In the News
Fracking Debate Needs Health Professionals' Input
New York recognized that fracking iis a public health issue, a policy other states should follow, says Michael Thorne Kelly, Ph.D., Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project; David Brown, Sc.D., Public Health Toxicologist, Environment and Human Health; Nancy Alderman, MES, president, Environment and Human Health Inc.; and Elisabeth Radow, Esq., Radow Law PLLC North Haven. Read the letter in the New Haven Register here.
Gov. Cuomo Bans Fracking in New York State
Concerns about health risks prompted Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State. Environmental groups welcomed the decision after years of debate over the controversial method of natural gas extraction. Read the New York Times article by Thomas Kaplan here.
Depends on who's funding the study: Yale and Penn State differ
A Yale University survey supported by environmental groups showed higher rates of health issues reported by people living within a kilometer of fracking wells in Washington County. In contrast, a Penn State University study funded by industry groups found that fracking water that remains deep underground after a well is finished will stay trapped away from groundwater supplies. Read the Pittsburgh Tribune article by David Conti here.
One-third of potentially toxic fracking chemicals remain untested
As the U.S. fracking boom continues to expand, the American Chemical Societ, says that out of 190 commonly used compounds, hardly any toxicity information is available for one-third of them. In addition, another eight fracking fluid compounds, the researchers found, are proved to be toxic to mammals. A 2013 study found that fracking fluids contain endocrine disruptors, which mimic estrogen and can contribute to hormonal diseases, cancer and infertility. Read the article in Newsweek by Zoë Schlanger here.
New York accepts radioactive fracking waste in landfills
Despite New York's moratorium on fracking, radioactive waste is making its way into the state. A recent study found that naturally occurring radiation levels in the Marcellus Shale, where fracking is booming, are three times higher than in other rock layers. Listen to the PRI report here.
Ohio scientist tests water before and after fracking
Since 2012, University of Cincinnati scientist Amy Townsend-Small has tested more than 100 private water wells at the epicenter of the Utica Shale. The study is one of only a few in the nation to evaluate drinking water quality before, during and after gas drilling. Read the article in Inside Climate News by Lisa Song here.
Exxon CEO sues fracking project, citing harm to his property values
Rex Tillerson heads the country's largest hydraulic fracturing company, but the ExxonMobil CEO is suing to stop the noise from construction of a fracking-supply water tower next to his $5-million home. Less powerful people have protested fracking development to prevent impacts more consequential than noise, including water contamination and cancer risk. Read the ClimateProgress story by Rebecca Leber here.
The CT Mirror: No fracking in Connecticut, but what about its waste?
"I want to protect Connecticut from fracking waste," said Loni Reed, co-chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, "But I don't want to be one of those states that say, 'We want your gas, but we don't want the byproducts.'" Four bills under consideration by the General Assembly range from an outright ban to a bill that would open the door to treating waste in the state. The bill the Malloy administration seems to be embracing would pave the way to treating fracking waste in Connecicut. Read the full story by Jan Ellen Spiegel here.
Proposed policy would allow fracking waste to be shipped via waterways
The U.S. Coast Guard says a new policy wouldl allow shale gas companies to ship fracking wastewater on the nation's rivers and lakes. Public comment is being sought about whether companies should be allowed to transport wastewater from Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale. Read the full policy on the Coast Guard's website. Click here to post a public comment.
NY clean water advocates warn of fracking waste on roads
Fracking fluid can be spread on roads for use as a deicer or dust control agent if special permission is obtained from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. It can run off into school playgrounds, residential properties, and farmland, and can ultimately contaminate rivers, streams, and underground aquifers that feed local drinking water supplies.
Read more at Riverkeeper.org.
Warning about fracking and climate change from a former Mobil executive
"[Industry was] just starting to [think about climate change] in the 1990s," says Louis W. Allstadt, a former Mobil Oil VP. "When I first heard about it I thought climate change was overblown. The fracking that's going on right now is the real wake-up call on just what extreme lengths are required to pull oil or gas out of the ground now that most of the conventional reservoirs have been exploited—at least those that are easy to access."
See Allstadt's interview with Ellen Cantarow at Truthout.
Study shows shale fracking waste disposal is boon to industry
The rapid expansion of natural gas and oil well drilling using "fracking" methods in shale deposits has led to speculation that the waste disposal industry will reap a $30 billion-per-year benefit. Oil and natural gas embedded in rock is "fracked" by pumping in an estimated 136 billion gallons of water a year in the United States and Canada. Once used, the water must be treated before disposal. Oil and gas exploration and production waste is exempt from federal hazardous waste regulation, which is yet another reason why Connecticut needs to be protected from fracking waste coming into our state.
The Times-Picayune, Mark Schleifstein: Read more.
Assessing the risks of fracking in New York
New York needs to be diligent where Pennsylvania has been careless, warns David Brown, Sc.D., a public health toxicologist with the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project. "The people often placed at risk are not necessarily benefiting or employed by the gas extraction industry," he writes. "They are free citizens who have had these risks imposed on them. No one, especially ourselves as public health officials, can assure people who live, work, or attend school near drilling and fracking operations that they are safe."
Read the OpEd, 3/9/2013
EPA Names Expert Panel to Review Fracking Study
The Environmental Protection Agency's science advisory board named 31 experts to review a long-awaited report on the natural gas and oil extraction method commonly known as "fracking." The EPA said on Monday the panel consists of "five current employees of companies and consulting firms; two government employees; and 21 academics or university professors (including some previously employed in industry)."
Read story from Reuters, 03/27/2013
Judge Upholds Companies' Right to Keep Fracking Ingredients Secret
A county judge has ruled against environmental groups, finding that Wyoming's state oil and gas supervisor was correct to withhold fracking-chemical ingredient lists as "trade secrets. In a landmark case, attorneys for Wyoming and oilfield services company Halliburton won the right to withhold from the public the chemical lubricants and fracking fluids used to split open oil- and gas-bearing rocks.
Read AP story by Mead Gruver, 03/25/2013
West Virginia to Use Fracking Gas Well Brine on Winter Roads
Salty wastewater from natural gas wells may end up on West Virginia roads this winter, as the result of a new agreement between the state departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation. The agreement to allow highway crews to treat snow- and ice-coated roads with brine establishes new limits for pH, iron, barium, lead, oil and grease, benzene and ethylbenzene. Click to read more.
NPR: Environmentalists Oppose Shipping Fracking Waste by Barge
Oil and gas drilling has increased in states like Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio recently. Hydraulic fracturing has created a lot of something else: liquid waste. Now, one disposal company has come up with a controversial plan for transporting fracking waste via barges rather than trucks. "Environmentalist Elisa Young says a barge accident would be much worse than an accident on land. A barge spill could dump more than four million gallons of waste into a primary drinking water source."
NPR Morning Edition, Fred Kight: Transcript
North Dakota Family Shaken by Fracking Boom
The shale boom is adversely affecting the lives and health prairie dwellers whose homes are located near the Baaken Shale, stretching from North Dakota to Canada.Politicians, Republican and Democrat alike, see fracking as a step toward energy independence, but Native Americans and families impacted by drilling view it as an assault. "Like the petroleum locked in the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, shale oil is hard to get at even with the most advanced technologies. All of the extra effort involved in extraction means that Bakken oil has an especially heavy impact – on water resources, on land use, on wildlife and habitat, on the fabric of communities. The oil rush in North Dakota has turned life there inside out. As White Earth rancher Scott Davis puts it: "We're collateral damage."
The Guardian, James William Gibson: Read more.