National Geographic is promoting "green fracking". Here is my response.
I live in NY where we have a de facto ban on fracking. However, this
could end at any time if the Governor decides to move forward. Just 30
min. to the south of Binghamton, is Susquehanna County, and to the west
Bradford County, the most heavily fracked areas in Pennsylvania. This is
where my family is from for many generations.
The impacts very
close to here are grave. I understand if you can't see this from
wherever you are reading this, because the news media is structurally
impaired, and biased to serve an industrial agenda.
We have many
people who are sick and dying. We have farmers who are dying. We have
farmers with sick animals. We have farmers who have contaminated water.
The milk and meat from these animals are entering the food supply.
have air quality impacts, as there are dozens of foul, fire-breathing
compressor stations, which frequently explode and/or catch fire.
full list of impacts, including heavy truck traffic are so staggering.
Our virgin, pastoral, farming communities have been transformed
overnight. These rolling hills, the homeland of my ancestors for
generations, have been transformed in just 5 years into a heavy
industrial zone. The gas companies move in and take over. We are losing
democratic control of our local governments. It is as if we are living
in a third world nation. You simply MUST come here to experience it.
am very saddened that such a prestigious journal such as this has
joined on to the fossil fuel gang-bang. It is completely untenable for
1: While there do seem to be some advantages to Propane fracking, it
is not practical for many reasons. First, you still have to poke a hole
through the aquifer whether you are fracking with water or propane.
Most of the impacts in Dimock PA were due to hitting shallow gas, or
failed casing, which are common to both. Propane fracking is very
expensive, and carries special risks, since propane is flammable and
explosive under certain conditions. It also does not seem to be suitable
to the geology of the Marcellus Shale. There are also the same
problems: What do you do with NORMS? (Radioactive drill cuttings and
radon gas). etc.
2: Using Recycled Water: Seems
like a good idea, however, they claim to be recycling water in PA, but
the numbers don't add up. If they were recycling water, we would expect
to see a decrease in the water withdrawal applications. But we do not.
Every quater the SRBC meets (Susquehanna River Basin Commission) they
approve another 50-60 million gallons per day. They treat this water
upon which life depends as if it were a limitless quantity. They use
dynamic, open-ended models, based on daily rates of flow, and refuse to
consider static models which might show basin-wide cumulative impacts,
e.g., desertification or toxification with brine and other contaminants.
They are still building massive waste pits and evaporators where the
contaminants are sent into the are. Recycled water is a pipe-dream. It
is just not happening, yet industry keeps claiming that it is. Fracking
is just fracking insane technology which is literally killing us.
3: Plugging Methane Leaks.
The study of climate change impacts of "natural" gas (fracked methane)
vs. coal by R. Howarth, A. Ingraffea, and R. Santoro (Cornell) found
that methane leakage of more than 1% (due to methane being up to 105x
greater as a greenhouse gas then CO2) would mean that fracked gas is
WORSE than coal for climate change impacts. The NOAA/Colorado study
found Methane Leakage Rate Up To 9% From Gas Fields, and a
recent Duke study found up to 4% additional leakage from major cities
aging distribution systems. It would take countless billions of dollars
to patch every aging transmission line and pipeline in the county, a
project of unimaginable scale.
4. Any attempts at regulating the
oil and gas industry is futile. First, there is NO EVIDENCE that even
the best regulations can prevent prevent pollution. Quite the contrary.
Regulations PERMIT pollution by definition. Also the Oil and Gas industry, as I have seen with my own eyes, are lawless rogues which follow no civil law or moral authority, other than to serve the profits of their investors.
I want to mention Climate Change and Peak Oil. We simply MUST get off
fossil fuels QUICKLY or else we will have a global catastrophe on our
hands. First, as Richard Manning says in this video,
since we presently have 10 calories of petroleum in each calorie of
food, when we find ourselves on the backside of Hubbert's Peak, we will
have global food shortages.
And if that doesn't kill us, then
climate change might. Scientists predict that a 5'C temp increase could
(due to positive feedback effects such as melting methane hydrates),
this could trigger another 5'C increase, for a total of 10'C. This is
not unprecedented, and was found in the geological record. It's called
the Permian Extinction Event. 95% of all life on earth was wiped out. This is the very real possible consequence of climate change. GAME OVER with extreme prejudice.
I hope National Geographic will take me up on my offer to arrange a
tour of the GasFields of Pennsylvania, and reconsider promoting this
"bridge fuel to extinction". It's time for humanity to get on
sustainable energy future. If we don't, we very likely may be doomed.
William Huston, Binghamton NY.