Texas gas company allowed to resume fracking after three Pa. spills
Pennsylvania environment officials are racing to clean up as much as 8,000 gallons of dangerous drilling fluids after a series of spills at a natural gas production site near the town of Dimock last week.
The spills, which occurred at a well site run by Cabot Oil and Gas, involve a compound manufactured by Halliburton that is described as a "potential carcinogen" and is used in the drilling process of hydraulic fracturing, according to state officials. The contaminants have seeped into a nearby creek, where a fish kill was reported by the state Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP also reported fish "swimming erratically."
The incident is the latest in a series of environmental problems connected to Cabot’s drilling in the Dimock area. Last winter, drinking water in several area homes was found to contain metals and methane gas that state officials determined leaked underground from Cabot wells. And in the spring, the company was fined for several other spills, including an 800-gallon diesel spill from a truck that overturned.
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, Pa. --
Pennsylvania regulators said they're halting all gas drilling activities by the company whose natural gas well spewed out explosive gas and polluted water for 16 hours on Thursday night and Friday morning in Clearfield County.
The operators lost control while they were preparing to extract gas from fractured shale, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection, which said it plans to "aggressively" investigate what may be the Pennsylvania's worst Marcellus Shale drilling accident ever.
Of course, the energy industry doesn't see a problem.
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Exxon Mobil Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that wider use of hydraulic fracturing will help the United States increase its domestic-energy supplies, even as the practice draws concern about its possible impact on drinking water.
Tillerson told the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment the that the U.S. energy industry "can now find and produce unconventional natural-gas supplies miles below the surface in a safe, efficient and environmentally responsible manner."
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Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves pumping fluids (often a combination of water and chemicals) into horizontal wells to force natural gas out of the rock. It's the primary method XTO Energy Inc. and many other companies use for producing natural gas from difficult formations such as shale.
Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., the chairman of the subcommittee, called the hearing to examine industry practices after Exxon made a $41 billion bid to buy XTO in December.
Members of the House used their opening remarks to both praise the jobs created by U.S. natural-gas production and the need to find energy at home.
Tillerson said that domestically produced natural gas will help create jobs and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, since the fuel burns more cleanly than coal. Without fracking, he remarked, "natural gas that's locked in rocks stays locked." The chief executive forecast greater U.S. supplies of natural gas, pressuring imported liquid natural gas and supplies from the Arctic that require new pipelines.
The really amazing thing is how this is so unremarkable.
The energy companies yatter on about how wonderful everything is while the actual reality is the antithesis of wonderful. They give public commitments to safety & the environment while privately fucking us raw.
& they do it again & again & again...
& we let them.
That's why I have no illusions that this film:
will change a damn thing.
Although, on the upside, the next time the electricity goes out, & I can't find any candles, maybe I'll just be able to use the faucet instead.