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House Democrats Say Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Contain Toxic Ingredients

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somone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-16-11 11:35 PM
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House Democrats Say Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Contain Toxic Ingredients
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704487904576267690277252796.html

House Democrats Say Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Contain Toxic Ingredients
By STEPHEN POWER

WASHINGTON -- The drilling fluids used to recover natural gas and oil from deep shale formations contain substances identified as human carcinogens, or listed as hazardous under federal clean air or water rules, according to a report issued late Saturday by senior House Democrats... The composition of hydraulic fracturing fluids has become a key point of tension between the oil and gas industry, which has been reluctant to disclose the specific contents of drilling fluids, and those who say such disclosure is necessary to determine whether hydraulic fracturing poses a threat to drinking water...

Citing data submitted by the companies to the House Energy and Commerce Committee in response to requests from the panel's Democratic members, the report says that drilling fluids used by the companies contained 29 chemicals that are known or possible human carcinogens, regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act for their risks to human health, or listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. Among these substances, according to the report: Methanol, benzene, sulfuric acid and lead... The Democratic report, says that between 2005 and 2009, more than a dozen leading energy companies have used more than 780 million gallons of drilling fluids containing roughly 750 different chemicals and components...

Under current law, most hydraulic fracturing is exempted from regulation by the EPA under the Safe Drinking Water act. The report could stir further calls by some lawmakers for federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing, which involves injecting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals underground at high pressures to release oil from hydrocarbon deposits. "It is deeply disturbing to discover the content and quantity of toxic chemicals, like benzene and lead, being injected into the ground without the knowledge of the communities whose health could be affected," said Rep. Diana DeGette (D., Colo.) who released the report along with Mr. Waxman and Rep. Edward Markey (D., Mass.)

"Of particular concern to me is that we learned that over the four-year period studied, over one and a half million gallons of carcinogens were injected into the ground in Colorado. Many companies were also unable to even identify some of the chemicals they were using in their own activities, unfortunately underscoring that voluntary industry disclosure is not enough to ensure the economic benefits of natural gas production do not come at the cost of our families' health."

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Liberal_in_LA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-16-11 11:46 PM
Response to Original message
1. k&r for the environment
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mwdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-16-11 11:54 PM
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2. Kick, because I live within a 1/2 mile of a gas well
This is Texas, baby!! No one in my neighborhood questioned the fracking problem, but me. And the answer I got, was there was no problem with the fracking chemicals. They lie and lie and lie. This was Chesapeake Drilling. I was interested because I've gone through two cancers in the 5 years I've lived here, so I'd like to know where my next carcinogen is coming from!!
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The Wielding Truth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-16-11 11:55 PM
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3. To our human bodies fresh water is more precious than natural gas.
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Overseas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 12:07 AM
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4. K&R. Shocking facts we wish we didn't know.
The benevolent seeming easy natural gas on the TV commercials make no mention of needing to shoot millions of gallons of carcinogens into the ground to force the stuff up.

Solar seems far less expensive when these ugly facts about easy natural gas are taken into account. When we learn that natural gas producers needed an EXEMPTION to the Safe Drinking Water Act to get their product out of the ground.

780 million gallons of drilling fluids containing roughly 750 different chemicals over a four year period? Sounds like a way to diversify the liability among a broader group. Can't sue one particular producer because hundreds of chemicals were used. Can't be sure where the increased cancer rates are coming from because it could be several of the cocktail chemicals.

If the safety of our fellow citizens and their children were the main concern, the number and type of chemicals used would be much more restricted and carefully monitored. But it seems like the liability of the natural gas industry has been the primary concern.

We've done more reckless things like this because it is considered a basic bottom line that the USA will do whatever is necessary to generate more fossil fuels because we need the energy.

And solar is "too expensive." It is only "too expensive" for the oil companies and nuclear industry because it could cut into their profits in a minor way. It is only too expensive if compared to old fossil fuels and dangerous monopoly energy sources with their exemptions from liability, with the public picking up the tabs for their massive spills and gallons of poisons used to sustain them.

Solar is only "too expensive" if public health is devalued in the equation.
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Cresent City Kid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 12:10 AM
Response to Original message
5. There's a law being proposed in Texas to compel disclosure
However, it makes concessions that protect "trade secrets". From what I gather, the government will have the full contents, but keep confidentiality. The drilling companies would be required to post ingredients online, with an exemption for trade secrets, which is most of the poisin. Also, health care providers will have access to the true nature of the chemical constituents in some situations, but must also abide by a condidentialty agreement.

The bill is only 12 pages, and fairly straightforward. I must confess I've only skimmed it.
http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/pdf/HB03328I.pdf

It's endorsed by some environmental groups, but I think it falls short. It seems to wait for medical emergencies before even half-assed disclosure is achieved.
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I Drink Water Donating Member (80 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 12:11 AM
Response to Original message
6. This man agrees
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AdHocSolver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 01:45 AM
Response to Original message
7. K and R.
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