The Wall Street Journal, in an editorial, details the facts on fracking- including concerns that fracking is jeopardizing groundwater.
It’s no secret that horizontal drilling, combined with hydraulic fracturing, is the only reason the Bakken Formation oil development in Montana and North Dakota has taken off.
Here’s an excerpt from the WSJ piece:
The resulting boom is transforming America’s energy landscape. As recently as 2000, shale gas was 1% of America’s gas supplies; today it is 25%. Prior to the shale breakthrough, U.S. natural gas reserves were in decline, prices exceeded $15 per million British thermal units, and investors were building ports to import liquid natural gas. Today, proven reserves are the highest since 1971, prices have fallen close to $4 and ports are being retrofitted for LNG exports.
(Claim) Fracking contaminates drinking water. One claim is that fracking creates cracks in rock formations that allow chemicals to leach into sources of fresh water. The problem with this argument is that the average shale formation is thousands of feet underground, while the average drinking well or aquifer is a few hundred feet deep. Separating the two is solid rock. This geological reality explains why EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, a determined enemy of fossil fuels, recently told Congress that there have been no “proven cases where the fracking process itself has affected water.”
Meanwhile, Politico’s “Morning Energy” has this from The New York Times:
FRICTION OVER FRACKING FINANCES – Natural gas critics are hoping to make hay over a front-page Sunday New York Times story that suggests the industry could be misleading investors about its future prospects and creating the next investment bubble.
The story focuses on internal emails and documents in which energy executives, industry lawyers, geologist and market analysts “voice skepticism about lofty forecasts and question whether companies are intentionally, and even illegally, overstating the productivity of their wells and the size of their reserves,” writes NYT’s Ian Urbina. The story: http://nyti.ms/kykFgc
Thursday, June 30, 2011 5:06 PM
The WSJ article you quoted is not complete in some important respects concerning the current state of research on fracking which is detailed in this story about a Viet Nam Vet’s fight against overwhelming opposition to get the story out. The story below details damage to his water and what EPA found in it including chemicals used in fracking. While they seemingly haven’t proven that the chemical found could not have come from other fossil fuel drilling, other than conjecture on where else the documented change in wells might have come from, no other credible explanation exists either. The many layers of rock theory is not holding up the more we know.
Also among the 930+ comments at WSJ
o Jack Carson wrote [to the WSJ]:
Quote: “One claim is that fracking creates cracks in rock formations that allow chemicals to leach into sources of fresh water. The problem with this argument is that the average shale formation is thousands of feet underground, while the average drinking well or aquifer is a few hundred feet deep. Separating the two is solid rock.”
Gee, Sherlock, has it occurred to you that the drill bore must pass through those aquifers on the way down to the gas? Is it out of the realm of possibility that in doing so, contaminants can be released into the water table? It doesn’t matter how much rock separates the two if the boundary isn’t perfectly sealed.
Methane may be present in water wells where fracking hasn’t taken place, but studies have shown that concentrations can become significantly higher near wells after fracking. For example, see a 2011 study by Osborn, Vengosh, Warner & Jackson. The claim that an initial presence of methane explains ALL the methane is a classic deception.