Deviant Login Shop  Join deviantART for FREE Take the Tour

Details

Closed to new replies
January 7, 2013
Link

Statistics

Replies: 98

Fracking and the EPA

:icontheredsnifit:
TheRedSnifit Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013
[link]
:iconfplz:racking and the shale gas boom are essentially the only good things happening to the US economy right now, so naturally the EPA is taking steps to fix those problems.

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," uses water and trace amounts of chemicals to create tiny fissures in deep-rock formations and coax energy-laden molecules to flow toward the surface. Countless studies have shown no negative environmental effects as a result, but the White House needs Green funding and is demanding regulations anyways.

So to drum up support the Environmental Protection Agency has investigated fracking in three locations. In Texas and Pennsylvania, the EPA was unable to establish a link between fracking and groundwater contamination, the main ill effect that critics warn against. But the agency claims to have found a smoking gun at its third test site, in Pavillion, Wyo. There, according to draft findings, EPA investigators found "compounds likely associated with gas production practices, including hydraulic fracturing" appearing at levels "below established health and safety standards."

The Pavillion study involves two water wells drilled by the agency in 2010 to test groundwater quality. Experts from the Wyoming Water Development Commission and elsewhere sharply criticized the EPA's results on several grounds, including that EPA investigators didn't follow their own guidelines on the timeliness of the testing and the purity of the water samples. The federal Bureau of Land Management said that "much more robust" testing would be needed to properly draw conclusions. So the EPA agreed to test the wells again, in April and May of last year 2012. In October, it claimed again to have found contaminated water.

But wait!

Unfortunately for the EPA, the U.S. Geological Survey had conducted tests alongside the EPA, and its investigators reported different results. Unlike the EPA, the USGS failed to find any traces of glycols or 2-butoxyethanol, fracking-related chemicals that could cause serious health issues if they entered the water supply at levels the EPA considers contamination. Meanwhile, the USGS found significantly lower concentrations of other materials identified by the EPA—including phenol, potassium and diesel-range organics—which might not have resulted from the fracking at all. The phenols were likely introduced accidentally in the laboratory, for example, and potassium might be naturally occurring or the result of potash contained in the cement used to build the EPA wells.

The USGS also noted that in constructing the monitoring wells, the EPA used a "black painted/coated carbon steel casing," and EPA photographs show that investigators used a painted device to catch sand from the wells. The problem is that paint can contain a variety of compounds that distort test results—so it is poor scientific practice to use painted or coated materials in well-monitoring tests.

The EPA, of course, is less concerned with science than they are with pleasing the green lobby, however. They initially refused to disclose this information, then later released it only while attempting to deflect criticism by releasing more test results and claiming that its data are "generally consistent" with the USGS findings. These actions only muddied the matter and postponed the peer-review process until after Jan. 15.

As the Tulsa-based energy and water-management firm ALL Consulting concluded: "Close review of the EPA draft report and associated documents reveals a number of concerns about the methodology, sampling results, and study findings and conclusions. These concerns stem from apparent errors in sampling and laboratory analysis, incomplete information that makes it difficult to assess the validity of the results, and EPA's failure to seriously consider alternative explanations for the results of its investigation. . . . Taken together, these concerns call into question the validity of EPA's analytical results and their conclusions regarding the sources of the reported contamination."




The most entertaining part of this entire fiasco is that the shale boom has reduced the US's carbon footprint far more than the Kyoto Protocol has for other countries. While a 10% emissions increase may seem like a lot, it's really quite low compared to other countries: Australia, for instance, pledged to let carbon increase by no more than 8%. Instead its 1990-2010 emissions rose 47.5%. The Netherlands promised a 6% cut but wound up with 20% higher emissions by the end of 2010. Canada, one of the pact's most enthusiastic early backers, committed to a 6% cut but saw a 24% emissions increase above 1990 levels (In 2011 Ottawa announced it was withdrawing from Kyoto to avoid the penalties it would have to face for missing the target, as have New Zealand, Russia, and Japan). The EU as a whole looks like it'll make its targets, although this is largely because of economic stagnation and the closure of inefficient Soviet-era plants.

Discuss

:iconpieflavoranimatedplz:
Reply

You can no longer comment on this thread as it was closed due to no activity for a month.

Devious Comments

:iconsexy-cowboy-predator:
Sexy-Cowboy-Predator Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
The EPA is as crooked at the FDA and USDA. Fracking should be an issue left to the community that it effects. Some communties will welcome it because it brings jobs, others will close their doors because of possible side effects. Longmont, Colorado is a good example of this. The people of Longmont were given the choice of whether or not to allow fracking through a vote, and fracking lost. Rightly or wrongly I can not say, but it was a choice that was given to the people, not the government or the gas/oil companies, so Id say it was a success.
Reply
:iconkillerfreya:
KillerFreya Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, screw people who can't drink their own water anymore.
Reply
:icontheredsnifit:
TheRedSnifit Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013
Except there was no contamination. Oh, well.
Reply
:iconkillerfreya:
KillerFreya Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Tell that to my aunt and uncle.
Reply
:icontheredsnifit:
TheRedSnifit Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013
Tell that to the USGS, who after elaborate scientific procedure found no indication that there was any contamination.
Reply
:iconkillerfreya:
KillerFreya Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Except that they had to move because their water was fucked and nobody would do anything about it because no contamination exists, right? That fire coming out of their faucet is just an illusion.
Reply
:icontheredsnifit:
TheRedSnifit Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013
I turned on my faucet once and a hippopotamus came out. Clearly, this green energy is contaminating my water with hippos!

The point being that I'm only going to accept actual scientific evidence, not anecdotes by people online. And so far, the evidence from the USGS says that no, fracking is not contaminating the water.
Reply
:iconbeesull:
BeeSull Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013
I agree with Freya. I live in PA and people HAVE been forced from their homes.

I wish it weren't so, but it is.
Reply
:iconkillerfreya:
KillerFreya Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh hey, let me google that for you:
[link]

And hey, look what it says:
"Several different hydrocarbon gasses, including methane, ethane, propane, and several higher molecular weight compounds, were detected in the groundwater-quality samples."
And a separate statement from them: "Oil and gas development and production operations at
the surface and below ground can affect water quality."
Only took me 5 minutes to find.

USGS statement to NY:
[link]
If it's too hard for you to read, it was awfully nice of them to have underlined sections.
Oh, look what's in the 3rd paragraph:
"Methane contamination of domestic water wells has occurred near selected shale-gas development sites in north-central Pennsylvania (Osborn and others, 2011)"

Not only that, but this too.
[link]

Either way, every state is different. What Just because a well in Arkansas doesn't show contamination doesn't mean a well in Wyoming or Pennsylvaia won't and vice versa.

YO DAWG WE HEARD YOU LIKE NATURAL GAS SO WE PUT NATURAL GAS IN YOUR WATER SO YOU CAN BURN WHILE YOU DRINK

I'm not totally opposed, but right now there's too little information, the technology hasn't caught up enough, and asking the companies to be responsible is like asking the banks to stop fucking up the economy again and again.
Reply
:icontheawsomeopossum:
TheAwsomeOpossum Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013
Well, I guess let's hope the EPA takes a second look at their studies then.

I rather doubt that Fracking is innocent of problems... there are things that go on which are pretty bad. On the other hand, I know the rumors can also be unrealistically exaggerated, like they are in Gasland.

So let's take another look at it.
Reply
Add a Comment: