Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Horizontal drilling has NEVER contaminated an Aquifer!!! (a response)

Industry shills make all kinds of clever statements which attempt to whitewash the truth. Like:
  •  "Fracking has never been proven to cause water contamination"
    or now this  
  • "a horizontal lateral has never been proven to pollute an aquifer".
Here's how they get away with it (and sleep at night)

1: Narrow definition of terms

A) "Fracking"

When WE say "fracking", we mean the ENTIRE PROCESS,
from the first seismic thumper trucks and underground blasting
(which have caused water problems in Poland, see the movie "Drill Baby Drill"),
to the drilling, perforation, and the fracking (well completion) stage. 
All of that is required to frack a well,
thus the common term "fracking" to mean the entire process.

Yet, when gassers say "Fracking", they NARROWLY DEFINE THE TERM to refer to the completion stage only. So if the contamination happens anywhere else,
they can say, "See! I was right. it wasn't fracking that did it". 

(However, this game is about to end. Cabot made a big mistake by fracking a well in an area where there was no drilling, and it contaminated water.

So fracking DOES cause water contamination. I mean, like DUH!  MIGHT there be a possibility of 4.3M gal of toxic frack-juice under 15,000 PSI of pressure to migrate to an aquifer or surface well by a) natural faults, b) up the well bore outside a failed casing, or c) abandoned wells?? This does not take a PhD in rock mechanics to see this possibility. But if you require that, Check Dr. Anthony Ingraffea :)

B) "Aquifers"

The next thing is aquifers. Frackers like talking about aquifers. There are primary aquifers, sole-source aquifers, sole source aquifers.  Frackers say "NO AQUIFER has ever been contaminated by fracking..."

Yet, plenty of people drink surface water, shallow wells, or river water, i.e, not from aquifers directly.  There are lots of parts of the watershed besides the aquifer. What about pollution of rivers and streams? This is why I prefer to talk about Watersheds, because this includes everything, including the aquifer.
2: Scientific Proof of Cause (Causality)

When someone gets cancer due to water contamination,
the industry shills say: YOU CAN'T PROVE FRACKING CAUSED THAT!
And they're right!
When someone in Franklin Forks water wells explode with methane,
and turns black, and tests positive for
iron, arsenic, barium, strontium, and uranium
coincident with drilling and fracking within a mile, the gassers say

And they are right!

I have studied science, and the philosophy of science for 30 years.
I have come to the conclusion that strict proof (of cause) is impossible.

I expect this assertion to generate some discussion,
but I am prepared to defend this.

The best science can do is a) establish correlation,
and b) based on modeling, suggest a statistical answer,
"fracking is the LIKELY CAUSE" of this contamination or illness.

For example, let's say there is fracking on DEPUE #8H, and a mile down the road,
people's water turns black and test positive for heavy metals. (This really happened
at Franklin Forks PA).

The water's been fine up until now, then fracking comes to town, and the

water well explodes. 

So COMMON SENSE suggests, "HEY, that fracking messed up my water!"

However, "proving" this is another matter.
Every step along the way can be challenged endlessly.

This is why there are so few cases of such proof.

What we get instead is an ADMINISTRATIVE PROCLAMATION,
stating that fracking did, or did not cause the contamination,
which may be informed by science, but is not a "scientific determination".  

e.g., http://www.pressconnects.com/viewart/20130429/NEWS11/304300004/State-Drilling-didn-t-foul-northeast-Pa-wells

Vera Scroggins did a Right to Know request received ~40 Determination letters from DEP stating that private, water wells were contaminated with high methane and other contaminants because of gas drilling in Bradford County.

So what can we expect from science?
What is more reasonable to expect from science is modeling which says that INCIDENTS of WATER CONTAMINATION is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to the square of the distance from gas wells. The closer you are to a gas well, the greater chance your water will get fracked-up.

In fact these data exist TODAY and these models exist NOW. This was part of the Duke Study.

Duke Study shows Methane Contamination in Water is a function of Proximity to Gas Wells


May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

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