Marcellus Shale Fracking is Fraught with Problems

by S. Tom Bond on June 26, 2014


The fracking industry discounts  information on their problems and issues

Commentary by S. Tom Bond, Resident Farmer in Lewis County, WV, June 26, 2014

The fracking industry sprang to life full grown, no pilot plants and research on side effects for them! All the important people were happy to assume the change in scale, the change in chemicals and the change in target formations made no difference. The industry has been leaning too far forward ever since. Wealth to gain and promise of energy security for the US are huge motivations.

An industry spread all over the countryside finds it impossible to keep side effects invisible from it’s huge number of neighbors. However, it is not difficult to prevent unfavorable information from being passed up the chain of command, reaching the alpha persons in town, if they refuse to hear it. They didn’t want to hear it. Their boyish optimism was incorporated in the information passed on to officials in government, academia and the press without trace of problems.

You can’t have free enjoyment of your quiet life in the country, your acreage and your health with a heavy industry superimposed on it! Thus a civil rights issue was born. The folks that live in the countryside represent a class of repressed citizens, and the movers and shakers in urban areas who never get their shoes dirty were eager to do just that. (For reference, keep in mind the average family in the U. S. has an income of around $70,000!

If it looks high, think about the billionaires and remember it takes a lot of small numbers to bring down the average when you have a few stratospheric ones.)

Some really silly statements and actions have defended the assault on the rural population:

>> “Water quality is going to improve as a result of [hydrofracking]” – Tom Shepstone of Energy in Depth.

>> “If we really care about the environment, we should be part of this so we can really improve the environment for the people in this community,” Rich Fitzgerald about drilling Deer Lakes Park, Pa.

>> No studies have shown “adverse impact during normal operations,” said Dollis Wright, a toxicologist and consultant for Colorado Oil and Gas Association.

>> “(Marcellus exploitation) is probably the single greatest opportunity we have to restore the middle class in America,” Peter Molinaro the vice president and senior advisor for government affairs for Dow Chemical Co.

>> And the drinking frack fluid gag. so widely reported, is a stunt on the same level.

Today these sound wild, but they are real statements made by people promoting drilling & fracking in recent years. Today mass media carry stories about people injured by fracking, sickness caused by fracking, earthquakes caused by fracking and waste disposal wells, and other injustices.

The “clean energy” argument is shown to be false when global warming and contamination of the community where the gas (or oil, for that matter) extracted is included in the accounting. Economic accounting changes dramatically when externalized costs, those thrown off by the company onto government and the local community are considered. It takes huge amounts of energy to carry all those materials and equipment to the well site, do the drilling and carry the products and waste products away. They can make money, or expect to, with present arrangements, which push costs off on others, but they can’t match the energy returns of better deposits.

Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air includes a List of the Harmed which now stands at well over 6100. There are over 250 anti fracking sites on the Internet that carry an uncountable number of stories. These are ignored by the industry and legislators. Businessmen with lots of money, politicians and government officials pretend to have a monopoly on truth and honor.

“Give us science and give us cases proven in court,” they say. “It’s not our duty to finance research and lawyers to protect you – we are adversaries, and you have to pay to protect yourself.” That’s a classic civil rights situation.

When it appears a company is going to loose in court, they settle with the victim and include a nondisclosure clause, so the victims (and even their children in some cases) cannot tell what happened, or how much they settled for. Science is tougher to deal with, but companies maintain experts to try to discredit research. And any researcher who identifies with the victims had better watch out. They risk massive exposure for any mistake, and once this happens they are cast into outer darkness by courts.

But information is coming anyway. Like the stillbirth epidemic in the Uintah Basin discussed in this video and huge gas leaks from old oil wells. This is because universities can be bought, but not every scientist, advertising can affect editorial policy, but truthful journalism still exists and some judges have a sense of fair play.

Information about the conditions in the field will be heard. Shale drilling has too many problems to be ignored. It is too big, covers too much territory. The truth will come out.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

K. K. P. January 8, 2015 at 12:51 pm

I like to learn the details that you guys are presenting on FrackCheckWV.

Keep up the good work, as I have not seen such local coverage.

P.S. A few Marcellus wells would be an education. But, thousands of
Marcellus wells brings widespread devastation to the entire region!

You have such an irresponsible Governor and Legislature, it is amazing!


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