Journalism in the Public Interest

EPA’s Abandoned Wyoming Fracking Study One Retreat of Many

When the Environmental Protection Agency abruptly retreated on its investigation into water contamination in a central Wyoming natural gas field recently, it shocked environmentalists and energy industry supporters alike. Industry advocates see the EPA’s turnabout as an overdue recognition that it had over-reached on fracking. Environmentalists see an agency systematically disengaging from any research into the safety of drilling.

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July 8, 2013, 11:16 a.m.

What I find most informative, and instructional, is the FACT that Mr.Fern-and-Dez has consistently REFUSED to directly answer a single legitimate question raised here, and has instead consistently tried - with little obvious success - to turn the debate into a political one, of “right-vs.-left”, Repubthug-vs.Demoncrap, rich-vs.-poor…
He talks about “good-paying jobs”, but doesn’t say where that money comes from…He brings the President into this, when the topic is the state of Wyoming, the EPA, and fracking testing, and BigOil…
If it’s true that “Naive libs demand perfection”, then it must also be true that “lying CONS demand destruction”...
I’d rather live with naive libs, than DIE with lying cons…
Wha cha got, Mr. Fern-and-Dez…???...

James Barth

July 8, 2013, 11:19 a.m.

Bruce Fernandes wrote that “All the chemicals used in fracking were disclosed to the EPA.”.  Really?  How do we know that, and, why should anyone believe that statement?

Oil & Gas Industry apologists, like Mr. Fernandes, usually write that all the chemicals have been, and still are, reported publicly.

Mr. Fernandes, as US Representative Diana DeGette, co-sponsor of the FRAC ACT, has often asked industry representatives during committee hearings (the original GASLAND shows one such encounter),  if the industry has already fully, publicly, disclosed the chemicals, and is willing to always disclose the chemicals, why does the industry oppose the FRAC ACT, which would simply require them to do so?

Do you have a meaningful answer to that question?  Mike H?

Bruce J Fernandes

July 8, 2013, 11:31 a.m.

The money comes from sales and sales lead to profits and profits are reinvested in new drilling and development and payment of dividends to the so-called rich who don’t care about anybody else but themselves.

Oh wait the receivers of these dividends are any of us who own stock in these companies directly or indirectly through mutual funds in our retirement accounts.

I would be more concerned about where the money comes from that creates an Obama that takes over as much of the economy as can possibly be taken over.

It became a political debate when the EPA is being used in ways never intended because congress is supposed to make the big picture decisions that drive the regulatory agenda.  Oh, that’s right, because the people have left a net republican house then that should be nullified and Obama should engage in every extra-constitutional act he is engaging in because after all the republicans want dirty water and dirty air and super rich people and poor living in the streets.

I say again regardless of all of the postings there is no there there… the fracking liquids have been fully disclosed to the EPA.  There are isolated cases of malfeasance by a few companies in their drilling techniques…. so go after them, punish them, shut them down, shut them out…..

but that is not the agenda of ProPublica or the libs….. you want a European energy structure where energy is so expensive people cannot afford it and use less of it.  My future brother-in-law lives in a hut of an apartment in London and pays more in electricity than I pay for my home which is 3x larger.

You don’t want energy infrastructure of any kind and you do not care what the lower classes in our society have to pay for energy…. you would rather set up more subsidies and transfer wealth than allow for any wealth creation in the energy sector of our economy.

Harry Reid, your hero and our state’s senator has been blocking the release of documents relating to his green energy agenda in Nevada and how much more residents of NV will have to pay for utilities.  Now it seems to me if you are proud of your agenda then let it see the light of day and explain to your constituents why you are doing the right thing.

Oh, that’s right, your uninformed, too stupid to understand, low information voter is simply used to gain their vote and then you pat them on the head, treat them like a child, and implement your self-serving self-righteous agenda.


Mike W

July 8, 2013, 2:33 p.m.

“Mr Fernandez” is polluting the quality of discussion here with thinly veiled abuse of DC, liberals in general, and the EPA. I’d like to rephrase from his last paragraph, “If the EPA had evidence that ProPublica claims exists, they SHOULD have taken action”. That’s what the main problem under discussion is; they found a problem, and backed away.
I believe “Mr Fernandez” is simply a troll; could anyone real be so blatantly self-serving and immune to logic?

Mike W

July 8, 2013, 2:40 p.m.

I also have to point out, if the composition of fracking fluid is such a big secret, why is it so widely known in the industry? Every company involved seems to have their versions of “slippery water”- I would bet the reason why is that it’s not rocket science, you just need lots of it at low cost, and it can also serve as a method to get rid of toxics that are sitting around in barrels in every drilling company’s back lot.


July 8, 2013, 3:54 p.m.

Why is everyone surprised?  It’s an accepted fact that the Obama administration is nothing more then “Bush-Cheney With a Smiley Face”.

We the people no longer have a government.  Only corporations and rich people have a government.  Soon we will all be peasants eating genetically modified food and working for less then a dollar an hour so we can compete with Bangladesh.  If we complain big brother will be listening.  Those in the middle class that think otherwise are deluding themselves.  Thank God I am old enough I may be long gone by then.

Those of you that continue to defend the powers that be and big oil will probably suffer the most because you will be devastated by the surprise of it all.  Just keep listening to Fox and burying your head in the sand.

Bruce J Fernandes

July 8, 2013, 4:43 p.m.

The chemicals used in fracking were disclosed privately because the companies consider them to be proprietary and patented.

To the member of congress demanding public disclosure.  Should Coca Cola be required to disclose their formula because caffeine is addictive?

Members of congress; both parties, grandstanding.  We need light of day on the legalized bribery environment that is congress.

None of you have any of the facts at your disposal and your argument that EPA backed away is simple-minded.  There was no there there in the way of chemicals used to frack.  The industry is working very hard to conduct itself safely because they know how heavy this hand of government will be if there is a major breach or failure…..

Idealists living with their ideals do not create wealth and to those so concerned about low wages can earn $60K to $100K in the Baaken and the Marcellus…... but you idealists with your ideals will choose to work for $9/hour assembling solar panels at a company that got a government loan that will be pissed down a rat hole and you express no concerns about the poor judgement of those touting solar and wind when those technologies are too expensive and unable to compete in the marketplace for dollars or the marketplace for ideas.

James Barth

July 8, 2013, 5:33 p.m.

BJ Fernandes gives the typical, non acceptable answer to the chemicals question, which shows he is ignorant of the long history of this slick water issue, and, is only interested in putting forth the new lie that the industry might want to run by the public.  Certainly, it is unacceptable answer that he wants the public to swallow. 

I don’t accept that Bull Script.

First industry said it was “only sand and water”.  Some gas hole PR people still say that.  Then, it was only one half of one percent, and the chemicals were all found under your kitchen sink.  Then, it was all food grade chemicals.

Then, the industry said, and still says, that it HAS revealed all the chemicals, all one has to do is go on the internet to FracFocus.  Even Fernandes disagrees with that statement.  Now, Fernandes wants us to believe that industry has revealed everything to the EPA only, in private, because the formulas need protection, like COCA COLA.

That is the same proprietary argument that has been used since the one half of one percent (which is actually as much as two percent).

Bruce, your investments are calling you.

Bruce J Fernandes

July 8, 2013, 5:41 p.m.

EPA made a demand.  The demand was responded to by the industry… end of story.

Those of you who have been so corrupted by the environmentalist crazy-town movement don’t want any fossil fuels used and you do not care how many more people are put into poverty because in your wet dream world we wait for the wind or the sun to provide less than consistent and less reliable power that costs a lot more.

The disclosures were made and the fact that you are not privy to those disclosures may be a legitimate beef….. I don’t know because when someone believes they are using a proprietary product why should the public be told when their representatives empowered the EPA to engage with the industry.

You all know what you want… just be honest about it.  You want power from sources that is inconsistent and unreliable and costs a lot more…. that is the present state of the European energy economy and you are all quite content if we live like Europeans.  Most of us do not want to live that way.

My energy portfolio was up again today.  I think you all are more peeved that new wealth is being created when your greatest hope is to take down wealth and redistribute it to society’s takers.  Didn’t work… your socialist president only succeeded in creating more wealth for the wealthy.

Bruce J Fernandes

July 8, 2013, 6:36 p.m.

Bradford, so you are one of those libs that pretends to be tolerant but given the chance will demean homosexuality.  You do know how to spell the word hypocrite, right?

You also choose to insult those with Hispanic surnames…. interesting how the liberal definition of tolerance is to be intolerant of anyone that actually knows underlying facts.

Refinery down time is a function of operating a refinery safely.  The refinery plans for that down time and makes sure there is enough production in their pipeline or alternative production is accessable.  The exception to this in Chicago area and parts of east coast is a function of those states unwillingness to have refinery assets proximate to their needs.

You should be happy that refinery downtime limits the number of accidents and fires.  Then there is also refinery downtime that is a required downtime in order for the refinery to convert to process other types of petroleum for seasonal and other reasons.  I am not exactly certain why you would be so ignorant of the facts surrounding reasons a refinery can go down. 

Unfortunately, a refinery can go down because of an accident as we saw in northern CA recently.  I believe that was a Chevron facility, accidents happen and in that case there was a fine for some mistake made; otherwise, contrary to liberals rants, businesses have no interest in risking their assets by being stupid with their production methodologies.

Bradford, now that you have shown your hatred and disrespect for Hispanic surnamed individuals and homosexuals by suggesting my name must make me homosexual where can you possibly stand now that you outed yourself as one very intolerant, angry individual?

Byard Pidgeon

July 8, 2013, 6:48 p.m.

Bruce Fernandes…I agree with you about Bradford’s mocking of your name. It is childish at best, and on a par with the standard ad hominem attacks we usually associate with right wing crazies.
That said, I do believe you are very wrong in your defenses of the oil and gas industries, particularly about fracking. Your facts seem to be the facts of industry talking points, and are for the most part either misleading or wrong.
Perhaps these are your true beliefs, and perhaps, as some have suggested you are a paid mouthpiece. Either way, you’re untruthful and often injecting political points where they don’t belong, making some ad hominem attacks of your own.

Bruce J Fernandes

July 8, 2013, 7:18 p.m.


My information is developed from a lot of independent sources having no skin in the game that provide information to people like me who want skin in the game… meaning investing.  This whole presentation by ProPublica and posters about what is and what is not happening is so one-sided and frankly intellectually dishonest.  I listen to these conference calls where company management teams discuss in detail these issues and how they are working with government on methodologies meant to provide greater safety.  These things go on in the privacy of company/governmental regulatory agency working groups.

The notion that companies are little more than a spinoff of the turn of the century before the last century is completely off base.  These companies understand they are in the beginning of one of the great energy resurgences in the US that will have enormous worldwide implications as time goes on.  These companies do NOT want to get it wrong.  Are there companies like Cabot that completely screwed it up in the beginning… yes… but are all companies running around wrecklessly conducting their business activities?  No.

ProPublica like many liberal oriented groups does not like fossil fuels.  Fair enough but tearing down entire industries because ProPublica understands that industry success for shale gas and oil by use of fracking technology will NEVER allow wind and solar to take hold.  The only way for these green energy methodologies to take hold is by force of government action; one way or another.  ProPublica wants to be part of the destruction of the fossil fuel industry; make no mistake about that….

Fracking has been around and in use for decades.  There is plenty of data out there and ProPublica has chosen its agenda and will not make a full presentation of history. 

You can sit here and say EPA backed off when your agenda is to drive fossil fuels into the ash heap of history or you can say EPA doesn’t have any leg to stand on.  Go up to the Baaken and see what exactly is going on up there.  If everything the liberal biased media presents as part of their agenda to rid the world of fossil fuels were true there would be public outcries for intervention and regulation by government.

My own take is ProPublica and other liberal biased groups know they are losing the war on fossil fuels as more solar and wind companies kept afloat by government loans have found themselves in bankruptcy and liquidation mode in the past few weeks.

Wealth in the trillions has been created and many more trillions of new wealth will be created over the next 20 years as the combination of energy infrastructure build out, increasing production and eventual exportation of liquefied natural gas and oil becomes a large part of changing the world.  The liberals are angry that wealth is being created and I am one of those that believe this administration is dedicated to creating enough dependency in this nation so that the dependent class votes their wallets for continued prosperity in the form of government handouts and giveaways.  I have never seen a president who nonstop hammers American business of all kinds in his speeches only to be found holding his hand out behind his back for more contributions from the very businesses he hammers.

So you all can believe this EPA backed off when reality is this EPA just doesn’t have anything that would satisfy all of you which would be the means to put an end to fossil fuels and force upon the American people a European energy infrastructure that is unreliable and a lot more expensive.

James Barth

July 8, 2013, 8:40 p.m.

Mr. Fernandes,  you live in a state that pays much less in Federal taxes than it receives back in Federal support, yet, you pillory the Federal government.  You portray your Senator Harry Reid as a hero to democrats, especially liberals, yet, he is nothing of the sort.  As a democrat, I tell you he is a sad, empty suit. 

Your posts are filled with disinformation, and, ill informed opinions. 

I’m happy for you that you seem to have enough money to have investments.  Oil and gas pays well in the past years.  You have ‘money work for you’, instead of having ‘to work for money’, which the vast majority of American citizens must do.  Congratulations, but, don’t try to portray that as sustainable, or even, a viable “American Dream”.  Our economy, and especially, our fossil fuel burning, energy, “lack of policy”, will implode soon enough.

I hope you have lots of weapons, and canned goods, and a cool place in the desert to live out your unhappy remaining days, after the collapse.  You live in an environment that is sustained by the rest of the U.S., that has abundant resources.  You have very little in Nevada.  Does your desert house have a swimming pool?  Are you a fool?

Give us a break.  If you live in Nevada, you live an unsustainable life, without outside support.  You live off of corporate welfare, and, you live off of the welfare given to you by the rest of the United States.

Live well while you can.

Bruce J Fernandes

July 8, 2013, 9:02 p.m.


Nevadans do not benefit from government largess as much as you think and even if we do it is frittered away in a subpar education system that has among the lowest grad rates in the US.  Almost 1/2 our budget goes to education system.

If you truly believe fossil fuels are going to be the end of life as we know it and if you believe our society is going off a cliff because we are in a post industrial economy where we have devalued work with our hands and overvalue work with our minds then I have to say you are in deep need of counseling. 

This earth we live on has been here for over a billion years and some scientists think even a lot longer than 3 billion years.  This earth has most likely been molten and hotter than anyone can imagine for thousands of its years.  This earth has been as cold as ice ages for who knows how long.  This earth has a lot of self correcting mechanisms and the doomsday folks that said the earth could not sustain anywhere the number of people it now sustains have been wrong.

No one wants to explain how the earth is in a 16 year pattern of lower temperatures.  Your kind simply dismiss it and say “let’s call it climate change instead of global warming so we can avoid being completely discredited for our the world is coming to an end rhetoric”.  Until someone with scientific stature and no political agenda offers explanations that are free of politics these warming or change agendas will go nowhere.

I certainly hope you can find a way to enjoy your life because it is never as bad as people choose to paint the future.  I remember the global ice age front cover on Time… never happened.  No one can categorically state for an absolute fact that the climate changes happening now would not otherwise be happening.  Otherwise, during the years when the earth was much hotter and there were no auto emissions and all the other benefits of modern living didn’t exist why was the earth so much hotter?

This is meshed in politics because the left wants everyone to accept as blind faith that we are all doomed unless we let our political leaders take over even more of the economies of the world.

You want to talk about the end of the world?  Let these idiots in government take over everything and we all get relegated to sending 1005 of what we earn to the government and wait for them to be so gracious as to return to each of us that which we are entitled to have from government.  And we all better be grateful for all that we get from government.

I hope no one is as fatalistic as you present yourself.

Yvette Betancourt

July 9, 2013, 1 p.m.

Thank you for this article/update. Living in WY I saw the EPA study trashed as residents dealt with massive health issues. Though Natural Gas is crucial to this energy’s future, we should not straight out lie about the impact and just acknowledge we are making a choice.

Rezwan Razani

July 9, 2013, 1:15 p.m.

“Conflict of Interest” can be shortened to “COI” - similar to “Return On Investment” - ROI - which is, in some cases, the flip side of the COI coin. 

Sharon, Thanks for the succinct “Industry and Government say there is no documented proof” loop. 

In other options:  What about nuclear energy?  I know that fracking is slowing down investment in it.  What I want to see is an EPA study that compares the relatives risks of fracking vs. Nuclear power.  While there is some risk of radioactive leakage - the key issue here is volume.  So much less disruption of everything for the same energy payload. 

Nuclear solves everything - dependence on foreign oil, drilling and despoiling the landscape, green house gases.  I advocate a Big Hairy Nuclear Energy goal - let’s just switch. 

Let’s at least have the conversation and see if there is common ground with pro nuclear activists and fractivists.

Bruce J Fernandes

July 9, 2013, 3:29 p.m.

It was your grandparents that wiped the nuclear industry off the face of the US continent 30 years ago… right or wrong.

Now, their grandchildren are at it again with fracking. 

If anything you said had any truth Obama’s EPA would shut them down.

Maybe if he retains the Senate in 2014 he will order his EPA to end the use of all fossil fuels once and for all… after all, he wants to transform America so we can live the same miserable lives as our European counterparts…...

We Americans have never wanted to live like Europeans even though with respect for the economy here and now we are living the way they live in part.  101M Americans dependent on one form of government assistance or another…. and NO social security was not paid for by beneficiaries who have received so many times their investment they could not possibly earn those returns to receive those benefits in the real world… only in the Ponzi game market of government.

All of you should reflect on your attacks of fracking; the same was done with nuclear 30 years ago. 

Anyone who demands an end to fracking is demanding that consumers overpay for inferior and less reliable energy sources.  You all like having your computer running so you can write your endless elitist dribble but real people in the millions work to provide stable energy for our use every minute of every day.

So you all whose grandparents destroyed the nuclear industry 30 years ago have yourselves to blame if you think fracking is an unacceptable alternative.  Nuclear is no longer acceptable because of regulatory cost and years to build out a plant without revenue generation from ratepayers for too many years.  Rate payers were burned in Sacramento and San Luis Obispo by failed nuclear projects.

Like it or not fracking can create trillions of new wealth over the next 30 and more years.  Instead of ProPublica focusing on regulations the preference by the idealists is to end it w/o prejudice.  In what world does anyone believe you can simply end something rather than make every effort to regulate?

Its like reading a children’s board here.  You have no understanding of how power is provided and unless you have lived somewhere where consistency of power is in question you have no idea of the overall importance of having ready and consistent sources of power.

I’m sure your employers could better explain to you in terms you might understand like without power you have no job so how will you live?  Oh, I guess you all would be willing to line up in an Obama Entitlement Line for your freebies for the taking.

The rest of us want independence from our government and are willing to let government regulate fracking rather than Obama’s crony capitalists pretending solar and wind are the answers to our problems.

Solar and wind perhaps can provide a decent percentage of energy… but keep in mind I see that huge field of solar panels outside Las Vegas and that huge plot of land with panels provides for 15,000 homes….. there isn’t enough land for solar to be the answer and we in NV are probably the best lab rat example of why it isn’t the answer.

Technology to make solar panels smaller…. its been happening and still that huge plot of land is needed for 15,000 homes.  ten years ago it would have been maybe 1,500 homes.  The cost to get to 150,000 homes is prohibitive otherwise we would be there and NO we cannot get there by having government starve us of energy which is the only way to make solar and wind viable.

When all of you na├»ve children grow older perhaps you will come to appreciate steady energy delivered at reasonable prices…. by those evil private sector companies.  Because if government ever controls the energy sector…. look out… but you are about to get that lesson in government healthcare.  Once that takes hold you will understand why so many of us are afraid of our government.

Byard Pidgeon

July 9, 2013, 3:49 p.m.

Bruce F…you seem to have convinced nobody, and in consequence are becoming more strident, arrogant and abusive in your comments.
I suspect you’re a paid troll, because it’s difficult for me to imagine any sane person going on and on and on as you do.


July 9, 2013, 6:54 p.m.

I agree 100% with what Byard Pidgeon wrote at 3:49 today, about “Bruce F.”...
Bruce, you’ve done your best to drag a conversation about the EPA backing off from a Wyoming fracking-pollution study, into as many irrelevant, distracting, and confusing directions as you can…
Your rambling, near-psychotic “comments” range across nuclear power, solar power, politics, including the archaic “left-right” paradigm, personal insults worse than my own, (...“Brucie Fern-and-Dez”...ha, ha, ha, ho hum…), to a near-rabid and delusional belief in the sanctity of your personal delusions… So what if I used a comma, when a semi-colon was better called for?...
You LOST, Bruce, and you’re WRONG…
There is PLENTY of resources for 10 - 20Billion on Mother Earth, but NOT if we go the corporate “greed-and-ignorance-and-profit is good” route of anti-life shills such as Bruce Fernandez…May God have mercy on your soul, Bruce…

Mike S

July 11, 2013, 1:24 p.m.

As a more or less disinterested observer, and having read the posts, I would give the victory in the argument to Fernandez.


July 11, 2013, 9:10 p.m.

Liar, liar pants on fire. If the water is not detrimental to ones health then let them drink it for a full year. Clean fresh bottled water delivered to those who do not see a problem. Free for a year.


July 11, 2013, 10:41 p.m.

When the fedeal government becomes criminal and starts breaking its own laws—as it has in this case, notably with the refusal to enforce the ban on injection of diesel—it raises the question of what happens next.

Generally it means the end of the federal government as we know it.  But I have no idea what comes next.


July 15, 2013, 4:21 p.m.

The answers to all of your questions lies in the subtly of science. You can get to the same conclusions as EPA by following the science. But this isn’t easy to do unless you have various very specific degrees and it certainly isn’t easy for a reporter to do. In fact, almost everyone on these teams argued over the scientific results.

Pavillion is, in fact, not a good candidate to use for a national study; the geology and hydrogeology in this area is too unique to use as a general case.

Unfortunately, it is very expensive to drill the wells the EPA needs to drill to evaluate deep hydrogeology. And they certainly did not get lucky where they drilled their two deep water wells. They had to draw the conclusions they could draw, and they should have been more scientific about it rather than making huge leaps in conclusions when what they needed was more data.  With constant budget cuts, it is a strain for EPA to afford the wells they need to draw the proper conclusions.

This may have something to do with politics, but I believe it has more to do with the science. Aside from surface spills and the possibility of well seals failing when they pass groundwater zones, the fracking fluid is injected into very deep parts of the subsurface in places where oil and gas components (diesel, methane, benzene, toluene, etc.) exist….which is why oil and gas companies are fracking there: to extract the oil or gas (and their components). This area is way outside of groundwater zones, and even if it were it wouldn’t be groundwater poeple could consume because it would be mixed with (naturally occurring) oil and gas.

Believe me, I tend to overexaggarated poitical conclusions….quite often. My friends are constantly correcting me! But in this case, I just happen to have worked in the environmental field for most of my life and it’s all science and scientific conclusions that the public hasn’t been exposed to. Also, oil and gas companies do not wish to contaminate water; they take extensive efforts to prevent such things.

If you ask me, you’re barking up the wrong tree with fracking contaminating water. Fracking is the new technology that has led to a boom in energy across the country. But what about the mass amount of land disturbance this boom has caused? What about the mass amount of energy needs we have?

Byard Pidgeon

July 15, 2013, 4:36 p.m.

Andora…which extractive industries did you “just happen to have worked in the environmental field” for?
Your defense of the oil/gas industry seems blithely unaware of the havoc these corporations have wreaked in regions around the world, not only on the environment in terms of the landscape, but in polluting water and soil on a massive scale…oh, and colluding with corrupt governments to kill and/or displace people who were in the way or demanded better practices or reparations.
I don’t want to pick particularly on oil/gas…all extractive industries seem willing to destroy anything in the way of their getting the raw materials they want.

Helen Bitaxis

July 16, 2013, 12:44 a.m.

Andora, I agree with Byard.  Either you have not really looked into what’s been going on, or your paycheck is signed by one of those polluting companies and you close your eyes to the facts and your mind to what has been happening to many peoples’ lives and to the environment.  I certainly don’t think the gas and oil companies set out with a plan to cause harm, but they surely do rush ahead without spending time and money to find a way to do this safely, and when they have the inevitable slip-ups, rather than apologizing and attempting to do better in the future, they sweep what has happened under the rug, spend their $$$ on doing cover ups.  I am a pediatrician and first became aware of what was going on when a mother of two children in our practice brought them in, wanting them to be tested for any harm that had been caused by their exposure to numerous toxic and/or carcinogenic chemicals.  Before the topic of fracking was on most everyone’s lips and minds, this family had bought land, out in the countryside of western PA, upon which to build a home.  They ironically were making the move with the idea that it would be a better place for raising their children, a healthier environment.  How very wrong that turned out to be.  They unfortunately had bought only the surface of the land, not the underlying mineral rights.  (Are you familiar with the documentary “Split Estate”?)  The person who sold them the land had held on to those, and preceded to lease those mineral rights to several gas companies.  Soon there were derricks going up in their backyard.  And when the wells were flared, if the wind was blowing toward their house, they would have to leave their home as their eyes would start tearing, their noses, throats and eyes burning.  Then, they discovered that their well water was contaminated when their 2 dogs both began peeing blood and one was bleeding from the mouth.  And this wasn’t one of those, “Gee, watch me light my water on fire”.  We’re not talking just methane gas.  When their water was analyzed it contained benzene, toluene, and a whole list of hydocarbons.  And when the air was also tested, it contained similar compounds, as well as formaldyhyde.  Real healthy stuff.  When they went to the gas companies, the response they got about the water was “It wasn’t from us.  Must have always been that way.”  But out of the goodness of their hearts they offered to bring in water for the family for the next year - - - - so long as they would sign a nondisclosure agreement.  When they refused, no free water.  And so Mom had to return to work, having decided to stay home with the children when they moved, now with the expense of buying a hugh water buffalo and then paying for twice monthly delivery of water.  They called the DEP about the air pollution.  They came out, did no measurements but agreed it was bad, and so paid a visit to the gas company.  The gas company said, “Oh, so sorry, we know it’s bad, but we had some machinery problem and we’re waiting for a new part to come in.  Should be here by the end of the week, and so that will solve the problem.”  The DEP agent said, “Oh, good”.  Gave them a pat on the back and left.  No fine levyed.  No return trip to see if they made good on their word.  And soon, besides the wells drilled behind their house, there were condenser tanks, one of those open ponds - looked to me to be about the size of 7 football fields lined up but that might be an exaggeration and then a compressor station was next.  How does one extract oneself from this nightmare.  Can you afford to just walk away from your house.  Who would ever want to buy it?  Do you stop paying the mortgage and lose your credit rating?  Finally, after years of dealing with 3 different companies, they did get out by “selling” the house to the companies - - - - but only after they had a gag order so no longer able to speak out about what had happened.

Helen Bitaxis

July 16, 2013, 12:45 a.m.

As I said in my previous comment, I am a physician.  It’s impossible to collect any meaningful data on health issues as the companies have made it a practice to buy people out if they complain, but only if they will sign a non-disclosure statement.  What choice do they have.  Since I became aware of what was happening, I’ve seen people with all sorts of health complaints, people too poor to take on these big corporations.  I’ve seen livestock killed.  There is a local farmer who raised beef cattle.  Suddenly, all his cows were having miscarriages, and/or delivering babies with severe congenital defects.  He found his pond water where the cattle drank to be contaminated.  Same story, the gas company said it must have always been this way, not our fault.  So he had to fence off the pond and bring in fresh water for the cattle to drink.  I’ve seen people with chronic rashes, hair falling out, constant nausea, nose bleeds.  I truly believe that the people here in PA are being made into the canaries in the coal mines.  But by the time there’s enough gatherable data, the companies will have made their fortune and moved on.  Remember asbestos?  And I hear that the same people who did public relations for the tobacco industry, back when, are now working for the gas companies.  I don’t know if that’s true or just hearsay.  But I do know I am sick of their lies.  I am sick of their saying that fracking has been safely done for a half century or more, when what we’re really talking about here is HORIZONTAL FRACKING, which only started in the late 1990’s or early in the new century and that is being done with gold rush fervor.  I’m sick of their claims that “your water was always like that”.  Right - I am certain those families in Dimock, PA, always had orange water with a hugh amount of sediment.  Have you seen what it looks like?  I wouldn’t wash my clothes in it, much less drink it.  I am sick of their ignoring the fact that the air pollution in the wide open countryside of Wyoming is now worse than the air in Los Angeles.  I am disgusted by the rules that they had our PA legislators write (I should say paid them to write), which amongst a number of non palatable rules, states that if I have a patient whom I feel is suffering ill effects from their fracking operation, I can only find out what chemicals are contained in their fracking fluid if I sign a non-disclosure agreement.  Since when do honest people have the need for non-disclosure contracts, and spinning the truth, and out and out lies.  To my mind this is very dirty business, and spurred by nothing but greed.  If they’re so patriotic, wanting us to be free of depending on foreign oil and gas, why the rush to build pipelines to port cities where it can be shipped around the world.  If it’s so wonderful, why the need for those big bribes to our legislators (oops, I meant to say campaign contributions).  Get the picture?!

Bruce J Fernandes

July 19, 2013, 7:40 p.m.

I assume everyone assumes Obama’s Department of Energy study concluding that fracking chemicals did not taint water is phony, bogus story.

It sickens me the way environmentalists have tried to bastardize everything in their effort to force green renewable energy down everyone’s throat without regard for cost.

This DOE study is now the gold standard and those of you who are conspiracy theorists can continue down your path of a green renewable agenda. 

All I can say is green and renewable will come when its time but in the meantime you should be thankful that we have a decent transition fossil fuel that can be used in cars and trucks and electric utility plants to lessen environmental concerns.

But rather than slam and trash by innuendo why not focus on getting green renewable right for everyone including reasonable costs rather than letting government fly off the handle throwing money at Obama’s cronies to come up with garbage solutions that failed but lined the pockets of Obama’s big campaign contributors who were dialed into this green renewable farce. 

Van Jones has sold out after realizing the folly of his green agenda and will now co-host CNN’s Cross-Fire.

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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.

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