Fracking Our Way to a Toxic Planet

POSTED BY Ed (3 yrs ago)
More than 650 of products used in hydraulic fracturing contain chemicals that are known or possible human carcinogens. Filmmaker Josh Fox embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination.

A recently drilled well near Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND.

Watch Interview

#1 POSTED BY Ed (3 yrs ago)
Fracking: A dehydrated UK, watered only by capitalism

London, United Kingdom - Fracking: environmental and human destruction at its very worst. Groundwater contamination, billions of gallons of fresh water squandered, small earthquakes, toxic air emissions, reports of radiation, and not even tap water going up in flames are enough to halt the decimation of our precious countryside, in an attempt to extract copious volumes of natural gas from the unearthed, sedimentary shale rocks below.
#2 POSTED BY Ed (3 yrs ago)
How the Fracking Industry Keeps Its Secrets

The "Rogers" family signed a surface-use agreement with a fracking company in 2009 to close their 300-acre dairy farm in rural Pennsylvania. That's not the end of the Rogers' story, but the public, including the Rogers' own neighbors, may never learn what happened to the family and their land as drilling operations sprouted up in their area.

The Rogers did not realize they had signed a nondisclosure agreement with the gas company making the entire deal invalid if members of the family discussed the terms of the agreement, water or land disturbances resulting from fracking and other information with anyone other than the gas company and other signatories.

#3 POSTED BY Ed (3 yrs ago)

Part 1.

Part 2.
#4 POSTED BY val_y (3 yrs ago)
Ya, we live in a toxic world and there are lots of diseases linked with environmental toxins. That's why I have regular checkup with the naturopathic therapist to identify the heavy metals, pesticides, chemicals etc from my body systems and get rid of them.
#5 POSTED BY Ed (3 yrs ago)
Fracking Banned in Vermont
#6 POSTED BY Ed (3 yrs ago)
It would appear that fracking is mostly hype...

And that we are pumping millions of gallons of toxic chemicals into our groundwater leaving it contaminated for who know how long... for what?

A quick sugar buzz of energy....

In fracking, during the initial phase of production, high pressure blows a huge quantity of gas out the well—and the quantity of the first 24 hours, the “initial production,” is bandied about to investors and lenders, who are so impressed.

Alas, it’s the most the well will ever produce in a 24-hour period. As pressure drops, gas production drops precipitously. All wells have decline rates. But instead of declining gradually over decades, shale gas wells decline sharply over days, weeks, and months. After a year, production may be down by 80%, and after a year and a half by 90%. But the outsized production early in the lifecycle allows drillers to show a big upfront profit. To conceal the decline rates, they drill another well. And another well, and so on. The more they drill, the more they have to drill to hide the drop-off in production of the prior wells—ad infinitum! Which is impossible. But drillers kept it up long enough to get prices to collapse. And then, what caught up with them was ... reality.
#7 POSTED BY Ed (3 yrs ago)
Natural gas has been sold as clean energy. But when the gas comes from fracturing bedrock with about five million gallons of toxic water per well, the word “clean” takes on a disturbingly Orwellian tone.

Don’t be fooled.

Fracking for shale gas is in truth dirty energy. It inevitably leaks toxic chemicals into the air and water. Industry studies show that 5 percent of wells can leak immediately, and 60 percent over 30 years. There is no such thing as pipes and concrete that won’t eventually break down. It releases a cocktail of chemicals from a menu of more than 600 toxic substances, climate-changing methane, radium and, of course, uranium.

Few people are aware that America’s Natural Gas Alliance has spent $80 million in a publicity campaign that includes the services of Hill and Knowlton — the public relations firm that through most of the ’50s and ’60s told America that tobacco had no verifiable links to cancer.
#8 POSTED BY Ed (2 yrs ago)
Geologist and official from Anglo-European Energy:

After buying production for over 20 years, hopefully I know the characteristics of great wells (flat decline curves, low operating costs, large production), and as you know, the shale plays have none of these. The herd mentality into the shale will eventually end possibly like the sub-prime mortgage did. In the meantime it is very difficult to sell any kind of prospect that is not a shale play.

Analyst from PNC Wealth Management (2011):

Money is pouring in from investors even though shale gas is inherently unprofitable. Reminds you of dot-coms.

Analyst from IHS Drilling Data (2009):

The word in the world of independents is that the shale plays are just giant Ponzi schemes and the economics just do not work.

Retired geologist for major oil and gas company (2011):

As I think you would agree, we are looking at a bubble here with caveats. The caveats are how corporate hubris and bad science have caused a lot of folks to think that gas is nearly too cheap to meter. And now these corporate giants are having an Enron moment, they want to bend light to hide the truth. The bubble will burst, folks will get run over, reason will be restored, if only temporarily.

Official from Bold Minerals LLC (2010):

The ‘bait and switch’ where one massive set of capital outlays in the ‘best’ shale uncovered was soon to be eclipsed by the recognition of even better shales which required even more outlays before a thorough technical assessment of existing shale positions had been obtained could only be classified as a type of ‘mania’. It has no precedent in financial scale to any of the previous lease plays that experienced a speculative frenzy in domestic onshore petroleum history.

Official at Phoenix Canada Oil Company (2010):

It is my strong view that we will see a near collapse of that play, probably sooner rather than later. Perhaps we will see a repeat of the coal bed methane (CBM) play 'disappearance' -- where that 'exciting' development faded into history 'without a trace'!

Official from Schlumberger (2010):

All about making money. I'm working on a shale gas well that was just drilled in Europe. Looks like crap, but the operator will flip it based on ‘potential’ and make some money on it. Always a greater sucker....
#9 POSTED BY Ed (2 yrs ago)
First, it is important to point out that despite industry claims that hydraulic fracking for natural gas has been in practice since 1947, the type of fracking used now is a new entity altogether. Ingraffea refers to it as unconventional hydraulic fracking because it combines four types of relatively new technologies to unlock unconventional gas shale.

Traditional hydraulic fracking involved one well that was drilled straight into the ground to tap a pocket of natural gas. The gas was trapped in a relatively permeable material such as sand or limestone. The new type of hydraulic fracking is trying to extract gas located in microscopic pockets and joints within relatively impermeable shale rock. In order to do this, there are two types of drills for each well: one that goes straight down for five to ten thousand feet to reach the shale, and another that drills horizontally through the shale for another five to ten thousand feet in multiple directions.

Unlike traditional gas fracking, shale gas fracking requires many wells and much larger areas of land. Ingraffea states that traditional hydraulic fracking required clearing a small area of land and drilling one well. But shale gas fracking must drill into as much of the shale in the area being extracted as possible. This means bulldozing an area of 10 to 20 acres and drilling 8 to 20 wells on that pad of land. This is repeated at other locations throughout the shale area. The Marcellus Shale Basin alone is expected to contain 400,000 wells.

Shale gas fracking requires substantially more energy and resources than conventional gas wells, too. In addition to the drilling rigs, each well requires a large generator to run the hydraulic pump, hundreds of truckloads of water and chemicals to provide 5 to 10 million gallons of fracking fluid, and traincar loads of sand. Each well consumes ten times the amount of water and produces ten times as much waste as a conventional well. When this is multiplied by the number of wells on a pad and the number of pads required to fully extract gas in an area, it becomes clear that the use of resources is exponentially greater in shale gas drilling - and waste continues to be produced over the multiple-year active life of the well.

The waste comes in three forms: liquid, solid and gas. Water and chemicals are injected into the well and they return to the surface carrying heavy metals, organic compounds and radiation picked up from the shale. Ideally, the fracking fluid is captured and safely transported to a storage facility. Mud from the well comes to the surface carrying toxins, too, and must be contained, transported and stored. Some of this waste is placed in open pools or landfills, or is spread on the land and roadways in areas that permit this. Some is injected into storage wells. And some is dumped into waterways illegally. Gas waste in the form of leakage to the atmosphere occurs. Ongoing research suggests that 3 to 8 percent of the methane produced from each shale gas well is emitted into the atmosphere.

According to Ingraffea, it is true that natural gas produces less carbon dioxide than other fuels when burned. What is not talked about enough is how fracking unleashes methane, which has devastating effects on climate change. Natural gas is primarily methane, and when methane is leaked into the atmosphere, it is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide by a factor of 30 to hundreds, depending on the time period over which it is emitted and other factors. Every gas well leaks to some extent, but the current industry standard is that one out of every 20 wells leaks large amounts of methane before it is discovered to be failing.

It is known that shale oil wells release over 100 million of cubic feet of gas each day as the oil is collected. This gas is burned on site rather than captured because it does not make economic sense to capture it. Only recently have studies started to ask how much methane is leaking overall from shale gas fracking, and it looks like the answer is twice as high as initially anticipated. Rather than serving as a bridge to a clean energy future, Ingraffea states, natural gas will hasten climate change, and is a climate bomb with greater potential impact than the Alberta Tar Sands.
#10 POSTED BY Ed (21 mths ago)
The Price of Sand
#11 POSTED BY Ed (21 mths ago)
Elevated levels of methane, ethane and propane gases were found in drinking water wells in Pennsylvania, close to operations that shake natural gas loose from underground shale formations in a process known as fracking, scientists reported on Monday.

Detection of contaminated drinking water suggests the gas wells are leaking, according to Robert Jackson of Duke University, lead author of a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. An industry group disputed these findings, saying that methane occurs naturally in water in this area.

Based on analysis of 141 drinking water wells in northern Pennsylvania that sit atop a natural gas-rich underground formation called the Marcellus shale, Mr. Johnson and his colleagues found 82 per cent of drinking water samples contained methane, with concentrations six times higher for homes within 1 kilometre of natural gas wells than for homes farther away.

Ethane concentrations were 23 times higher for homes close to natural gas wells; propane was detected in 10 drinking water wells, also within 1 km of a natural gas well.


#12 POSTED BY Ed (21 mths ago)
Are Fracking Wastewater Wells Poisoning the Ground beneath Our Feet?

Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using broad expanses of the nation's geology as an invisible dumping ground.

No company would be allowed to pour such dangerous chemicals into the rivers or onto the soil. But until recently, scientists and environmental officials have assumed that deep layers of rock beneath the earth would safely entomb the waste for millennia.

There are growing signs they were mistaken.
#13 POSTED BY Ed (20 mths ago)
Increased fracking is a 'dire mistake'
#14 POSTED BY Ed (20 mths ago)
Fracking oilfield worker turns whistleblower

#15 POSTED BY gdep (20 mths ago)

Have you ever wondered why most of the articles on Fracking is by Al Jazeera ?? a Qatari based news television and co-incidentally Qatar being the biggest exporter of LNG in the world??

You keep highlight Fracking as a potential threat.. have you analyzed the harmful effects of coal mining and coal burning (predominat in China, India and Indonesia)?? bio fuels (which Europe adopts with open hands) and its effects on global food security, deforestation and global warming

What I find very amusing is that the society wants to drive cars, need 24 hour power supply , consume everything at cheap rates but do not development of industries which support that life style .. yup there are risks of fracking.. which industry does not?? if you are okay to live an Hamish life style then you have the right to complain about fracking...

if overall benefits are > risks industry thrives..and thats what is happening.. what do you want?? more nuclear and potential Fukushima?
#16 POSTED BY Ed (20 mths ago)
See below - no Al Jazeera links...

If you follow this site I have used the Big Feature on our home page to highlight Canada's environmental catastrophe - otherwise known as the tar sands... you can also find multiple references in this Forum re: deep water drilling, mercury poisoning from coal...etc etc...

The reason I feel the need to expose the fracking nightmare so vociferously is because we are being told this is like the nectar of the gods (it has even been reported that a CEO of a fracking company drank the fracking fluid ... I will put up USD10,000 right if someone can find this guy bring him to my office and we video taping him drinking a litre of fracking fluid... 20 grand is he forces his kid to do do)

We are being LIED to and told it is environmentally safe... we are being LIED to and told fracking will provide us with 100 years of clean energy.

These are outright LIES as evidenced by the links below.

All fossil fuel extraction is dirty and puts our environment at risk... but fracking is the ultimate nightmare - we are pumping millions of gallons of chemicals into the ground under high pressure - and we are to believe this is not going to ruin our water table?

Anyone with half a brain would say 'hey - that doesn't make sense'

Fracking companies lobbied the Bush admin to be exempted form the Clean Water Act. Say no more...

And I might note - try selling a farm that has been fracked...


Elevated levels of methane, ethane and propane gases were found in drinking water wells in Pennsylvania, close to operations that shake natural gas loose from underground shale formations in a process known as fracking, scientists reported on Monday. Based on analysis of 141 drinking water wells in northern Pennsylvania that sit atop a natural gas-rich underground formation called the Marcellus shale, Mr. Johnson and his colleagues found 82 per cent of drinking water samples contained methane, with concentrations six times higher for homes within 1 kilometre of natural gas wells than for homes farther away.

Ethane concentrations were 23 times higher for homes close to natural gas wells; propane was detected in 10 drinking water wells, also within 1 km of a natural gas well.


Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using broad expanses of the nation's geology as an invisible dumping ground. No company would be allowed to pour such dangerous chemicals into the rivers or onto the soil. But until recently, scientists and environmental officials have assumed that deep layers of rock beneath the earth would safely entomb the waste for millennia.

There are growing signs they were mistaken (or lying of course)


Robert Ayres, a scientist and professor at the Paris-based INSEAD business school, wrote recently that a "mini-bubble" is being inflated by shale gas enthusiasts. “Drilling for oil in the U.S. in 2012 was at the rate of 25,000 new wells per year, just to keep output at the same level as it was in the year 2000, when only 5,000 wells were drilled."


Overinflated industry claims could pull the rug out from optimistic growth forecasts within just five years. A report released in March by the Berlin-based Energy Watch Group (EWG), a group of European scientists, undertook a comprehensive assessment of the availability and production rates for global oil and gas production, concluding that: "... world oil production has not increased anymore but has entered a plateau since about 2005." Crude oil production was "already in slight decline since about 2008." This is consistent with the EWG's earlier finding that global conventional oil production had peaked in 2006 - as subsequently corroborated by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2010

#17 POSTED BY Ed (19 mths ago)
If Fracking is not toxic then why this?

Children given lifelong ban on talking about fracking

Two Pennsylvanian children will live their lives under a gag order imposed under a $750,000 settlement

The settlement, reached in 2011 but unsealed only last week, barred the Hallowichs' son and daughter, who were then aged 10 and seven, from ever discussing fracking or the Marcellus Shale, a leading producer in America's shale gas boom.

The Hallowich family had earlier accused oil and gas companies of destroying their 10-acre farm in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania and putting their children's health in danger. Their property was adjacent to major industrial operations: four gas wells, gas compressor stations, and a waste water pound, which the Hallowich family said contaminated their water supply and caused burning eyes, sore throats and headaches.

#18 POSTED BY gdep (19 mths ago)

I feel you are being a bit carried away.. No one claims fracking liquids are consumable.. the companies do agree that they need to be disposed safely..

Fracking polluting water beds still has no concrete evidence.. the industry has been revolutionary and is able to cut down US C02 emissions by more than 50% by stopping coal based power..

the modern economy is addicted to fossil fuels and it will continue to do so .. so gas is better than coal ..and if fracking is helping it.. then let it be..

its another issue that the EPA should control safe practices in that industry.. banning the whole industry doesn't help..

regarding the gag order.. the US justice system is fairly stupid at times.. and its hilarious such settlements can be even made..

would you ever wonder why Gas is at $4/mmbtu in the US and $10 in Europe and $18 in Asia?? Agree the same boom hasnt and probably will not happen in Oil.. but you have to try before you conclude and give up..

I am not a big fan of TAR sands either.. but neither I am a fan of OPEC - the cartel who manipulate production to keep the prices high .. and help run some of the most autocratic regimes of the world.. (including many in Africa with worse human right accusations) ..why dont you write about that?? you just accept the cartel and the Russian monopoly as day to day business..

As long as consumers are addicted to their cars.. the oil industry will go on..and innovations like fracking is necessary to keep up..
#19 POSTED BY Ed (19 mths ago)
Some would say fracking fluids are consumable (I have USD10,000 if this guy will come to HK and drink a glass of fracking fluid that I provide...)

Halliburton Executive Drinks Fracking Fluid At Conference

Fracking Exempt from Clean Water Act and other Regulations

LNG is cheap in the US because there is a ponzi scheme going on - there is massive investment into fracking - so there are hundreds of thousands of holes being punched into the ground polluting the country - destroying farmland... and they are LOSING MONEY hand over fist...

This is no different than the dotcom bubble - it's pouring money down a black hole ...

Except that the downside is that we are destroying the planet - these fracking frankensteins are trying to convince countries like Canada and the UK that they too must ruin their pristine lands and sell out for a short lived return.... it is madness.

I have referenced a number of well researched articles (no Green Peace stuff) on this 'phenomenon' here...

This is probably the best of the lot if you don't have time to read all of them

At the end of the day my tirades and those of others will not likely result in a change of course... we will burn the filthiest dirtiest coal... we will pollute the oceans with more Fukushimas and deep sea oil spills...

Instead of trying to implement policies that prepare us for a world where energy will be expensive we are instead throwing more coal on the fire of this runaway train ensuring that when we do hit the wall the explosion will be devastating...

#20 POSTED BY Ed (19 mths ago)
Fracking or nuclear... fracking or nuclear...

"Fukushima is a nightmare disaster area, and no one has the slightest idea what to do. The game is to prevent the crippled nuclear plant from turning into an “open-air super reactor spectacular” which would result in a hazardous, melted catastrophe."
#21 POSTED BY Ed (19 mths ago)
A Texan tragedy: ample oil, no water

Fracking boom sucks away precious water from beneath the ground, leaving cattle dead, farms bone-dry and people thirsty
#22 POSTED BY Ed (14 mths ago)
Fracking Chemicals Dumped in the Ocean

Offshore Fracking (And Dumping Chemicals Into Coastal Waters) Beyond The Public Eye

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a rule on January 9, 2014 requiring oil and gas companies using hydraulic fracturing off the coast of California to disclose the chemicals they discharge into the ocean. Oil and gas companies have been fracking offshore California for perhaps as long as two decades, but they largely flew under the radar until recently.

An Associated Press story in August 2013 revealed that oil and gas companies had engaged in hydraulic fracturing at least a dozen times in the Santa Barbara Channel – the site of the nation’s first offshore drilling site as well as the first major oil spill. The 1969 well blowout in the Santa Barbara Channel became the impetus for a series of environmental laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act.

Related article: Peak Oil becomes an Issue Again after the IEA Revised its Predictions

Documents published through a Freedom of Information Act request showed that federal regulators have allowed drillers to dump chemicals into the ocean without an environmental impact statement assessing the effects of doing so. This was largely unknown to California regulators and the general public.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement – the federal agency responsible for regulating offshore oil drilling – has issued “categorical exclusions” for fracking offshore California, essentially giving frack jobs a pass on environmental assessments. The logic is that offshore fracking has largely occurred in existing wells, locations for which companies already jumped through all the environmental hoops long ago.

Offshore fracking could be much more widespread than even federal regulators are aware. According to the Environmental Defense Center, BSEE only began to learn about the extent to which fracking was occurring offshore when pressed to respond to FOIA requests.

The industry maintains that hydraulic fracturing is safe, and BSEE officials point to the fact that fracking offshore requires only a fraction of the water needed to do the job onshore.

But offshore fracking differs from the onshore practice in at least one important way. After an onshore well is fracked, the waste water is often re-injected into the ground for storage. However, offshore drillers often simply dump the waste water into the ocean – although the industry claims the water is treated before entering the marine environment.

The latest EPA rule would merely require companies to report the chemicals that they are discharging into the ocean. The rule is a weak one because relies upon companies to self-report their activities.

EPA’s announcement is a new wrinkle in the story of fracking in California, which has been much more raucously debated onshore. Last year, the state passed a controversial law that introduced the first regulations on fracking. It requires companies to disclose the chemicals used in the drilling process, obtain permits, and monitor air and water quality. Environmentalists rejected the law and are calling for a full moratorium.

Governor Jerry Brown does not support a ban on fracking and insists the new law is rigorous. Despite the complex geology that could prevent California from ever living up to its oil and gas potential, the industry and many policymakers remain in favor of trying to exploit the vast oil and gas reserves in California – both on and offshore.
#23 POSTED BY Designmgr (14 mths ago)
The reality is, humans need ... must ... destroy the planet. then it can start all over again when our species is gone.

...I truly believe that if we don't exist..the earth will be fine. but the greed of humanity is a disease that will never be satisfied. That my friends is a fact.

#24 POSTED BY Ed (14 mths ago)
The term 'cancer' comes to mind....
#25 POSTED BY gdep (14 mths ago)
Designmgr.. totally agree.. the wants of western civilization can never be met.. (though needs can be met) and most countries are adopting the western lifestyle.. including China and we already see how the environment has degraded over the last 3 decades

consumption driven economies where spending and consuming are worshipped and followed to the hilt will destroy everything..

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