Tag Archives: gas

Anti-fracking protesters begin ‘day-and-night’ demonstration against plans to start drilling for oil in the English countryside

Reposted from Daily Mail UK

Anti-fracking protesters begin ‘day-and-night’ demonstration against plans to start drilling for oil in the English countryside

  • Battle of Balcombe underway as protesters blockade entrance to site
  • Residents and campaigners have promised around-the-clock resistance
  • They fear drilling will lead to poisoned water and loss of wildlife habitat
  • Energy firm Cuadrilla says it is only conducting exploratory work
  • The firm promises no controversial hydraulic fracking at this stage
By Stuart Woledge

Protesters have promised around-the-clock resistance against a fracking company’s plans to start exploratory oil drilling in an English village.

Up to 50 residents and anti-fracking campaigners obstructed a site entrance in Balcombe, near Lewes, East Sussex, where Cuadrilla is expected to start test drilling in the coming days.

Cuadrilla has said it intends to conduct exploratory drilling in a temporary operation which will not include hydraulic fracturing.

Frack off: Protesters have promised around-the-clock resistance to exploratory drilling for gas at a site in West Sussex

Frack off: Protesters have promised around-the-clock resistance to exploratory drilling for gas at a site in West Sussex Continue reading

Fracking Moratorium Urged

This is re-posted from Jan. 9 (Bloomberg Business) — The U.S. should declare a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in populated areas until the health effects are better understood, doctors said at a conference on the drilling process.

Gas producers should set up a foundation to finance studies on fracking and independent research is also needed, said Jerome Paulson, a pediatrician at George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington. Top independent producers include Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Devon Energy Corp., both of Oklahoma City, and Encana Corp. of Calgary, according to Bloomberg Industries.

“We’ve got to push the pause button, and maybe we’ve got to push the stop button” on fracking, said Adam Law, an endocrinologist at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, in an interview at a conference in Arlington, Virginia that’s the first to examine criteria for studying the process.

Fracking injects water, sand and chemicals into deep shale formations to free trapped natural gas. A boom in production with the method helped increase supplies, cutting prices 32 percent last year. The industry, though, hasn’t disclosed enough information on chemicals used, Paulson said, raising concerns about tainted drinking water supplies and a call for peer- reviewed studies on the effects. The EPA is weighing nationwide regulation.

Longstanding Process

“We need to understand fully all of the chemicals that are shot into the ground, that could impact the water that children drink,” Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts, a senior Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a phone interview. The industry is trying “to block that information from being public,” he said.

The gas industry has used hydraulic fracturing for 65 years in 30 states with a “demonstrable history of safe operations,” said Chris Tucker, a spokesman for Energy In Depth, a Washington-based research and advocacy group financed by oil and gas interests, in an e-mail. Drilling in shale deposits in the eastern U.S. began in 2004.

Gas drillers have to report to the U.S., state and local authorities any chemicals used in fracking that are “considered hazardous in high concentrations” in case of spills or other emergencies, Tucker said. Those reports don’t include amounts or concentrations, he said.

The industry created a public website last April for companies to voluntarily report lists of chemicals used in individual wells, including concentrations. Colorado and Wyoming have passed laws requiring drillers to file reports to the website, Tucker said.

Hazards Unknown

Despite those disclosures, U.S. officials say they don’t know all of the hazards associated with fracking chemicals.

“We don’t know the chemicals that are involved, really; we sort of generally know,” Vikas Kapil, chief medical officer at National Center for Environmental Health, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at the conference. “We don’t have a great handle on the toxicology of fracking chemicals.”

The government has found anecdotal evidence that drilling can contaminate water supplies. In December, the EPA reported that underground aquifers and drinking wells in Pavillion, Wyoming, contained compounds that probably came from gas drilling, including glycols, alcohols, benzene and methane. The CDC has detected “explosive levels of methane” in two wells near gas sites in Medina, Ohio, Kapil said.

He said he wasn’t authorized to take reporters’ questions after his presentation.

Chemicals Used

Fluids used in hydraulic fracturing contain “potentially hazardous chemical classes,” Kapil’s boss, Christopher Portier, director of The National Center for Environmental Health, said last week. The compounds include petroleum distillates, volatile organic compounds and glycol ethers, he said. Wastewater from the wells can contain salts and radiation, Portier said.

U.S. natural gas production rose to a record 2.5 trillion cubic feet in October, a 15 percent increase from October 2008.

A moratorium on fracking pending more health research “would be reasonable,” said Paulson, who heads the Mid- Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment in Washington, in an interview. His group is funded in part by the CDC and Environmental Protection Agency, he said, and helped sponsor the conference with Law’s organization, Physicians Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy.

Tucker called the CDC’s participation in the conference “disappointing,” saying the conference is “a closed-door pep- rally against oil and natural gas development.”

Representatives of Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group, registered to attend the conference.

–With assistance from Katarzyna Klimasinska in Washington. Editors: Adriel Bettelheim, Reg Gale

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Wayne in Washington at awayne3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Adriel Bettelheim at abettelheim@bloomberg.net

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/01/09/bloomberg_articlesLXJW7C0YHQ0X.DTL#ixzz1j13gAv00

News Coverage from Sanford Rally

Opponents, proponents of fracking speak at Sanford meeting

By Steve DeVane
Staff writer

SANFORD – People in Lee and surrounding counties told state officials Monday night they had numerous concerns about a controversial method of drilling for natural gas called fracking.

About 310 people attended a meeting about the state’s plan to study the environmental and economic impact of natural gas exploration in the Sandhills.

Large deposits of natural gas are believed to be buried in prehistoric rock formations beneath the region.

Most of the 35 speakers at the meeting either opposed fracking, which is known as hydraulic fracturing, or urged state officials to proceed cautiously.

Six members of Croatan Earth First, an environmental group based in the Triangle, protested before the meeting.

They carried signs that said, “Don’t frack with my water,” and “Water is life! Don’t frack it.”

About 10 feet away, four ladies who called themselves the “Raging Grannies” sang songs with anti-fracking lyrics.

“We are very, very concerned about the quality of air, water and soil,” said Ruth Zalph, one of the members of the group.

The ladies sang one of the songs during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“No fracking, no way,” they sang. “We say keep those frackers away.”

Officials from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources talked about the study and asked for feedback.

Several people said more money and time is needed to look into the issue. The General Assembly allocated $100,000 for the study, which is scheduled to be completed by May.

Sanford resident George Birchard said he didn’t think the state’s plan showed an ability to regulate the gas industry.

“You do not realize how big a tiger you have by the tail,” he said.

Jeff Sheer said he and his wife own property near Deep River, where shale believed to contain natural gas is near the surface. Sheer said he’s seen a lot of commercials promoting natural gas exploration.

“When you see that many television commercials telling you how safe it is, you can only imagine how much lobbying is going on up in Raleigh to get people to vote for this,” he said.

Sheer said lawmakers can’t cut the department’s budget and expect it to monitor the natural gas industry.

Robin Smith, the department’s assistant secretary for the environment, said the organization would try to answer as many questions as it could.

“We’re going to do the best job we can with the resources and time we have,” she said.

Rep. Mike Stone, a Republican from Sanford, and Rep. Mitch Gillespie, a Republican from Marion, co-sponsored the law calling for the issue to be studied. Both were at the meeting.

Stone said he appreciated people raising questions.

“I want to assure you, I want the answers to those questions,” he said.

Gillespie said several more steps might be needed after the study is complete.

“I assure you whatever happens, you’ll be satisfied with the outcome,” he said.

Before the meeting, Gillespie said he wants a comprehensive study.

“My experience in government is most of the time public hearings don’t matter,” he said. “I can tell you, this one matters.”

The department is accepting written comments by mail or email through Oct. 18. The department’s address is 1601 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1601. The email address is on the department’s website at ncdenr.gov.