Journalism in the Public Interest

New Study: Fluids From Marcellus Shale Likely Seeping Into PA Drinking Water

Researchers show natural fluids are migrating from thousands of feet underground and reaching drinking water supplies, raising concerns that man-made chemicals and waste could do the same.

A drilling site in South Montrose, Pa. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

New research has concluded that salty, mineral-rich fluids deep beneath Pennsylvania's natural gas fields are likely seeping upward thousands of feet into drinking water supplies.

Though the fluids were natural and not the byproduct of drilling or hydraulic fracturing, the finding further stokes the red-hot controversy over fracking in the Marcellus Shale, suggesting that drilling waste and chemicals could migrate in ways previously thought to be impossible.

The study, conducted by scientists at Duke University and California State Polytechnic University at Pomona and released today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, tested drinking water wells and aquifers across Northeastern Pennsylvania. Researchers found that, in some cases, the water had mixed with brine that closely matched brine thought to be from the Marcellus Shale or areas close to it.

No drilling chemicals were detected in the water, and there was no correlation between where the natural brine was detected and where drilling takes place.

Still, the brine's presence – and the finding that it moved over thousands of vertical feet -- contradicts the oft-repeated notion that deeply buried rock layers will always seal in material injected underground through drilling, mining, or underground disposal.

"The biggest implication is the apparent presence of connections from deep underground to the surface," said Robert Jackson, a biology professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University and one of the study's authors. "It's a suggestion based on good evidence that there are places that may be more at risk."

The study is the second in recent months to find that the geology surrounding the Marcellus Shale could allow contaminants to move more freely than expected. A paper published by the journal Ground Water in April used modeling to predict that contaminants could reach the surface within 100 years – or fewer if the ground is fracked.

Last year, some of the same Duke researchers found that methane gas was far more likely to leak into water supplies in places adjacent to drilling.

Today's research swiftly drew criticism from both the oil and gas industry and a scientist on the National Academy of Science's peer review panel. They called the science flawed, in part because the researchers do not know how long it may have taken for the brine to leak. The National Academy of Sciences should not have published the article without an accompanying rebuttal, they said.

"What you have here is another case of a paper whose actual findings are pretty benign, but one that, in the current environment, may be vulnerable to distortion among those who oppose this industry," said Chris Tucker, a spokesman for the gas industry trade group Energy In Depth. "What's controversial is attempting to argue that these migrations occur as a result of industry activities, and on a time scale that actually matters to humanity."

Another critic, Penn State University geologist Terry Engelder, took the unusual step of disclosing details of his review of the paper for the National Academy of Sciences, normally a private process.

In a letter written to the researchers and provided to ProPublica, Engelder said the study had the appearance of "science-based advocacy" and said it was "unwittingly written to enflame the anti-drilling crowd."

In emails, Engelder told ProPublica that he did not dispute the basic premise of the article – that fluids seemed to have migrated thousands of feet upward. But he said that they had likely come from even deeper than the Marcellus – a layer 15,000 feet below the surface – and that there was no research to determine what pathways the fluids travelled or how long they took to migrate. He also said the Marcellus was an unlikely source of the brine because it does not contain much water.

"There is a question of time scale and what length of time matters," Engelder wrote in his review. In a subsequent letter to the Academy's editors protesting the study, he wrote that "the implication is that the Marcellus is leaking now, naturally without any human assistance, and that if water-based fluid is injected into these cross-formational pathways, that leakage, which is already ‘contaminating' the aquifers with salt, could be made much worse."

Indeed, while the study did not explicitly focus on fracking, the article acknowledged the implications. "The coincidence of elevated salinity in shallow groundwater... suggests that these areas could be at greater risk of contamination from shale gas development because of a preexisting network of cross-formational pathways that has enhanced hydraulic connectivity to deeper geological formations," the paper states.

For their research, the scientists collected 426 recent and historical water samples -- combining their own testing with government records from the 1980s -- from shallow water wells and analyzed them for brine, comparing their chemical makeup to that of 83 brine samples unearthed as waste water from drilling sites in the Marcellus Shale.

Nearly one out of six recent water samples contained brine near-identical to Marcellus-layer brine water.

Nevertheless, Jackson, one of the study's authors, said he still considers it unlikely that frack fluids and injected man-made waste are migrating into drinking water supplies. If that were happening, those contaminants would be more likely to appear in his groundwater samples, he said. His group is continuing its research into how the natural brine might have travelled, and how long it took to rise to the surface.

"There is a real time uncertainty," he said. "We don't know if this happens over a couple of years, or over millennia."

If one reads the last two paragraphs first, it pretty much cancels out the rest of the story doesn’t it.
Desperately seeking, but still not finding, the smoking gun.

David McFatridge

July 9, 2012, 2:42 p.m.

Interesting how any reporting that may indicate a problem could occur inflames the drilling crowd. Their strategy is much like the tobacco companies of the past ,deny deny deny then ask for more studies while they conducted business as usual.

Terry Engelder is not exactly the most objective source on this…
In 2007 he was “tapped” by Subash Chadra, a Managing Director for Jefferies Group. 

” In October 2007, Engelder was named a distinguished lecturer for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. That position brought him to the attention of Chandra, the investment banker.  Wall Street’s interest had already been piqued by the success of the Barnett Shale in Texas, but analysts thought it was a unique formation. Just as Zagorski had realized, Chandra grew to understand that Barnett and Marcellus bore intriguing similarities. What investment firm Jefferies Group needed was someone who knew the rock. ``We looked around and Terry seemed at the time to be a geologist focused specifically in Pennsylvania or the Appalachian region,’’ Chandra said.”

Go ahead and check out Chesapeake Energy connections to Ralph Eads III from Jefferies.

Back to Engelder: he’s a partner in Appalachian Fracture Systems Inc with Gary Lash fom SUNY-Fredonia.

Add to the “natural” migration the ever increasing seismic events from injection wells and carbon sequestration, plus fracking ....and we have added multiple layers of risk now!  Not worth it….even if it takes a hundred years….I cannot go to my grave knowing I did not fight to prevent the loss of fresh water supplies. And so I fight this every day and have been for the last three years.

I liked this quote:

Chris Tucker, a spokesman for the gas industry trade group Energy In Depth. “What’s controversial is attempting to argue that these migrations occur as a result of industry activities, and on a time scale that actually matters to humanity.”

Disregarding the fact that all it takes is one earthquake to change all assumptions the hydrocarbons industry would have you rely upon, can you ask for a blunter statement of “We’re getting rich today, and somebody else - like your kids - can worry about tomorrow.”????

If the chemicals being injected have any shelf life of any kind, especially one which will be prolonged for decades by lack of air, ie, injected 3000 ft below the surface, then what difference does it make how long it takes for the fluids to migrate. Will the citizens 10, 20 or 100 years from now not still be harmed by carcinogens and endocrine disruptors that we allowed to be injected into their drinking water? Sounds like a ticking, albeit possibly slowly ticking bomb. All this so a couple companies could make a profit, and so our generation could waste electricity?

@Elmer Fudd:  Kind of horrifying, isn’t it, to know that there are human beings who are not just willing but eager to poison the future of the human race just so they can grow their pile of imaginary wealth today?

Maybe that was the point of religion and its “sins of the fathers”-type moralizing…to teach humans that is isn’t nice to plot the abortion of all future generations.  I know one thing:  If an alien species flew in out of the clouds and started planting the seeds of humanity’s destruction, we’d go ballistic

lollll…just watch Will Smith’s Independence Day or Travolta’s Battlefield Earth.

On second thought, some of us would go ballistic were aliens to take the same approach as Big Carbon does…I suspect the Republicans and neoliberal Democrats would align themselves with the aliens just as they allied themselves with the Islamic OPEC nations against the American people and the United States of America in the aftermath of the OPEC oil embargo of 1973.

@ibsteve2u: The same people responsible for electing these re-thug-licans will join a march outside an abortion clinic, while at home ensuring that future generations will have poison water to drink. Just does not make sense to me. I am baffled by the ignorance of many who support these people. If the same people get their wish the federal EPA will be eliminated. Wonder what will replace the superfund program that would ultimately be charged with cleaning up these unlivable areas, and relocating the disfigured families of the future? Probably another “private enterprise” funded with public funds, charged with cleaning up the mess the oil barons leave behind. Too many people just don’t get the arrogance of their plans. Horrified, not any more, mostly sad for them. You may have targeted an idea though, ballistic might be the only word they will give the an acceptable response to.

We should have a new rule.  If there is no danger to ground water or air quality or any other type of poisoning from fracturing or deep injection sequestration or any other risky industrial procedure, then let’s ask the executives of the industries in question and those of the media organizations producing multi-million dollar propaganda campaigns that spread the word of their safety and the politicians that champion their safety and a sampling of the one percent that invest in their safety, put down roots and drinking water wells and breathe the air in the communities at risk, for say two generations. 
If they won’t make that kind of commitment to their promise of safety, why should the people that live in those communities?

The gas industries safewashing strategy is disturbingly similar to the tabacco industry.  And they are using the same company to do it.

The bottom line is that these methane deposits were formed over 200 million years ago, if there was a preexisting pathway for either the gas or the surrounding brine from Marcellus to escape, it would have done so long ago and there wouldn’t be any gas to drill for.

see josh fox’s new short documentary ‘the sky is pink’ for details

Where is any sense of intergenerational or interspecies responsibility? Fracking is a nightmare as it is, but in 50 years time, what hell will they have created if we don’t stop this insanity?  The fact is that some of these people are so deluded by money that they would probably drink fracking fluid if they were paid enough.  Life means so little to this industry.

@Mike H:  You left out a key little bit of information…the gas remained in those deposits “in an undisturbed state” for 200 million years.

An earthquake obviously can disturb those deposits…and rumor has it there are a whole lot of people running around with big rigs and blinders composed of dollar bills who are doing their darndest to disturb those deposits.

And those deposits obviously can be disturbed..the La Brea tar pits, the oil seeps that lead to the siting of the Drake Well in Pennsylvania, and on and on are conclusive proof that the stability of those deposits relies upon a static geology.

A geology that can be abruptly altered, again, either naturally or by human actions.

Chip Northrup

July 9, 2012, 4:49 p.m.

Of course there is communication, but the wellbore itself is the most likely pathway for fugitive gas to enter groundwater, just a matter of how much how soon - they will all leak within decades, contaminating drinking water.

An earthquake obviously can disturb those deposits…and rumor has it there are a whole lot of people running around with big rigs and blinders composed of dollar bills who are doing their darndest to disturb those deposits.

If the brine was migrating up from the Marcellus you would also see HF additives and gas ... but the researchers found neither. That either means the brine is not from the Marcellus or that it has been migrating up for a long time, eons.

There should be a law that the owners and employees of these drilling companies must live within a mile of these wells and must drink the well water on the site.  Let’s see how fast there would be a change of mindset.  Hmmmmm now.

Stephanie Palmer

July 9, 2012, 5:14 p.m.

Hey, our fearless Governor Corbett thinks this is all nonsense. I guess he doesn’t think about future generations and what they’ll do with poisoned water and air. But I do have a question. How do they know if the chemicals appearing in the water are similar to what is used in fracking since the honorable drilling companies don’t disclose what poisons, excuse me, chemicals, they use?

“If the brine was migrating up from the Marcellus you would also see HF additives and gas…”

Sounds like an admission to something.

The industry has only been operating, in the Marcellus, in PA, since 2005, and there are still, comparatively, few wells in relation to what is proposed over the next 20 years.  There has been little time elapsed, comparatively little drilling and frac’ing, and very, very, little study.  Bradford and Susquehanna only started being drilled in the Marcellus in 2008.  This study deals with that part of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

NYS archives, referred to by the Hazen and Sawyer report from December of 2009, prepared for the NYC DEP, loudly points out that the Appalachian Basin is riddled with existing fault structures.  This has been backed up by every reputable geologist in existence.  It is a fact.

Again, this study targets Northeastern Pennsylvania, exactly the Apallachian Basin, and the results absolutely confirm what the industry reps, such as Tucker, Engelder et al have either denied will have impact, or when it happens, say it is worth the impacts we are currently experiencing.

As Tony Ingraffea might put it, the cumulative impacts, are…accumulating.  It seems we may see them sooner than later, in undeniable form.  The Sky is not Pink.

We absolutely know there are natural, pre-existing, vertical, and horizontal pathways.  As Chip states above, now, industry wants to create hundreds of thousands more, within this Basin, when industry can’t even prevent migration in its own hole.  Cement?  6% immediate failure rate, and 50% within 20 years?  30 years?

someone who thinks

July 9, 2012, 5:29 p.m.

Engelder stated blatantly on NPR last summer that he uses his academic standing to advocate for natural gas development. He said that his position on PA Governor Tom Corbett’s Marcellus advisory panel was specifically to “provide political cover” from a scientist so that the governor wouldn’t take any heat (this was in reference specifically to providing science-based reasoning for forced pooling of Marcellus drilling units). Yet, he has the audacity to claim that other scientists are guilty of “science-based advocacy”!!! Lustgarten, you might want to consider the lack of integrity of those that you quote next time—or, just point out Engelder’s lack of dignity the next time you quote him so that the public knows not to put any stock in this pot who has called the kettle black.

Me, I think they should have a database like the sex offender database in which the names of all those who are enriching themselves from fracking and the other activities of Big Carbon should be entered and maintained.

Not those who are merely earning wages, but those who are working as executives and technical apologists for the carbonaceous industries or who are major shareholders in the industry or major lease or mine holders.

And said database should be maintained until the end of time so that if something should go wrong, the descendents of those who created their family fortunes while assuring humanity that nothing could go wrong can be given the opportunity to make amends for the sins of their fathers…if amends is what the survivors are interested in.

Just in case it turns out that the timescale does matter to humanity.

Impossible!  Fracking is 7,344 percent clean!  (Claimed percent is estimate only.)

Every study that confirms we have a problem builds a stronger case to ban it.  Bring on the studies!  EPA will be doing studies in 7 areas now too.  Studies = knowledge = action = banning.  Please act now and sign these three petitions to ban fracking. 

1. 2.

This is not about jobs nor dependence on foreign oil, it’s about our lives.

Here is a little tune to sing as you go a hiking in your Now rural New York State:

> The Happy Fracker
>  By
>  Bruce A. Blodgett, of Colorado
> I love to go a fracturing,
>  Right through an aquifer
>  And as I go, I love to sing
>  With nothing to deter.
> Frackeree, Fracker-rah
>  Frackeree
>  Fracker-rah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
>  Frackeree, Fracker-rah
>  No Greenie on my back.
> I love to drill down by the stream,
>  That shines with oily slick,
>  So joyously it calls to me,
>  Although it makes me sick.
> Frackeree, Fracker-rah
>  Frackeree
>  Fracker-rah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
>  Frackeree, Fracker-rah
>  No Greenie on my back.
> They’ll waive your rights to all redress
>  So sue me all you wish;
>  The law assures my great success,
>  So what if there’s no fish.
>  Frackeree, Fracker-rah
>  Frackeree
>  Fracker-rah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
>  Frackeree, Fracker-rah
>  No Greenie on my back.
> High overhead the derricks pound,
>  They never stop for weeks;
>  But just like me, they stand their ground
>  And hope there are no leaks.
>  Frackeree, Fracker-rah
>  Frackeree
>  Fracker-rah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
>  Frackeree, Fracker-rah
>  No Greenie on my back.
> Oh may I go a fracturing
>  Until the day I die!
>  Oh may I drill most everything
>  Beneath what was blue sky.
>  Frackeree, Fracker-rah
>  Frackeree
>  Fracker-rah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
>  Frackeree, Fracker-rah
>  No Greenie on my back.

Ah, Mike H, good to hear to your defense-of-industry voice again, and right on time.

One pause-making conclusion of the study, to reiterate, is that (to quote it) some areas of NE Pennsylvania “could be at greater risk of contamination from shale-gas development because of a pre-existing network of cross-formational pathways that has enhanced hydraulic connectivity to deeper geological formations.” In other words, the impermeable rock between the fracking zone and shallow aquifers is not so impermeable after all.

In fact, the study found “deep formation brine” with a “strong geochemical fingerprint” in groundwater sampled from the Alluvium, Catskill and Lock Haven aquifers. The brine is not related to nearby fracking operations, as far as the study could tell. Some of these results were recorded before fracking began. But the point is, migration from below to above is occurring, groundwater aquifers do show signs of mixing with fluid from deep underground.

Finding the next piece of evidence—a geochemical signature in groundwater that matches that of flowback fluid from a nearby fracking operation—may only be matters of more research money and time.

A lot of would, could, if, possible, paragraphs in this article. Basically things move around underground and it could be dangerous.  So is crossing the street.

Give me a break.

And to the commenter who said we’ve only been drilling marcellus since 2005 .... Wrong. There are pump jacks all over the state that are decades older.

@Dory:  Terry Engelder is a Ph.D. geologist who has studied structural geology and rock mechanics for his entire career, long before the public at large had heard of shale gas production.  It’s laughable to say that his association with a for-profit entity compromises his objectivity.  Who would you suggest, a biologist such as those in this study who are not geology experts?  This quote, from the article, pretty much says it all: 
“Jackson, one of the study’s authors, said he still considers it unlikely that frack fluids and injected man-made waste are migrating into drinking water supplies. If that were happening, those contaminants would be more likely to appear in his groundwater samples, he said.”

George, most of us look both ways before we cross the street.  Your way of thinking is the reason we are going to be in a world of hurt, if not there already.  You must be inhaling too much of the mist coming from all this glorious fracking as you obviously have lost your sense of taste, smell, and sadly common sense.  Try to breath some clean air, if there is any more left around you.

As a condition of being allowed to drill there, have the corp execs AND their families drink, cook, bathe/shower, and do their laundry in this “clean” water—no testing required (per the execs). Watch what happens….

“But he said that they had likely come from even deeper than the Marcellus – a layer 15,000 feet below the surface – and that there was no research to determine what pathways the fluids travelled or how long they took to migrate.”

Errr…Even if the water found IS from deeper than the well, that still sounds like there’s danger to the well.  If I shake a can of soda to pressurize it, throwing things at the can is unlikely to improve the stability.

Here’s the crux, George and Carbon Black and Mike H: The Duke and Pomona Poly researchers found evidence of pathways from deep below to shallow aquifers. We need those aquifers for drinking water and irrigation.

The industry’s geologists have been saying no such pathways exist. They say the rock in between the fracking zone and our drinking water is impermeable, that migration of fracking chemicals or flowback or hydrocarbons thousands of feet upward is impossible.

Wrong. What we don’t know yet is considerable. How much flows? How fast does it flow? Can we find gas-rich areas where the rock is, in fact, impermeable?

It’s very important to keep in mind the time scale. Industry plans to drill in New York for 30 years, and the last well won’t stop producing for another 30 years. That the researchers haven’t found any evidence of fracking-pollutant migration yet is close to meaningless. Horizontal drilling with high-pressure, high-volume fracturing is new to the area. (The old pump jacks George notes are old-tech fracking, which was lower pressure and vertical only.) We don’t know yet what will happen. 

But common sense coupled with years of watching mining-company overconfidence produce disasters should make us slow down until we know exactly what we are doing.

Elaine Lapp Esch

July 10, 2012, 1:20 p.m.

How many of us have heard Engelder mock concerns about fluid migration by saying “Water cannot run uphill!”?  Repeatedly.  Ad nauseum.  The man is running scared and should be.  He gambled his reputation for recognition.

Plausible Deniability.  Cigarette companies. Dioxin. Celebrex. Asbestos.

“If I can get ten more years of profits I can retire and make the New Kid worry about it. Cancer? I don’t live there!!!”

@Tom P:  The researchers said specifically that they did not find “evidence of pathways”.  They suspect that they might be present, but they are biologists, not geologists.  You are inventing conclusions to support your desired outcome.  “Common” sense should not control our economy, especially when yours may be different from mine.  Facts and data are more reliable, and in this case, still not conclusive.

I owned a water well drilling company for 30 years and have drilled thousands of wells. Almost all water qualities deteriorate with depth. Only that which lies near the surface (say down to 1000 ft) has been purged by the hydrological cycle and is potable. Certainly no surprise a few of the deeper water wells show evidence of native or original water quality and is no proof of an effective avenue from deep formations.

Carbon Black: To the contrary, your misreading appears to be entirely guided by wishful thinking.

I suggest instead that you actually read the paper, published in Proceedings NAS. It’s number 1121181109, received Jan. 5 this year, approved May 10, published July 9.

It says in the abstract, “The strong geochemical fingerprint in the salinized (Cl > 20 mg/L)  groundwater sampled . . . suggests possible migration of Marcellus brine through naturally occurring pathways.”
Which is what I said.

Scientists don’t “suspect,” they hypothesize. Polemicists “suspect.”

I don’t have a desired outcome. That would be your presumption, wouldn’t it. You clearly do have a desired outcome, however. Any chance you work for the Independent Oil and Gas Association of NY or one of its members? I note that ProPublica asks commenters to use real names, but you’ve defied that request with a pseudonym.

Common sense is, by definition, broadly shared. I park my sense in science’s lot. So do most people, or we wouldn’t be here.

By the way, facts and data are rarely “conclusive.” That doesn’t absolve us from making critical decisions with the data we have. And that’s where common sense and more than a little morality are invaluable.

So, all you who are opposed to fracking, are you reducing your carbon footprint, cutting back on driving to conserve fuel, conserving electricity, recycling, wearing only natural fibers (cotton/linen/leather), cooking with wood, and using solar and wind power? If you want fracking to stop, those are the only ways to do it. As long as you’re using natural gas to cook with, wearing synthetics (which are made from petroleum), and buying water and soda in cans and bottles, you are adding to the argument FOR fracking. Granted, it doesn’t seem like some of those things affect the need for fracking, but any time you use a product that requires petroleum products, you are creating a demand for oil. Fracking is supposed to reduce that demand.

Liane, I’m not opposed to fracking, just fracking done badly or dangerously—which appears to be standard practice for some so far.

To your point about obtaining more natural gas through fracking in order to reduce demand for petroleum, consider that many fracking proponents do not advocate conservation. On the contrary, they think these newly available reserves will allow us to continue to consume without any thought of shortage for another hundred years, which for most people is an eternity.

David Owen in his short book Conundrum points out that just about every new energy solution has had the consequence of increasing energy use. If you make something cheaper or more available, more people will adopt it. Think of air conditioning. Once it became affordable, everybody used it—and often so carelessly it was left on all the time. A half-century ago, few people had room air conditioners. Now we must savor the irony of an electrically cooled environment that has accelerated global warming and increased the need for more air conditioning.

I’m with you: we all need to reduce our carbon footprint. The best was to do that is to consume less, especially less energy.

Yes to all.

Now let’s stop fracking.

The biggest argument against fracking is not water quality (though that remains an open question, as this study suggests), but that it represents a massive increase in the pool of available fossil carbon that we can migrate from safely underground into the active carbon cycle where it will acidify the oceans and destabilise the climate. These effects are not hypothetical or possible, but already observed. Unless we leave the vast majority of fossil carbon underground, then we are heading into a future that is much, much more hostile to human life (let alone the millions of other species with which we share this planet).

Apologies for repeat post. I got an error msg after the first one. Mods can feel free to delete my first post (and this one).

steve milosic

July 11, 2012, 2:12 p.m.

In the year of mammon .

But Methane Migration is a common and well documented problem. Its been known about by the industry for decades.
This from a Society of Petroleum Engineers paper in 2000. 
““Unfortunately, even if no gas appears at the surface, it is no guarantee that the well is not leaking. In fact, the common occurrence of household water sources being charged with deep-sourced gas is clear evidence that there are many cases of leakage where the gas simply enters the water aquifer, and may never bubble around the casing”

It also talks about Cement not sticking to Shale and other rocks..

Dana Leigh Dolney

July 12, 2012, 10:40 a.m.
Please take the time to read and share. There are other pathways in PA that the industry doesn’t care to mention. Specifically abandoned mine shafts that they “accidentally” drill through, if the faulty casings and spills and blowouts weren’t enough. That is just one of many horror shows on the Headley’s property. We are just the guinea pigs. We are the collateral damage. Anyone that wants to see the facts themselves can look at the PA DEP’s case of the Gees in Tioga County vs Shell Oil and Gas.  They clearly found THERMOGENIC gas in their water tap that could remarkably light on fire AFTER drilling came their way. Shell Oil had to buy their property and they had to sign a non disclosure agreement to get out and protect their family. Now they can’t talk about what happened just like hundreds and hundreds of other families out there.  I don’t need studies or hypothesis, we have an abundance of facts right here in PA. If only more newspapers, like Propublica, actually set out to tell the truth the public wouldn’t be so pathetically ignorant.  Case in point. The Post Gazette in PGH wrote a story that was only a puff piece about this for industry to say see, we told you it was safe (even though it goes against everything else we have been telling you about how something we do down there COULD NEVER affect your water thousands of feet away). But then again, the Post gets a serious amount of money from the industy, so why would it ever bite the hand that feeds it.  Sad that they still get to call it news.

I have gas well that is 1400 feet deep.In a matter of 5 years i have the well baled to get rid of the brine water that will stop the flow of gas as the brine water rises.My pressure goes from 186 lbs.pressure to a low of 35 lbs. Brine water is under pressure to maintain its height and will travel any pathway either vertical or horizontail.

So in a nutshell what some of you are saying is that we are sacrificing water for gas and that we should just write off all the states where the drilling is taking place because in the coming not too distant future they will be uninhabitable.  Who cares about those areas of the country!???  Then we can all move to the areas of the country where there is no FRACKING and live happily ever after.  I would love to take all the idiots who think that money can protect them from this tragedy,  and bang their heads together.

Watch the State of Texas, they have almost had enough, our dirty Oil Sands Tar is going to bust ‘em. Clog their pipeline, big power draw equals rolling black outs, the process makes the bad air unbreathable and the clean water and natural gas required to process the heavy oil with the water required for the shale gas will bring them to reality but it maybe too late for them!

All for a little more “B” grade oil…and our Canadian boys with TRex Exxon are to blame also.

“We don’t know if this happens over a couple of years, or over millennia.”

Does it even matter if it happens in the immediate future or much, much later? If it happens, then it’s a problem… maybe not this generation’s, but for future generations…

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:

Fracking: Gas Drilling’s Environmental Threat

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

The Story So Far

The country’s push to find clean domestic energy has zeroed in on natural gas, but cases of water contamination have raised serious questions about the primary drilling method being used. Vast deposits of natural gas, large enough to supply the country for decades, have brought a drilling boom stretching across 31 states. The drilling technique being used, called hydraulic fracturing, shoots water, sand and toxic chemicals into the ground to break up rock and release the gas.

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