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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the first time has implicated fracking — a controversial method of improving the productivity of oil and gas wells — for causing groundwater pollution.

The finding could have a chilling effect in states trying to determine how to regulate the controversial process.

The practice is called hydraulic fracturing and involves pumping pressurized water, sand and chemicals underground to open fissures and improve the flow of oil or gas.

The EPA announced Thursday that it found compounds likely associated with fracking chemicals in the groundwater beneath a Wyoming community where residents say their well water reeks of chemicals.

Health officials advised them not to drink their water after the EPA found hydrocarbons in their wells.

The EPA announcement has major implications for a vast increase in gas drilling in the U.S. in recent years. Fracking has played a large role in opening up many reserves.

The industry has long contended that fracking is safe, but environmentalists and some residents who live near drilling sites say it has poisoned groundwater
 

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Here's the quandary... There are 4 new EPA rulings (Hazardous Air Pollutant/HAP, Cross State Air Pollution Rule/CSAPR, another to do with coal combustion residual disposal/CCR, and a new one forcing plants with once-through raw water cooling to convert to closed loop cooling towers- Combined the 4 rules (due to be phased in 2014-2015), plus increasing coal costs(due to expanded EPA rules on mountaintop removal mining), will cause close to 60 GW of coal power production to close down.

Now, power demand is increasing, and wind/solar can deal w/some of the shortfall but they are intermittent (that is, what the enviro-types don't want to talk about is that for every 100 MW of wind you need 100 MW of dispatchable, non-committed thermal generation to take up all the slack for the majority of the time when those resources aren't producing a single kW).

Due to EPA rules, the only feasible fuel for new generation is natural gas. This is true for the wind-chasers as well as for any new thermal capacity built. So just as there has been a massive buildout of wind power in the US, it's all for naught w/o commensurate buildout of traditional thermal.

The demand for natural gas is going to skyrocket as a result of all these new EPA rules shutting down coal and the large buildout of renewables. If the price of gas gets too high, people won't invest and we will start experiencing brown and blackouts on a regular basis, and this will happen sooner rather than later.

BH
 

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Watch California. they are trying to close to nuclear generating stations and have nothing in place to replace the electic the plants are generating.
 

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Imagine that!!
... "The geology was different there"...
I'm sure they said it was perfectly safe there too...


until they found out it wasn't....
 

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if you read the WHOLE article that timber posted, you will see there are a lot of discrepances and way more to the story
 

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timberdoodle said:
Fracking has been going on since the 1940's... It's been fairly safe... My opinion.
Vertical and Horizontal fracking are two different beasts entirely. Comparing the technique used since the 40's and the current method of horizontal fracturing wells that can be in excess of a mile long is really a case of apples vs oranges.

From http://www.desmogblog.com/fracking-the-future/danger.html

Traditional hydraulic fracturing is a process that has been employed by the gas industry since the 1940s, a favorite talking point among fracking defenders.[1] Pioneered by Halliburton, the process involves the injection of water, sand and chemicals into a well to release trapped gas deposits. Hydraulic fracturing has long been used to access conventional oil and gas deposits. However, recent technological developments in drilling have opened up previously inaccessible unconventional gas deposits across North America.

Gas extraction underwent a significant technological transformation in the 1990s, when operators began using a technique developed for oil extraction: horizontal drilling.[2] [3] With the combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling into a new technique known as High Volume Slickwater Hydraulic Fracturing, the overall scope of gas extraction has transformed, calling for unprecedented amounts of water, chemical additives and drilling pressure. Hydraulic fracturing experts like Dr. Anthony Ingraffea consider current gas drilling “a relatively new combined technology.”[4] Although industry likes to characterize the process as successfully proven for over six decades “what they fail to say is that they’ve had fewer than 10 years of experience on a large scale using these unconventional methods to develop gas from shale,”[5] Ingraffea says.
 

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Its only common sense anytime you pump chemicals down past the ground water depths there will be some form of contamination..
 

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not so sure about this premise. Horizontal drilling enables covering more ground from one well than many verticals covering the same ground. In other words one horizontal well saves many many verticales from being drilled and fluid being injected into each well aside from the surface disturbance of each and every vertical well pad.
 

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The EPA is going to jump into overdrive, mark my words. There are alot of threats from Republican presidential nominees to hack the EPA. They have to make it seem like they actually do something, since they are in fear of losing their jobs.
 

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archeryman32 said:
The EPA is going to jump into overdrive, mark my words. There are alot of threats from Republican presidential nominees to hack the EPA. They have to make it seem like they actually do something, since they are in fear of losing their jobs.
If the EPA does their jobs, the Republicans are even more likely to cut their funding and otherwise limit the agency.
 

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Typical liberal response. The EPA needs eliminated. There are already state agencies that do the same thing. Let states handle their own affairs.
 

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That's just it, vertical drilling would not be considered a money maker for the gas industry. Hence the newer technology of horizontal fracking which is a relatively 'newer' technology. It has not been around since the 40's and it really hasn't been tested. Ingraffea is some sort of expert in the field out of Cornell University. I think I'd have to side with him on this. I don't believe it is a safe method at all and it seems every month there is another story in the news.. someone saying gas drilling contaminated the water, gas companies saying they didnt. Now the EPA is saying they did. That's enough in my mind that it should warrant a more scrutinizing look.
 

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Ingraffea is the charlatan who came out with the study that natural gas is dirtier than coal.... You can believe him if you choose.
 

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charlatan? hardly.. just the victim of a gas industry smear.
Here is a link to the actual rebuttal. His theory is valid.

http://www.desmogblog.com/smeared-still-fighting-cornell-s-tony-ingraffea-debunks-gas-industry-myths

You'll notice NASA climate scientist Drew Shindell backs up this theory as well.

So let's see a Cornell University Professor with decades of experience in the field and a NASA climate scientist are in agreement.

And your credentials are?

By the way the claim was not that gas burns dirtier than coal. The theory is gas contributes to greenhouse gasses over it's lifetime more than coal does. (factoring in an average leak rate which is backed by the EPA)
 

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http://www.thegwpf.org/energy-news/3652-...-than-coal.html

Marcellus gas has less impact on global warming than coal, according to a recent study by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University.

The peer-reviewed study published Aug. 5 in “Environmental Research Letters” appears to be a direct refutation of an April study from researchers Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea at Cornell University that indicated that shale gas was worse for global warming than coal.

The Cornell study had a number of faults — acknowledged by its authors — including sketchy data that did not directly apply to Marcellus drilling operations.

The Carnegie Mellon study looks specifically at Marcellus and the “life cycle greenhouse gas emmissions” associated with its production and consumption.

Marcellus gas is essentially no different than conventional natural gas, the study found, and 20-50 percent cleaner than coal for producing electricity.

“Marcellus shale gas emits 50 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than any U.S. coal-fired plant,” said study co-author Chris Hendrickson. “We favor extraction of Marcellus shale natural gas as long as the extraction is managed to minimize adverse economic, environmental and social impacts.”

Former DEP Secretary John Hanger lauded the new study on his blog, saying it “debunks and decimates professor Howarth’s hit piece study that the NYT gas reporter and other media gave so much attention.”

“By contrast,” Hanger said, “the CMU study has received very little press attention so the result remains that many people think Howarth is the final word on this important matter.”


Remember John Hanger?
 

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Again you are trying to say Ingraffea's claim was gas burns dirtier than coal. That is not what the theory was. His theory is that provided an average leak rate - which the EPA backs - gas will emit more greenhouse gasses.

I'm not anti-gas. I just think WE all need to be sure it is extracted without contaminating our water. So far the industry does not have a stellar reputation in that regard.
 

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The Cornell study had a number of faults — acknowledged by its authors — including sketchy data that did not directly apply to Marcellus drilling operations

I didn't bring Ingraffa or Cornell into the post...I just offered evidence to impeach their findings...
 

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And the flaw with your link is this bit:

The new study does support “green completions” — in which gas is captured during the earliest stages of production rather than being vented or flared into the atmosphere. Proposed shale gas rules from the EPA would require green completions.

“Green completion... would significantly reduce the largest source of emissions specific to Marcellus gas preproduction,” the study says, but it adds that such emissions are a small portion of the life cycle estimates.

Being every well in my area of PA has been flared rather than 'green completed' (including one being flared right now 8 miles from my door) your argument is moot.
 
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