Motherfrackers: the Dangers of Hydrofracking and Coal Seam Gas Mining

Doug Michael

I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss something that affects every human being on the planet. This is something so vast in scope and so potentially catastrophic that if people cannot put aside all of our petty differences and unite behind a common goal to put a stop to it, we may very well be sealing the fate of our very extinction.

What I’d like to discuss today is insidious and has enormous implications for all life on this planet. It is a massively destructive act that benefits those who profit from the ruin of their fellows and the desecration of the environment. The implications of this absolute crime against humanity and the Earth and its creatures, are absolutely vast in scope. Of all of the destructive acts occurring, i.e. the use of depleted uranium in the elite’s endless wars, massive oil blowouts destroying the waters due to irresponsible drilling practices, extensive aerosol spray operations, endless deforestation, genetically modified organisms in the food supply, fluoridation of the drinking water and so many other things that could be mentioned, this particular practice is perhaps one of the the most dangerous because it greatly threatens the world’s fresh water supply. What I’m referring to is a gas mining technique known as hydraulic fracturing.

Hydraulic fracturing, hydrofracking, or simply “fracking” for short, is a technique utilized for obtaining natural gas located deep within the Earth’s shale and coal formations. Extraction techniques include drilling thousands of feet into the Earth to obtain the natural gas that is trapped within the shale. A toxic brew of hazardous chemicals is injected deep into the Earth to extract the natural gas form the shale. Tens of thousands of gallons of the chemical soup is forced into the Earth at tremendous pressure and at depths of up to 15,000 feet or more. Thanks to provisions put into place by the Bush administration in 2005, this industry is woefully under regulated. The industry is exempt from the Safe Water Drinking Act which means that companies that use this technique for natural gas mining do not have to disclose the chemicals that are used in the process and this has become known as the “Halliburton loophole.” Halliburton is the company that pioneered hydrofracking. Mining companies are also exempt from the Clean Air Act and many other environmental regulations. Hundreds of volatile, highly toxic chemicals are used in the process and the millions of gallons of water used for a single frack becomes contaminated and must be disposed of. Unfortunately, most of the toxic mix remains in the ground and with the lack of regulation, the problem is most likely far worse than we’ve realized.

How fortunate for the industry that they do not have to disclose the chemicals they use in the fracking process because these chemicals destroy drinking water, land, wildlife and leave a trail of environmental destruction. There are countless incidents of widespread devastation due to accidents caused by this destructive mining practice. Hydrofracking often destroys rivers, streams and aquafirs rendering the water unusable and highly toxic. The destruction of aquafirs is monumental in scope as there is not very much potable, drinkable water on the planet. The Earth is made up roughly of 71% water. Of that water, only 1% is drinkable and much of it is polluted. Rendering the aquifers unusable is completely insane and it is suicide.

Aquifers are water reservoirs located deep under ground. The fracking process often causes spillage of chemicals into the aquifers rendering them poisoned and useless, that is unless you wish to use the water to start fires! Sometimes, the water becomes so contaminated with methane gas, that it can actually be set on fire! There are videos available in which you can actually watch people light their tap water on fire:

wateronfirefracking
Due to the contamination of fresh water wells, many people that live near fracking sites are able to set their tap water on fire.

Unfortunately, these incidents of environmental destruction are not just a few isolated cases; they are rampant due to the lack of regulation of this industry and the insatiable greed of those that would kill the Earth and its inhabitants for the sake of profit. Would most companies ensure the safety of their operations at great expense if they weren’t forced to do so by strict laws and regulations? Of course not. Fracking wells are being constructed all over the world so this is a problem that affects all of us. If there is no longer any fresh drinking water on the planet how will life continue on this planet? It will not, it cannot and humanity is now staring our very extinction in the face. Sleepy time is officially over. It’s time now to unite peacefully, put aside our petty differences and manufactured diversions and put a stop to this threat before it’s too late. Humanity has reached that critical juncture, the fork in the road where we now must decide where we go from here. Leaving this decision to those who have sold us out for greed and profit will only ensure our destruction. Those we employ to administer our human affairs are operating in breech of trust and they must be removed from power so that they cannot completely destroy what is left of this planet.

I am not an alarmist, a gloom and doom purveyor, a whacked out conspiracy theorist or any of the other ill-informed and mindless labels that get thrown at people that try to serve the truth. The situation has become very serious and critical and ignoring it will no longer be a viable option if there are to be any future generations on this planet. Neither will remaining within a powerless, dissociated consciousness help the situation. The new age fluff of simply ignoring the obvious and focusing on love and light will not work either. While I agree that we need to start seriously contemplating solutions, we simply cannot ignore that which moves all around us and hope it just fixes itself, if we just meditate and turn a blind eye to the problems.

The fracking industry is booming and the argument presented by the CEOs and their government lackeys is the need for independence from foreign dependency on fossil fuels. Of course, you never seem to hear them mention alternative technologies or new ways of doing things. Clearly, the technology that could seriously diminish our need for fossil fuels or even end it altogether, has existed for decades; however, there is no money in alternative, renewable energy. The greed is so insatiable that it could very well drive us to our very extinction and it is.

People who live near hydrofracking drill sites often become seriously ill due to the runoff of chemicals into the water supplies. Although the industry is not required to disclose the upwards of 750 chemicals that are used in the hydrofracking process, independent scientific studies have revealed the presence of chemicals such as: benzene (carcinogen), methanol (extremely poisonous), hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde, lead, sulfuric acid and a long list of many other chemicals, 29 of which are known carcinogens.1

As of 2009, there were more than 493,000 active gas wells in the US alone, of which, 90% used the controversial hydrofracking process. West Virginia, which sits atop a portion of the huge Marcelus shale formation, contains 55,000 wells. The Marcelus formation is tremendous and rests under most of West Virginia, most of Pennsylvania, eastern portions of Ohio, the southern region of New York, parts of Maryland, and the western portion of Virginia:

marcellushalemap
Map of the enormous Marcellus Shale formation.

Beneath the Marcelus formation is an even larger one called the Utica shale formation and the industry is foaming at the mouth trying to figure out how to drill deep enough to get to the gas that is contained within it.

Since natural gas is a very clean burning form of fuel, one of the arguments is that its use is more environmentally friendly. While this is true to an extent, the fracking process remains extremely dangerous and there have been numerous accidents around the world that have left the environment devastated in those areas.

Without water there can be no life as we know it. Water is the most valuable natural resource, not oil, gas, coal or any other resource. Our waters around the planet are already so massively polluted, so to destroy the planets aquifers would render the Earth a lifeless rock. All life as we know it depends on water. Our planet is being raped and strip mined for the sake of profit, when alternative ways of providing energy have existed for many decades.

As Max Igan has pointed out, the gas extractions in the state of Pennsylvania is not even benefiting the state, as the resources are mainly going to foreign corporations. Our resources are being plundered in a completely unsafe manner and people in the areas where the fracking is occurring often have their land and water destroyed as a result. In other instances, landowners are being approached by gas company representatives and are offered huge sums of money to lease their land to these companies. I can understand the allure of a check for a half-million dollars with the promise of much more down the line but I think that far too many people are jumping at the offers without seriously considering the consequences.

Gas wells are being constructed next to schools, rivers, streams watersheds and basically anywhere the shale formations exist and with no regard for the environmental impact the frack mining could have on those areas. People are selling out in droves for the promise of financial gain at the expense of the environment. Many people who are opposed to fracking are having their land destroyed anyway, as these gas companies move in and drill close to their lands without regard for the lives that are destroyed in the process.

Another potentially catastrophic thing to consider, is that both the US Army Corp of Engineers and the US Geological Survey have confirmed that deep well fluid injection causes subterranean instability in the Earth and actually triggers earthquakes.2 This has been known for 50 years and yet the massive scale of hydrofracking continues around the globe. There is growing speculation that many of the earthquakes that struck Oklahoma were caused by fracking.3 Oklahoma typically experiences about 50 earthquakes per year, but in 2010 that number spiked to an astounding 1,047! Oklahoma contains 185,000 drilling wells and hundreds of injection wells.4

A study conducted by the University of Texas in 2010 found that a series of quakes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area which occurred in 2008 and 2009, “may be the result of fluid injection.”5 In 1990, a report by the US Geological Survey concluded that fracking had caused earthquakes in New York, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio and Nebraska. The report pointed out over 70 earthquakes in Ohio in 1987 alone, which occurred near a hazardous waste disposal well.

It makes sense that deep underground drilling followed by high pressure injection to break the shale would cause instability leading to tremors and quakes and there is even drilling occurring near the New Madrid fault line.

New-Madrid-Fault-Earthquake-Zone
Map showing the New Madrid fault line.

The planet is being re-engineered and strip mined. Governments have admitted to engaging in aerosol spray operations commonly understood by the research community as chemtrails. This has been well known for over a decade by the kooky truth seekers and now has finally been admitted. The American government refers to the aerosol operations as “climate remediation,” while the British government calls it “geoengineering,” but in this author’s opinion, it is far more sinister in scope than mere weather modification.

chemtrails over utica
Chemtrail, aerosol spraying over Utica, NY, 2013.

I believe it’s clear to any thinking person that humanity has reached a crossroads and that the crises that we face must be dealt with if we are to have any future at all. The frack mining threatens to destroy fertile land and the planet’s drinking water. The chemtrails are poisoning the skies with a toxic mix which includes aluminum and barium particulates. The planet is raped without mercy in this insane system of plunder-produce-discard. Humanity is faced with a choice of the utmost importance. Sadly, large numbers of people remain completely unaware of these immense challenges or they simply do not care.

In the United States, the gas mining industry is wholly exempt from EPA regulation. This gives fracking companies a license to be careless and to cut corners on waste disposal. This is a recipe for disaster. Videos and documentaries exist showing absolute carelessness of fracking operations, including leaky pipes dumping toxic waste onto the ground:

The environmental destruction has also been widely documented. People that live near frack mining operations are becoming ill with neurological diseases as they are sickened by their contaminated water. Livestock has been destroyed and waterways poisoned. Without massive public outcry and peaceful noncompliance to this insanity, the strip mining of the earth will continue unabated.

People are selling out, turning over their lands for money and never even questioning what has caused the economic crisis in the first place. People are expected to say and do nothing about the absolute plundering of the environment all because some legislature drafted a so called law that says it’s OK to do this. A fictional law written down on a piece of paper makes it OK to rape the Earth in this way? The line in the sand must be drawn and we must certainly stop looking outside of ourselves to others to fix the problem. Politicians are bought and paid for. They are selling out in the name of economic growth, to the same consortium network that has orchestrated the economic collapse in the first place. Why are we allowing our lands to be destroyed in the name of foreign, corporate interests? Mankind has forgotten our place as stewards of the Earth as we sleep on while the Earth is destroyed right in front of us.

The fracking issue is something that can unite people and in many areas the growing awareness of this threat is stimulating a sense and a spirit of community as people band together; however, the people still remain divided between those that support fracking due to the promise of jobs and economic growth and those that see the bigger picture. If the massive increase in fracking is creating jobs, why is unemployment at an all time high? Why are fuel prices steadily rising if fracking half the country is providing so much natural gas?

In Sidney, NY, the town board recently voted unanimously to allow a 50-year franchise to the Leatrherstocking gas company to construct a natural gas pipeline. Local citizens were outraged and fear that this deal could lead to fracking in the area. NY was one of the last states to hold out with moratoriums postponing frack mining operations, but the politicians and legislatures have sold out and permits will soon be granted to allow for this destructive mining to take place in NY. Recently, a judge threw out the ban on fracking in Sidney. The people of Sidney and everywhere else that politicians have sold out to gas companies need to remove these creatures from office and to band together and do everything they can to stop this from happening.

A report released on December 9, 2011 revealed that the EPA claimed that in Wyoming, chemicals from fracking have contaminated underground water by polluting an aquifer in Pavilion Wyoming.6 The EPA constructed wells in the area to test water quality and found high levels of benzene and methane gas, “well above safe water drinking act standards.”7 Since the hydrofracking industry is exempt from the Safe Water Drinking Act, it is going to take an enormous public outcry to either severely restrict and regulate these mining companies or put a stop to hydrofracking altogether. It’s important to realize that alternative technologies have been in existence for years that could drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels or end it altogether. These technologies have been suppressed for decades, hidden away to maintain the dependency on outdated and obsolete modes of providing energy. Part of creating a new paradigm will be having these technologies become available and put into widespread use; however, human consciousness has not yet reached a level where we could responsibly utilize them.

Although the industry claims that fracking is safe and that it has been in widespread use since the 1940s, the techniques being used to extract gas from shale formations are very new. The combination of fracking, horizontal drilling and chemical injection is called High Volume Slickwater Hydraulic Fracturing. This particular method only has about ten years of experience to draw from so the long term effects are not yet known; however, the short term effects have in many cases shown to be quite disastrous.

An estimated 30% to 70% of the highly toxic fracking fluid remains within the earth and more of the fluid continues to surface throughout the life of the gas well, sometimes 20 to 30 years.8 Toxic substances are also released from the shale formations such as naturally occurring radioactive matter (NORMS,) liquid hydrocarbons such as benzene, heavy metals and other toxic materials which can pose serious environmental threats.9 Heavy metals and salts brought up from deep within the shale formations often contaminates and salinates the soil on the surface and when that happens, food can no longer be grown in that soil as it becomes rendered completely dead.

Wells, aquifers and waterways have become contaminated in many areas while the industry steadfastly claims that the hydrofracking process is completely safe, in other words, they lie. In Pennsylvania, where an enormous amount of fracking is occurring, due to almost the entire state being situated atop the Marcelus shale formation, the state’s dept. of environmental protection has outlined at least 60 incidences of water contamination due to irresponsible drilling practices.10 There have been what activists term “frackcidents” all over the country most of which have been in PA due to the massive amount of drilling taking place there. There have been accidents in W. Virginia, New York, Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma, and virtually everywhere that this hydrofracking is occurring. Most of the accidents have occurred in the Northeast where the Marcelus Shale is located and particularly in Pennsylvania.

When a specific area is tapped dry, the wells are abandoned and many of them leak harmful gasses and fluids. In 1992, the EPA reported that of the 1.2 million abandoned gas wells in the United States, that roughly 200,000 of them were leaking, and that was over two decades ago!

In a report released on Jan. 11, 2011 titled, Chemical and Biological Risk Assessment for Natural Gas Extraction in New York, several startling conclusions were drawn. Among these findings, the report concluded:

  • Between two and four percent of shale gas well projects in New York will pollute local ground-water over the short term.
  • More than one of every six shale gas wells will leak fluids to surrounding rocks and to the surface over the next century.
  • Some chemicals in ubiquitous use for shale gas exploration and production, or consistently present in flow-back fluids, constitute human health and environmental hazards when present at extremely low concentrations. Potential exposure effects for humans will include poisoning of susceptible tissues, endocrine disruption syndromes, and elevated risks for certain cancers.
  • State officials have not effectively managed oil and gas exploration and production in New York, evidenced by thousands of undocumented or improperly abandoned wells and numerous incidents of soil and water contamination. Human health impacts from these incidents appear to include abnormally high death rates from glandular and reproductive system cancers in men and women.
  • Overall, proceeding with any new projects to extract methane from unconventional reservoirs by current practices in New York State is highly likely to degrade air, surface water and ground-water quality, to harm humans, and to negatively impact aquatic and forest ecosystems.12

We’ve already seen what irresponsible drilling practices can lead to as with the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico due to BP’s negligence. There are now cracks in the seabed and oil is still spewing into the gulf. Much of the fishing industry has been destroyed in that region and marine life has been shown to have been severely affected by both the spill, and BP’s indiscriminate use of a highly toxic dispersant called Corexit. The potential for widespread, environmental catastrophe is enormous and yet so few seem to even be aware that oil is still pouring into the gulf. How can the planet possibly sustain life if the oceans and the aquifers are destroyed? And yet the masses sleep on amidst these crises that we face, oblivious and unaware while they eagerly await their next dose of The Bachelorette or whatever other mind numbing shit they seek to distract themselves with to avoid facing the seriousness of these very grim realities that we are confronted with.

mutated shrimp
Mutated and diseased marine life is a result of BP’s environmental destruction.

Fracking facts:

  • Roughly 70% of fracking fluid remains in the Earth after each well is exhausted.
  • Over 80,000 pounds of chemicals are injected into the Earth to frack a single well.
  • On average, over 3.5 million gallons of water are used to frack one single well.13
  • Volatile compounds are sprayed into the air when water is sprayed to evaporate them off.14
  • Often, heavy metals and salts are brought to the surface which spill on the ground. When this happens, the soil becomes salinated and nothing can ever grow there again.
  • On average, 40,000 gallons of chemicals are used to frack a single well.
  • Methane levels in ground water located near fracking wells has been shown to be 17 times higher than normal.15
  • Over 1,000 cases of water contamination have been reported near fracking sites.16
  • One single accident in Pa, in 2010 caused 8,000 gallons of toxic waste to be spilled into a creek.
  • Hydrofracking is now occurring in 36 US states.
  • Often, explosions occur at fracking sites, that spew poisonous chemicals into the air.
  • Scientists at the Endocrine Disruption Exchange who tested fracking fluids found that 25 percent can cause cancer; 37 percent can disrupt our endocrine system; and 40 to 50 percent can affect our nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems.17
  • The hydrofracking process releases radioactive uranium.
  • Methane gas is colorless and orderless, which means that often, people’s water may be contaminated with the gas and they won’t even know it, until ingestion causes illness.
  • Despite the industry’s claims of producing jobs, the unemployment rate in the US remains higher than it’s ever been.
  • Although gas is being extracted from many locations in the US, energy costs continue to skyrocket.
  • 50,000 wells are being proposed to be built along a 75 mile stretch along the Delaware River.18
  • The fracking process emits nitrogen oxide into the air and creates a toxic smog near the well sites.19
  • The New York City watershed is the largest unfiltered water supply in the world. Hundreds of thousands of acres have been leased by the industry within the watershed. Around 50,000 wells are proposed to be constructed within the watershed and since NY state has lifted the moratorium against fracking, the potential for widespread destruction is unfathomable. The NY watershed supplies water to a combined 15.6 million people!20
  • It’s been calculated that one in six abandoned gas wells will leak into the surrounding areas.21
  • The chemicals used in hydrofracking are protected as industry secrets and no laws require mining companies to disclose the ingredients.
  • Water usage at a single well site can be anywhere from 2-7 million gallons!
  • Gas companies dispose of much of the waste water from fracking by a method known as deep well injection, in which the material is injected deep into the earth and again, this has been shown to cause earthquakes and seismic activity.
  • Cement casings used at gas well sites are the only measure in use to protect drinking water from the fracking process. Often times the casings leak or are inadequate at protecting water. The seismic activity caused by fracking and deep well injection pose a serious threat to the cement casings.
  • In Arkansas, a 50% reduction in seismic activity was observed when fracking wells near a fault line ceased drilling operations.22

An interesting situation is occurring in Australia, where a massive amount of fracking is taking place right where the majority of the country’s food is grown. Much of the gas mined there is exported to China and interestingly, much of the food grown in that area of Australia is exported to China. There are also proposals in place to begin dredging along where the great barrier reef is situated and to build gas ports there. The reef provides much of the planet’s oxygen. Destroying the environment to obtain profits from gas mining through the controversial hydrofracking process displays a level of insanity that defies belief. Fracking threatens the planet’s drinking water which all life depends upon.

It’s very possible, that in mankind’s future, wars will be fought over water. The most precious resource is being depleted all for the sake of obtaining profits. You can’t drink methane! An awareness of the dangers of fracking is an issue that can unite humanity as it is something that threatens us all. How much is enough? How many of our rights have to be stripped away from us before humanity draws the line in the sand and says no more? The time to make these all important decisions is rapidly drawing to a close. These decisions cannot be left to any future generations or there will be no future generations. The shift humanity so desperately needs must begin now and it must begin with you. To ignore the obvious and remain in complete denial about the very real crises that we are facing now is tantamount to signing our own death warrant. Where there is crisis there is also opportunity.

Humanity faces the most enormous opportunity to take the leap forward into an entirely new experience of what it means to be human. Let us not squander the opportunity. If we drop the ball, the future that we create will not be pleasant. If we continue to allow the psychotics that are in charge of directing the mechanisms and systems of control to maintain that power, then they will drive the planet into oblivion. The Consortium of control only maintains power over us because we allow it; they wield over us the very power we have willingly given to them. The time is now to take it back! Indeed this is the age where we will. We must step into the knowledge of who and what we are and stand in the light of humanity’s own magnificence. Peaceful non-compliance to the systems of slavery and control would probably be a good start.

Human evolution bursts forward in sudden leaps and we are on the cusp of perhaps the greatest shift in consciousness in all of human history. We must be the facilitators of our own evolution. The time is now!

Is this really the legacy we want to leave to our future generations?

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APTOPXGulf Oil Spill
BP’s handiwork

deepwater horizon

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Sources:

1http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Hydraulic%20Fracturing%20Report%204.18.11.pdf

2http://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/U.S.-Government-Confirms-Link-Between-Earthquakes-and-Hydraulic-Fracturing.html

3http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/11/08/did-fracking-help-cause-oklahoma-earthquakes/

4Ibid

5http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-14/fracking-has-formerly-stable-ohio-city-aquiver-over-earthquakes.html

6http://money.cnn.com/2011/12/09/news/economy/epa_fracking_wyoming/index.htm

7Ibid

8http://www.desmogblog.com/fracking-the-future/danger.html

9Ibid

10Ibid

12http://63.134.196.109/documents/RiskAssessmentNaturalGasExtraction.pdf

13http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/map

14http://www.treehugger.com/fossil-fuels/facts-on-fracking-pros-cons-of-hydraulic-fracturing-for-natural-gas-infographic.html

15Ibid

16http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/fracking/

17http://blog.biggreenpurse.com/biggreenpurse/2011/06/what-the-f-is-fracking-and-why-dont-you-want-it-anywhere-near-your-water-.html

18http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/map

19Ibid

20Ibid

21http://63.134.196.109/documents/RiskAssessmentNaturalGasExtraction.pdf

22http://abcnews.go.com/watch/nightline/SH5584743/VD55123298/nightline-421-fracking-connected-to-quakes

 

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