Fracking – The Lies Of The Gasland Documentary

The recent massive shale gas find by Caudrilla in Britain has made headlines around the world and put the fear of Al Gore up the warming alarmists and eco mentalists in Britain.

The Green enviornment lobby from Chris Huhne and Caroline Lucas downwards are all quoting a US science fiction documentary, Gasland, as the deinitive truth about hydraulic fracturing or fracking as it is called.

The director of the movie Josh Fox shot the movie  in areas of the US where there has been methane contamination of groundwater for decades, and certainly well before any fracking operations took  place, but according to Fox this does not matter:

All of this growth has inevitably attracted critics, notably environmentalists and their allies. They’ve launched a media and political assault on hydraulic fracturing, and their claims are raising public anxiety. So it’s a useful moment to separate truth from fiction in the main allegations against the shale revolution.

• Fracking contaminates drinking water. One claim is that fracking creates cracks in rock formations that allow chemicals to leach into sources of fresh water. The problem with this argument is that the average shale formation is thousands of feet underground, while the average drinking well or aquifer is a few hundred feet deep. Separating the two is solid rock. This geological reality explains why EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, a determined enemy of fossil fuels, recently told Congress that there have been no “proven cases where the fracking process itself has affected water.”

A second charge, based on a Duke University study, claims that fracking has polluted drinking water with methane gas. Methane is naturally occurring and isn’t by itself harmful in drinking water, though it can explode at high concentrations. Duke authors Rob Jackson and Avner Vengosh have written that their research shows “the average methane concentration to be 17 times higher in water wells located within a kilometer of active drilling sites.”

They failed to note that researchers sampled a mere 68 wells across Pennsylvania and New York—where more than 20,000 water wells are drilled annually. They had no baseline data and thus no way of knowing if methane concentrations were high prior to drilling. They also acknowledged that methane was detected in 85% of the wells they tested, regardless of drilling operations, and that they’d found no trace of fracking fluids in any wells.

The Duke study did spotlight a long-known and more legitimate concern: the possibility of leaky well casings at the top of a drilling site, from which methane might migrate to water supplies. As the BP Gulf of Mexico spill attests, proper well construction and maintenance are major issues in any type of drilling, and they ought to be the focus of industry standards and attention. But the risks are not unique to fracking, which has provided no unusual evidence of contamination.

• Fracking releases toxic or radioactive chemicals. The reality is that 99.5% of the fluid injected into fracture rock is water and sand. The chemicals range from the benign, such as citric acid (found in soda pop), to benzene. States like Wyoming and Pennsylvania require companies to publicly disclose their chemicals, Texas recently passed a similar law, and other states will follow.

Drillers must dispose of fracking fluids, and environmentalists charge that disposal sites also endanger drinking water, or that drillers deliberately discharge radioactive wastewater into streams. The latter accusation inspired the EPA to require that Pennsylvania test for radioactivity. States already have strict rules designed to keep waste water from groundwater, including liners in waste pits, and drillers are subject to stiff penalties for violations. Pennsylvania’s tests showed radioactivity at or below normal levels.

• Fracking causes cancer. In Dish, Texas, Mayor Calvin Tillman caused a furor this year by announcing that he was quitting to move his sons away from “toxic” gases—such as cancer-causing benzene—from the town’s 60 gas wells. State health officials investigated and determined that toxin levels in the majority of Dish residents were “similar to those measured in the general U.S. population.” Residents with higher levels of benzene in their blood were smokers. (Cigarette smoke contains benzene.)

• Fracking causes earthquakes. It is possible that the deep underground injection of fracking fluids might cause seismic activity. But the same can be said of geothermal energy exploration, or projects to sequester carbon dioxide underground. Given the ubiquity of fracking without seismic impact, the risks would seem to be remote.

• Pollution from trucks. Drillers use trucks to haul sand, cement and fluids, and those certainly increase traffic congestion and pollution. We think the trade-off between these effects and economic development are for states and localities to judge, keeping in mind that externalities decrease as drillers become more efficient.

• Shale exploration is unregulated. Environmentalists claim fracking was “exempted” in 2005 from the federal Safe Water Drinking Act, thanks to industry lobbying. In truth, all U.S. companies must abide by federal water laws, and what the greens are really saying is that fracking should be singled out for special and unprecedented EPA oversight.

Most drilling operations—including fracking—have long been regulated by the states. Operators need permits to drill and are subject to inspections and reporting requirements. Many resource-rich states like Texas have detailed fracking rules, while states newer to drilling are developing these regulations.

As a regulatory model, consider Pennsylvania. Recently departed Governor Ed Rendell is a Democrat, and as the shale boom progressed he worked with industry and regulators to develop a flexible regulatory environment that could keep pace with a rapidly growing industry. As questions arose about well casings, for instance, Pennsylvania imposed new casing and performance requirements. The state has also increased fees for processing shale permits, which has allowed it to hire more inspectors and permitting staff.

Both Huhne and Lucas are doing their best to frighten people with these unfounded fracking lies, as they realise cheap gas spells the end of their heavily subsidised religious renewables scam.

Cameron is very worried about energy costs in Britain and the huge increases in energy bills caused by Huhne’s Green taxation to solve a problem that, frankly does not exist.

Global temperatures are the same as they were in 1979, sea levels are not rising, they are in fact falling 5mm a year, and not one single prediction of Climatic Armageddon has yet happened.

The Gaslands movie showed dramatic footage of householders setting light to the water coming from their taps – which phenomenon director Josh Fox said had been caused by fracking. Fox recently admitted knowing before he started shooting the film that the area had a long history of methane-contaminated water going back decades, but said it had “no bearing” on the decision.

If chosing the location in Fox’s words had “no bearing” on the decision, they why did his film not point out that methane in the water was a long standing problem?

Not only the Wall Street Journal can see the lies behind Gasland and it’s warming alarmist anti fossil fuel agenda, the Commonwealth Foundation found exactly the same lies as the WSJ.

The last word on Huhne and his religious fear of fracking belongs to Forbes:

The only real problem seems to be political: we have a Climate Change Minister, Chris Huhne, who seems to be insisting that we should not, ever, extract this gas for it will make windmills unaffordable or something.

To be honest, that’s really not a political position which I think is sustainable. Standing between 60 million Brits and a source of cheap heat and electricity is likely to get one trampled.

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About Tory Aardvark

Climate Realist, Conservative and proud NRA member. I don't buy into the Man Made Global Warming Scam, science is never settled. http://toryaardvark.com @ToryAardvark on Twitter ToryAardvark on Facebook

Posted on September 23, 2011, in Anthropogenic Global Warming, Church Of Climatology, Green Environmental Holocaust, Green Lies, Junk Science, ManBearPig, Oh FFS and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. we are having a discussion about this over at http://www.adifferentopinion.net/t15185-fracking-the-lies-of-the-gasland-documentary#295764 and one poster posted a link to this chap which you may or may not have seen

    http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4275

  2. Before I continue, let me remind anyone who knows me that I am just a simple aged mom who in a past life had a “career” in a british engineering discipline, back in the day when the UK actually HAD an industry, and now long for the simpler things in life, I have an appreciation of trying to be as green in my day to day living as I can, and a strong interest in all things earthquake, volcanic and natural to our planet.

    With regards to this fracking film ( I am finding it somewhat hard to use the term “fracking” in front of any word without laughing a little), I too watched with a degree of horror, and decided to do a little research of my own, in my own way.

    Do consider these points that I raised with myself over this issue:

    1. Which would you prefer beneath your feet….a huge cavern or patch of methane-soaked spongy rock layer that could easily explode with any tiny seismic movement by way of naturally occurring flint in the shale layers striking against another piece of flint?
    Or the same filled with safe water that actually helps to stabilise the area better?
    Removing the gas and refilling the void areas with water would take this remote risk away completely, also I believe the ground would become more stable as water is denser than gas.

    2. Most films use a degree of artistic licence in order to make it a gripping movie, and thus a film made to generate money should never be used as a definitive guide to what is actually happening in the world, although granted some are great starting points for raising awareness of a particular subject.

    3. “Fracking causes earthquakes blah blah” Ask yourself this: did early coal mining cause earthquakes?
    For this they invented the Davy Lamp, to prevent underground natural gas emission explosions, which must have been occurring on a regular enough basis to convince someone that a safer way of lighting the path in the tunnels was needed, were any earthquakes caused during these early explorations underground?

    Also, were any earthquakes actually triggered by the blasting of quarries for stone, hillsides for road, rail and canal building?

    4. How many of these politicians have a “vested interest” in so-called Green Energy……….this is something that is really starting to worry me, I realise that they legally supposedly cannot be “attached” whilst they are in power, but how much do we really know about the deals they have struck in readiness for the time when they leave their political positions and thus have time on their hands to sign directorship agreements elsewhere?

    That ends my little uneducated foray into this undoubtedly heated subject!

  3. There was an American CSI series, that covered something like this. However, in Australia there is a big Green movement to stop drilling for gas because of the danger of contamination of underground water supplies. There is more danger from contamination of ground water from pesticides, herbicides and oestrogens and some chemical fertilizers.
    The move to organic or use of acceptable organic fertilizers and pesticides is beneficial to the use of agriculture and animal husbandry. Recall in this poxy Australian carbon tax they have slipped in a clause ‘to curb the methane production from livestock’. I don’t know how they intend to do this. Because pasture reared livestock produce more methane than feedlot animals.

  4. Well if there is a danger like explored in this trailer, it should be considered. Ground water is vulnerable, and let’s face it, it’s not so renewable as we think it is. There is a bill before
    parliament in Australia that says mining companies must guarantee that there is no danger.
    And that mining gas must not occur on good agricultural land. I agree with that.

  5. I have to agree with bush bunny, groundwater is vulnerable. However, in my opinion, surface contamination of an aquifer is far more likely. They say, “gravity always wins.” Well, that applies to ground water. Chemicals from surface activities like, manufacturing, agriculture, landfills ,leachfields, and even gas and oil production more likely to leach downward into the aquifer. We should be especially concerned about man-made chemicals that typically don’t biodegrade and have a high toxicity.

    One other thing, of all the chemicals cited by anti-fracking activists, benzene is probably the one that is cited more often. Most people never stop and consider that benzene is a natural product found in petroleum deposits. It is typically present in a frack fluid as a contaminant from any petroleum-based solvents used, not as an additive. The frack companies disclose it because it is listed on their product MSDS as a contaminant.

    The truth is, the oil being pumped out of the ground is more hazardous that any chemical being used to frack with. Are we willing to live without it? Or, should I ask, are we able to live without it?

    Natural gas from shale is huge. It is the cheap, plentiful, and clean energy source we could only dream of 20 years ago.

  6. DRY’ within their footwear.

  7. There was a CSI episode called ‘Fracked’ and pics from no only this and others of flames coming from a water tap, seem to be circulated in Oz. I am undecided really, although the benefits of shale gas seem to out way the dangers. Now ground water (or surface water) can be contaminated by insecticides, certain chemical fertilizers, especially aerial spraying.
    But sub surface water can also be influenced by the rocks that enclose them. Have you ever tasted bore water I have! 205ft deep bore. It would make you spew unless you are dying of thirst. Somewhere between epsom salts and cod liver oil. Our bore was heavily laced with iron too, and yellowish. Stock will drink it. But I can’t understand that surface water can be contaminated unless it leaches through somehow. What history of surface water being contaminated in Oz, or bore or well water. I don’t think they have done a survey.
    of existing gas plants in Oz. But agricultural land should not be touched by mining or gas exploration at least without the owners permission.

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