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Apr 18, 2011

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James

You must be a communist. Why should these contracts be anyone's business besides the companies and the people selling their rights? If your drinking water happens to become poisoned and your children sickened, tough shit. You can always go to court after the fact to sue the landowners and gas exploiteers for destroying the health of your family. Of course, once they declare bankruptcy and relocate to some Caribbean island, you may have difficulty tracking them down. Too bad, so sad. If you wanted defensible rights, you should have been born again as an LLC.

Andrew Brod

Then there's the libertarian approach: If clean drinking water was so important to you, why didn't you install your own filtration system?

Sure, that'd be much more expensive than a community-wide solution guaranteeing clean water to all and controlling water pollution for the community. But clean drinking water isn't a right; you can't count on it being provided to you. Your only right is to take control of your own environment and ensure the potability of your own water.

(Polifrog is nodding and thinking that Brod's finally coming to his senses.)

Ishmael

AB knows that there are things that filtration systems just do not remove from the water, no matter how much faith a person has in technology. Once the water table is polluted with carcinogens you either have to appeal to the government for help or risk spending all your money and time fighting a giant corporate entity with faceless spokespersons and whole divisions of lawyers hired solely to wriggle out of liability claims.
Do you really want to pay for cheap energy with your life or the life of your family?
Either we go down this path with caution or we don't go down this path at all.

Fred Gregory

OMG the frackers are the heralds of Aharit HaYamim

Ed for Fracking Czar.

Prove it rather than making unsubstantiated claims intended to frighten the public. You guys would have stopped Henry Ford dead in his tracks .

As Andy pointed out Oklahoma isn't NC but it seems to have been working fine there. ( prevously posted )

I am accused of throwing caution to the winds. And of course starving children and old people. Right out of the playbook .

Deja vu DDT and look at the milions who have died because of Rachel Carsons silly book.

Ishmael

For excitement, there are several things to do:

Go over the Niagara Falls in a barrel.
Climb K2.
Challenge Donald Trump to a pissing match.
Learn to skateboard after hip surgery.
Put leaded gasoline in your car.
Wear a Richard Simmons T-shirt to a Sarah Palin rally.

Everybody would love to be so nonchalant about our natural resources. Problem is, this attitude (like the tragedy of the commons story) affects not only YOU but millions of others who depend on these resources for a decent quality of life.
I appreciate the topic being broached on this blog. If it is in fact a safe procedure the truth will out and we can move on.

Steve Harrison

If you want to get an idea of the sheer volume of water we're talking about, check out this spreadsheet of water management plans for 10 Pennsylvania counties.

Over 48 million gallons of river/reservoir water. Per day.

Andrew Brod

Calm down, Fred. Asking about mineral rights leases and whether locals are dealt with fairly is hardly akin to invoking the End of Days. But bonus points for the Hebrew.

For my part, I wondered if 48 MGD is a lot of water. It sounds like a lot, and I guess it is given that Greensboro's average daily consumption is in the range of 30-35 MGD. However, the 48 MGD is for the Marcellus Shale, a much bigger formation than the one in parts of Lee, Chatham, and Moore counties. What smaller amount would fracking in NC use up? 10 MGD? 20 MGD?

But there's another angle. Climate models predict that the southeastern U.S. will become more arid as a result of climate change. Recently drought has become less the exception than the rule in NC. In the not-too-distant future, we might not have millions of gallons each day of extra water to spare for non-essential uses.

RBM

Given the 'Halliburton Loophole':

It stripped the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate a drilling process called hydraulic fracturing. Invented by Halliburton in the 1940s, it involves injecting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals, some of them toxic, into underground rock formations to blast them open and release natural gas.

What can a state, in this case NC, do to close that loophole, assuming it wanted to ?

Billy Jones

I want the mineral rights to the White Street Landfill.

Steve Harrison

"What smaller amount would fracking in NC use up?"

That's one of the top questions that need answers right now, along with the "where would the water come from?"

Looking at the three counties (so far) targeted for fracking, I'm seeing two major rivers (Haw, Deep), both of which feed into the Jordan Lake reservoir. Not to mention the reservoir itself being a potential source for water used in fracking.

As to the comparison of Greensboro's usage to Pennsylvania's fracking water usage, don't forget that most of that Greensboro water eventually returns to the reservoirs, whereas most of the fracking water is permanently removed from the cycle.

RBM

Steve Harrison -

"... whereas most of the fracking water is permanently removed from the cycle.


How does that occur ?

Is this what you are implying as 'removed from the cycle:

Evaporation ponds entail the transportation of fracking byproduct to isolated pits, generally sealed from the surrounding environment with a liner. However, the use of pit liners has not been entirely successful in preventing leaks. The Denver Post reported in 2010 that there had been 31 reported spills of produced water from pit leaks since 2008.


Roch101

If the water is left in the ground, it is removed permanently from the cycle.

Steve Harrison

RBM, my understanding is those evaporation ponds only work (well) in arid or semi-arid climes (Texas, Oklahoma, etc.).

Something like 2/3 of the original water used remains in the (gas) well, hopefully kept away from the water table. The other third that is recovered is either recycled (reused for fracking) or disposed of. In most states, the drilling companies aren't allowed to discharge used fracking water back into streams/rivers, so they drill deep containment wells.

Ergo, it's a one-way trip. Even without aquifer contamination concerns, that (continual) removal of millions of gallons of water from the hydrologic cycle is unwise, to say the least.

polifrog
(Polifrog is nodding and thinking that Brod's finally coming to his senses.)


No, I am not sure where I stand on this yet.

I feel the tool used by environmentalists so far (government thuggery) proved itself to be a poor method by which to protect the environment in the Soviet Union. Government did not do much for the environment there.

Neither is the environment doing well in "hungry" countries. Environmental investment can be an awfully hard sell in a nation of parents with hungry children.

It seems to me that the best tool by which to protect the environment is prosperity. Unfortunately Rockingham County is not prosperous relative to other nearby counties.

Standing athwart prosperity is to stand athwart a clean environment.

That said, NC does not have an extensive history with regard to mineral extraction and it seems likely that NC legislation would reflect that lack of history. It strikes me as prudent that we emulate, in as much as similarities in geography permit, the regulations already in use in other states that have previously tread the path NC is considering.

Unfortunately, some of the dialog here (on site) has been extremist and has caused me the same ... "Deja vu DDT and look at the milions who have died because of Rachel Carsons silly book" as it has Fred Gregory.

If it appears to me that this "fraking" thing seems to be mutating into another AGW that threatens to stand in the way of progress to the detriment of the environment I will become more vocal.

Until then, just watching.

polifrog
If the water is left in the ground, it is removed permanently from the cycle.

Considering the size of our oceans and their evaporative ability your argument is extremist nonsense.

However, inasmuch as the water being removed is on its way to the ocean and more importantly may be intercepted by the mouths of many before completing its journey to the ocean, there is a valid non environmental concern of distribution .

Billy Jones

No need to worry about the water-- we've got plenty in the Randleman Dam.

But... there is that sticky little thing about supply vs demand running up prices....

Andrew Brod

A concern regarding water distribution? Hey, a glimmer of understanding from the frog.

As for the comment before that, prosperity is indeed correlated with greater concern about the environment. However, it's a very bad tool. Take your favorite poor county. It's not going to be made prosperous overnight, and the process by which prosperity is achieved is slow. Because the process is slow, so will be the increase in the desire for a clean environment. In the early going, it'll be all too willingly traded for income. If the trade-off affected only those involved in the trade, it might be defensible, in a fine-pollute-your-own-property-if-you-want sort of way. But of course many others would be affected as well. As a policy tool, this would be a disaster.

But hey, at least it would satisfy libertarian principles.

Now, of course it's possible for a poor county to be made prosperous quickly. But that almost always involves some extractive industry... like mining or drilling.

Ed Cone

Accessible fresh water is the issue, not the total volume of water on the planet.

Seems like a Frog would understand that.

More evidence perhaps that Frog's comments are not entirely serious, and more evidence certainly that they should not be taken entirely seriously.

Andrew Brod

There's obviously a certain sillinss to Frog's comments, but in one respect they do need to be taken seriously, even if they're part of some sly amphibian game. For various reasons, the intellectually stunted ideology of libertarianism has returned to the political mainstream. That it has is pathetic and disheartening, but you hear its principles advocated by Boehners and Cantors and Pauls (oh my!), as we watch the political landscape--at least in Washington--shift rightward. It's hard to argue that the voters have shifted as far, e.g., there doesn't appear to be much public support for dismantling and voucherizing Medicare, but I guess we'll see the next time they have their say.

Anyway, Frog voices many of those libertarian viewpoints (I mean really, prosperity as a tool to control pollution?), and I think they need to be appropriately shot down.

Roch101

"Considering the size of our oceans and their evaporative ability your argument is extremist nonsense." -- Mr. Confident

What argument? Did I make an argument?

polifrog

Ed Cone:

Accessible fresh water is the issue, not the total volume of water on the planet.

It seems we agree. However, the discussion was touching on water being removed from the water cycle or hydrological cycle as a result of the "fracking" process.


Roch -- If the water is left in the ground, it is removed permanently from the cycle.

and

Steve Harrison -- Ergo, it's a one-way trip. Even without aquifer contamination concerns, that (continual) removal of millions of gallons of water from the hydrologic cycle is unwise, to say the least.


I was attempting to bring discussion back to something that resembled reality as such extremism is not helpful.

Perhaps your cause would be better served if you attacked the source of the discussion you said was not entirely serious, and more evidence certainly that they should not be taken entirely seriously.

polifrog

ANdrew Brod:

Anyway, Frog voices many of those libertarian viewpoints (I mean really, prosperity as a tool to control pollution?), and I think they need to be appropriately shot down.

Show me through the haze of your renewed sense of arrogance these non prosperous nations so willing to embark on costly environmental crusades.

Environmentalism is the hobgoblin of wealthy nations, however I recognize, the US is currently still one of those wealthy nations that can afford environmentalism. At times it does so at its detriment while at others it does so to its benefit.

But in the end, only through prosperity is the luxury of environmentalism affordable. It is not ideology; it is reality.

Roch101

"It seems we agree. However, the discussion was touching on water being removed from the water cycle or hydrological cycle as a result of the "fracking" process." -- Mrs. Toad

As it often is. What you labeled an "argument" is merely a statement of fact. Water used for fracking that is not reclaimed, assuming it doesn't leech into groundwater, is indeed taken out of the hydrological cycle. That's not an argument; that's not hyperbole or exaggeration; that's just an acknowledgment of the facts. But if you'd rather focus on something else, carry on.

Fec

I concur with Turnip Frog that as a regular consumer and generator of water, I stand athwart the environment rather than being an actual part of it.

What a maroon!

terry

"(I mean really, prosperity as a tool to control pollution?)"
Are you disagreeing with this statement?

Fec

The first environmentalist was the peasant who chose to drink upstream from where he shat. Self-preservation using common sense requires no prosperity.

terry

I would disagree, the first environmentalist was the peasant who said, "I will give you a piece of bread if you shit downstream"
"Self-preservation using common sense requires no prosperity." which is why so many power plants are located in uninhabited areas.

terry

"Because the process is slow, so will be the increase in the desire for a clean environment. In the early going,"
...then you would disagree with Mr fec?"
"The first environmentalist was the peasant who chose to drink upstream from where he shat. Self-preservation using common sense requires no prosperity."

Ishmael

"Environmentalism is the hobgoblin of wealthy nations."

First it is a hobgoblin, then it is a luxury that only wealthy nations can afford. Perhaps you mean to say that poor people do not have the right to a clean environment because they owe their ability to live or survive on industries that pollute. Or maybe you mean a country with millions of poor people has no revenue to invest in adequate sanitation or water purification systems. Both of these statements would be correct. Does this mean that we, as an advanced country, wish to emulate this in order to have cheap energy?
Your problem is not one of logic but rather one of perception (you share this trait with many anti-environmental types). You perceive that our country is so vast that we can "afford" to poison or ruin a negligible portion so that certain people can have cheap gas. This position is outrageous to me, but the real sadness is that the people who put out the propaganda that you gobble down whole do not care a bit about you at all.
As long as the path of least resistance is taken (by way of allowing pollution because it is a luxury to have a clean environment) there will be no incentive for industry to investigate cleaner methods of extraction. We need to twist their arms until they do it, because this is North Carolina and not Bhopal.

terry

I think, and correct me if I am wrong, but Mr polifrogs point was that the USA is a more environmentally friendly country than China or India; locally the streets of Irving Park are cleaner than others. Why? Because the wealth in USA and Irving Park allow those communities to be more environmentally friendly.

Billy Jones

"which is why so many power plants are located in uninhabited areas"


I'd be willing to bet most power plants are located where land is cheap an water plentiful.

As for the Irving Park thing, you're spot on.

Fec

China, India and Jefferson County, Alabama each have the resources to provide adequate sanitation for their citizens. What they lack is the political will.

Andrew Brod

No, terry, Frog's point was that if we want to protect the environment in Lee and Chatham counties specifically, we should improve the economy in Lee and Chatham. He goes from the correlation you note, which we all understand, and transforms it into a policy prescription, which is a very different thing and which would be a very bad and ineffective idea.

terry

but Prof. Brod it does not answer the point that in the real world better economies provide better environmentalism.I believe we are debating where we should put the horse. And I agree with you and Mr fec that the resources are there but unless and until the economy improves those resources will not be directed towards that end. It is short sighted but it is reality.

Andrew Brod

I'm not denying the point that richer economies have a greater demand for a clean environment. In economics-ese, we say that environment quality is a "normal good." But that fact doesn't translate directly into an effective policy tool. And even if it did to some degree, we'd still have a big problem because of the very human fact that residents of Lee and Chatham are bound to care more about themselves than people in other counties. Even Frog noted the potential problem of using water for fracking that would otherwise serve people downstream.

terry

That begs the question that if the people in Lee and Chatham counties who are most directly affected (effected, never sure)want it who are we in Guilford County to tell them otherwise? The end result is to deny those people their opportunities for economic advancement because we who already have ours see peril in theirs.

RBM

Re:Policy and related regulations -

Those that are interested in policy matters would do well according to ROCKMAN who offers this:

This may sound simplistic but it’s really easy: have very detailed and restrictive regs that are rigorously enforced. It may be hard to believe since Texas is in the heart of the oil patch but this is exactly what the TRRC does. Trust me…there is no love lost between the two sides. BTW every TRRC reg is available online to eveyone for free. All my Yankee cousins need to do is download then and write them into their regs.
Andrew Brod

terry, no it doesn't. I just addressed that in the comment preceding yours. What happens in Lee and Chatham has implications beyond those county lines.

terry

It has implications for you vastly different than those who live in Lee and Chatham Counties, it offends your sensibilities it affects (effects?) their lives.
What if the people in Lee and Chatham counties were fundamentally opposed to Univ. professors on the assumption that they are detrimental to society? Would you surrender your career to support their concerns?

Andrew Brod

Your hypothetical is cute but it trivializes water pollution. It's not trivial to those affected by it.

terry

Your hypothetical is enchanting but the quality of water is not a concern to those who simply want a drink..

terry

forgive the last comment if it seemed disrespectful

Andrew Brod

That's a novel claim. If that's really what you think, then clearly you wouldn't mind drinking this.

polifrog
I think, and correct me if I am wrong, but Mr polifrogs point was that the USA is a more environmentally friendly country than China or India; locally the streets of Irving Park are cleaner than others. Why? Because the wealth in USA and Irving Park allow those communities to be more environmentally friendly.

Thank you, Terry.

It it is clear that the joy of a clean environment comes on the heels of prosperity.

However, we are already a prosperous nation, therefore the equation changes slightly. The two must work hand in hand. Prosperity must expand so that we may continue to enjoy the luxury of a clean environment.

By extension the loss of prosperity will result in the loss of the cleansed environment we currently enjoy.

This relationship between prosperity and the environment is denied by some extremist environmentalists. The denial of this relationship leads me to question their true motives, as their proposed go-for-broke protection of the environment solutions will result in not only a less prosperous nation, but a degraded environment. I believe these individuals either do not realize what the fruit of their labor will be or they simply want less prosperity.

I am not proposing any policy. I am simply stating that there is a relationship that should be respected.

terry

While it seems the idea of drinking anything that is not less than 100% organic and clean might offend you, their are all kinds of people who would love to drink polluted water in fact any water.

Roch101

Terry, I found this to be very helpful on remembering affect versus effect.

[You might be interested in this on begs the question too.]

Andrew Brod

Environmentalists don't deny "this relationship between prosperity and the environment." No one denies it. Everyone understands it. It's not controversial.

Andrew Brod

Quite true, terry. However, good luck making that case if some community in NC has its water supply contaminated by fracking.

Fec

Turnip frog, few people are as attuned to the profits of the green machine as me. Even now, the citizens of NC are signatories to a landmark program which collects taxes from homeowners in lieu of waste water abatement systems to be reapplied to damaged watersheds downstream. Most of the money is misapplied in administration and futile do-gooder projects like education.

Your oversimplification of this Machiavellian process only hurts the efforts of those of us who have spent the time looking at the regs and considered the opinions of the professionals who oppose them.

Slimy amphibians like you, who by remaining anonymous are also the ultimate cowards, make it child's play for the opposition to defend and continue their evil pursuits.

It is obvious this is merely some perverted game to you. In levels of sincerity, you are seriously out of your depth. If you persist, I cannot be held responsible for the consequences to you, personally.

By that I mean I know your name and am prepared to divulge it.

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