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Hydrofracked? One Man’s Mystery Leads to a Backlash Against Natural Gas Drilling

When the well water on Louis Meeks’ ranch turned brown and oily, he suspected that the thousands of natural gas wells dotting the once-empty Wyoming landscape were somehow to blame. The hard part was proving it. Meeks’ struggle to get the energy companies to take responsibility, meticulously documented through three years of investigative reporting by ProPublica’s Abrahm Lustgarten, coincides with a national uproar over the oil and gas drilling process called hydraulic fracturing. The technology, which is explored in the Oscar-nominated film “Gasland,” promises to open large new energy supplies, perhaps at the expense of the nation’s water.

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Susan Meeker-Lowry

Feb. 26, 2011, 7:04 p.m.

bob - you’re right on. And John N., that God for people like you!

ibsteve2u

Feb. 27, 2011, 2:35 a.m.

Seems to be the latest tactic of Big Energy:  Do all your dirty work at a depth - underground, or undersea - that makes putting pictures of the destruction you cause on the TV a difficult task.

From fracking where nobody can “see” additional horizontal and vertical fracturing that “pipes” gases and contaminants into groundwater supplies, to BP immediately moving to spray chemical dispersants that would cause the oil to sink out of sight…but not actually fix anything.

lolll…very traditional behavior; the bad guys always do try to bury the bodies out of sight.

Robert

Feb. 27, 2011, 2:50 a.m.

It might be worth considering deep relief wells drilled in closest possible proximity to the gas well whilst remaining on the land holders property and just burning off the gas drillers profits. This might help to protect peoples water wells more distant from the gas well, whilst leaving the gas driller stuck, they can’t complain about what they deny existing (major leaks from their wells in water aquifers).
Those relief wells might be expensive but they won’t be worth as much as all that gas burnt off and lost profit.

Gberke

Feb. 27, 2011, 9:09 a.m.

The NYT says Pa is especially hard hit by hydrofracking….
So much for the bold claims of ne pa that they could protect their water…

Karen

Feb. 27, 2011, 10:40 a.m.

It seems that the petrochemical industry is using the same tactic that the tobacco industry used for years.  While suppressing data indicating the danger of their product, they maintain that it is perfectly safe.

jerry glasgow

Feb. 27, 2011, 8:52 p.m.

I wonder if one were to make a list of the most highly toxic industrial wastes of modern industry how many of them would show up in “fracking fluid”. Did an enterprising and ethically challenged executive come up with a new disposal scheme…  On the one hand he is paid to ‘dispose’ of this toxic shit and on the other hand he sells it as a secretely formulated proprietary industrial necessity to be ‘disposed’ of deep underground?  Why does hydro fracking require these toxic elements?

Toby Thaler

Feb. 27, 2011, 10:59 p.m.

Excellent reporting and very good dialogue in the comments. I particularly appreciate that traditional conservatives (who I, as a Seattle liberal, am supposed to view as the enemy) see the truth as easily as the environmentalists: Corporate greed is the causation of the polluted water in frac areas.
But don’t forget (as some point out) that the profligate consumption of energy and other resources can be laid at all of our feet.
We need to do two things: replace governance by corporations with local control by human beings tempered by universal standards that protect the commons (air, water, wildlife, open space); and start simplifying and consuming less “stuff.” Things don’t make you happy. Relationships with other people do.
Thanks for the opportunity to post.

Jeremy Boak

Feb. 28, 2011, 12:26 p.m.

I am surprised at the willingness of commenters to conclude a final answer is evident in the article. 

1) No evidence is provided that any potential contaminant is a frac chemical, only that the water smelled and tasted bad. 

2) The reporter describes the hydraulic fracturing process,saying it “explodes the earth in a physical assault that breaks up the crust and shakes the gas loose,” a grotesque exaggeration of the process, in which the only explosive used is a small amount of material used to penetrate the metal casing, doing minor damage to rock a few inches away from the shot.  The main fracturing is done by the pressurization of the rock by the hydraulic fluids, and does not penetrate thousands of feet away from the borehole (as measured by microseismic monitoring in frac wells).  It travels a few hundred feet in general, which is why multiple frac stages are now necessary.

4) There is no final resolution of the question of whether the well cement job leaked or not.  Isotopic measurements could be used to determine the source of any organic chemicals in the water, or the “gas” that apparently blew out the second water well, but none of this is provided. So we don’t have a clue whether the gas came from formations thousands of feet beneath the aquifer, or shallow organic rich horizons being altered biogenically. There is a story here if a well suddenly changes character after years of functioning, but the reporter provides only hints and opinions about what happened.

I have been hunting for real, documented cases to understand the problem, but all I find is people ready to proclaim expertise, like the maker of Gasland, who makes a number of geologically unsound assertions.

There is an issue here, but it is likely to have little to do with hydraulic fracturing, and more to do with drilling in general.  If regulations on cementation of wells, which are in place, are not being adequately enforced, then the problem lies not with a need for more regulation (which legislators and other political players are fond of demanding).  It lies with a need for the budget for regulators to enforce existing regulation.  But none of the political sides in this issue are willing to admit that we might need to spend more money checking up on the completion practices.  Grandstanding about the new technology is easier.

just plain fred

Feb. 28, 2011, 3:44 p.m.

May hydrofracking come to a place near you, soon.

Jeremy Boak

Feb. 28, 2011, 4:21 p.m.

Hydraulic racturing is going on in areas near me.  I just want to see some honest discussion of the topic.  After reviewing the extensive New York Times article on radioactive materials in deep saline water from gas wells, I am more convinced than ever that this has to do with long known issues for all deep drilling, and not much to do with hydraulic fracturing. 

I would not be fond of having a drilling pit in my neighborhood unless I were a royalty owner, but I would be pretty careful about watching for, and reporting, any spills from mud pits or frac fluid ponds.  Absent obvious spills, I would not be concerned for the few weeks of drilling time for most single well pads. This is where the real potential for risk comes. That and the question of adequate control on well completions, also not related to fracturing, but to any gas drilling.

And the real issue is, as I suggested, whether people are willing to pay the taxes to have adequately trained personnel around in the regulatory agencies to keep up with the rapid development.  Not more regulations, but real enforcement.  This isn’t about hydraulic fracturing being uniquely bad, but about it opening up areas that have not seen drilling for a long time, if ever.

Gberke

Feb. 28, 2011, 4:58 p.m.

If you live in an area subject to natural gas production by fracking or other processes and you are not prepare to run…
Once the spills have started, the gas leaks and burning goes into the air… it’s too late.  And as you all know there is not strong regulation, that the problem starts when the site is drilled… you are begging your welfare against a disinterested party’s work and profit…
The NY Times has a video on gas production in Colorado… it is all anecdotal of course.  Just as there is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty… while your pockets are yet empty and your air is poisoned.
Every responsible battle plan includes a plan of how to retreat.

Jenny Land

Feb. 28, 2011, 5:05 p.m.

@Mike H.

It’s hardly a dearth of scientific evidence when gas “fingerprint” isotopic testing conclusively linked gas drilling to the water contamination in Dimock, PA. End of story! The industry can no longer deny it is not responsible for contaminating water supplies. So you might want to review all the data before making unsupported assertions. Similar testing has linked water contamination in Parker County Texas to gas drilling as well. Gas drilling companies would not be able to deny it in these other instances as well if they were properly regulated and required to use tracers in their drilling mixtures. That way if the tracers ended up in a water supply, the burden would not be on individuals to pay for environmental testing that the industry and regulators should be footing.

Jeremy Boak

Feb. 28, 2011, 5:31 p.m.

I did not make unsupported assertions. I am still looking to find where the documentation is of these isotopic tracers tying the gas to the well, and whether it is the gas or other chemicals. If it is just natural gas, then I continue to claim that drilling may be the problem, not hydraulic fracturing. I was aware of one previous case where carbon and hydrogen isotopic data indicated a thermogenic origin for natural gas in a private well.  But I am also aware of a case where the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission ruled that contamination could not be proven. So now that I have an assertion of one location in Pennsylvania, I at least have a lead on some genuine technical data, I hope.

Kelly

Feb. 28, 2011, 6:22 p.m.

the pipes SHUDDERED not SHUTTERED.

PLEASE PLEASE fix your typos!! where is the proofreader?

Bruce In San Jose

Feb. 28, 2011, 7:02 p.m.

The reports ARE anecdotal with data and analysis of the well problems finding no relationship to the gas wells and the kind of contamination found in the water.

bob Westbrook

Feb. 28, 2011, 7:21 p.m.

There are no proofreaders for personal comments. However, the PR companies, who are paid to spin things in the favor of their employers, and who create false front organizations and pretend to be concerned citizens in order to create doubt regarding the credibility of any who dare to challenge big corporate interests do proof read. But to be believable they would misspell something on purpose. Anecdotal? Gee, no problems till wells are drilled, and suddenly lots of problems. So are you saying we are stupid to find two plus two equals 4?

Elizabeth

March 1, 2011, 12:19 a.m.

Thank goodness these stories are getting out!

Science has proven some of the stories—we also need some good scientific studies done that, given the many anecdotal stories, and given what I have experienced in my community, will likely result in a stop to much of this development.

I’m tired to hear they are ‘anecdotal’  They only information I have that this exploration is safe is ‘anecdotal’ from industry.  I haven’t seen it done safely myself.

otto conner

March 1, 2011, 10:20 a.m.

The Bush administration were very adept at ensuring the necessary reports were produced to justify their policy aggenda; full scale assault on regulation of industries (elictrical utilities, banking, environmental
monitoring, etc. and accountability of government-ie; 911?), to promotion of pre-emptive strikes on countries with resources of oil and minerals. Down the line, the results of this abberation in leadership at the top, will be manifesting for years to come; in ongoing
environmental disasters, collapse of the economy, destruction of the middle class, etc. Under the current administration, it seems all
the mistakes and crimes of the previous admin are being ingnored,
and the conservative-corporate aggenda promoted above all consideration of where it is leading the nation.

Zack

March 1, 2011, 1:50 p.m.

Clearly there are some people here who do not believe fracking has risks.  Here’s an idea… Anyone who thinks there are no environmental risks are more than welcome to allow drilling on or around their property and the rest of us can opt out.

Jeremy Boak

March 1, 2011, 4:22 p.m.

It could be that a recent comment suggesting some people think there is no risk with hydraulic fracturing were referring to me.  I think there is risk associated with drilling, and to the extent that hydraulic fracturing permits drilling in new areas, it is thereby responsible for introducing risk from petroleum production into new areas.  But otherwise, I don’t think hydraulic fracturing of wells is significantly increasing risk beyond traditional drilling and production.

There is a real and important risk that some operators will not control their fluids at the surface, and will not spend adequately on ensuring borehole integrity, and may attempt to avoid properly plugging and abandoning wells, whether the well was hydraulically fractured or not. In every industry there are bad actors, but a lot of jobs would be lost if every industry that had some were shut down because of them. Most politicians seem to be more interested in grandstanding about fracing than to dig deep and find the resources for their own regulatory agencies to properly monitor drilling practices.

I would personally be more worried about standard drilling mud and produced water from any well than I would about frac fluids, based on my experience with those two fluids and what I have been able to determine about frac fluid.  One of the potentially toxic substances in frac fluid is ethylene glycol (present at the 100 part per million level).  If you are worried about this chemical in your water, you better start arguing for an end to its use in radiator fluid, as that is probably a more likely source of that chemical in surface and shallow ground water.

I would guess, although I haven’t yet investigated the subject, that the problem is not that there are not studies, published in scientific and engineering journals.  But very few people read them, or even know how to find them.  There is certainly a lot of technical literature in the area of hydraulic fracturing.  But no one can read them all, and no one who write comments on websites sounds like they would willingly listen to someone who had worked in the area, evaluated the available literature, and was willing to talk frankly about the costs, benefits, risks, and mitigation strategies available. It seems more common to simply want to attack.  Most technical people I know save their venom for political arguments.

Susan Meeker-Lowry

March 1, 2011, 4:48 p.m.

The thing is, with fracking water that was fine before, after fracking, isn’t. So whether this would have happened if other kinds of drilling had occurred instead, we will never know. We do know that there are many, many cases today of individuals and communities with deep water well ruined when fracking took place nearby. And it’s not just about the water that humans drink. What about lakes, ponds, rivers, streams? Are then not also impacted? What about all the other species that depend on clean water and bodies of water for survival? What about agriculture? We all need to eat. We can’t eat food made toxic by toxic water (if it would even grow).

What’s especially maddening with regard to fracking, and many other forms of large-scale industrial energy production (like mountaintop removal for coal and deep water drilling like in the Gulf, for example) is the scale of destruction and the fact that when problems happen no one is held accountable. Corporations aren’t made to clean up their messes or compensate people for very real losses. It’s like, everything is fine, the water is running, in comes a company, drills a well (or many wells surrounding the area as in fracking), the water turns toxic and no one is responsible. It wasn’t antifreeze that contaminated Meek’s well. We need energy, yes. But more than that we need a clean planet that can continue to support life or we all pay the price. With our health and eventually our lives.

What would our Father's think

March 1, 2011, 10:38 p.m.

My hat and my heart are off to Louis Meeks and his family.  He is my Dad of the same generation with another name, and has the same fighting spirit to go after the truth. 

It amazes me that so many comments from this industry are to “just leave…If you think you or your family’s health is threatened, why don’t you just leave? “  “We didn’t cause it, but if you are worried, just leave” 

What quitter generation are they appealing to?

Those that founded this Country don’t “Just Leave” thank goodness. And we certainly don’t expect someone else to bail us out.  Are you really telling us to just leave?  If we “just leave” who pays for it?  Not me or my family.  And we aren’t so comfortable with that.  We will not accept a “bail-out”  to pay for our obligations ruined by this industry. 

This industry didn’t do their research regarding the reaction of a people founded on sticking to their obligations and expecting our Country to just stick to the Declaration of Independence.

Perhaps this industry needs to research the generation and offspring of that generation they are dealing with.  Who just leaves??  Not my Dad’s generation, and not mine because he taught me well.  We don’t shirk from responsibilities, don’t need anyone to bail us out, we will not be run off of our land despite this pollution, we will not back down from this fight because it is contrary to our independence, and we will recognize those taking our land for what they are, given our treatment, their behavior and the effects on our land and quality of life.

We didn’t need a bail out then and we don’t need one now.  We need basic protections for our families.  I wonder what our Fathers would think of what is going on this Country now with regard to this industry. 

Look up the Declaration of Independence yourself and tell me what you think. I read it a few times again and I never read anything that condones what is happening here for the benefit of this industry or any other at the expense of our People.

Jeremy Boak

March 2, 2011, 11:17 a.m.

I still find that the assertions that the issues are unique to hydraulically fractured wells technically unsatisfying.  Several people clearly indicate that failed cementing is the most common source of leaks that contaminate wells, and this appears to me to be a much broader concern for all drilling.  Frac chemicals will only show up near a well that has been fractured, but many other chemical contaminants can come from drilling mud and other, non-frac treatments. For a frac to contaminate a well uphole of the frac job, you must cause three successive failures - in the metal tubing that carries the frac fluids, in the casing of the well, and in the cement job outside the casing.  I think it far more likely that, given the described connection of production from a 1983 well (no indication of whether it was ever fractured), and the lack of a similar response in the closer recent well, the older well casing or cement job failed (and the very shallow depth of cementing does trouble me).  The arguments for a relationship to fracturing are vague and ill founded.  We are not entirely ignorant on the question of whether fracs propagate vertically - there is a wealth of microseismic evidence that fracs do not go that far, and indeed, if they were traveling a long way, these wells would produce more water than gas a lot sooner. So for me, the problem still lies with underfunded regulators unable to enforce the existing regulations on spills and well completions adequately.  As a researcher, I am naturally disposed to support additional investigation, and Geoff Thyne’s (briefly a colleague at Mines) comments are taken seriously. 

A recent report from the New York Times on naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) in wells ( a long- recognized problem in some formations with deep briny water) provides a similar glimpse into the difficulties faced by state regulators overwhelmed by a new activity.  Small amounts of NORM are likely captured in standard water treatments, but it was probably inappropriate to permit the large increase in these waters being allowed.  But again, the problem has nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing, but with petroleum drilling in general, especially in an area not used to dealing with the issues. The best thing to do with NORM is to put it back in the kind of formation it came from, but most states have too few, or no,  disposal wells.

I am frankly discouraged by the story of Mr. Weeks, as it suggests we will see a lot more time and energy expended on both sides of this issue, when a more modest effort at monitoring and cleanup could have solved the problem.  And EnCana would probably recovered more gas if it had recognized early that there might be a problem with one of its wells.

dooberheim

March 2, 2011, 8:42 p.m.

Well, how many of you are taking steps to use less natural gas so we wouldn’t have to frack Marcellus?  This is where the whole problem begins - with all of our big, warm houses and bright cities.  All these companies are doing is giving us what we want.  Want to stop this?  Use less of their products.

DK

claude robert

March 2, 2011, 9:31 p.m.

It is very strange all the comments and the words used commenting the extraction of natural gaz. Nothing to be proud of in society like ours.

A) I live on a farm and like many others I have a well that turn sour a year ago. No gaz well around here. The answer, the reserve was empty.

B) what did I do ? Write on internet about my problem. No.
I call the drilling team, went to 400 hundred feet deep and have now the best water for the family we never enjoyed. It should had happen to us years ago.

C) What happen to MR Weeks, I bet he drilled a new well and have good water now.

Yes the drilling firms can do a mistake, miss eavaluate a situation, on my farm, everyday I am doing mistake and learning from my mistake. Who can affirm that they never did anything wrong, only the lyers or the big ego cans make such a statement.

I wish for my farm and the future of my family that they one day come to me and offer me to drill on my far, it could be perfeect for my family.
But , if they would, I would spent time with them to make sure they are doing things the right way. This is all. If everybody wait to see the petroleum from the mid-west at 150$ per barrel to react, our country will be in bankruptcy, and you guy with your big pick-up will be crying to death.

You guys from the city, you will have to work from home, can not afford to make a living and travel to work.

Please America, use your brin instead of your mouth and look into the future. What do we want? Coal, no; petroleum, not for long: nuclear, not for me: wind, yes for a portion of my needs; solar. probably; natural gaz, yes for a while; the future, I am not well educated to predict whether hydrogene or other gaz, but we must adapt and quick

bob Westbrook

March 2, 2011, 10:06 p.m.

There it is, the petroleum shill pretending to be ignorant, misspelling his words, and casting doubts on anything against the big oil companies. Hey Claude Robert, what’s the address of your farm? Tell me why you can spell educated but can’t spell gas when you see that word everywhere. I know a BS artist when I see one.

Sean Oliver

March 3, 2011, 12:53 p.m.

A lot of these comments don’t seem to make sense, in light of the information contained in this article.  And why is that?  It’s recently been discovered that lobbyists such as the army that works for the oil and gas companies spend millions upon millions creating fake online personas, and commenting on articles like this with pro-fossil fuels, pro-drilling, anti-environmental propaganda.  A lot of the comments on this board have been bought and paid for by the oil and gas industry, guaranteed. I love how anything that’s not a hydrocarbon is “pie-in-the-sky”.  I thought this was America!  I thought we could do anything if we put our minds to it, and our noses to the grindstone.  The fact that it’s taken 10 years to even start studying the effects on groundwater is laugable.  Big energy owns the government.

A Marcelo

March 3, 2011, 10:44 p.m.

@ Mike H: Are you a moron or are you being paid by someone?

Did you know, mister science big shot, that the evidence that death is forever is anecdotal?  Yes, it’s true!  There is no hard science backing up the common assumption that when you die you don’t get to come back again.

Did you know that your need to eat food is merely anecdotal as well.  I suggest you attempt to test this theory.  Stop eating altogether so you will have some gnostic scientific proof that you need food or do not.  Bonus!  If you need food, you’ll get to test that first theory.

Good luck with the brain!

What would our Father's Think

March 4, 2011, 9:32 p.m.

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

So, is there a “political band” that has connected themselves with another here?  Does that “band” threaten our pursuit of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness?  Seems like it to me. 

Those of you fighting this, how much time have you devoted to PURSUING Life, Liberty, and Happiness.  Or are you DEFENDING your ability to do so?  I don’t think our Declaration spoke to defending our right to do so, it was supposed to be a given. You get to pursue, you should not have to fight for the ability to pursue in this Country. If we have to defend, let’s publicly identify the enemy.

We cannot pursue these inalienable rights if our air, water, and land are being freely contaminated by an industry condoned by this government to do so.  A government that supports it is contrary to our Declaration.

Dal Clark

March 5, 2011, 10:10 a.m.

As a scientist in the oil and gas industry, and a researcher in frack methods and treatments, I found this article to be balanced.  For the industry to arbitrarily dismiss concerns based on one study is the first problem.  The second problem is that the general public does not understand the nature of scientific investigation and chooses to jump to conclusions with no evidence to support those conclusions.

The number of variables associated with any drilling activity, including fracking, are staggering.  It is not just drilling and fracking, it is also the treatment of a well in its early life, when water and gas production are high, and well corrosion rates can be very high.  This early life is a risky time for any well and requires care and attention.  It is important for the producer to continue making money and protecting their assets, AND it is important to the local environment to prevent “circulation problems” and leakage. 

It is worth the time and effort to continue gathering data, analyzing that data, and making improvements to address concerns from that data….  from an industry prospective, best practice standards including casing and cement quality and depth, transparent records on treatment from drilling to end of well life, and production water treatment and/or recycling activities must be part of the big picture and a cost of doing business.  Otherwise it will continue to be “he said, she said” finger pointing.

John N.

March 6, 2011, 8:43 p.m.

To those who say that if Americans use less of the industry’s products, the drilling will be less as well :  This gas is being EXPORTED to other countries at the expense of the health of the Americans who have duped by companies drilling here who aren’t even American companies. This information is readily available on the internet and elsewhere. The drilling will only be slowed to a piont…..IF… the American PEOPLE do the right thing. I have 57 acres here in north east Pa. that I will NEVER sign a lease to a gas company for.  Other countries are profitting from OUR lands here…..that alone should be enough to say ” Not on MY land “. I will respect the efforts of people like Louis Meeks who have protected MY freedom by not selling out the land he fought for….simple.

Marcine

March 7, 2011, 1:19 p.m.

It does not take a scientist to realize:
1. it takes 3 barrels of clean life giving water to make one barrel of oil. I would think that would raise flags that the precious water we need for drinking, for farming, for livestock, for LIFE ITSELF is being destroyed.
2. They pump this poisoned water back into the ground… helloooo??? do we really need “proof”.
3. NO ONE knows what happens then. Fracking forces fractures… NO ONE KNOWS WHERE THE FRACTURES GO, but one thing for sure if gas/oil can come up then so can the poison MIGRATE.

THIS IS ANOTHER INSANE IDEA TO BE INCLUDED WITH MONSANTO SUICIDE SEEDS, AND GEOENGINEERING OUR AIR WITH CHEMTRAILS. MONEY MONEY MONEY…

WHAT GOOD DOES IT DO YOU IF YOU ARE ALL DEAD??????

Jeremy Boak

March 7, 2011, 1:46 p.m.

As a scientist, I don’t find any of the so-called facts asserted in this latest response to be true.  For Hydraulically fractured wells, the amount of water required to produce a barrel of oil (or its natural gas equivalent) is only above one barrel per barrel for wells that fail. For good wells, the amount is about 1 barrel for 10. 

To produce oil from oil shale, in which the organic matter is not mature, and heating must take place, much of the water used is used to condense steam in a power plant, so it is simply evaporated and falls, pure and uncontaminated somewhere east of where it would be used. But this is a process that is not yet active anywhere in the world except as research tests.

Microseismic measurements give us a pretty good idea of where the fractures go, and they do not propagate very far upward, rarely far enough to even come close to any aquifers.  Most of the failures I have seen documented appear to have nothing to do with the deep fracturing, but with spills at the surface, or with failed boreholes (not specific to fractured wells). If there is serious interest in solving these problems by means other than total shutdown, then investigating the true causes of the problems that have arisen, and properly enforcing the existing regulations is much more than a scientific exercise.  It is an attempt to produce the energy needed to power a multi-generational transition to a fully renewable future.

Brain bran

March 8, 2011, 1:29 p.m.

It starts to cramp up my brain to hear these industry greed-heads flatly deny they have no responsibility for any of these problems. Let’s see, 30 years of excellent water and immediately after they drill his water goes bad? Come on, how stupid and gullible do they think we are. My father worked with a man who developed fields in the US for 50 years who told me that in the earlier days they routinely drilled through groundwater, which they were supposed to report in their drilling logs but almost never did because it could cause them to be responsible for problems. Besides, after the fact it it’s hard to prove and nobody ever checked to make sure the logs were accurate. We will just sit around and not force responsibility until we have a BP gulf accident. It will be really devastating when we destroy one of the massive aquifers in the plains states that agriculture is vitally dependent on. You CAN"T EAT OIL!.

Hassan

March 10, 2011, 3:23 a.m.

If the conservative congressmen are so sure fracing is safe let them drink a quart of Mr Meeks water publicly every day. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind since it is so safe. I have 80 acres in upstate NY I plan to retire on and I don’t want to worry about my sping fed pond going on fire because of fracing up there. Keep the presure on your representatives and let them know that they won’t be getting your votes if they side with the oil and gas lobbies!

Robi

March 11, 2011, 3:04 p.m.

It is quite sad, the lack of simple scientific understanding shown by most of the comments here. It is also sad that hydraulic fracturing has become the devil and convenient monster when a problem arises. Proof, however, is never required when the obvious enemy must be “fracking”!

Also sad is that most of the people who are doing the complaining (think Josh Fox and his fairytale) don’t live here and have no idea what is happening on a daily basis. Clearly people will believe anything if Gasland is considered a documentary. What has the world come to?

I live here, have acreage in the marcellus of PA and NY state (long before I ever knew what it was) and plan to continue living here for the rest of my life. However, I also have a brain and use it. When natural gas drilling came to town several years ago, I started spending every day learning about it. NOT from ProPublica and the highly-funded organizations like them but from actual scientific publications. It has taken a lot of my time but I would have it no other way. This is a very important situation we are dealing with and we must make the right decisions.
I am comfortable with the actuality of natural gas drilling happening around me or on my land, if it comes to that. I know how it works and what can go wrong, but I also know what is NOT caused by it.
Right about now a large number of you will start the name calling, because that is how you deal with opinions that are unlike your own. Go ahead, it won’t bother me a bit. Won’t change my mind either. I know what is really behind your nasty attitudes. Admit it…you should have made land a priority.

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This article is part of an ongoing investigation:
Fracking

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat

The promise of abundant natural gas is colliding with fears about water contamination.

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