Fracking is a controversial drilling technique in which millions of gallons of chemically treated, toxic water are injected underground at high pressure to fracture rock formations and release natural gas and oil deposits inside the rock…with poor regulation and oversight, all for the sake of short-term profits. Hydraulic fracking produces approximately 300,000 barrels of natural gas a day but at the price of numerous environmental, safety, and health hazards.
There is no question that fracking has economic and energy security benefits. Recent estimates show the United States holds nearly 1,000 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas in its shale gas deposits. According to the Energy Information Administration, shale gas plays, or fields, in the United States–most notably the Marcellus, in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New York, and the Barnett, in Texas are said to contain enough natural gas to power the country for 110 years. The fracking process has been going on for several years now and when it first started, the industry was given a “free pass” on most environmental concerns. They were allowed specifically to keep the chemical cocktails secret because they were “proprietary formulas.”Gas is a fossil fuel in replacing coal for electricity which is the global goal. It means that we can reduce CO2 emissions by more than 50 percent.
The energy industry has long insisted that hydraulic fracking the practice of fracturing rock to extract gas and oil deep beneath the earth’s surface is safe for people who live nearby. New research suggests this is not true for some of the most vulnerable humans: newborn infants. It has been found that proximity to fracking increased the likelihood of low birth weight by more than half, from about 5.6 percent to more than 9 percent. The chances of a low Apgar score, a summary measure of the health of newborn children, roughly doubled, to more than 5 percent. While the study strongly indicates that fracking is bad for infant health, more work is needed to understand why. Surprisingly, water contamination does not appear to be the only culprit: The researchers found similar results for mothers who had access to regularly monitored public water systems and mothers who relied on the kind of private wells that fracking is most likely to affect. Another possibility is that infants are being harmed by air pollution associated with the fracking activity.
Up to 600 chemicals are used in fracking fluid, including known carcinogens and toxins such as… (See list at bottom) The fracking fluid is then pressure injected into the ground through a drilled pipeline. 72 trillion gallons of water and 360 billion gallons of chemicals are needed to run our current gas wells. During this process, methane gas and toxic chemicals leach out from the system and contaminate nearby groundwater. Methane concentrations are 17x higher in drinking-water wells near fracturing sites than in normal wells. There have been over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination next to areas of gas drilling as well as cases of sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage due to ingested contaminated water. Only 30-50% of the fracturing fluid is recovered, the rest of the toxic fluid is left in the ground and is not biodegradable. The waste fluid is left in open air pits to evaporate, releasing harmful VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere, creating contaminated air, acid rain, and ground level ozone.
In his 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama pledged to require “all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use” and to “develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.” The Department of the Interior estimates that 90 percent of the 3,400 wells drilled each year on public and Indian lands use fracking. On May 16, 2013, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a revised proposed rule for hydraulic fracturing on federal public lands (commonly referred to as fracking). The new proposed rule not only ignores concerns about the public health and environmental risks of the natural gas drilling method, it also disregards recommendations by lawmakers and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Shale Gas Production Subcommittee, which called for transparency and full public chemical disclosure. The proposed rule suggests the agency has placed industry concerns ahead of public health and safety. It also contradicts the new data standards the Obama administration issued by executive order.
On May 16, the Obama Interior Department announced its long-awaited rules governing hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) on federal lands. As part of its 171-page document of rules, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), part of the U.S. Dept. of Interior (DOI), revealed it will adopt the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model bill written by Exxon Mobil for fracking chemical fluid disclosure on U.S. public lands.
The public has voiced concerns about the lack of reporting and water testing requirements prior to drilling. The proposed rule would not require drillers to disclose the chemicals they are using until 30 days after drilling. BLM explained that it agreed with oil and gas industry comments, which opposed pre-disclosure of chemical constituents, primarily because of trade secrets concerns and that chemicals used may change. Without such pre-drilling disclosure, public health officials cannot track changes in water and air quality and guard against toxins seeping into groundwater and/or threatening public health. The lack of such information also prevents lawmakers, communities, and public inspectors from holding companies accountable if contamination occurs. This amounts to giving drilling companies a free pass to decide what chemical information they want kept secret, with no oversight or review.
The following is a list of the chemicals used most often:
Hydrochloric Acid 007647-01-0 – Helps dissolve minerals and initiate cracks in the rock Acid
Glutaraldehyde 000111-30-8 – Eliminates bacteria in the water that produces corrosive by-products -Biocide
Quaternary Ammonium Chloride 012125-02-9 -Eliminates bacteria in the water that produces corrosive by-products -Biocide
Quaternary Ammonium Chloride 061789-71-1 -Eliminates bacteria in the water that produces corrosive by-products -Biocide
Tetrakis Hydroxymethyl-Phosphonium Sulfate 055566-30-8 -Eliminates bacteria in the water that produces corrosive by-products -Biocide
Ammonium Persulfate 007727-54-0 -Allows a delayed break down of the gel-Breaker
Sodium Chloride 007647-14-5 -Product Stabilizer-Breaker
Magnesium Peroxide 014452-57-4-Allows a delayed break down the gel- Breaker
Magnesium Oxide 001309-48-4-Allows a delayed break down the gel- Breaker
Calcium Chloride 010043-52-4 -Product Stabilizer-BreakerCholine Chloride 000067-48-1 Prevents clays from swelling or shifting- Clay StabilizerTetramethyl ammonium chloride 000075-57-0-Prevents clays from swelling or shifting-Clay StabilizerSodium Chloride 007647-14-5-Prevents clays from swelling or shifting-Clay StabilizerIsopropanol 000067-63-0-Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent Corrosion InhibitorMethanol 000067-56-1-Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agentCorrosion InhibitorFormic Acid 000064-18-6-Prevents the corrosion of the pipe Corrosion InhibitorAcetaldehyde 000075-07-0-Prevents the corrosion of the pipe Corrosion InhibitorPetroleum Distillate-064741-85-1-Carrier fluid for borate or zirconate crosslinker CrosslinkerHydrotreated Light Petroleum Distillate-064742-47-8 Carrier fluid for borate or zirconate crosslinker-CrosslinkerPotassium Metaborate 013709-94-9-Maintains fluid viscosity as temperature increases- CrosslinkerTriethanolamine Zirconate-101033-44-7-Maintains fluid viscosity as temperature increases- CrosslinkerSodium Tetraborate-001303-96-4-Maintains fluid viscosity as temperature increases- CrosslinkerBoric Acid 001333-73-9-Maintains fluid viscosity as temperature increases-CrosslinkerZirconium Complex-113184-20-6-Maintains fluid viscosity as temperature increases- CrosslinkerBorate Salts-N/A- Maintains fluid viscosity as temperature increases-CrosslinkerEthylene Glycol-000107-21-1- Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent.-CrosslinkerMethanol-000067-56-1-Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent.- CrosslinkerPolyacrylamide-009003-05-8- “Slicks” the water to minimize friction- Friction ReducerPetroleum Distillate-064741-85-1-Carrier fluid for polyacrylamide friction reducer-Friction ReducerHydrotreated Light Petroleum Distillate-064742-47-8- Carrier fluid for polyacrylamide friction reducer-Friction ReducerMethanol-000067-56-1-Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent.- Friction ReducerEthylene Glycol-000107-21-1- Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent.- Friction ReducerPuar Gum-009000-30-0-Thickens the water in order to suspend the sand- Gelling AgentPetroleum Distillate-064741-85-1-Carrier fluid for guar gum in liquid gels-Gelling AgentHydrotreated Light Petroleum Distillate-064742-47-8- Carrier fluid for guar gum in liquid gels-Gelling AgentMethanol-000067-56-1-Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent. – Gelling AgentPolysaccharide Blend-068130-15-4-Thickens the water in order to suspend the sand-Gelling AgentEthylene Glycol-000107-21-1- Product stabilizer and/or winterizing agent.- Gelling Agent
Citric Acid-000077-92-9 -Prevents precipitation of metal oxides-Iron Control
Acetic Acid- 000064-19-7-Prevents precipitation of metal oxides-Iron Control
Thioglycolic Acid-000068-11-1-Prevents precipitation of metal oxides-Iron Control
Sodium Erythorbate-006381-77-7-Prevents precipitation of metal oxides-Iron Control
Lauryl Sulfate-000151-21-3-Used to prevent the formation of emulsions in the fracture fluid-Non-Emulsifier
Isopropano-l000067-63-0-Product stabilizer and/or winterizing agent.- Non-Emulsifier
Ethylene Glycol-000107-21-1- Product stabilizer and/or winterizing agent. Non-Emulsifier
Sodium Hydroxide-001310-73-2-Adjusts the pH of fluid to maintains the effectiveness of other components, such as crosslinkers-pH Adjusting Agent
Potassium Hydroxide-001310-58-3-Adjusts the pH of fluid to maintains the effectiveness of other components, such as crosslinkers- pH Adjusting Agent
Acetic Acid- 000064-19-7-Adjusts the pH of fluid to maintains the effectiveness of other components, such as crosslinkers- pH Adjusting Agent
Sodium Carbonate00497-19-8-Adjusts the pH of fluid to maintains the effectiveness of other components, such as crosslinkers- pH Adjusting Agent
Potassium Carbonate-000584-08-7-Adjusts the pH of fluid to maintains the effectiveness of other components, such as crosslinkers- pH Adjusting Agent
Copolymer of Acrylamide and Sodium Acrylate-025987-30-8-Prevents scale deposits in the pipe-Scale Inhibitor
Sodium Polycarboxylate N/A-Prevents scale deposits in the pipe-Scale Inhibitor
Phosphonic Acid Salt-N/A-Prevents scale deposits in the pipe-Scale Inhibitor
Lauryl Sulfate-0151-21-3-Used to increase the viscosity of the fracture fluid-Surfactant
Ethanol-00064-17-5-product stabilizer and/or winterizing agent.- Surfactant
Naphthalene-000091-20-3-Carrier fluid for the active surfactant ingredients-Surfactant
Methanol-000067-56-1-Product stabilizer and/or winterizing agent.- Surfactant
Isopropyl Alcohol-000067-63-0-Product stabilizer and/or winterizing agent.- Surfactant
2-Butoxyethanol-000111-76-2-Product stabilizer- Surfactant
Now you I trust have read the above so what should you now do concerning what is noted above. You could shake your head and tell a friend that America is going down the tube and stand by and watch it happen feeling that you are just a single individual and you have no real power to cause things to happen. Well if that is what you think it will happen and America will go down the tube. On the other hand, you can make your views on this or any subject that you deem of value. The truth of this matter is that your voice is very powerful for others do not use theirs.
OKAY, I applaud you for reading the above for most will not take the time to do so. It is not that they do not care unfortunately it is that today most people, it is my belief, want a quick fix and short answers. Many also do not want to spend the time researching the problem for correct answers. It is my belief that this is a good part of the problem that America finds itself in at this present time. All agree that in order to live in this society that we now live in we do need energy, also that energy must be affordable and available. So we go into the ground thinking only in the short-term damaging our nation and ourselves as individuals look for quick fixes.