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« The ghost of '37 | Main | And so it began »

Aug 04, 2011


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"...But there is in fact a documented case, and the E.P.A. report that discussed it suggests there may be more."

But we can't examine the evidence for the conclusion.

How convenient.

That circumstance, however,doesn't stop the Times or Cone from propagating the meme without any substance.

As usual.

Jon A Firebaugh

Well hardly ever: The frequency of Ed being right on any environmental issue. Like Global Warming, Gulf Oil Spill, Nuclear Power, Spotted Owls.......ZZZZZZZZ. And he cites the New York Times LMAO.


Thanks for digging this up.

I have seen mention of this report and was familiar with the collusion of business interests with the politico's, but had not read of the specifics.

The E.P.A.’s 1987 report does not discuss the specific pathway that the fracking fluid or gel took to get to Mr. Parsons’ water well in West Virginia or how those fluids moved from a depth of roughly 4,200 feet, where the natural gas well was fracked, to the water well, which was about 400 feet underground

This is what has to be nailed down; the potential vectors need to be identified so accurate risk analysis can be performed.

john hayes

Well Jon, when "Bush lied...", then the failed Iraq war/surge, then we took over their oil, then global warming, then Krugman is God, then the "I'm proud to be an American today" messiah, then the stimulus, then closing Guantanamo, then the "astroturfed" tea party,then the Gulf oil spill armageddon, then Gifford's blood on Palin's crosshaired hands, then various Mayor Knight/Danny Thompson/you fill-in-the-blank FIASCOS-(registered TM) let you down, you gots to keep movin on, bro. At least we still got porn in the library, though. Oh yeah, and Glenn Beck lost his show...

Billy Jones

Water moves from under ground to the surface every day-- sometimes from thousands of feet below the surface. 400 feet is not a deep well by today's standards. Water tables are dropping all across the nation and wells must be dug deeper and deeper to find water. Just over fifty years ago my Daddy hand dug our well in Gibsonville. Finding enough safe water that close to the surface is probably not possible in Guilford County today.

When the Earth is fractured there is no sure way to determine how far the fractures might go. Or which direction they might follow. Geologists have an idea but it is far from an exact science.

There are often multiple water tables at different depths below the surface of the Earth. Heat and pressure from the weight of the strata above the water table can and does force water up sometimes from thousands of feet. Water sometimes comes in contact with molten magma near the center of the Earth thousands of feet below even the deepest oil and gas wells. For example: Old Faithful in Yellowstone. Some smaller geysers never reach the surface before the water cools leaving them completely unnoticed but pushing water upwards anyway.

As the water moves through the earth it mixes with any contaminates it comes across. Methane migration has been going on for as long as drilling for gas has been in existence. Long before fracturing began in the 1940s. Methane migration is most common after the gas wells have been abandoned and pumping stopped. The idea that fracturing the earth wouldn't cause methane migration and other types of water well contamination is ludicrous and anyone who denies the dangers of fracking is a liar or an idiot.

Source: My 6th grade geology book.

Ed Cone

A type of water pollution that the industry and regulators claimed never happens, happened.

This information makes me want to know more, including:

Are there other documented cases of this type of pollution?

How do the specifics of the known case(s) relate to the geology, regulatory structure, etc., in North Carolina?

Is this a one-off, or does it raise questions about the reliability of other statements by the industry and regulators?

How would NC mitigate any risks to our water of the sort that this information confirms to be possible?


"A type of water pollution that the industry and regulators claimed never happens, happened."

Let's see the evidence.

Ed Cone

Here's the report.

David Boyd

There's really no reason for the drilling industry not to be transparent about their processes, embrace safest practices and submit to regulation. For example, there are numerous cases of wells being contaminated from leaking service station gasoline tanks over the years, but it hasn't stopped folks from buying gas. Instead, there are now double wall tanks, leak detection and routine inspections. Same thing should happen with fracking. The only people this devotion to a myth that fracking is free of all risks helps, are folks inclined to do shoddy work. And, that's turning this into an all or none political battle.


"Here's the report."

The report doesn't say what you and the Times think it says.

Let's see the evidence.


"....a myth that fracking is free of all risks...."

Who has made that sort of statement?

Andrew Brod

Okay, Bubba, what does the report say?

This should be good.


"Let's see the evidence."

Are you gonna believe me or your lying eyes?


"His response shows that he doesn't even attempt to understand what you said. It's a common trait to those who think they know it all, and are NEVER wrong......not even when it's clearly indicated they are."

BTW, I picked this up on the floor of another thread. It's a bit worn out, but I'm sure somebody would still like to claim it.

Ed Cone

Seems we all agree that the document and the situations it describes deserve close scrutiny.


"BTW, I picked this up on the floor of another thread. It's a bit worn out, but I'm sure somebody would still like to claim it."

That applies in this case, too.

Where is the evidence in this case?

What is the evidence that supports this version (number 37), or any other version of the meme Cone is trying to establish?

sean coon

ed, you evil meme maker! muahahahaha!

Fred Gregory

This column by Charles Holbrook appeared in The Pilot . His creds are footnoted.

" Living in a state with little history of natural gas development, I sense a pall of uncertainty at the prospect of drilling for this natural resource.

With a long background in petroleum exploration, I feel an obligation to try to add some perspective to this debate.

Natural gas development brings many positives. As the most environmentally friendly fossil fuel, its expanded use for transportation and power generation will help offset the amount of oil imported each year — about $500 billion worth and growing. It will also bring many economic benefits to local and state governments in the form of tax revenue, royalties, fees, etc.

The land/mineral owner will benefit from lease bonuses, rentals and royalties. For example, the mineral owner would receive about 12.5 percent of the value of any gas produced from his/her land — about $2,700 per day for a well producing five million cubic feet. The local area would benefit economically from infrastructure development, sales of equipment, supplies and services and from new job creation.

Horizontal drilling and fracking are technologies that enable the production of oil and gas from compact rocks that would otherwise be unrecoverable. These technologies are being successfully employed in full compliance with a plethora of laws and regulations across more than a dozen states from south Texas to the Canadian border and east to the Appalachians. That benefits our nation as well as the local communities, landowners and states.

Fracking takes place a few to several thousand feet below the surface and involves pumping large amounts of water into the zone of interest under pressure sufficient to fracture the rock and free up the gas trapped within.

The pressure required to fracture the rock is easy to calculate, and the risk of those fractures running amok to contaminate freshwater zones is highly unlikely. The entire purpose of fracking would be instantly defeated if the fractures extended into the mass of surrounding rock, providing an unwanted escape route for the gas. The freshwater zones are protected behind multiple strings of steel casing securely cemented into place.

A small percentage, about 0.5 percent of total volume, of various chemicals are added to the injected water to prevent adverse reactions such as to suppress clay mineral swelling and iron scale buildup. Some of this water may return to the surface along with the produced gas, where it is then separated from the gas and disposed of according to established laws and regulations.

Coarse sand is usually injected into the fractured zone to “prop” open the fractures. Horizontal drilling opens up much more of the gas-bearing section to the well bore, dramatically increasing the recovery of gas from a single well, thereby limiting the operational footprint on the surface.

Our legislators, in developing the state’s oil and gas law, should adhere to the lesson I learned as a 10-year-old. Frustrated with a barrage of unwanted advice from a much less successful neighbor, my father looked down at me and said, “Son, if you ever want advice, go to someone who has been successful in that field.”

So I urge our legislators or their emissaries to go to those states such as Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma with well-established oil and gas laws to learn from them.

Our state legislators, Sen. Harris Blake and Rep. Jamie Boles, have a golden opportunity to make a difference in the lives of North Carolinians should oil and gas development come to our state.

In the early part of the last century, the state of Texas, developing its oil and gas law, came up with a novel idea. It earmarked the oil and gas royalties from Section 16 of each township of state-owned land for education. Those became known as School Board Sections. Consequently, that royalty revenue allowed the state of Texas to developed one of the most advanced educational systems in the U.S. Additionally, oil and gas royalty revenue is the reason that the state of Texas has no state income tax today.

North Carolina should do something similar. In developing the state’s oil and gas law, set aside 20 percent of all oil- and gas-generated revenue for education without diminishing the percentage of the state budget for education derived from other revenue sources. This should have broad political appeal.

If you do it right, future generations will be forever grateful."

Charles Holbrook, of Pinehurst, is a geologist with a long history of petroleum exploration in multiple states and one foreign country. He taught geology for four years through Campbell University after retirement.

Fred Gregory

"American Tradition Institute today praised remarks made yesterday by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper at the Colorado Oil & Gas Association’s Energy Epicenter conference in Denver. He decried the “paranoia” being whipped up over the unfounded dangers behind the process of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) of shale to access natural gas and oil, stating there is “no science” behind the fears.

“Everybody in this room understands that hydraulic fracturing doesn’t connect to the groundwater,” said the governor, who is also a geologist. “It’s almost inconceivable that we would ever contaminate, through the fracking process, the groundwater.”

Gov. Hickenlooper, according to a report from Platts, also singled out the New York Times for a series on the industry that he said was full of misinformation and distortions of facts. Even the Times’ own ombudsman, Arthur Brisbane, criticized his newspaper – twice — for the gross misrepresentations and deceptions about sources in the series."

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