What Every Investor Must Know About Fracking

What role does social responsibility play in your portfolio? Is your historical return what matters most, or do you refuse to invest in anything -- even if it might be wildly profitable -- if it harms the environment?

I can't answer that question myself, but a good rule of thumb is this: If thoughts about your investments -- whether from a financial, environmental, or any other type of perspective -- keep you up at night, you should examine the situation further.

Recently, I found myself losing some sleep about an article I wrote touting the promise of natural gas. A number of commenters (and my wife) were upset that I'd support an industry that relies so heavily on hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

That led me to do my own research on the topic. While it can be difficult to get straight, unbiased answers from anyone on the matter, I've highlighted the four biggest things I think every amateur investor needs to know about the process.

1. The difference between fracking now and what fracking used to be
Many supporters of fracking are quick to point out that the process has been around for over 60 years. And while that's true, without any context this fact can be wildly misleading. Take a look at some of the key differences between what fracking looks like today versus its role in the past.

  Fracking in the Past Fracking Today
Use and frequency Last ditch effort to squeeze oil out of wells Primary method used to extract natural gas
Type of Drilling Vertical Vertical and horizontal
Water Use Unknown, but far less than now 4.5 million gallons per well
Pressure Less than 10,000 psi 13,500 psi

Source: Chesapeake information page, Affirming Gasland.

If some of this is confusing to you, that's okay. The big takeaway is that if someone claims, "They've been doing it for years and it hasn't caused any harm," they're whitewashing the changes that have occurred over the years.

2. The 2005 change to the Safe Water Drinking Act
Although about 98% of the solution used to fracture the shale and release the gas is a combination of water and sand, the other 2% has been a source of great concern. Opponents fear that carcinogenic chemicals -- as well as natural gas itself -- could find its way into drinking water.

In 1974, the Safe Water Drinking Act was signed into law to protect the public's supply of potable water. As part of the program, the EPA was required to regulate any liquids being injected into wells. However, in 2005, Congress amended the act to exclude fracking from regulation.

Essentially, natural gas companies can claim that their solutions are "proprietary" and, therefore, trade secrets. Some companies -- like Chesapeake (NYSE: CHK  ) -- list the basics of what's in their fracking solutions on their websites. But without third-party verification, there's no way to test these claims.

3. A lack of certainty in causation
In the documentary Gasland, several residents of Weld County Colorado claimed fracking contaminated their water. When Colorado authorities investigated the situation, they found that in only one instance was this the case.

The key to this decision was the fact that authorities were measuring two different kinds of methane. Biogenic methane is naturally occurring. Thermogenic methane, on the other hand, is the type that's more commonly believed to be the result of drilling. When only biogenic methane is found, authorities consider it to be a result of natural processes. But when thermogenic methane is found in water, then gas companies are usually on the hook.

But the situation may be a bit more complicated than that. Opponents of fracking claim that though the biogenic methane is naturally occurring, the fissures caused in the fracking process accelerate its seepage into the water supply. As of yet, there's no conclusive way to test the veracity of such claims.

4. Danger in all forms of energy extraction
If you're looking for a 100% foolproof way to use energy without harmful consequences, you are going to be searching for a long time.

There have always been, and will always be, dangers associated with harvested energy.

  Cause for Concern
Coal Pollution of air, ground, water
Oil Massive oil-spills and air pollution
Natural Gas Contamination of water supply
Bio-Fuels Ballooning costs of corn, switchgrass or other feedstocks
Nuclear Meltdowns and radioactive waste
Solar Energy-intensive production of solar cells
Wind Negative ecological and aesthetic effect based on turbine size
Hydro-Electric Fundamental changes in ecosystems of waterways

What's a Fool to do?
My point is not that we're all doomed and that we should resign ourselves to environmental degradation. Nor is it that we should discontinue all alternative energy exploration because of possible negative side effects. Like just about everything in life, the answer lies in the middle.

Before making sweeping conclusions about the long-term viability of natural gas, we simply need more information. The biggest problem standing in the way of that is that exception granted to fracking companies by the 2005 amendment made to the Safe Water Drinking Act. If this were repealed, the EPA could quickly gather crucial data needed to determine how we should approach natural-gas extraction.

Clearly, there are serious questions that need to be answered. They effect shareholders in not only large natural-gas producers like EnCana (NYSE: ECA  ) and Chesapeake, but also smaller producers like SandRidge Energy (NYSE: SD  ) , as well as periphery plays like Westport Innovations (Nasdaq: WPRT  ) , which designs natural-gas engines, and Clean Energy Fuels (Nasdaq: CLNE  ) , which is building out natural-gas filling stations.

If you'd like to find out which of these companies could benefit the most from a natural-gas conversion, I encourage you to check out our latest special free report. Inside, you'll see why this small company could offer huge returns to investors who get in early. Get your copy of the report today, absolutely free!

Fool contributor Brian Stoffel owns shares of Westport Innovations. You can follow him on Twitter, where he goes by TMFStoffel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Westport Innovations and Chesapeake Energy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2012, at 6:25 AM, bigghammer wrote:

    You should check out this company's process for fracking gasfrac energy GSFVF.PK

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2012, at 7:44 AM, trin6810 wrote:

    Brian - for your information - a number of wells were drilled over 30 years ago in our part of the country - never commercially viable - not enough gas - verticle wells light drilling rigs - capped and farmers allowed to use for their own purposes - the overflow back then( by epa and dec requirements) was trucked to heavy metal wastewater plants in PA - these wells were fracked once with 60,000 gallons of water and 1250 lbs of chemicals - now wells fracked as many as 7 times per well at 4,000,000 gallons each time with 250,000 lbs of chemicals - not the same? as one Cornell professor put it - the difference would be like traveling on the NYS thruway at 65 miles an hour as compared to 6500 miles an hour - those former wells are still spitting up fluids that have extremely high levels of heavy metal contamination! Who is going to pay for taking care of this problem for current wells in the future - I can tell you right now it will be tax payers period - no one else will be willing or able to do it! What opponents of hydrofracking can not seem to make people understand is that as bad as the fluid going down is - what comes up from the ground is 1,000 worse - this is the stuff that no one can FIX!! Too salty - to full of heavy metals and most disturbing with the extreme pressure and heat - some scientist are concerned new compounds have been formed that we have no idea how thay may affect humans. The industry does not share information willing - if you think this untrue - read about the early days after the Haliburton Exclusion was hatched- the only way that the current knowledge of what's in fracking fluids(and remember NO COMPANY HAS DISCLOSED THEIR FORMULA YET!!) became known - was that people in the West chased down each accident that the gas industry had and got the required federal reports from emergency rooms - this is the industry that now places a zillon commercials on how concerned they are for the environment - I have the best idea - let them place themselves under the Clean Air Act - The Clean Water Act and the Superfund Act afterall ITS SO SAFE - WHY ARE WE WORRIED - Why won't they do it? Everyone should keep asking them that question - So in closing - the process isn't the same as you mention above - no one knows what's in the fluids(and just so your not fooled - if someone says the formula's are on line or that Chesopeak issued a report - look closely - all the chemical listings won't be on the periodic scale - they insert look alike numbers that the small print shows are proprietory formula's - after all they need secret formula's to blow up the earth! and if they appeal to your patriotic duty - remember they have sold off fields to Norway - Australia and China -

    I encourage everyone to read everything and anything(both sides) on hydrofracking - 2% fresh water in the world No one destroys it quicker than gas companies Want to talk about earthquakes next?. the figures above come from the NYS 1998 report on hydrofracking - go DEC web site - great reading!

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2012, at 9:59 AM, derrickhand300 wrote:

    This article just shows you know nothing about fracking wells-I hope you do better investing than you do understanding-No offense meant-its just you don't have a clue.

    Strings of casing and cement inside each other are much stronger than the surrounding formation so oil and gas would have a much better chance of reaching ground water by migrating through miles of non porus rock than it would in a wellbore-

    What really gets me is everyone seems so concerned about this triple protected cement & casing failing at 2 miles deep (well below the ground water) but you all support pipelines that transfer the products you are so in fear of and these pipelines are just a single pipe just blow the surface and a few feet from the water table in comparison!

    Fracking fears are a farce commited by Democrats because of the support of "BIG COAL" in campaign contributions-the reason for this is "PAYBACK" for 2007 when the CEO of Chesapeake Energy bought full page ads in national newspapers declaring that "Coal Is Filthy" in his effort to switch electric generating plants from coal to natural gas ( because in 2007 drilling in the Barnett made it clear that inthe near future with horizontal shale wells there was going to be a glut of natural gas)

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2012, at 10:05 AM, derrickhand300 wrote:

    @trin6810

    What difference dies it make whats in fracking fluid? Fracking fluid and oil and gas intermingle and are located in the same placxe in any well-IF THERE WAS A PROBLEM FRACK FLUID WOULD BE THE LEAST OF YOUR CONCERN BECAUSE MILLIONS OF BARRELS OF OIOL AND GAS WOULD FLOOD INTO THE WATER TABLE!

    You cant say fracking fluid is entering the water without saying oil and gas are entering and in HUGE amounts! (this has never happened in 60 years by the way)

    You all act so concerned about whats happening 2 miles below the watewr table and never worry about the pipelines that carry the actual product just feet below the surface and 100 feet from water tables...all of you act like rocket scientists that just made some huge discovery when in reality you all just show you dont know what you are talking about

    Support American Energy-Lets Frack!

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2012, at 2:19 PM, trin6810 wrote:

    DERRICKHAND300

    I wish I knew more about hydrofracking - and my investments have been ok - before you decide I don't know anything however you need to research flowback from hydrofracking - this is the major problem(if you can get your head around the fact that we are trading fresh water for gas and oil at an alarming rate) I envision someday some alien being visting earth and saying - what was wrong with these people - they wasted the very source of life how foolish- Flowback is estimated to be from 35 to 60% of fluid injected into the well - Pa tried to place it first directly into streams but fish kill and funny colored water stopped that - if they continued there wouldn't have been a fish from the Susquahhan River all the way to the Delaware Water Gap - even the companies were pleading with their own group to stop before the results became to apparent. Then Pa Gov(big friend of the industry) decided to place in Pa's municipal sewerage treatment plants until residents in Pittsburgh started to complain about "salty" water - Now to injection well in Ohio but Ohio shook and now they are clamping down - what to do????

    The oil is trapped in the rock - that why they frack - and in case you think flowback is the only problem - think about this - after the VP and cronies met in whitehouse and passed Haliburton Exclusion(as an investor - big money) the companies were then allowed to lease(cheap I bet) public land in west - after 21,000 wells in one area of public land - EPA study found air quality worse than LA - imagine that - maybe its the thousands and thousands of tractor trailer loads it took to built these sites - and better yet - to take care of the backflow there they built evaporation pits - now some scientists believe those pits will become superfund sites - guess who will pay for that cleanup - and worse - research endocrine disruption - theo colborn - these pits just let any harmful chemicals go airborn - kids in the wind path of these pits would be especially at risk - went to injection wells in future states because waether not conducive to evaporation pits. That will give you something to chew on - I have lots of other stories -

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2012, at 9:16 AM, voelkels wrote:

    FYI, hydraulic fracturing has been used since 1947 to stimulate wells. Prior to that time explosives (originally nitroglycerin ) was used. It was not used as a “last ditch effort to squeeze oil out of wells” but, depending upon the formation characteristics, to bypass near wellbore damage or, in low permeability formations, to open long flow channels in the reservoir rock to increase the drainage radius of the wellbore.

    As for the chemicals used, the bulk of the “frac fluid” is water with salt, usually common NaCl, added to keep the clays in the formation from hydrating and swelling. To this a gelling agent such as guar gum, hydroxyethyl cellulose or polyacrylamide is added to suspend the propping material (usually sand but also glass or ceramic beads, etc.) and retard “leakoff”. A “breaker” such as acid or an enzyme (think Adolph’s meat tenderizer) is added to “break” the gel after it has transported the propping agent into the fracture(s). This aids in the fluid recovery. For many formations, a biocide is added in a concentration of 4 or 3 ppm to keep from contaminating the reservoir with sulfate reducing bacteria or slime producing bacteria. Other chemicals such as detergents may be added fro friction reduction, etc.

    For more on hydraulic fracturing, go to FracFocus at http://fracfocus.org/ .

    C.J.V.

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2012, at 2:36 PM, notfooooled wrote:

    I have little faith in the oil companies to watch over the environment and I have NO faith in the EPA to do anything accurately or honestly.

    I do believe if there were to be problems they would have already surfaced in spades. They have not. Proof is in the pudding. There is NO pudding.

    As for the water. It is a waste. Why not use gasfracking on everything. It is the ultimate answer IMO.

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2012, at 3:19 PM, trin6810 wrote:

    The NYS DEC report on hydrofracking list all chemicals currently known to be used in hydrofracking fluid. They explain all the effects on humans and lab animals that these chemical have been known to cause - despite the rather gruesome description and the admission that they don't even know all chemicals((remember - no company has disclosed complete list - probably because its fuel oil) they gave hydrofracking a pass - imagine that - read on line at DEC site - the industry started off by saying only 2% of fluid contained something other than sand and water but then people figured out that 2% of 4,000,000 gallon is a lot - I'll stick by my numbers per DEC report - 71,000 wells in upstate NY and southern tier - 7 fracks per well - 4,000,000 gallons fresh water and 250,000 lbs of chemicals each frack - do the math - As mentioned above - flowback is the problem - I don't care if they put an oatmeal based fluid package down well what comes back up is the problem - they aren't using 10,000 injection wells for disposal because a meat tenderizer is coming back up the well - one other fack fact for people so lucky to be where wells are sited - for a new state of the art 6 well drilling pad - the number of tractor trailer loads to get to first frack is 10,000 vehicle trips - they need many more for additional fracks - 41 more!!

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2012, at 3:52 PM, notfooooled wrote:

    Once one starts with the "scare tactic" methodology of attacking things they lose all credibilitiy with me.

    That is what we are getting now with fracking. I think a lot of the global warming greenies are turning to attacking fracking now that thier human caused global warming end of the world message is being proven false on a daily basis.

    Show me the contaminated well water. One reads of the odd well but that can, and in most cased has proved to be, caused by other means.

    Also, don't underestimate the constant attempt by lawyers to create an issue so they can profit mightly from it.

    Tons of pollution created each and every day for a century plus and man is living longer then every before and drinking more water and producing more food every day.

    For many of you that are too young to have witnessed it I remember oh so well the end of the world doomers of the 60's. Scientists, academics (god I hate that word), prophets and ministers were telling chilling end of the world stories that would make a youngster lay awake at night. It would all end from pollution, over population, war, lack of water, lack of clean air to breath, etc etc etc by the end of the 20th century.

    The more things change the more they stay the same.

  • Report this Comment On March 12, 2012, at 3:27 PM, kmacattack wrote:

    Derrickhand, your referral to democrats blocking conversion to natural gas is total Bullsh.t. You need to change channels and do a little reading. The American Power Act was passed by the House of Representatives with nearly 300 "yes" votes in 2009, with almost all democrats voting yes, and the overwhelming majority of republicans voting "no". This bill was lauded as the best piece of legislation to be crafted since the 1960's, and it's centerpiece was designed to convert the nations trucking fleet from dirty burning OPEC sourced diesel fuel to clean burning 100 percent American natural gas. The bill was written primarily through the cooperation of two political enemies, life long republican oil man T. Boone Pickens and Sen. John Kerry, who was cheated out of becoming President in 2004 when Pickens and Chesapeake chairman Aubrey McClendon funded the illegal election eve one hour long infomercial "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" which had nothing to do with Swift boats or Truth, and everything to do with oil and gas de regulation. The ad ran on 149 Taft broadcast stations in Ohio alone, and produced just enough effect to "swing" Ohio, and the election to oilman Bush and former Halliburton CEO Cheney. Along with the Swiftboat sneak attack (a Karl Rove specialty, illegal under FEC law), the Ohio Sec. of State who was also Bush's campaign chairman, made sure that there was an oversupply of voting machines in heavily republican areas, and a huge shortage in democratic areas. Voters were standing outside in freezing rain in democratic areas for hours, and could walk in and vote immediately in republican strongholds. In addition, Bush's 2000 chair in Ohio was a man named Diebold who manufactures voting machines, many of them were used in Florida in 2000 and were rigged to count Gore's votes backwards in a few democratic leaning districts. Following the election, hundreds of thousands of backup ballots which could be used to audit the "vote a matic" machines disappeared from secure warehouses and were never found. Both these elections had enormous consequences for what would become America's energy policy if Gore or Kerry had won instead of Bush. 85 percent of "contributions" from both Big Oil and the Coal lobby goes to republican candidates, and usually the only reason they "donate" to democrats is that the outcome might be close, so they "donate" to both sides to insure that who ever wins is indebted to Big Oil and coal. Since you now have some FACTUAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION i'LL GET BACK TO THE ENERGY BILL. After the bill passed the house (thanks to democrats) Sen. Mitch McConnell held it up in the Senate. He had two problems, he said, with the bill. The first was the elimination of the Bush policy which allowed oil companies a "cap" on liability for damages caused by an oil spill. Bush policy capped liablity at $75 million, and the Ameriican taxpayers would pay any amount above $75 million. The next year, when the BP Horizon blew up, republicans were infuriated when Obama summoned BP's Tony Hayward to Washington and secured $20 BILLION IN ESCROW to protect American taxpayers from being stuck with the cleanup cost caused by BP, Halliburton, Trans Ocean and others. McConnell, Boehner, and Cantor all appeared on TV and said it was "unfair" to force Big oil to pay for the cleanup, and it was "only fair" that taxpayers should assume liability.. The second objection was the "cap and trade" provision, which was first proposed by republicans such as John McCain years earlier, which was a "carrot and stick" approach to the oil and coal producers. The natural gas producers actually favored "Cap and trade" because nat gas burns so clean with no sulfur and 75 percent less CO 2 "greenhouse gases" that they could eliminate carbon taxes by planting a few CO 2 eating tree farms , which Chesapeake has already done. When the .bill was sceduled for a vote in August of 2000, there were "only" 59 "yes" votes in the senate, every democrat was in favor except for Sen Landrieu of LA and Sen Begich of Alaska which were worried that removal of the liablity cap could bankrupt a medium to large sized energy producer in their states and cost tens of thousands of jobs.There was a compromise reached with these two senators when Mitch McConnell panicked, and forced the 7 or so republican co sponsors, including Sens. Snowe, Collins, Hatch, Lindsey Graham, and others to withdraw support. The bill still had a majority of about 54 votes, but McConnell filibustered the bill. Just before that time, McConnell was "given" a "contribution" of nearly $500,000 from Big oil and the refining Koch Brothers, who will spend any amount of money to buy lobbyists who will then buy politicians with SUPER PAC "campaign contributions. At the same time, the Coal lobby kicked in another $50,000 to their friend, McConnell who is from Kentucky, one of the largest coal producing states. Big Oil and Coal are scared to death of the financial losses they will suffer if natural gas gains wider use. Big oil is about to lose the trucking fleet, despite McConnell's valiant "Water Boy" errand in their behalf. Chesapeake and two other gas producers gave Clean Energy Fuels a $450 million cash infusion to complete the buildout of a national fuel network for Compressed Natural Gas at 450 Pilot truck stops across the country. CNG is selling for $0.78 per gallon 3 miles from my house, and diesel is about $3,78. A trucker would be crazy once this network is in place if he didn't convert to burning CNG, because he can easily save $1,000 per week in fuel costs, which would pay for a brand new CNG engine with a 5 year warranty in about 6 months. He could haul freight for halt the price of competitors and make twice the profit. The problem is, the big oil monopoly doesn't want any competition, and they fund republican candidates who will vote as they are told. Last week, a slimmed down Natural Gas act was introduced in the senate, and once again McConnell is trying to block it. The Koch brothers went on national TV and said that government has no business subsidizing natural gas. What they failed to mention is that they, and the big oil lobby are receiving billions of dollars in tax "welfare payments" every year, but they don't want THOSE SUBSIDIES TO END. The Kochs and Big International oil companies are doing fine since they have been allowed to operate as price fixing monopolies since the beginning of fossil fuels. Why not take the subsidies paid to big oil, which keep us dependent on their monopoly, and use the money to develop alternative energy sources? It will save Americans TRILLIONS of dollars, clean up our air, and create millions of new jobs designing, building, and exporting new energy technology to an energy starved world. The democrats appear to be the heroes here, and the republicans continue to sell the country down the river to big oil. Why is there is a "shortage" of oil this year? It's an election year, and skyrocketing prices are the only hope the republicans have of winning in the fall, just like in 2000, when, just like today, their was no real shortage, just a bunch of phony manipulation to aid republican political allies.

  • Report this Comment On March 12, 2012, at 3:46 PM, kmacattack wrote:

    @ derrickhand, your comment that democrats are blocking the energy bill are total BS. We both know that 85 percent of oil PAC money goes to republican candidates, and the reason that is fact is that republicans will allow them to steal the country blind with $5,50 gas prices in 2007 and 2008 as an example. Gas was selling for $0.79 per gallon in the spring of 2000 and more than doubled before the Gore/ Bush election, which was the only reason that Bush won, or got close enough to win. The rigged elections in Florida and Ohio took care of the rest of the problem for Bush. Voters were actually stupid enough to believe that two republicans, both oil men, who were flying around the country on the Enron corporate jet loaned to them as a campaign plane, would lower gas prices after the election. They allowed the oil monopoly, who "gave" almost $1 billion in "contributions" to republican campaigns clear down to the state and local level, to write their energy policy in secret in early 2001 at a Camp David meeting with Dick Cheney. They were allowed to make TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PROFITS while they fixed and manipulated prices for 8 years, bankrupted the auto industry and nearly drove the country into a depression. Everything bought and sold, manufactured or exported in this country is affected by energy costs. What 18 percent of income health care costs didn't suck out of middle class pockets, the skyrocketing gas prices got the rest of it. When middle class Amercans had no more disposable income, the economy came to a screeching halt. This is really how the "Trickle down" economy works. Jobs, economic activity, and prosperity begin at the bottom. The middle class are the real "job creators." If there is no money in their pockets, all the top 2 percent who own the factories are going to suffer as well. Even though Wal Mart and the republican political arm, The US Chamber of Commerce convinced them to move their factories to China where they can hire workers for $3 per day, it's not going to matter when no one has disposable income to pay for the Chinese Junk.

  • Report this Comment On March 12, 2012, at 8:33 PM, notfooooled wrote:

    It's great, free speech. One can come up with all the "facts and figures" they want and not have to substantiate any of them.

    Fracking, global warming, voter fraud, illegal PAC ads, PAC donations, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

  • Report this Comment On March 12, 2012, at 8:56 PM, wolfman225 wrote:

    @kmacattack--

    Please get some education in proper formatting, punctuation, line breaks, paragraph indenting, SOMETHING.

    I gave up on trying to read your diatribe after the first 3 lines. Back to 8th grade letter writing until you can compose a properly readable post.

  • Report this Comment On March 12, 2012, at 9:55 PM, trin6810 wrote:

    notfoooled

    you might want to research this:

    Pavilion Montana Louis Meeks - Mr. Meeks is vet whose well water was ruined over 10 years ago - no one believed him - of course for the first two years the companies involved provided a water buffalo - then as usual took it away - the recent EPA study - found significant ground water contamination in this area - one of the first in country to be fracked with "new method" One of the most interesting scenes in Gasland - when Cabot gas people refuse offer of Dimrock residents to drink a glass of water from the well that company people said was really ok (naturally occurring methane) I'll stand by my figures above - 4,000,000 gallons of water - 250,000 lbs of chemicals - per frack - 7 fracks a well - for injection wells I left out ft - the injection wells are drilled 10,000 feet into the ground and then the wastewaster is injected down the well - don't know how many you need to start an earthquake - could check with Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio - Ohio is the only one with Gov study connecting the two at this time but I suspect there will be more - google earhquakes and hydrofracking and each state - something will pop up

  • Report this Comment On March 12, 2012, at 10:38 PM, notfooooled wrote:

    Some energy companies, state regulators, academics and environmentalists are

    reaching consensus that natural-gas drilling has led to several incidents of

    water pollution—but not because of fracking.

    --"The energy officials and some environmentalists agree that poorly built wells

    are to blame for some cases of water contamination. In those cases, they say,

    wells weren’t properly sealed with subterranean cement, which allowed

    contaminants to travel up the well bore from deep underground into shallow

    aquifers that provide drinking water."--

    The above from the WSJ.

    Might be the answer to ALL the pollution being complained about. Who knows.

    Much of that pollution might be from natural causes. Who knows.

    Natural earthquakes may release gas into lots of that water being contaminated. Who knows.

    The list is endless.

  • Report this Comment On July 27, 2012, at 5:33 PM, modeltim wrote:

    Hydraulic fracturing (fracing) is a drilling technique that was developed by Halliburton. Millions of gallons of fresh water, along with sand, and cancer-causing and toxic chemicals are injected under high pressure miles down the drilling hole to fracture the limestone shale and release the oil and gas trapped within.

    In 2005, at the urging of Dick Cheney, former Halliburton CEO, Congress exempt fracing from the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. In 2001, Cheney’s energy task force report "touted" benefits and ignored consequences. His office was "involved in discussions about how fracturing should be portrayed in the [EPA] report." Halliburton earns about $1.5 BILLION annually from hydraulic fracturing. (Ibid)

    So why did they decide to hide the ingredients of what is injected along with water in the fracking process?

    The oil and gas industry is the only industry in America that is allowed by EPA to inject KNOWN hazardous material—unchecked—directly into or adjacent to underground drinking water supplies.

    Cheney Helped Halliburton Hide Secrets About Dangerous Chemicals in America's Drinking Water. Please recommend so others will have this information!

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/11/25/665532/-Dick-Cheney...

    Hydraulic fracking is a menace! Even David Letterman knows it! It is fact.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2013, at 2:29 PM, Walnut01 wrote:

    I do like Gasfrac (GSFVF). Since it uses propane and other natural gas liquids instead of water there is no flow-back water to separate from the natgas and then recycle. Instead everything goes into the pipeline, and the original NGLs are reclaimed for resale along with the newly produced NGLs and oil (no one drills for dry gas these days.) HOWEVER, the big advantage in fracing with NGLs is that each well produces much more, because some water would stay in the well, blocking hydrocarbons but the NGLs just vaporize and flow out.

    There is a major, comprehensive, study currently underway by the EPA. Let’s see what they find. The full 140 page study plan is posted, and it outlines all of the different ways that it would be theoretically possible for problems to occur. The official web site for the study is at

    http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/02ad90b136fc21ef8...

    That said, the fears in this article and in the previous comment appear to be overblown. To date there have been no verified reports of any aquifer contamination by the actual stimulation (fracking) of deep shale.

    Pennsylvania: The EPA examined reports of water contamination at Dimock PA and found no evidence of any fracing fluids or any drilling caused water contamination. In Pennsylvania the shale is very deep and the ground water is shallow. There is naturally occurring methane in the ground water in the area, and the casing failed on one well by Cabot which released additional methane (natural gas, but no fracing fluids) which may (or may not) have added to the methane in a half dozen water wells. Cabot provided venting systems for the affected water wells and says they have upgraded their wells so this should not recur. Many water wells in the area not impacted by gas wells also require venting of methane. Water wells in that area usually do not have casing and often suffer from surface contamination such as leaks from septic fields and/or dumping of used motor oil in back yards.

    Wyoming: The EPA examined reports of pollution involving a much shallower shale and much deeper water wells. It looked like there might have been a possibility that the gas wells had caused water pollution. The EPA •Pavillion Groundwater Investigation (WY) data is at http://www2.epa.gov/region8/pavillion However, the EPA did not find evidence that the gas wells had caused any such pollution, and abandoned the study.

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Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1808296, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/17/2014 7:58:29 PM

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