Study Finds 8 Fracking Chemicals Toxic to Humans

Study Finds 8 Fracking Chemicals Toxic to Humans
Tim Radford, Climate News Network | August 19, 2014 8:54 am | Comments

fracking_chemicals_art
Fracking is once again in trouble. Scientists have found that what gets pumped into hydrocarbon-rich rock as part of the hydraulic fracture technique to release gas and oil trapped in underground reservoirs may not be entirely healthy.

Deep concerns: gas wells at a fracking site in the Pennsylvania. Photo credit: Gerry Dincher via Wikimedia Commons
Environmental engineer William Stringfellow and colleagues at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of the Pacific told the American Chemical Society meeting in San Francisco that they scoured databases and reports to compile a list of the chemicals commonly used in fracking.

Such additives, which are necessary for the extraction process, include: acids to dissolve minerals and open up cracks in the rock; biocides to kill bacteria and prevent corrosion; gels and other agents to keep the fluid at the right level of viscosity at different temperatures; substances to prevent clays from swelling or shifting; distillates to reduce friction; acids to limit the precipitation of metal oxides. Continue reading “Study Finds 8 Fracking Chemicals Toxic to Humans”

Germany on fracking: “the dangers of this technology are too great”

Amy Mall’s Blog

Germany on fracking: “the dangers of this technology are too great”

Amy Mall

Posted July 31, 2014 in Health and the Environment

The German federal environment agency just released a report on fracking. I don’t speak German, and there is nothing on the agency’s English language website yet, but I am going to post some key quotes from articles I have read:

  • “Basically, we believe that the dangers of this technology are too great,” Federal Environment Agency President Maria Krautzberger.
  • “Fracking is not a solution for protecting our climate, which will help us move across to renewable energy. It would be better if our country concentrated on proven, environmentally-friendly forms of energy,” said Krautzberger.
  • “While a general ban on fracking would be legally difficult in Germany, fast and tough legal safeguards could result in a similar effect.”
  • “The technique should be completely banned in water reserves, such as marshes or lakes, and protected areas.”

I hope someday there is an English language version to read. This one seems to confirm important findings from two previous German reports that I blogged about in 2012.

Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

Kansas congressman hit by farmers’ backlash

Kansas congressman hit by farmers’ backlash

Associated Press

FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2013 file photo U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp speaks in Wichita, Kan. When the congressman from Kansas' First District, where eleven biofuel plants dot the sprawling landscape, refused to back away from his co-sponsorship of a bill that would phase out a renewable fuel program, many of his rural constituents were infuriated. That anger has now come back to haunt Huelskamp, a tea party favorite, in the waning days before the Aug. 5 GOP primary. (AP Photo/Wichita Eagle, Brian Corn)
FILE – In this Aug. 19, 2013 file photo U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp speaks in Wichita, Kan. When the congressman from Kansas’ First District, where eleven biofuel plants dot the sprawling landscape, refused to back away from his co-sponsorship of a bill that would phase out a renewable fuel program, many of his rural constituents were infuriated. That anger has now come back to haunt Huelskamp, a tea party favorite, in the waning days before the Aug. 5 GOP primary. (AP Photo/Wichita Eagle, Brian Corn)

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Eleven biofuel plants dot the vast expanse of western and central Kansas, where farm fields stretch to the horizon and corn and sorghum are the backbone of the rural economy.

So when the Republican congressman who represents the area co-sponsored a bill that would cut demand for biofuels by phasing out a federal renewable energy program, many of his rural constituents took note. Their anger is now coming back to haunt U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp in the waning days before the Aug. 5 GOP primary.

Huelskamp, a tea party favorite and Kansas farmer known for his criticism of the GOP leadership in Washington, is locked in an unexpectedly tough race with a political novice as he seeks a third two-year term. His challenger, Alan LaPolice, a farmer and educator, supports the renewable energy standards, which mandate a percentage of renewable fuels in gasoline.

Like some others swept into office in the tea party class of 2010 that helped the Republicans capture the House majority, Huelskamp is finding that a strict free-market ideology and local economic interests can be tough to balance.

A political action committee, Now or Never, has dumped more than $260,000 into the race to oppose Huelskamp, regulatory filings show. The group’s ads feature Tom Willis, a Kansas farmer and president of Conestoga Energy Partners, which owns ethanol plants in Liberal and Garden City that make fuel from corn.

Willis said the majority of the Now or Never PAC money being spent on the race comes from Kansas people who are involved in agricultural and ethanol in the state.

The ethanol industry has been the “best success story for rural America” in the last 20 years, Willis said in an interview. Willis said Huelskamp was “willing to put all that at risk for his ideology.”

The Kansas Corn Growers Association, the Kansas Farm Bureau, the Kansas Association of Ethanol Processors and the Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association also weighed in this week with a scathing joint statement criticizing Huelskamp.

The congressman’s position “shows a lack of understanding of commodity markets, value-added agriculture, and what it means to be a Congressional Representative to his constituents,” said Farm Bureau President Steve Baccus.

Huelskamp said Wednesday that his legislation, which is not expected to be taken up this year in the House, would phase out the renewable fuel standard over several years.

“I don’t think Washington should be picking winners and losers,” Huelskamp said. “I think industry should be able to compete in the marketplace.”

The political pushback is something new for Huelkamp, who was unopposed for re-election two years ago. Just last year, the Kansas Farm Bureau awarded him its “Friend of Farm Bureau” award.

The incumbent had more than $800,000 on hand this month for the homestretch of the primary, compared to the $36,600 in cash reported by his challenger. The Tea Party Express, Freedomworks for America and other conservative organizations are backing him.

Kansas has 13 biofuel plants that generate nearly $1.5 billion each year, said Greg Krissek, chief executive officer of the Kansas Corn Growers Association. A 2010 legislative study done before the last plant was built found the industry supported 331 direct jobs and 1,600 related jobs.

The plants came on line as rural economies were suffering from dwindling population and fluctuating crop prices.

The state’s two major farm organizations, the Kansas Livestock Association and the Kansas Farm Bureau, declined to endorse Huelskamp’s re-election. Farmers are also upset about Huelskamp’s repeated votes against a Farm Bill.

Huelskamp said his bill includes provisions that would help the Kansas economy by easing environmental roadblocks for expansion of the Sunflower coal-fired power plant and deterring new regulations on hydraulic fracturing in oil drilling.

Groups In Court Today Seeking Fracking Chemical Information

Groups In Court Today Seeking Fracking Chemical Information

Asking court to force Wyoming to reveal information about toxins pumped into ground
January 22, 2013
Casper, WY  —

In an effort to help protect the public from exposure to toxic chemicals, the Powder River Basin Resource Council, Wyoming Outdoor Council, Earthworks and Center for Effective Government (formerly OMB Watch) went to court today to ask a judge to require the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) to disclose information about chemicals used during the controversial oil and gas development process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Pavillion, WY. (Ecoflight)
Pavillion, Wyoming. “Produced” water is brought back to the surface after fracking takes place. The water and fracking fluid is placed into evaporation ponds. (Ecoflight)

Under regulations approved in 2010, Wyoming became the first state in the nation to require well operators to disclose the identities of chemicals that are mixed with water and injected into the ground during fracking. But since the regulations were adopted, the Commission has approved some 50 secrecy requests, shielding identifying information about over 190 different chemicals, by Halliburton and other oil and gas service companies. Continue reading “Groups In Court Today Seeking Fracking Chemical Information”

EPA’s Water Contamination Investigation Halted In Texas After Range Resources Protest

EPA’s Water Contamination Investigation Halted In Texas After Range Resources Protest

AP  |  By By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTIPosted: 01/16/2013 3:20 am EST  |  Updated: 01/16/2013 9:08 am EST

Epa Water Contamination InvestigationWEATHERFORD, Texas (AP) — When a man in a Fort Worth suburb reported his family’s drinking water had begun “bubbling” like champagne, the federal government sounded an alarm: An oil company may have tainted their wells while drilling for natural gas.

At first, the Environmental Protection Agency believed the situation was so serious that it issued a rare emergency order in late 2010 that said at least two homeowners were in immediate danger from a well saturated with flammable methane. More than a year later, the agency rescinded its mandate and refused to explain why.

Now a confidential report obtained by The Associated Press and interviews with company representatives show that the EPA had scientific evidence against the driller, Range Resources, but changed course after the company threatened not to cooperate with a national study into a common form of drilling called hydraulic fracturing. Regulators set aside an analysis that concluded the drilling could have been to blame for the contamination.

For Steve Lipsky, the EPA decision seemed to ignore the dangers in his well, which he says contains so much methane that the gas in water pouring out of a garden hose can be ignited. Continue reading “EPA’s Water Contamination Investigation Halted In Texas After Range Resources Protest”

Government Accountability Office Report Debunks Industry Criticism of New Federal Fracking Rules | OMB Watch

Government Accountability Office Report Debunks Industry Criticism of New Federal Fracking Rules

Posted on October 23, 2012

As of Oct. 15, oil and gas operators must notify the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) via e-mail two days in advance of extracting natural gas from a hydraulically fractured or refractured well. This notification requirement is part of EPA’s new Clean Air Act (CAA) standards, which will reduce emissions from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released during natural gas production by requiring “green completions” after January 2015. Industry opposes the standards, but a new report shows they are crucial to protecting the public.

The oil and gas industry appears to be ramping up its lobbying efforts to dismantle the new rule, beginning with criticism of the advance notice requirement that went into effect last week. In particular, drillers are upset that they must send the advance notice to EPA, preferring state regulation of hydraulic fracturing. Continue reading “Government Accountability Office Report Debunks Industry Criticism of New Federal Fracking Rules | OMB Watch”

Fracking’s Dark Side Gets Darker: The Problem of Methane Waste

Switchboard: Natural Resource Defense Council Blog

Peter Lehner’s Blog

Peter Lehner

Fracking‘s Dark Side Gets Darker: The Problem of Methane Waste

Posted October 15, 2012 in Solving Global Warming

Fracking for oil in North Dakota is so lucrative that when natural gas bubbles up alongside the oil, most oil companies simply view it as waste. It’s cheaper, in the short term, to burn the gas than it is to build the infrastructure to pipe and sell it–so they burn it. Across the North Dakota prairie, natural gas flares light up the night sky like huge torches. Every day, they burn off enough gas to heat half a million homes.

The risks and challenges of extracting natural gas, and fracking, in particular, have been written about extensively, by my colleagues and in many other articles, lawsuits, and scientific studies. Given these challenges, it is astounding to discover how much natural gas we are wasting every day, either through burning or poorly managed leaks. By reducing this waste, we can clean the air and water, cut global warming pollution, and, as is the case when we become more efficient–make money. Continue reading “Fracking’s Dark Side Gets Darker: The Problem of Methane Waste”

Stop the Frack Attack!

Monday, September 17, 2012 12:55 PM
NRDC Save BioGems

Toxic spills … poisoned drinking water … air that’s unsafe to breathe.

 Fracking Flame

This could be the new reality for thousands of communities across America — unless we fight back and Stop the Frack Attack right now. Send a message to President Obama. Ask him to build on his environmental record by imposing tough safeguards on oil and gas drilling!

Take action

Oil and gas companies are running amok as they race to expand dangerous fracking operations in dozens of states — leaving poisoned water, polluted landscapes and plummeting property values in their wake.

The result? Local communities, once quiet and peaceful, have been transformed into nightmarish industrial zones.

Ask President Obama to build on his environmental record and put the health of American families first by imposing strong safeguards on oil and gas drilling.

Incredibly, fracking is now exempt from some of our country’s most important environmental protections.

That’s because, in 2005, Vice-President Dick Cheney asked his cronies in the energy industry what they wanted, and they got their wish: the Halliburton Loophole, which exempts fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act and laws that govern disposal of toxic waste!

And there’s plenty that’s toxic about fracking. It works by blasting massive amounts of water, sand and toxic chemicals into the ground in order to release oil or gas that is trapped in rock. Frackers can use up to 300 different chemicals, many of which are known to be cancer-causing.

But if you want to know which of these potentially deadly chemicals Big Oil is pumping into the ground near your home — tough luck! Federal law doesn’t require oil and gas companies to disclose what chemicals they’re using.

In the past five years, ExxonMobil, Shell and other energy companies have drilled more than 200,000 new wells across the United Statesmany virtually in the backyards of tens of thousands of Americans. And they’re chomping at the bit to drill more.

Call on the President to build on his environmental record by standing up to the oil giants and putting the brakes on their reckless drilling spree.

In the meantime, NRDC will be providing expert legal assistance to cities and towns on the frontlines of this battle — empowering them to ban or restrict fracking if they so choose.

But make no mistake: we must mobilize now for tough national rules that will stop fracking companies from running roughshod over our communities and health.

Please send your message to President Obama right away. And thank you for standing with NRDC.

Sincerely,

Frances Beinecke
President
Natural Resources Defense Council

Toxic spills … poisoned drinking water … air that’s unsafe to breathe.This could be the new reality for thousands of communities across America — unless we fight back and Stop the Frack Attack right now. Send a message to President Obama. Ask him to build on his environmental record by imposing tough safeguards on oil and gas drilling!

 

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The Candidates on Climate and Energy: A Guide to the Key Policy Positions of President Obama and Governor Romney

 

This voter guide outlines the records and positions of President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney on key climate and energy issues. A side-by-side summary at the top links to more details below.

The nonpartisan guide is based on an examination of the candidates’ actions in office, public statements, campaign materials, news reports, and other publications. It is offered to inform the electorate and contribute to public debate about the nation’s pressing climate and energy issues. As a nonpartisan organization, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) does not endorse candidates.

C2ES is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change. Launched in November 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Continue reading “The Candidates on Climate and Energy: A Guide to the Key Policy Positions of President Obama and Governor Romney”