series: Fracking, and lead are still bad for the environment

*This is several old posts copied onto one long page, some of my earliest blog posts, kind of a mess, shared for the purpose of education within the guidelines of Fair Use.

http://ecowatch.com/2014/01/08/shane-davis-fracking-colorado/]

Title: Fracking and lead are still bad for the environment (1/18/2013)


The magazine, Mother Jones, has an intriguing cover story for their Jan/Feb 2013 issue. The title on the cover suggested that a chemical might be a solution for reducing crime, raising IQ’s and reducing the deficit.  The toxic chemical on the cover turned out to be the lead additive, tetraethyl lead or Pb(CH2CH3)4, which was commonly used in gasoline for many decades. The additive was developed to reduce knocking and pinging noises in high performance engines. When the gasoline was burned the lead was released into the air. Cities and industrial areas that had more traffic also tend to have more contamination from lead in the soil. [1]Use of the lead based gasoline additive has been linked with the rate of violent crime in the United States and other countries. When compared over time, the rate of violent crime was seen to go up about twenty years after the lead based gasoline additive was widely put into use. The rates of violent crime then went down about twenty years after the lead based additive was phased out of use for protection of health and the environment. There are many factors involved in crime rates so the correlation was not suggested to prove a causative link. However the trend towards increased crime rates about one generation after the introduction of leaded gasoline followed by decreased crime rates about one generation after leaded gasoline use was stopped was seen at national and community levels. [1]


Lead exposure during childhood can increase the risk of behavior problems and learning disabilities. Lead exposure during early childhood is also associated with reduced income earning potential. Cleaning up gasoline may have helped improve many children’s futures. Cleaning up the remaining contaminated soil could help even more children. Older houses that still contain lead paint are more well known risks but soil is a problem over large areas. Paint or soil that contains lead needs to be removed and replaced without creating dust. Contaminated areas could also be sealed over with new paint or with artificial turf or concrete. Private business owners are required to disclose whether there is known contamination of the property but they aren’t required to test for lead contamination. Individual renters have to pay for the testing to prove there is lead contamination before landlords are required to clean up the site. [12, 3]


This land is not always our land underground. If mining rights are leased by a property owner then shallow or deeper drilling may be possible without needing further permission from the landowner. Corporate and individual profit can  take precedence over long term risk. The lead based additive in gasoline is released into the air when the mixture is burned. The chemicals used in fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, are added to water which is pumped deep into oil bearing rock. The pressure from the steaming water and acidity from the chemicals causes the rock to fracture and releases the oil. The water and chemical mixture returns to the surface and may be stored in an open pond.


Mining with hydraulic fracturing techniques has become a risk for residents in Pennsylvania and other areas above the Marcellus Shale. The area of oil rich rock lies a mile underground and stretches across West Virginia, Pennsylvania and into New York state. [4] Environmental standards frequently do not apply to the oil and gas industry. [6] Benzene and other toxic chemicals that are used in hydraulic fracturing may not have to be reported and the companies may not be held legally liable for hazardous waste cleanup. The long term health of humans and the food supply [5] may be a hidden cost for a short term supply of fuel.


Individuals who live on the planet and care about water and air supplies may want to follow toxicologist Howard Mielke’s example of advocating for change. His perseverance and research helped get the tetraethyl lead out of gasoline in the 1970’s -“a campaign that was successful in part because he managed to sample the lead-contaminated soil in his legislators’ own backyards.” [2] Sometimes change waits until problems are visible in our own backyard.


Twenty years of oil leaves thirty years without oil in the next half century or eighty in the next century or 980 in the next thousand years. Electric cars are quiet so we don’t have to worry about excessive knocking or pinging or tetraethyl lead; we just have to worry about the silence. [7, 8]

  1. Drum K., “America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead.” (Jan/Feb 2013 issue) MotherJones.com [motherjones.com]
  2. Zhang S., “‘Just One Lick’: The Hidden Lead That Could Sicken Your Kids.” (Jan. 3, 2013) MotherJones.com [motherjones.com]
  3. Drum K., “Does Lead Paint Produce More Crime Too?” (Jan. 4, 2013) MotherJones.com [motherjones.com]
  4. Royte E., “Fracking the Amish.” (Jan. 16, 2013) MotherJones.com: [motherjones.com]
  5. Brownstone S., “Fracked Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner?” (Nov. 29, 2012) MotherJones.com: [motherjones.com]
  6. Free Pass for Oil and Gas: Environmental Protections Rolled Back as Western Drilling Surges: Oil and Gas Industry Exemptions.” Environmental Working Group [ewg.org]
  7. Gara T., “The Silence Of Electric Cars: Our National Nightmare Is Almost Over.” (Jan. 7, 2013) The Wall Street Journal [blogs.wsj.com]
  8. Chorley M., “Quiet electric cars ‘pose no danger’ to visually impaired.” (July 24, 2011) [independent.co.uk] *The tires make noise against the road so the electric car was not that much quieter than the standard type of car.
/Disclaimer: Information presented on this site is not intended as a substitute for medical care and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment by your physician./
 
Title: Fracking, water safety and lessons from lead (Jan 25, 2013)
 
We don’t always know the consequences of  the industrial use of chemicals so a cautious approach is sensible when regulating the use of potential toxins. The lead additive used in gasoline to reduce engine noise may have left several generations more at risk for health and behavior problems. See previous post: [Fracking and lead are still bad for the environment]  
 
Fracking is the hydraulic fracturing process used to release oil or natural gas from shale deep underground. The process may be bad for personal and environmental health due to the chemicals used and due to the unwanted chemicals that may be brought to the surface by the process or released into surrounding ground water. The fracking process adds potentially toxic chemicals to millions of gallons of water. Twenty times more water is used in fracking than in other types of natural gas wells, [1] and regulations for the industry are less stringent than for other industrial businesses. Up to six million gallons of water may be injected in one fracking well. Hydraulic fracturing techniques are used in roughly 90% of the 270,000 oil and natural gas wells in the West [2] and the process is moving east to the Marcellus Shale. The Environmental Protection Agency considered hydraulic fracturing exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act:

“EPA considered hydraulic fracturing as exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act following the act’s passage in 1974 (LEAF v. EPA 1997, EPA Fracturing Final 2004). The act sets standards and requires permits for the underground injection of hazardous substances so that these materials do not endanger Underground Sources of Drinking Water (SDWA 2008).” […] “In 2005, Congress exempted most hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act but said the act would apply to fracturing with diesel fuel (SDWA Exemption 2005).” [2]

The hydraulic fracturing process has become more economical since the easier to reach supplies of oil and natural gas have become depleted. The process may not have seemed a large risk to ground water safety in 1974. It was not a primary method of extraction until more recently. Shale fields will also become depleted and the hydraulic fracturing techniques used in them may leave ground water supplies unsafe. The process injects water treated with hazardous substances into the ground and it shouldn’t be exempt from ground water safety standards.


We didn’t always know how bad lead was for health and we don’t know that the hydraulic fracturing process is safe for ground water supplies or for health. Children that were exposed to lead may have had lasting effects on their adult health even though the chemical is no longer present at elevated levels as an adult. In the child’s brain the toxic metal may interfere with the developing nerve connections between brain cells. Adults are less at risk from small amounts of lead and other toxins than a developing child.

Gasoline for automobiles was treated with a lead additive to reduce engine noise and the exhaust sent lead into the air. Small amounts of lead in the air may have increased behavior problems in generations of children. Lead fell from the air and contaminated soil. The lead in soil remains a risk if it becomes airborne in dust and is breathed or if it is eaten accidentally.


Fishermen may be exposed to lead from the weights, called sinkers, that help the fishing line reach the desired depth or casting distance. Fisherman’s lead sinkers get lost in fishing streams and the newer tungsten sinkers cost more. Until lead sinkers are made illegal only the environmentally aware fishermen are likely to spend the extra money for the safer weights made from tungsten or other metals. [7] Solder for welding metal used to be made from lead until it was regulated. Older homes may still have water pipes soldered with lead. [6] It is recommended to run the water in an older home for a few minutes before using it for drinking or cooking in case the water stored in the pipes overnight or all day had time to absorb lead.


The ancient Roman aqueducts used lead pipes and lined sections of the stone waterways with lead. Fresh water within a large city is essential to health and it is unfortunate that the soft easy to work metal may have been bad for the Roman citizen’s health over time. They may have been protected by a system that was based on constantly flowing water. Their aqueduct system was rarely turned off and flowing water may not absorb as much lead from soldered pipes or lead pipes. However the workers who made the lead pipes were reported to have health problems. [5, 8]


The water used in hydraulic fracturing of shale may have benzene and other toxins added and regulations don’t require full disclosure of the ingredients in order to protect proprietary information. The exemptions may protect industry secrets while leaving workers and future generations at risk from secret toxins. [2]
The chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing need to be recorded for monitoring their short-term and long-term effects on individual and environmental health. A nurse learned the hard way that secret toxins remain toxic. She suffered from liver, heart and respiratory failure after being exposed to fracking chemicals that were on the clothes of a worker who had come in for medical treatment. She survived even though the company responsible for making the Zeta Flow fluid that was on the worker’s clothing, refused to disclose to her physician what was in the chemical mixture. [2]


Stopping industry is unlikely so increasing the requirements for disclosure seems necessary for the safety of current workers and the future water supply. Chemicals released in amounts over 2000 pounds need to be recorded in the US for the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). In Colorado the amount required for disclosure was restored to the pre-2006 level of 500 pounds. [2] Requiring reporting of only the chemicals used in amounts greater than 500 or 2000 pounds may be inadequate. Smaller amounts of many different toxins may add up to a toxic load even though individually the toxins may be less toxic in small amounts. [3]


Benzene may be used during hydraulic fracturing and pockets of it may be released from ground supplies by the fracking process. [2] Benzene is a toxin at the microscopic parts per million (ppm) level; 500 pounds or 2000 pounds would be too much for health or ground water supplies. The permissible exposure level (PEL) for workplaces is 1 ppm. Unfortunately the benzene content in gasoline was increased when the lead additive was taken out. Benzene also reduces engine noise. [9] Benzene and other toxins are present at varying amounts within solvent mixtures so full disclosure of all toxins in use might be difficult for some industries unless each batch of petroleum based solvent was tested for all chemicals present in the mixture. [4]


Until regulations require all businesses that use the fracking process to make changes then it won’t be economically competitive for some of the businesses to make changes. Humans, plants and animals all need water to survive. Long ago the Romans charged larger industries to use water from the aqueducts. [5] Water has value and needs to be protected. The waste produced from hydraulic fracturing needs to be stored safely or purified. Disclosure requirements for toxins need to include all types of businesses, especially those injecting large amounts of toxic mixtures deep underground.

  1. Marcellus Shale,” Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources [dcnr.state.pa.us]
  2. Free Pass for Oil and Gas: Environmental Protections Rolled Back as Western Drilling Surges: Oil and Gas Industry Exemptions.” Environmental Working Group [link]
  3. Interaction Profile for: Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylenes (BTEX).” U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service,  Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry [atsdr.cdc.gov]  Excerpt: “No studies are available that directly characterize health hazards and dose-response relationships for exposures to “whole” mixtures of BTEX.  Exposure to each of the individual chemicals can produce neurological impairment via parent chemical-induced changes in neuronal membranes.  Benzene can additionally cause hematological effects, which may ultimately lead to aplastic anemia and acute myelogenous leukemia, and there is evidence that ethylbenzene is carcinogenic in other tissues.  No studies were located that directly examined joint toxic actions of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes on the nervous system, but additive joint neurotoxic action is plausible for environmental exposures based on predictions from physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling studies with BTEX and a ternary mixture of its components, and supporting data from neurotoxicity interaction studies of binary component mixtures.”
  4. DHEC: Petroleum Based Solvent” (2004, pdf) DryCleanCoalition.org: [drycleancoalition.org]
  5. Watering Ancient Rome.” (2/22/00) NOVA, pbs.org: [pbs.org]
  6. Lead Solder.” Wikipedia: [en.wikipedia.org]
  7. Fishing Sinker.” Wikipedia: [en.wikipedia.org]
  8. Lead Poisoning and Rome.” [penelope.uchicago.edu]
  9. Case Studies in Environmental Medicine: Benzene Toxicity.” (June 2000) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: [atsdr.cdc.gov]

Title:  Protecting the environment became the public’s job in 2005 (Jan 29, 2013)


In 2005 legislation was passed that shifted the responsibility to the public to prove that a process was unsafe in oil or gas drilling before a company could be held accountable. The National Environmental Policy has been in place since 1969. In 2005 Congress exempted many activities in the oil and gas drilling industry from having to meet the policy’s requirements. [1]

 
So, since 2005, it has been the public’s job to protect the environment from actions of the oil and gas drilling industry. The public could start with keeping records of the level of pollutants found in water supplies before hydraulic fracturing techniques are first used in a region. Local water quality tests are available that show the purity of the water after it is processed. Information regarding the amount of contaminants that were removed would also be necessary. Tracking that data over time might show whether there was an increase in contaminants after a new oil or gas drilling operation started. That data would suggest safety concerns but might not be proof that the company caused the increase in pollutants. Health statistics would also need to be recorded over time and change in the level of pollutants would need to be linked to a change in health problems. Proving that pollutants caused a health problem would also be difficult.
 
Requiring the public to prove an operation is unsafe seems like a “don’t ask, don’t tell,” policy – the Bureau of Land Management seems to be saying that the oil and gas drilling industry can do whatever it wants as long as no obvious health hazards occur in the short term. Long term risks wouldn’t be available or obvious and it would be hard to prove they were caused by a drilling operation. The public doesn’t have the resources for monitoring and testing pollutants and we lack the proprietary information about what chemicals the oil or gas drilling company might be using.Taxpayers also became responsible for paying for the 1980/86 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) hazardous waste cleanup. A Superfund had been created to pay for cleanup and was funded by an oil and gas industry tax, however the tax was canceled in 2008. [1]For more information see the National Environmental Policy Act Handbook, available as a pdf, 2008: [2] Sections regarding public involvement are included in the handbook.
 
  1. Free Pass for Oil and Gas: Environmental Protections Rolled Back as Western Drilling Surges: Oil and Gas Industry Exemptions.” Environmental Working Group [link]      Excerpt: “The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), enacted in 1969, also exempts certain oil and gas drilling activities, obviating the need to conduct environmental impact statements (EIS) (BLM 2008). The exemption, enacted by Congress in 2005, effectively shifts the burden of proof to the public to prove that such activities would be unsafe. In 2006 and 2007, the BLM granted this exemption to about 25 percent of all wells approved on public land in the West (BLM Budget 2009).” [BLM – Bureau of Land Management] * See the link for examples of activities that were exempted.
  2. Bureau of Land Management, National Environmental Policy Act Handbook H-1790-1 (Jan 30, 2008) pdf [blm.gov]

Title: Reading about fracking and The Future (Feb 20, 2013)


Time flies when reading a good book or two. Books are nice because they don’t require a password or much electricity. Heat and electricity are wonderful but so are clean water and air. The hydraulic fracturing technique known as fracking is providing jobs and energy products but at a risk to our air and water supply.The book, “The Future, Six Drivers of Global Change,” written by former vice president Al Gore includes information about the fracking technique that is used in the oil and natural gas industry. An average of five million gallons of water is used per oil or natural gas well. Chemicals and sand are added to the water before it is injected deep underground. The fracking fluid that returns to the surface is more contaminated than the water that was injected. The contaminated waste water left from the hydraulic fracturing process can be an environmental risk if it is disposed of improperly or is stored in open holding ponds which can overflow in rainy conditions. [1]


The oil rich shale fields are generally much deeper than ground water supplies and so contamination of ground water isn’t considered a large risk. However pollutants known to be used in the process have been found in the water supply of some areas where fracking techniques were used. Proving that the fracking process was the source of the pollution is a challenge. The 2005 exemption for fracking activities from the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act makes it difficult for the Environmental Protection Agency to even investigate reports of pollution. The book, “The Future,” by Al Gore includes quotes regarding the hydraulic fracturing process from leaders in the industry. One CEO suggested that while a contaminated water well may be a large problem for the local area, it would be only a small price overall. However another veteran of the industry is an advocate for strict controls and increased government regulation of the process. [1]


A few communities with limited water supplies for agricultural and human use have had to contend with the added demand for water by the petroleum industry. Purifying the leftover fracking fluid isn’t required so the process is trading useful water for oil or natural gas.

 

A more common environmental hazard associated with hydraulic fracturing techniques may be the unwanted release of methane gas. More responsible oil and natural gas companies contain the methane before it can escape into the surrounding air. However old mine shafts located near a new fracking well may act as channels that allow methane to reach the surface in unexpected places. Methane is seventy-two times more potent than CO2 in trapping heat in the atmosphere. It breaks down into CO2 and water vapor within approximately ten years. Methane adds to the CO2 imbalance in the atmosphere and increases the risk of change in the average global temperature. [1]


The increased supply and decreased price of petroleum products is also a concern. Shale sources of petroleum products were not expected and were not used in the estimates of expected change in average temperatures and ocean levels. Burning the natural gas obtained from shale rock is likely to add to the CO2 level in the atmosphere. The temporarily reduced price of petroleum products makes solar or wind power more expensive in comparison. [1]


An average of five million gallons of water ruined per oil or natural gas well seems like a substantial price during a time when drought conditions have become more common. The risk of toxins seeping into ground water supplies is a concern but the process itself is directly adding unsafe toxins to large amounts of water. Due to the 2005 exemption law it is up to the public to prove that hydraulic fracturing is unsafe.


The Superfund that was created to pay for cleanup of hazardous waste sites is also a taxpayer burden now. Originally a tax on petroleum and chemical products was created to fund the Superfund but that tax law expired in 1995. Restoring the Superfund tax was part of the Obama administration’s proposed 2013 budget changes. [4, 5]


Some opponents of the Superfund tax suggest that it is unfair to tax the chemical industry for cleanup of hazardous waste sites that weren’t directly related to the individual businesses. [6] Maybe it would seem more fair if some of the money was used to clean up soil contaminated with lead. Gasoline containing lead is still in use for some airplanes and race cars although NASCAR stopped using leaded gasoline starting in 2008. NASCAR teams had been found to have elevated blood lead levels. Leaded gasoline is still in use in a few countries for all cars. [7] When the gasoline is burnt the lead additive is vaporized and is spread to the surrounding land. The additive, tetraethyllead, and gasoline are both chemical products.


Taxpayer’s have also been subsidizing the petroleum industry through tax breaks. Eliminating tax preferences for fossil fuel businesses is in the Obama administration’s 2013 budget proposal. Twelve changes could add up to $41 billion in tax revenue between 2013 and 2022 for a average of $4.1 billion per year. [2]  Oil companies receive on average $8 billion in subsidies per year while the five largest companies made a total of $118 billion in profit last year. [3]


Humans have been enjoying energy derived from the remains of dinosaurs and ancient sea creatures for many years but it won’t last forever. The supply of fossil fuels will run out, that isn’t the question. The question is how can we slow down how soon that time arrives. Petroleum products include plastic and other commonly used items made out of fossil fuels. Burning the fossil fuel supply wastes its potential for other uses or for reuse as a solvent. Using less fossil fuel energy now would help the atmosphere and save more of the reserves in the ground for future generations.

  1. Al Gore, “The Future, Six Drivers of Global Change,” (Random House, 2013, New York) pp 329-332 [algore.com/]
  2. Budget Overview, Office of Management and Budget, The Whitehouse, [whitehouse.gov/omb] “Elimination of 12 tax breaks to oil, gas, and coal companies will raise $41 billion over 10 years.”
  3. Roland Hwang, “Ending oil subsidies can pay for Energy Security Trust,” (Feb. 13, 2012) National Resources Defense Council staff blog: [switchboard.nrdc.org]
  4. Tax Proposals in the 2013 Budget,” TaxPolicyCenter.org, p 51, pdf: [taxpolicycenter.org]
  5. Reinstate Superfund Taxes,” TaxPolicyCenter.org: [taxpolicycenter.org]
  6. Superfund Taxes,” American Chemistry Council: [americanchemistry.com]
  7. Tetraethyllead,” Wikipedia: [en.wikipedia.org]

/Disclosure: A gas powered snow blower was used twice during the writing of this post. Luxury is nice./

Title:  Fracking is bad for water quality, bit o news review (Jan 10, 2012)

As a public health dietitian it might seem like earthquakes are off nutrition topic but water quality and cancer in Ohio school children does fall within my field. I overextended with number of blogspots and am moving a few things around.Environmental toxin load from ground water combined with other issues may have been associated with the rash of mystery cancers that occurred in the Ohio area. No one toxin was found to be a cause, but a mixture of toxins, each found at a slightly lower amounts than official guidelines would rate as toxic may add up to equal toxic anyway. Cancers in the children varied.My brother’s pets also had cancer – every year I heard about one or another pet who got cancer and died that year. He lives in the northern Ohio/Medina area and there could be a correlation.  I noticed the story about the Ohio children with cancer because I had already found it odd that so many of my brother’s dogs, cats and goats had cancer over the years. Animals on my uncle’s dairy farm or my grandpa’s mixed farm while I was a child did not have cancer let alone 25% of them or so. (A guess from memory. )A mixture of toxic chemicals that are all present below “warning” levels may add up to a toxic total given one liver and one body of a child, dog or goat.

No specific cause of the cancers in the Ohio children was ever found – my concern is regarding the potential for unspecific variations of lower levels of toxins interacting in people or pets. Combine the toxins with a body that is allergic and inflamed and puffy with hypertension and cancer seems like the title on the top of that recipe card. As a dietitian I study recipes and a diet fortified with vitamin D increases my inflammation and my husband’s sarcoidosis and our pet also seems sensitive and she had almost died from infection with Parvo virus.
Too much calcium, and phosphorus and too little magnesium reduces the ability of white blood cells to protect us. An early symptom of magnesium deficiency in animal experiments is immature white blood cells and cells in the bone tissue that are similar to the abnormal ones found in the autoimmune condition that my husband has.

Excess vitamin D may be innocent in healthy people with healthy kidneys but I don’t think there are enough of those left to warrant the over supplementation and fortification of the food supply for everyone. Where are the specialty products for individuals with sarcoidosis or cancer of the parathyroid gland? – There is proof that those individuals need to limit intake of vitamin D.

There are enzymes that deactivate the hormone version of vitamin D. Too much active form can be dangerous.  The active form at elevated levels can lead to excess minerals leaving the bones which eventually can lead to osteoporosis which is weak bones, not strong bones. Excess active hormone D can also tip the intestines and kidneys into more calcium absorption and less magnesium absorption. White blood cells need plenty of magnesium to do the work of apoptosis – hunting down, killing and engulfing the waste left over from decaying normal cells (needing recycling), or infected or precancerous cells (reduced and reused).
Addition – too little vitamin D or active hormone D can also be a risk factor for cancer or autoimmune disease or infection as it is necessary for immune health. 

The immune function of sea squirts was found to be compromised by copper sulfate, creosote (found in wood treated to be water resistant) and TBTO (found in marine boat paint). Sea squirts are a very basic life form that may move and perform similarly to white blood cells – they are our mobile work force for repair and growth of new tissue and for killing and removing old, infected or pre-cancerous tissue. My article, Sea Squirts, Listeria, and Cantaloupe, Oh My, has a variety of links about those three toxins/group of toxins (creosote is a chemically mixed industrial waste product).

Plenty of clean water aids in cleaning out toxins simply by osmosis – leaking away in dilute urine.

Some physicians are recommending a moratorium on fracking be called until health investigations are performed on the ground water quality.  Excerpt:

 

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.

Hydraulic fracturing techniques have been in use for 65 years – all that briny, chemical-riddled water or wastewater might have left some residue in the ground and ground water over the years.
From a story on January 5, 2012 following an earthquake in the Ohio area,
Excerpt:

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, praised his state’s Department of Natural Resources for the ban, issued a day after the Youngstown area suffered a 4.0-magnitude quake, the area’s 11th in 2011, all centered near a wastewater-injection well operated by D and L Energy Inc. Some experts have said the well almost certainly is to blame for the earthquakes.

The EPA is preparing standards for disposing of the briny, chemical-riddled wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, the process where mixtures of water, sand and chemicals are blasted into underground shale-rock formations to free up trapped oil and gas. The standards will likely focus on when treatment plants can accept the wastewater; drillers often put it into underground wells or recycle it as an alternative method of disposal.

Hydraulic fracturing itself hasn’t been linked to any of the earthquakes near Youngstown, and Ryan said he doesn’t think all the state’s 177 brine-injection wells should be shuttered over one localized incident. But he said the issue of disposing of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing and other oil-and-gas production methods “stands to be one of the most complicated challenges to safely developing the Marcellus and Utica Shales.”

  •  [link, Fuel Fix, Ohio lawmaker praises well ban has concern about fracturing waste water, story by Puneet Kollipara (Jan 5, 2012)]

Ohio cancer cluster story:

Since 1996, 35 children have been diagnosed — and three have died — of brain tumors, leukemia, lymphoma, and other forms of cancer — all within a 12-mile wide circle that includes two small towns and farmland just south of Lake Erie.

Air and water samples have not revealed any concerns around the Whirlpool plant or the Vickery Environmental waste site just outside town, where hazardous chemicals are injected into rock a half-mile below ground.

And in September, investigators said they found no radiation from homes, schools, or industries to link to the illnesses, ruling out the Davis-Besse nuclear plant, about 20 miles from Clyde, and NASA’s former nuclear reactor near Sandusky as a possible source.

  • [link, Clyde, Ohio, child-cancer cluster confounds parents and investigators, story by John Seewer, Associated Press, 12/30/2010]

A combination of low levels of pollutants may have struck different children and pets slightly differently  – the cancers weren’t the same types and the children didn’t all have the same water source or any patterns except northern Ohio – near Lake Erie and near hydraulic fracturing and near a nuclear power plant – fresh fish for dinner or goat kebabs?

*** No link between cancer and hydraulic fracturing has been found – I am only suggesting there may be an association – not saying any of these links are saying that.Fracking is bad for Water Quality (12/14/2011, story that was posted on my Bit-O-News site) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~Fracking is like blowing bubbles in the bottom of your water glass and it spilling over the top. Forcing anything at high pressure deep into the ground is bound to lead to problems – odd earthquake rumblings may or may not have been related to increased pressure from the hydraulic fracturing process but there is now a report regarding the effect fracking has on water quality. The link has video and more info [link]:

 

 
[desmogblog (4/ 21/11) Brendan Demille, Pennsylvania story]

Excerpt:

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a process in which water, sand and chemicals are injected deep into the ground to crack the shale rock and unleash natural gas. The process has sparked concern in part due to worries about its effect on drinking water.

The EPA constructed a pair of wells to test water quality in the Wyoming aquifer, near where natural gas firm Encana (ECA) has drilled. Within these wells, researchers found synthetic chemicals associated with the fracking process as well as high methane levels and benzene concentrations “well above” Safe Drinking Water Act standards.

As a precautionary step, the Department of Health and Human Services has advised local residents to use alternative sources of water for drinking and cooking and to use ventilation when showering, in order to air out potentially dangerous chemicals.

Emergency Preparedness links:

  1. [whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/31/presidential-proclamation-national-preparedness-month]
  2. [foodsafety.gov/keep/emergency/index.html]

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Regarding the earthquakes in Oklahoma, a seismologist explains it pretty well – in the case of the November series of shakes and a bigger 4.7 quake and later a 5.6; the shaking wasn’t happening near in time or place to any hydraulic fracturing work.Earthquake activity that has been measured around sites of fracturing were shallow and only in the 2-2.5 range.
(this article prefers not to use the nickname fracking, I think)- video and article [tulsaworld.com/]

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Title:  Fracking is bad for water quality (12/15/2011)

Fracking is like blowing bubbles in the bottom of your water glass and it spilling over the top. Forcing anything at high pressure deep into the ground is bound to lead to problems – odd earthquake rumblings may or may not have been related to increased pressure from the hydraulic fracturing process but there is now a report regarding the effect fracking has on water quality. The link has video and more info:

 

 

http://money.cnn.com/2011/12/09/news/economy/epa_fracking_wyoming/index.htm
Excerpt:

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a process in which water, sand and chemicals are injected deep into the ground to crack the shale rock and unleash natural gas. The process has sparked concern in part due to worries about its effect on drinking water.

The EPA constructed a pair of wells to test water quality in the Wyoming aquifer, near where natural gas firm Encana (ECA) has drilled. Within these wells, researchers found synthetic chemicals associated with the fracking process as well as high methane levels and benzene concentrations “well above” Safe Drinking Water Act standards.

As a precautionary step, the Department of Health and Human Services has advised local residents to use alternative sources of water for drinking and cooking and to use ventilation when showering, in order to air out potentially dangerous chemicals.

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Regarding the earthquakes in Oklahoma, a seismologist explains it pretty well – in the case of the November series of shakes and a bigger 4.7 quake and later a 5.6; the shaking wasn’t happening near in time or place to any hydraulic fracturing work.Earthquake activity that has been measured around sites of fracturing were shallow and only in the 2-2.5 range.

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Situationally Ironic Plan in Ohio (December 14, 2011, Bloomberg) :

Follow the Fluid

The state required D&L Energy to conduct a test using radioactive material to trace whether the fluid being injected in the well is going only to the areas allowed by its permit, said Tom Tomastik, deputy chief of the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management.

  •  Story: Fracking Has Formerly Stable Ohio City Aquiver Over Earthquakes,
  • By Mark Niquette – Dec 14, 2011

 So we are going to test whether poisonous pollutants have escaped and gotten into the ground water by injecting radioactive material – this is sounding medical.

 
AliceStarkey blogspot, Court case in UK over noise level.

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Time for some windmills – I heard Walmart uses solar windmills for part of their energy  – cool

  • (heard from the Environmental Defense fundraising phone call  – we chatted) – I thought that sounded odd – solar panels on a Lanoka Walmart in Lacey and wind turbines are proposesd and residents aren’t all pleased about the landscape. Consider instead if hydraulic fracturing and shallow 2.5 earthquakes came to town instead Or we could let Walmart lead the way in green technology and install some wind turbines (outside of major migratory bird routes I hope). [laceypatch.com] story by Elaine Piniat (October 14, 2011)
  • http://walmartstores.com/Sustainability/ several big projects and community investment info.

A change of view may be a good thing.

Oil rich rock is going to run out as well as oil wells.
 

Jane Davis, a qualified nurse, said one in five wind farms cause noise problems for the local people. “All I know is the amount of health problems people have suffered since [the turbines were put up] seem to be excessive in relation to what was happening,” she said. “Those symptoms include sleep deprivation, tinnitus, vertigo, depression, raised blood pressure, atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart beat), needing to go the lavatory at night more often than you would normally, pneumonia, ear infections, stomach disorders and psychological stress.”

Nutrition Notions about that:
That list of symptoms would fit fairly nicely on my magnesium deficiency list combined with increased needing to go to the lavatory could be increased acidity in the body needing to be excreted in the urine – rapid urge to go.
Living near and working near the really big electricity towers has negative health effects. Possible the sound vibrations may be effecting health also.The couple who want to be reimbursed for moving and other expenses live within 1000 meters, previous regulations have been 500 meters – this story is from the UK.


Electrical changes could be allowing too much magnesium/electrolytes and fluid to move through proton pumps in the cell membranes. The increased flow from inside cells would lead to increased urine and loss of electrolytes – more of the magnesium because the kidneys just don’t have all the save magnesium mechanisms that are in place for calcium. Sodium and potassium get conserved about equally and we need about equal amounts – they just aren’t found in the food supply in equal amounts – different topic.
*** New York Transit Museum Review article mentions windmills initially are more costly initially than other types of energy production; [link]

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