is it that the Chinese government learned that from the tobacco industry and the asbestos industries. Corporations have been lying about the hazards of their products and manufacturing procedures for years. That is why reformers wanted the EPA and FDA and other agencies established to protect humans from corporate lies. Unfortunately now the corporations run the agencies.

  15. Dredd, I know it’s not a game. I’m just stating how I see these battles played out. Do you disagree oil has more resources to win these battles?

  16. SWM, If you were to ask me to bet, and I am a betting man, on who is more honest on issues; environmental groups or Big Oil, I would bet much more on environmental groups.

  17. Apparently the Chinese people are not rebelling even though the smoke is so thick in major Chinese cities that the air is opaque, planes cannot land and people have been wearing breathing filters for decades. Perhaps it will get that bad in the US and people will continue to burn fossil fuel. Where are the dead canaries when we need them?

  18. nick spinelli 1, December 18, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Dredd, I know this is an emotional point for you and I respect that. And, I really respect the fact that you admit sand isn’t the problem.

    nick spinelli 1, December 18, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Dredd, I know it’s not a game. I’m just stating how I see these battles played out. Do you disagree oil has more resources to win these battles?
    It is a battle to save civilization, which includes those you love, and their descendants, from a horrid future.

    A future where the Jabba The Hutts of Oil-Qaeda can remain free running psychopaths, torturing the planet until death of civilization as we know it takes place.

    There is nothing to be won by their mass murder, their is only loss in this.

    It is a psychological problem, not a business problem, not a problem of sand.

    It is a problem of psychopaths having taken over.

    You do not seem to be able to face that reality.

    Generally that denial is based on the fear of death we all have:

    From an American gunboat decades ago, John Kerry patrolled for communist insurgents along the winding muddy waters of the Mekong Delta. From those familiar waterways that eventually turned the young lieutenant against the war, the top U.S. diplomat confronted a modern enemy Sunday – climate change.

    In this remote part of southern Vietnam, rising sea waters, erosion and the impact of upstream dam development on the Mekong River are proving a more serious threat than the Viet Cong guerrillas whom Kerry battled in 1968 and 1969.

    (John Kerry returns to the Mekong Delta, this time as U.S. Secretary of State). We are all being swift-boated by Oil-Qaeda now.

  19. Scott Walker’s Sand Grab: Wisconsin Wants a Piece of the Fracking Boom, No Matter Who Gets Hurt

    On the night that he was elected governor of Wisconsin in 2010, a beaming Scott Walker told the hundreds of supporters sandwiched into Waukesha’s little Country Springs Hotel ballroom that his state was “open for business.” It was shorthand for his promise to slash taxes and lay waste to state regulations, all to create a quarter of a million new jobs by the end of his fourth year in office. But halfway through Walker’s term, Wisconsin had added only a quarter of the promised jobs, it ranked 44th in private-sector job creation, and private-sector wages were falling at twice the average rate nationally. A non-partisan audit of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., a job-creation agency Walker started, found it repeatedly broke state laws in its first year. Still, among the detritus of the Republican governor’s job creation efforts, one sector of Wisconsin’s economy has been roaring: the sand-mining industry…

    But public health advocates aren’t so sure about that, worrying instead that the frac sand boom will have broad, lasting environmental consequences for Wisconsin. There is accumulating evidence that mine emissions, when poorly regulated, can be toxic to those who live and work nearby. Frac sand facilities have the potential to ruin groundwater reserves. And local leaders have limited options for regulating the new facilities that are popping up like mushrooms—often because there’s always a town nearby looking to make a buck.

    Yet the way things stand, with new facilities opening at breakneck speed, any new regulations await conclusive research on the health and environmental effects. And state environmental regulators have neither the time nor resources to ensure compliance with existing law. “It’s certainly hard to wrap your head around the effects,” said Deb Dix, a spokesperson for the frac sand regulation division of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “The industry, it’s just so large, so quickly. We’re trying to get all the answers, but it’s just not happening quickly enough.” When those answers finally arrive, will they be too late?

    The hilly, wooded area of southwestern Wisconsin where frac sand mining has exploded goes by the romantic name of the Driftless Area, so called because it was bypassed by the glaciers that ironed flat the rest of the Midwest during the last Ice Age. “It is the most beautiful part of the state,” said Kevin Lien, the director of the Trempealeau County Department of Land Management. It is also, thanks to its unique geology, the best source in the nation for diamond-strong kernels of silica sand: smooth, round grains of almost pure quartz that can be found in lower Wisconsin’s sandstone bluffs.

    The rapid industrialization of this corner of rural Wisconsin has sparked inevitable NIMBY clashes between miners and the farmers, retirees, and nth-generation locals who fret about unsightly dig sites and truck traffic. In Trempealeau County, home to a quarter of all new frac sand sites in the state, residents overwhelmed state Senator Kathleen Vinehout’s inbox with exactly those complaints. “It was clanging railroad cars at night, underground blasting that put cracks in the walls of peoples’ kitchens,” she said. “I had emails that said, ‘I don’t know what they’re doing, but there’s sand all over the inside of my house.’”

  20. The specific psychological impairment at work:

    A recent paper by the biologist Janis L Dickinson, published in the journal Ecology and Society, proposes that constant news and discussion about global warming makes it difficult for people to repress thoughts of death, and that they might respond to the terrifying prospect of climate breakdown in ways that strengthen their character armour but diminish our chances of survival. There is already experimental evidence suggesting that some people respond to reminders of death by increasing consumption. Dickinson proposes that growing evidence of climate change might boost this tendency, as well as raising antagonism towards scientists and environmentalists. Our message, after all, presents a lethal threat to the central immortality project of Western society: perpetual economic growth, supported by an ideology of entitlement and exceptionalism.

    (Convergence – Fear of Death Syndrome, quoting Monbiot). The greatest danger fraking presents is, like the Tar Sands and any other fossil fuel, the use of it after it is extracted.

    Burning it is deadly.

  21. Elaine, I’m presently visiting my sister in a neighboring county to Trempealeau county. The frac sand mines have not been a boon to the counties here and folks are getting increasingly upset over the mining and all that it brings. During summertime we were on an Amish farm, buying produce when we heard several explosions coming from nearby sand mines, it was enough to rattle the windows and disturb the farm animals. The dust is heavy over the mines, the trucks use the roads day and night past frams, with loads of sand. The huge lights shine over the mines at night in what would normally be pristine farm land and forested areas.

  22. Don’t be a loonie, Darren Smith. Fracking is saving our economy in spite of QE (printing money not based on production) & other suppressive economic practices lauded by our politicians. But yes, care must be taken & fracking cannot be done everywhere & will have to be prevented or banned in some areas.

  23. It isn’t just chemicals associated with “fracking” that folks in the US (and elsewhere) should concern themselves with as on average there are over 75,000 untested and non-disclosed chemicals used as ingredients found in household cleaners, industrial solvents, pesticides, etc.

  24. I have seen a news report out of Iowa where once verdant fields and farms have been destroyed by those that want the sand for fracking. Also, noticing that the source of this article was the LA Times I clicked on it because fracking in CA has become a hot button issue. CA has over 54,000 fracked wells with 56 regulators and 29,000 deep injection wells as of 2011, the latest figures. In southern CA they are fracking for oil and in northern CA for gas. All of this is before the oil and gas industries mounted their campaign to extract from the Monterey Shale that runs, roughly, from San Francisco to Los Angeles. They are fracking on and drilling deep injection wells right on top of major and minor faults and are backing a plan to “save the Delta” by building two 40′ diameter tunnels to give southern CA more water.

    This was in Rolling Stone Mag. in 2010:

  25. “Nationwide, fracking is driving an oil and natural gas boom. Energy companies are using the procedure to extract previously unreachable fossil fuels locked within deep rock. The industry is touting the potential of fracking in California to tap the largest oil shale formation in the continental United States, containing 64% of the nation’s deep-rock oil deposits.” … 1157.story

  26. I have to agree with NS and Tlimey. I think that in some places fracking is good and has few deleterious effects. Where I am in south Texas, there is damn little population to impact if the fracking is sloppy. You also have to understand that the producers LOSE money if they waste precious water and chemicals. They first and foremost have a BIG economic incentive to NOT screw things up.

    This is a scientific question that should be judged on a scientific basis as to the hazards of fracking. I am quite tired of the alarmists crying wolf all the time about everything. The problem in Texas is that there is NO agency that can make a decent judgment on this since the Railroad Commission is totally controlled and run for the oil industry. That is why I am in favor of the EPA or the Energy Dept making the call on what and where and how this should be done. I also have to admit that my own property may be adversely affected since I do not own the mineral rights under my land and I sit on prime oil territory. I am not opposed to this as long as it is done safely and observes MY rights as well. Of course if left to the state of Texas and the GOP that means I will be screwed. So in Texas, I may well be screwed, but I am old, and if I have to take my own measures to defend myself and my rights, I will do it myself with what I need to do. As Malcolm X said, by any means necessary.

  27. randyjet, ask the people in Dimock Pennsylvania and Pavillion Wyoming how they feel about the EPA and Energy Departments “making the call on what and where and how this should be done.” Better yet watch GASLAND 2 and see Dish Texas.

  28. Pat I am perfectly aware of the screw-ups of oil companies since I worked in the industry for almost 15 years. If I were one of the victims of getting gas out of their water wells, I would start bottling the gas and start pumping out the gas at a faster rate than the oil companies can get theirs out. Let’s see how fast they react to that problem. There is always more than one way to skin that cat.

  29. Humanity is headlong into extinction…
    … The next generation will be forced to suffer our gluttony.

    Their progeny will be cursed with our memories…

  30. Dredd,
    Love ya.

    Family Values is about, “THE second wife/husband… and working out shared custody of the kids.” Or in Newt’s case, the third wife and… wait, kids?

  31. When Tobacco becomes Petrochemical:

    “Smoking doesn’t cause cancer” becomes…
    … “Burning fossil fuels doesn’t cause global climate change.”

    Rhymes with Smokey Joe

  32. All I know is this…
    … I have yet to see a sun farm lay waste to any community due to a busted pipe line or any tidal generator poison a Gulf of Mexico for our grand children’s lifetime.

    Just saying…

  33. Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou Sinkhole

    On May 31, 2012, parish officials were notified of areas of bubbling spots in the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou waterways. Early on, it was determined that the bubbling was caused by a release of natural gas and not “swamp gas”. Monitoring for carbon monoxide, H2Sm and Lower Explosive Levels (LEL) at the bubbling spots began on June 22, 2012. During this monitoring, no dangerous levels were detected. Residents within the community experienced and reported tremors and the parish requested the assistance of USGS in determining the locations and probable cause(s) for this seismic activity. USGS immediately detected seismic activity through their monitors and began recording this data; however, no probable cause was able to be detected.

    Early in the morning on Friday, August 3, 2012, Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness Director John Boudreaux was notified by local industry that a sinkhole had formed overnight in the swamp in the area. The hole was discovered after a strong diesel smell was experienced in the proximity of the sinkhole. On that same day, parish officials called for a mandatory evacuation of residents in the community and parish officials requested the assistance of state agencies in the activities involved in this emergency.

    updated activity HERE

  34. randyjet, it’s funny that you should say ” If I were one of the victims of getting gas out of their water wells, I would start bottling the gas and start pumping out the gas at a faster rate than the oil companies can get theirs out. Let’s see how fast they react to that problem. There is always more than one way to skin that cat.” In the movie GASLAND 2 there was an old boy from Pavillion that pondered doing just that. Then he said “They’d probably put me in jail for that.” And they probably would.

    Randy, if the EPA and Energy Depts. were not bought and paid for it would make it a lot easier. This guy in the picture is from Texas:

  35. I can’t wait until the earth runs out of fossil fuels. Sure, the economy will collapse and most everyone will die, but at least the raping of the earth will finally be over.

    The elite 1% will be the only ones left on the planet. They won’t have us poor folk to do all the work for them anymore and they will have to start wiping their own a$$es.

  36. Pat, While I am not an attorney, I do know something about mineral laws since I have a water well. A landowner is allowed to have wells that take buried groundwater for the owners use. I don’t know the exact depth limit, but if one of those wells starts producing gas because of fracking, I doubt that it is illegal to use or sell that gas. Of course, if this happens on too large a scale, two things will happen. The gas producers will fix the problem, or if they think it is too expensive in their eyes, they will have the GOP simply TAKE the property away from the landowners and put them in jail.

    I read the MJ article and while most of it good, there are lot of irrational statements in it. The most egregious is the projection of over half of all wells will leak or fail in a 30 year period. Since this technology has not been around that long, it is NOT based on any data. Likewise the projection on methane releases is not nailed down as to the sources. They are doing more studies to get the answers as Scientific American pointed out.

    I AM encouraged by the public activity that is resulting from this subject. That is probably the best thing about this subject. It is the indifference, and ignorance on the part of the public that keeps the GOP in power in Texas. A prime example is the re-election of Guv Perry. The Texas GOP pushed for and passed a constitutional amendment to keep landowners safe from governmental taking of property by eminent domain for private interests. Yet they voted for the prime mover of the TransTexas Corridor who was the very same Rick Perry! Then when the TransTexas pipeline needed to take private land to keep the pipeline as cheap as possible for the shale oil project, it was the GOP officeholders who simply SPIT on and ignored the very amendment that they had supported! The pipeline company needed the land, so they TOOK IT! The judges simply ignored the law, and did the companies bidding, as did the Railroad Commission. Yet the GOP suffered no loss of support among the rednecks of East Texas who were the very ones whose throats were being cut.

  37. This is just another example of the oil companies getting richer and richer at the expense of the environment and the health and habitat of every creature on this planet.

    Don’t blame the president, he is not the one who runs this country. The people who own the oil companies run this country (the elite, the 1%, the U.S. oligarchy). So, if you want to blame anyone – blame them. Their greed is driving the human race into extinction.

  38. Arthur,

    “Yet the GOP suffered no loss of support among the rednecks of East Texas who were the very ones whose throats were being cut.”

    I could not have said this better myself. I do not understand what is wrong with these people, are they really this stupid or are they brainwashed? They support policy that keeps them poor, takes away their rights, ruins the environment, and keeps the oil companies rich. It’s pathetic and extremely frustrating.

  39. Kim, The problem is not that those people are stupid any more than this outlandish attorney is stupid. He had to have some intelligence to pass the bar exam. It is that social group pressures and identity mean more than rational thinking. The Texas voters who vote for the GOP while getting screwed by them, do so because they have a stronger group ID as whites. THAT is the prime reason for this.

    There is a similar thing on the Democratic side as well especially for Latinos, though they have more intellect in voting compared to rednecks in that they are not as monolithic as rednecks. The immigration issue is one of those which the Latino elites try and use group think to fight against rational solutions to the illegals problem. There is collusion on the part of the professional La Raza types with the conservative big money men like Robert Perry who depend on cheap illegal labor. So they both hate the idea of a mandatory E-Verify law and SecureComm programs since they BOTH profit from illegal labor. I lived in the Valley and work here, and wages are driven down by the massive numbers of illegal workers who commute to their jobs in the US every day. My former next door neighbor was a legal Mexican immigrant who was a skilled auto mechanic, but he only earned $8/hr because most of the mechanics in his shop were Mexican citizens working here illegally. The owner of his shop was a big shot in the Democratic party locally and he profited from that cheap labor. Yet the voters will support those who fight to keep their wages down.

    The solution can only come about when the voters have alternate views presented in a common sense way. Once that happens, and is presented by people who are similar in group status, then we can see some changes.

  40. A direct link has also been found to Oil-Qaeda’s virtual destruction of much of the life in the Gulf of Mexico, especially dolphins:

    US government scientists have for the first time connected the BP oil disaster to dolphin deaths in the Gulf of Mexico, in a study finding direct evidence of toxic exposure.

    The study, led by scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found lung disease, hormonal abnormalities and other health effects among dolphins in an area heavily oiled during the BP spill.


  41. A long time ago owners of companies, including stockholders, could be charged and jailed for the kinds of behavior we now see rampant in so many companies that use the fines as just a cost of doing business. ExxonMobil was directed to pay a huge fine, appealed and got the fine drastically reduced. Whatever they pay, including legal fees, are all tax deductible.

    I listened to an Alternative Radio program yesterday where Paul Cienfuegos spoke about Community Rights, a grassroots movement where communities are passing laws to keep out bad actors. His speech is available here

    He posits that the only way to curb corporate excesses is by passing laws, community by community, that certain corporate/development behaviors are illegal. Making enough fuss that the corporations just go elsewhere or wait it out really isn’t enough. In NYS we have a moratorium on fracking, the process that poisons are ground water and well water, that is causing earthquakes in OK and probably elsewhere. Once the moratorium lapses, the companies will be ready. We really need to have been insisting on a law that would make this activity illegal. I think the moratorium slowed the anti-fracking movement, to the corporate advantage. We should have been pressing hard for a law.

    And how a group of environmentalists in Dallas did just that:

    “It is important to remember that mankind lived without the commercial production of oil and gas for about 200,000-400,000 years until around 1859, but no living thing on this planet can survive without an abundance of clean water and clean air. There are no substitutes.”

    But even with their strict zoning their water supply is in danger b/c they get their water from surrounding lakes and reservoirs.

  42. Any bets… on the time we have left before we turn this planet into a completely uninhabitable place? I would estimate, maybe another hundred years… Then we’ll pass into obscurity…. like 99% of the species before us. The only difference… The ‘scar’ we leave on the planet will take a little longer to heal

  43. Arthur, I posted the Mother Jones article mainly for the picture. Self made Texas millionaire builds dream home. Oil company put pad down on adjoining property and horizontally fracked right under his property. That hose could be lit anytime day or night. Has to pay for water by the tanker because none of his water is safe to drink or bathe in.

    Leaked documents and power point presentations are some of Josh Fox’s sources. Fracking has been used since the 1940s but the horizontal aspect is new. After first watching GASLAND I typed “Fracking” into the NY Times search engine and all that was there was advertisements for fracking. Now there are a couple of hundred. ProPublica has about 2,000. Almost all of them have a tool to find out where your state sits as far as the number of wells and regulators.

    bettykath, that is a good article. I especially liked this: “The first step is caring enough to educate yourself and then be willing to take the time, effort and expense to help educate family, friends and neighbors. Democracy is messy, and it never works when people allow somebody else to carry their water for them. People must get involved on a personal level because this issue is too critically important to leave to chance – or to the fossil fuel industry. If you cannot do things yourself, then provide some financial support to those who are trying to make a difference, and help spread their message. Doing nothing is not an option.”

    I would highly recommend GASLAND 2, especially if you’ve seen GASLAND 1.

  44. Nick,

    I don’t know if you’re still following this thread, but air borne sand particles, in the form of fine particulate silica, is extremely hazardous, and causes the particularly nasty lung disease, silicosis. Silica is more hazardous than asbestos; there’s no hype attached to its dangers, yet little mention is made anywhere in the media. Next you see someone cutting concrete, you might want to hold your breath til your clear of the dustcloud.

    My brother-in-law works as an operating engineer in a mine up near Toma, and while I’m happy to see him get the work, I think fracking is one of the worst practices committed against a nation during peacetime.

    Randyjet claims that these extraction companies have an economic incentive to use water resources and chemicals wisely, which presumably would mean safely. Experience has shown that this is almost never the case, Everyplace fracking has been conducted, damage has resulted to he environment and human health and safety. Cleanup and treatments costs are a form of unimposed costs to these companies, therefore they have no incentive to pay for the extra labor and equipment, let alone the testing and research, necessary for ensuring safe operating procedures.

    Between fracking and tar sands, I don’t think there can be any clearer indication that peak oil has been long since passed, by twenty years, perhaps. I think it’s only a matter of before the EPA is forbidden from studying the problems caused by fracking on the grounds that it ‘s a violation of national security.

    BTW, RandyJet. Good luck with defending your property “by any means necessary.” Be sure to have your next of kin tell us how that worked out for you.

  45. New lyrics for ‘Hotel California:

    Gasland, California

    Welcoming you to Gasland, California

    Here’s a Fracking Well (There’s a Fracking Well)
    What a Fracking Hell
    They’re Frackin’ It Up in The Gasland, California
    Here they acidize (There they Acidize)
    They are full of lies

    Helpless is the feeling
    When they turn on the device
    They say : “We want to start frackin right here,
    Name your selling price.”

    Out there in the distance,
    You can hear their fracking beast,
    They will steal your drinking water,
    As the methane is released

    One Day in September,
    He was Knocking at my door,
    “We are set to start fracking in here
    and we’ll pay you even more.”

    “Sign Here” said the Frack-man,”
    We’re gonna Drill here when you leave.”
    “You can cash-out & let us take your land,
    But you may never speak!”

    Welcome, everyone, to Gasland, California.

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