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Old 11-05-2011, 07:23 AM   #46
Griff
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A ten year moratorium destroys a lot of existing companies and jobs (see Norse Energy). New York had about a year long moratorium in place which they are lifting after environmental review and placement of restrictions and regulations.

David Brooks

Already shale gas has produced more than half a million new jobs, not only in traditional areas like Texas but also in economically wounded places like western Pennsylvania and, soon, Ohio. If current trends continue, there are hundreds of thousands of new jobs to come.

Chemical companies rely heavily on natural gas, and the abundance of this new source has induced companies like Dow Chemical to invest in the U.S. rather than abroad. The French company Vallourec is building a $650 million plant in Youngstown, Ohio, to make steel tubes for the wells. States like Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York will reap billions in additional revenue. Consumers also benefit. Today, natural gas prices are less than half of what they were three years ago, lowering electricity prices. Meanwhile, America is less reliant on foreign suppliers.

All of this is tremendously good news, but, of course, nothing is that simple. The U.S. is polarized between “drill, baby, drill” conservatives, who seem suspicious of most regulation, and some environmentalists, who seem to regard fossil fuels as morally corrupt and imagine we can switch to wind and solar overnight.

The shale gas revolution challenges the coal industry, renders new nuclear plants uneconomic and changes the economics for the renewable energy companies, which are now much further from viability. So forces have gathered against shale gas, with predictable results.
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:59 AM   #47
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"Fracking creates jobs"

This has to be one of the worst justifications for doing something.
It is short-term thinking. No, it's public relations and rationalization.

Brooks tries to be clever by casting environmental concerns as "moral corruption".
But such words are really divisive ploys.

Realistically, the fracking industry is planning for thousands of wells.
We already know that even in relatively smaller areas ,
the number of wells is in the 100's (e.g., 400 in Cooperstown).

The primary question to ask is: How many wells can be drilled / operated without incident?
By incident, I don't mean just a "broken pipe" or "leak" in the well casing.
I include the spread of fracking compounds into ground water via natural fractures
AND via travel through old, abandoned wells as has been found by the
EPA studies in West Virginia.
I am convinced such incident(s) are inevitable.

Fracking wells are not like coal mining. It is more like nuclear power.
When an incident (eventually) does occur, the clean up problems will be enormous.
Not only will the problems be wide spread, they may be technically un-solvable.
Permanent contamination and abandonment may be the outcome.

The fracking industry has already faced crowds of skeptics,
but I am unaware a single idea being put forth in any forum,
how the industry proposes to decontaminate a polluted water resource.
Plastic booms are sort of difficult to put in place several hundred feet underground.

I have not heard of a single company that is in business to contain and/or
remove fracking chemicals from contaminated ground water resources.
I do agree though, such a company would create new kinds of jobs.

Politically, I ask myself, if fracking in innocuous and safe,
why has the industry lobbied to prevent governmental oversight, and
maintained secrecy about the fracking chemicals used under the blanket
of "proprietary information" ?

Somehow, a rush to begin industrial-strength fracking seems to me to be naive,
except to those companies and investors who think only in terms of $.
.

Last edited by Lamplighter; 11-05-2011 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 11-05-2011, 11:47 AM   #48
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A few points to consider:

- The EPA is studying the matter in depth, moving towards a 2012 interim report and a 2014 final report. However, the EPA has yet to document ANY confirmed groundwater contamination from fracking operations.

- "I am unaware" "I have not heard" Lack of information is not grounds for any conclusions.

- Similarly, the complaint that "...why has the industry... maintained secrecy about the fracking chemicals used under the blanket of "proprietary information"?" They haven't. You may now look up the list of fluids for any well, at fracfocus.org.

- If you do, you'll find that the fluid is 98.5% water and 1% sand, leaving 0.5% for the "scary" parts such as acids, anti-bacterials and lubricants. Each well has a probability of contaminating a small area of ground water, even though such an occurrence has not happened we find it is "inevitable" in exactly the same way that every local gas station in the country may contaminate the ground water (and has).

- But not contaminating the water for a major city. Each well contains an average of 2 million gallons (again, 99.5% water and sand) and most of that fluid is recovered for use in the next drilling. The total flow of a major river is more on the order of 25 billion gallons per day and each river has the capacity to absorb a certain amount of pollutants to the point where they are measured in harmless parts per million.

- If it is not removed, it is displacing an even more poisonous gas which has been proven to contaminate wells. Such as the "methane faucet" of Gasland, which was...

http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4275

Quote:
When the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission investigated the burning water of the well owner most prominently featured in Gasland, whose tap water was gray and actually effervesced, they found that his methane was naturally occurring and had nothing to do with any natural gas drilling. His water well had been drilled directly into a shallow natural gas deposit. Nevertheless, Gasland portrayed this as a consequence of fracking
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Old 11-05-2011, 02:53 PM   #49
Griff
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So it isn't just me who is wondering why this one technique is being held to an unmeetable standard? The use of the precautionary principle in human activities seems to be something which could be used to stop anything if what constitutes harm is defined at a low enough threshold.

The precautionary principle, proposed as a new guideline in environmental decision making, has four central components: taking preventive action in the face of uncertainty; shifting the burden of proof to the proponents of an activity; exploring a wide range of alternatives to possibly harmful actions; and increasing public participation in decision making. Swiped from something sorta related here.
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Old 11-05-2011, 03:16 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad View Post
A few points to consider:
- The EPA is studying the matter in depth, moving towards a 2012 interim report
and a 2014 final report. However, the EPA has yet to document ANY confirmed
groundwater contamination from fracking operations.

Sorry, but the bit about EPA not documenting... is just not true.
Here is the link to EPA's; 1987 report, which did exactly that.
(See pages II-20 and II-23 (pp 149-151 of the PDF) in the section entitled:
"Damage to Water Wells from Oil or Gas Well Drilling and Fracturing"

There is discussion of that EPA report in my link above about West Virginia.
Here is that link again: http://www.ewg.org/reports/cracks-in-the-facade

The problems with statements about "EPA not documenting/etc... "are the
"wiggle words" or "omissions", i.e., EPA Drinking Water Act does not cover fracking
or there were violations of State law, not EPA, or not federal laws.


- "I am unaware" "I have not heard" Lack of information is not grounds for any conclusions.

Right, I'm not making a claim that such information does not exist.
If it does, someone needs to cite a reference or article


- Similarly, the complaint that "...why has the industry... maintained secrecy
about the fracking chemicals used under the blanket of "proprietary information"?"
They haven't. You may now look up the list of fluids for any well, at fracfocus.org.

Here are a couple of items on the first page of your link:
Quote:
November 1, 2011 (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS) Denver —
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has started
the process of adopting rules
for the public disclosure of chemicals
used in hydraulic fracturing.
Another on that same page:
Quote:
Q.: I know there are wells in my area that have been fractured,
but when I search for them I get no results. Why?
A.:The most likely reasons are that either the wells were fractured before January 1, 2011
or they have not yet been entered into the system.
Only wells fractured after January 1st [2011] will be entered into the system
UT, I don't mean to be facetious.
I'm just pointing out that at the federal level, EPA was prohibited oversight of fracking
and lobbying did produce rules against such disclosures.

Public disclosure is/was left to the States to pass their own laws.
I agree, NOW there is a database to look up individual wells, etc.
The "fracfocus" is an industry operated database. (good ? bad ? )
And discussing the quality of that database is, perhaps, something for another day.


- If you do, you'll find that the fluid is 98.5% water and 1% sand,
leaving 0.5% for the "scary" parts such as acids, anti-bacterials and lubricants.
Each well has a probability of contaminating a small area of ground water,
even though such an occurrence has not happened we find it is "inevitable"
in exactly the same way that every local gas station
in the country may contaminate the ground water (and has).

Using % can be a booby trap
How much benzene (a carcinogen) is tolerable in drinking water ?
The EPA MCL is 0.005 mg/L or 0.05%, or 1/10 of the "scary parts"
I have no idea what that means... does anyone ?
I certainly would not drink it.

I agree with your example of gas stations leaking... they do.
But usually such leaks are into the ground (surface dirt) and
a man with a shovel +truck could deal with the problem.
It's not the same magnitude for fracking, where the deliberate
purpose of creating fractures to allowing materials to flow.

Compare the statement from above:

"Each well has a probability of contaminating a small area of ground water,..."
With this:
Quote:
State regulators in Illinois and Texas, as well
as Congress’ investigative arm, the Government
Accountability Office, have also documented
contamination problems caused when oil and gas
waste fluids injected underground for disposal
migrated up nearby older wells and broke out
near the surface, where groundwater is found,
a phenomenon sometimes called “saltwater
breakout.”

One case in Texas involved fluid that
traveled half a mile underground from an injec-
tion well and then migrated up through an old,
improperly plugged well.
There were four abandoned natural gas wells
within about 1,700 feet of the gas well and water well
involved in the West Virginia case documented by the EPA in 1987.
- But not contaminating the water for a major city.
Each well contains an average of 2 million gallons (again, 99.5% water and sand)
and most of that fluid is recovered for use in the next drilling.
The total flow of a major river is more on the order of 25 billion gallons per day
and each river has the capacity to absorb a certain amount of pollutants
to the point where they are measured in harmless parts per million.


Sorry, others may, but I just don't buy justification based on "Dilution is the solution"


- If it is not removed, it is displacing an even more poisonous gas which
has been proven to contaminate wells. Such as the "methane faucet" of Gasland, which was...
http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4275

Again perhaps, the skeptoid website and the "Debunking of Gasland"
are for discussion on another day
.
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Old 11-05-2011, 04:25 PM   #51
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Quote:
Sorry, others may, but I just don't buy justification based on "Dilution is the solution"
Sure you do. Because:

Quote:
I agree with your example of gas stations leaking... they do. But usually such leaks are into the ground (surface dirt) and a man with a shovel +truck could deal with the problem.
Small leaks perfectly OK and can be cleaned with a shovel, but large dilute leaks are a mind-boggling disaster = you believe what you like to believe.

But toxicity is science. There's a part per million that won't hurt you -- and you are drinking and eating and breathing that part right now.
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Old 11-05-2011, 05:24 PM   #52
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Point taken.
A man with a shovel can clean up a small (concentrated) leak.

The question remains: who and how for large dilute (?) leaks underground ?
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Old 11-05-2011, 05:55 PM   #53
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The point of fracking is to create flow in the rock. This means any toxicity has greater potential to spread.

The fracking liquid is not the only source of toxins. Fossil carbon deposits contain all sorts of chemicals, a lot of which you don't want in your ground water. These would also be mobilised by fracking.

Take a long term view. A shale gas field would be productive for what, ten, twenty, thirty years? Contaminated groundwater would remain contaminated for ... centuries? How many jobs, and human lives, depend on that ground water? (Maybe here my Australian view is biasing me - we spend more time drilling for water than for oil, I think. Water is precious. Your view may differ.)

Back to a moratorium. It wouldn't "kill" the industry, just defer it. In a decade, the gas will still be there, and it will probably be worth even more. Brooks' thinking is very much RIGHT NOW, not at all long term.

Check out how the US lead industry for decades fought and suppressed the evidence about how bad lead was for human health. (Try A Short History of Almost Everything, Bill Bryson, quite a fun read). Think about how tobacco companies did the same about cigarettes.
I think people are right to be wary. We are relying for protection on a system that is slow and clumsy at best, and are risking significant long term penalties if this call is wrong.

Fracking IS an efficient and apparently clever way to extract the least-dirty fossil fuel. Provided it can be done without sodding up the groundwater and soil, we might as well. I think we should be more careful to make sure that proviso is being met before calling for full steam ahead. Remember, the companies who are saying we should take the risk are not the ones who will suffer if the risk goes bad. We all know where that can lead - Wall Street.
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:18 AM   #54
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Contaminated groundwater would remain contaminated for ... centuries?
We'll just stick with the nukes then?
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:45 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by Undertoad View Post
We'll just stick with the nukes then?
Which completely misses are few important points.

1) We have more than enough energy. The problem was obviously defined by this simple example. For every ten gallons of gasoline burned in a car, only about one actually does anything productive. We waste over 8 of those ten gallons doing nothing but heat, noise, and pollution. We don't have an energy shortage. We have an innovation shortage.

2) The problems with both nuclear power and fracking are not the process. In both cases, it is the management who screws everyone else for their greater glory and profit. In every case (Fukushima or fracking), problems were not created by the technology. Problems were created by management with outright contempt for the technology and for those who actually make things work.

These fracking problems are so serious that fracking has been banned in areas that provide NYC with drinking water. Or course, clean water is one reason for NYC's success. Water so clean that it is not even treated or chlorinated. Management problems and other unknowns are so great that fracking is banned where it might affect water supplies. And where consumers actually have political power.
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:02 PM   #56
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1. Internal combustion cars are inefficient. That's an argument for changing the energy mix away from internal combustion. But electric cars are gonna have to be plugged in somewhere.

2. So we'll just stick with the coal then?
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:15 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by Undertoad View Post
That's an argument for changing the energy mix away from internal combustion. But electric cars are gonna have to be plugged in somewhere.
Nobody said internal combustion must be so inefficient. And nobody said electric cars are a solution. Both speculations are often promoted as if fact in propaganda that exists without numbers.

Meanwhile, we don't have an energy shortage. Never did. We have an innovation shortage. Same reason also explains a shortage of jobs and another problem called global warming. Rather than innovate, many want to find solutions in sound bytes. "Drill, baby, drill."

Absolutely amazes me how so many want to waste so much money on more energy. Simply view the numbers of customers filling gas tanks at Wawa, Sheets, Hess, Giant, and US Gas. They remain so naive as to not understand why they are spending about $0.26 per gallon higher than the $3.47 showing on that pump. And why they increase this nation's foreign oil imports by maybe 8% to 14%. They do so because energy is so plentiful and cheap.
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:16 PM   #58
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The coal then?
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:38 PM   #59
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The coal then?
You are asking for an answer using concepts that MBAs use. Amazes me how the problem is solved by switching to an different fuel rather than address the actual problem.

Well, the answer if found in why hybrids extend the life expectacy of the internal combustion engine. This was all discussed previously with numbers.

An example of fools advocating absurd solutions was hydrogen. Another myth that was obviously a lie had they bothered to first learn the numbers. Had they first bothered to define the problem before solving it.
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Old 11-06-2011, 03:07 PM   #60
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Coal?
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