Better World Club

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What The Frack?!?!?

The Oil and Gas Industries are Pumping Millions of Gallons of Dangerous Chemicals Into the Ground, and Nobody's Regulating Them

Gosh, the EPA Must Be Too Busy Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Cars... No, Wait, They're Not Doing That Either

Well, Maybe They're All Too Busy Lining Up Jobs in the Oil, Chemical, and Mining Industries Before January 2009

Fracturing ("fracking") fluids are toxic chemical cocktails that companies drilling for oil or natural gas use to break up rock below ground. The ingredients that make up these fracking fluids are a closely held and unregulated secret, and can include almost any set of chemicals.

The EPA okayed the use of these fluids in 2004, deeming them safe for groundwater and the environment. In 2005, Congress exempted fracking fluids from the Safe Drinking Water Act, due to the fact that they are usually pumped into the ground far below water tables.

Pumping millions of gallons of toxic chemicals into the ground? Great idea! What could possibly go wrong? Well, plenty. Recently, an employee at an energy-services company in Colorado got caught in a fracking fluid spill (that was never officially reported). The worker experienced headaches and nausea and was taken to the emergency room. The chemical stench given off by the sick man was so great that the ER was locked down and hospital staff were ordered to wear protective masks and gowns. The nurse who attended the sick man got sick herself several days later and was admitted into the intensive care unit with a swollen liver, erratic blood counts, and lungs filling with fluid.

This incident was caused by a mere 130-gallon spill. Millions of gallons of fracking fluid are being pumped into the ground. With all of the new drilling permits being issued by our fossil fuel-loving president (in the Rocky Mountain region alone, 33,000 new wells have been approved since 2001), it's only a matter of time before a major spill occurs.

Also, what about the long-term effects of pumping unregulated toxic chemicals into the ground? Not to be a baby about this, but our food and drinking water come from the ground, too. You think maybe we should be paying more attention to what we're pumping down there?

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  • Not to over-simply it, but wow. Yikes.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At August 28, 2008 at 8:18 PM  

  • thanks for the facts.I am in Arkansas
    where politicians,landowners,& natural gas companies are singing praises of cash flow.There is rare mention of toxic damage.Who is paying attention?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At August 28, 2008 at 8:27 PM  

  • I understand that New York City's water supply (currently unfiltered) is under attack from oil and gas companies wishing to use this technology in the water shed that supplies NYC.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At August 28, 2008 at 9:13 PM  

  • I am horrified by what is happening, and also glad to see that it is finally getting some more attention. Orion magazine did an expose of these practices a couple of years ago, Voices from the Gas Fields:

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At August 29, 2008 at 5:51 AM  

  • I just read on Energy Tommorow's web page that fracking is enviormentally safe,and I quote"In sixty years of fracking and over one million wells drilled there has not been one confirmed case of drinking water contamination."Can you show me different?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At March 5, 2010 at 4:39 PM  

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