ALL materials used in the fracking process MUST have a MSDS, which is a Materials Safety Data Sheet. Every compound known to man must have one when used in an industrial setting, including my very own college chem lab. An MSDS is a sheet that lists the ingredients in any industrial tool that must be posted for safety reasons, and for first responders in the event of an emergency. These sheets must be posted weather there is a danger or not, and must be posted at each and every place they are used. This means that they must be posted at EVERY gas well they are used at. There is no "secret recipe" for fracking fluid. They do vary by companies, but many are just a mixture of 90% water and sand.
Furthermore, the EPA Study is not complete, nor should they, or anyone else, jump to conclusions before it is. A thought is just that, a thought. Nobody, not even myself, can make an accusation or point the finger at someone until we have the facts and results of the studies. Wells can be contaminated by almost anything, even a small spill of gasoline when filling a lawn mower, or run-off from a careless neighbor. Also, certain areas of the country are apt to naturally occurring methane gas, the same gas that is known to develop in underground mines, which develops in the same style in water wells.
I happen to have worked in the mining industry, and am aware of the MSDS criteria, and some of the "secret" practices of the mining industry. The EPA study is indeed incomplete but indicates that there is a problem and the fact remains that the industry is immune to reporting what they are using. I understand that every chemical known to man has an MSDS, but that doesn't prevent a user from dumping benzine into our water supplies! I'm not trying to be difficult, but you profit from this industry, and so I wonder just how objective you are, when it comes to protecting our ground water over profits. This country has a long history of contaminating our drinking water, then manipulating the truth, even at the federal level. I can cite numerous instances. Not saying that you're not being straightforward, just saying that profit can and often does distort the facts. I realize that it could be a safe industry now, but I just think that at the federal level, the industry needs to be straight with the public.
It's sort of like the drug companies. They come up with a drug that kills people under certain circumstances, and they pass it off at the federal level, and it takes hardcore evidence to curb the profit driven companies behind the drug, into pulling it. But the fight up until then.......
Believe me, the land in question that we are on was bought by my great-grandparents. The last thing I want to happen is for it, and its surrounding area, to succumb to pollution due to carelessness or unsafe practices. The beauty and integrity of the land is more important to me then anything else. But at the same time, I see a safe industry with a safe future. We have done our research many times over. We would not be in a lease if we, the land owners (the ones this industry relies on), did not verify it was safe. You can not look at the present and blame everything. You must look at the past and realize that what is happening now in some areas, can potentially happen years down the line if mining is not carried out responsibly. Coal companies of the past are to blame for many of the problems, people just need a direct person to point a finger at. Sadly, it is something that is more regulated, safer, and has more responsible companies then we have ever had before.
Having a civil and public discourse on this and everything else. It's nice to see the civility here, especially on an emotional topic.
To me it's interesting to see the 'defending' side bring up the coal mining of old. The oil and coal industry did indeed destroy much of Pennsylvania. The logging industry did much harm as well. But that kind of is the point. These industries, while not regulated as much as todays, left permanent scars on this amazing State. And I think many of us are all too aware of how easily and permanently it can happen again, even though some might think we are better protected. History can and will repeat itself unless much greater unbiased scrutiny and science are brought to bear.
Think not? How about mountain top removal in West Virgina? That's incredibly sad to me. Do we really need to totally destroy, yes destroy, mountains and all that they are (ecosystems, beauty, protection, recreation, etc). Well clearly, to some, the answer is yes. So where is that industry oversight and regulation? How much has changed since the coal and oil rush of the century past? How long before the same deviation from the current gas recovery strategy plays out in PA for the Marcellus resource? Science will change, technique will change, the face of PA might change. Is this state protected by the politicians whose job it is to do so? Unfortunately it looks like our new Governor is not so interested in the future of his state (and I voted for him )
Once the destruction is done, it's done. Can you count how many streams in PA are still dead from the coal and oil industry? Over a hundred years later, generations later, we are still trying to recover vast parts of PA's natural beauty and resources. Are we on the verge of that happening again? It's a fair question, and in my opinion, it simply hasn't been answered yet.
One has to be suspicious when a company like Range Resources comes to town and runs a multi-million dollar public relations campaign (and yet the industry/politicians say the companies can't afford to pay a tax on this resource...hmmm). Don't even want to get into the tax debate...the landowner has to pay income tax on the lease/royalty income, the leasee will deduct the payment as an expense reducing their overall federal tax liability, and lord knows if the company will pay PA any income tax, but we know this will be the only state in country that they don't pay a tax to for the taking of the resource.
And then we get to the desecration of the public lands. A hunter, hiker, horserider, recreational 4 wheeler, etc, under penalty of law cannot drive (on forester roads, old logging roads, fire roads, and so on) into most areas of our public lands from which to launch their day's activity because said access would be too destructive to the ecosystems. But the gas companies can bulldoze roads with impunity, clear acres of pristine wilderness, run transmission lines, freely utilize natural resources without, or nearly without limit - the fracking water - "millions of gallons" of fresh water per well comes from somewhere.
And we are to believe this all is causes no harm? Really?
I am no expert. I don't know that the gas industry is less than honest in what we are told. I simply am stating my opinion and beliefs based on my life experience in PA and other parts of the country- what I've seen with my own eyes, and my own reading on the topic. And my own belief of our responsibility of stewardship of this country for the future. I don't believe the industry shares the same vision for Pennsylvania.
Tinkerman, I see exactly where your coming from and understand your points, and agree with you in some aspects, and would like to follow up on some.
The EPA was formed at the end of 1970, for this very reason. While at times they do hamper progress of the simplest things, this is why they are here. The industry IS regulated, weather people think they are or not. Gas companies can not just walk onto someones property and sink a well as they please. There are multiple, strict, intense permits and many required tests that are done by third party companies, paid for (not employed!) by the gas companies so that they are held accountable for each and every thing they do. Believe me, they do not want to make a step in the wrong direction.
I can not speak for each and every gas company out there, but from our experience, they want to make sure they get everything right, and have gone above and beyond with testing. They have held public meetings to answer questions from lease holders. They have in writing what they will, and will not do. It is a contract with the land owner, meaning what they do is being held legally accountable. I'm not saying that every gas company out there is as up front, honest, and trying to make a good impression and help the land owners like our lease holder is, but I can say they are one of the larger ones and know that they don't want to screw up, or they will have lawyers looking to represent landowners pro-bono like flys on ****. They have an awful lot to gain, but at the same time, they have an awful lot to loose in an instant.
I will say that our lease holder is one of the larger companies, but it is not Range Resources. I can't speak for any experience with them, but the experience we have had with our lease holder has been nothing but positive. They have made an effort not to hide anything for the reasons mentioned above.
(so i just wrote a lengthly comment and was trying to spell check and lost my internet explorer windows, and my response... AAAAHHHHh)
so.. in short... (i'm educated but a horrible speller)..
You maybe right about the drilling company that you're dealing/involved with, but that doesn't garrenty that every drilling company is following the rules. There is alot to gain by drilling but there's also alot to lose, and once it's gone, it's not coming back!
Sure Drilling has a stigma from our fathers' fathers' carelesness in coal minning. But history is bound to repeat itself if we're not careful, (and i don't mean just being more carefull or more regulations). The all mighty dollar can be a very greed/hunger ugly thing. All it takes is one company, one slip up, and sure everyone will hate ALL the companies! i.e. look at the oil mess in the Gulf. I'm sure there are other drilling companies/opperations that are much more carefull, but still. Are the gains worth the risks? Especially when it's a risk of destroying ecosystems, plants, animals, drinking water, our selfs, our neighbors...? There's a risk, and a possibility of losing, anyting, and everything.
I'm not a hippie, although i see nothing wrong with being one, but nature was exised on the earth forever and has had a much healthier effect on the earth than humanity! Why work against nature rather than learning from it. Drilling, minning, logging, even putting forest fires out is not natural.
I strongly feel that there is alot to lose, even if 9/10 companies are carefull, it only takes 1 to cause permanate damage to the environment, everyting living in/around it, and to us! I also agree to disagree, and look forward to a responce.
ohh, and check this out... (keeping in mind, that media can be jaded, but still has some valid poiints.)
While the BP oil spill was a great catastrophe, the investigation did reveal the failure of the drilling company to drill correctly. The natural gas companies understand how much is at risk. They realize they can't screw up because of the deepwater horizon blow-out.
Let me give you this example too. Let's suppose your neighbor gets into an accident while driving under the influence and kills someone else. Is that justification for the government to restrict YOUR drivers license? What would you do if they said "well your driving endangers the lives of countless people on the roads because your neighbor got into an accident and killed someone"? Since your neighbor got into an accident while driving under the influence and killed someone, you know it is a bad idea and that drinking and driving is the last thing you want to do.