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Fracking Disclosure Rules Approved In CO

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the quench-your-thirst dept.

Earth 279

ExE122 writes "Colorado has approved new measures taking a tough stance on the disclosure of chemicals used in fracking. The new law is 'requiring companies to disclose the concentrations of chemicals in addition to the chemicals themselves.' Fracking is a controversial method of natural gas extraction that raises concerns about health and safety issues to surrounding communities. This measure is said to be tougher than similar measures passed in Texas earlier this year."

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Happy Holidays from the Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370012)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Great! (5, Insightful)

harrkev (623093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370030)

I live in Colorado (although not near any drilling sites), and I approve of this. Public safety > trade secrets.

Re:Great! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370102)

I'm in Ohio where they started doing this recently, and I wish we had such a bill.

Unfortunately, with Kasich, it will probably become legal to not disclose anything (if it isn't already), and voicing an opinion against this practice, or complaining about the health issues resultant from it, will likely become an offense with serious prison time.

Re:Great! (3, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370448)

On the upside, if you live near one of these drill sites you'll get free natural gas! It'll be through your water pipes, but hey, free's free.

Re:Great! (1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370602)

MYTH. Absolutly incorrect. There is no proof frackning causes this. However it is a natural occurring phenomena that's older then fracking.

Re:Great! (0)

Coldmoon (1010039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370784)

Guess you missed the movie - try this link: http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/ [gaslandthemovie.com]

Re:Great! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38371064)

Guess you missed the movie - try this link:

http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/ [gaslandthemovie.com]

The water tap this movie shows being lit on fire had this phenomenon BEFORE the fracking began. When confronted about this during an interview, the creator of the film refused to discuss it. A water well like this is sometimes called a hissing well is a natural occurance. Enjoy being duped!

Re:Great! (0)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370544)

They didn't start doing this recently. This is a process that has been used for decades.

Re:Great! (5, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370894)

Hyrdrofracking for gas is an extremely recent development - at least in the form currently used. It was not legally possible to use the current methods of hydrofracking until the Halliburton Loophole exemptions to the Clean Water Act were pased as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370754)

Ohio here too, sounds about right..

Re:Great! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38371072)

What's there to worry about? In a few years groundwater will be rendered toxic and everybody can move somewhere else on the Federal government's dime. It really has evolved into a "oil at all costs" situation.

Re:Great! (4, Informative)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370250)

Too bad the chemicals aren't required to be listed if they're trade secrets.

"The solution was a new form requiring a company to attest — under penalty of perjury — that a chemical is proprietary."
http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_19542430#ixzz1gWXCPYOi [denverpost.com]

Re:Great! (5, Interesting)

N7DR (536428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370274)

Apparently the greatest concentration of fracking sites in the US (possibly the world) is in south-western Weld County in Colorado. Which is where I live. From my house I can see perhaps a dozen of these drilling sites. It's always seemed bizarre to me that it's even legal to push chemicals into the ground under and around my house -- but apparently it is, because around here very few people own the mineral rights associated with the ground on which their house stands.

But then, it's also illegal for me to capture rainwater, which seems at least equally strange.

Re:Great! (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370488)

But then, it's also illegal for me to capture rainwater, which seems at least equally strange.

Do you have any idea what the justification for this is? Not owning mineral rights to your land I can understand, but not being allowed to capture rainwater I do not.

Re:Great! (5, Informative)

AnotherAnonymousUser (972204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370622)

Because the water from precipitation is so low in Colorado and we're in a semi-arid climate, there's a lot of concern for the watershed and depriving the people downstream of water. Rainbarrels are technically illegal because that moisture is needed to maintain the natural flow of streams - damming, controlling, or restricting its natural flow can cause problems further down the line, or so it's proposed. But it's scarce enough on a climate level that even the rain is considered necessary.

Re:Great! (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370632)

'Water rights.' People are not deemed to own rights to the water that flows over their land.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370646)

But then, it's also illegal for me to capture rainwater, which seems at least equally strange.

Do you have any idea what the justification for this is? Not owning mineral rights to your land I can understand, but not being allowed to capture rainwater I do not.

I'm not aware of the law, but it could make sense given what it has to do with groundwater recharge and historical water use rights/issues. Historically, water bodies in Colorado have been essentially drained to suit private interests (farmers, businesses). If too much rainwater is captured for private use, the aquifers and the rivers they serve could be adversely affected.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370668)

2 possibilities spring to mind:

1 - By capturing rainwater you are stopping that water from seeping into the ground and replenishing the local groundwater supplies, which is vital to local water supplies and environment
2 - the local water companies don't like the idea of a competing product falling out of the skies (not so much for drinkiing, but far watering lawns etc), and have $convinced$ the local law-makers to legislate the problem away.

Re:Great! (1)

H3lldr0p (40304) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370682)

Poor science and a century and a half of water rights wars with California.

See this fine article [naturalnews.com] .

Re:Great! (5, Insightful)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370988)

And this is why we need government, and why we need government regulation. In that bizarre fantasy world that the Libertarian true believers inhabit, we can let the free market take care of everything. The reality is that corporations will risk people's health, risk people's property, and risk people's lives in order to make a profit. We saw this with the Deepwater Horizon drill rig, where BP took shortcuts that killed workers, led to a disastrous oil spill, and shut down offshore oil exploration. We saw this in West Virginia, when a mine owner cut corners on safety, leading to an explosion that killed 29 people. We saw this with the paint industry, which continued to put toxic amounts of lead in paint long after this was known to be a major health risk. And we saw this with Wall Street, which gambled with billions of dollars of borrowed money, causing a financial panic that sent the economy into a recession.

Government regulation can get out of hand. But if you just let corporations police themselves and expect the market to solve everything, then what you get is the situation in China: poison in baby formula, lead paint in children's toys, toxins in the toothpaste. Of course, if even a fraction of the health concerns raised about fracking are true, we may be closer to that situation than we'd like to think.

What makes you think they even know? (1, Interesting)

crovira (10242) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370370)

They're just shoving anything that will go down the pipe as some form of fluid to build pressure.

Thinking that there's even some magic recipe for forcing cracks in shale is the height is idiocy.

They oil & gas companies are just shoving in their waste products under high pressure and, low and behold, the shale can't take the pressure.

That happens to release some natural gas some times, if they drilled close enough to some gas pockets.

I'm glad I live on granite.

Re:What makes you think they even know? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370690)

>> I'm glad I live on granite.

Enjoy your radon.

Re:What makes you think they even know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38371050)

I'm glad I live on granite.

Enjoy your radon.

$DEITY bless you Slashdot; knowing that I can count on perverse rejoinders like these is what keeps me coming back here.

Re:What makes you think they even know? (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370890)

Well - a few chemicals might be for dissolving weaker stone. Water does a pretty good job of that, though.

Re:Great! (2)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370478)

Aren't fracking companies still exempt from this kind of disclosure under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 [wikipedia.org] ? In other words, isn't any disclosure by the fracking companies purely voluntary, since the state legislation is rendered moot by the federal legislation?

I know there are several states passing legislation like Colorado's, but if I understand correctly, the legislation seems to be basically for show, since the states are really powerless to enforce disclosure of their flacking fluids.

Re:Great! (3, Interesting)

Spectre (1685) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370878)

They're exempt from the normal federal reporting requirements such as those stipulated in the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. They are not exempted from state regulations, which is why states are drafting legislation of this type. Typically any entity (person or corporation) has to comply with the regulations of all jurisdictions that apply (city, county, state, and federal for the US).

Now, the company might be able to argue the production of the natural gas is "interstate commerce" and therefore the federal regulations trump the state regulations, but that usually fails in circumstances like this where the company is free to continue their operations as long as they follow the state's disclosure regulations (in other words, the state is in no way restricting the company's operations, merely requiring them to report in more detail exactly what they are doing - and the state is a justifiably interested party in the details of what they are doing).

Big government at it again... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370032)

Big government at it again. Fucking socialist twits.

Re:Big government at it again... (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370450)

Big government at it again. Fucking socialist twits.

Shouldn't that read "Fracking socialist twits"?

Secret Sauce (2)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370034)

Well, it's one thing to have your customers voluntarily ingest a "secret sauce" product, and another one entirely to force everyone nearby to. So chalk it up to shades of gray. Though with the general level of rampant stupidity among the consuming public, one could build a case that volunteerism shouldn't exempt the formar case, either.

Re:Secret Sauce (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370048)

Well, it's one thing to have your customers voluntarily ingest a "secret sauce" product, and another one entirely to force everyone nearby to.

I'm pretty sure they aren't fracking with 1000 Island dressing.

Re:Secret Sauce (5, Interesting)

LoyalOpposition (168041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370200)

I'm pretty sure they aren't fracking with 1000 Island dressing.

Strangely enough, a major component of fraccing fluids is guar, which is also a major component of most salad dressings.

~Loyal
 

Re:Secret Sauce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370744)

You are one of those guys, aren't you...

Re:Secret Sauce (3, Funny)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 2 years ago | (#38371036)

Mayor McCheese [retrothing.com] seeks a restraining order to prevent you from disclosing his trade secrets.

Wow, I had forgotten about Captain Crook and The Professor. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Secret Sauce (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370162)

If you look on the back of any food product package sold in the US, you'll find a list of ingredients. However, this list doesn't tell you the ratio and method of how they were combined.

Re:Secret Sauce (2)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370228)

A lot get by this by saying "natural ingredients" and "artificial ingredients", although, I suspect the ingredients have to be in rather low amounts for these to be used.

Re:Secret Sauce (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370264)

True, the list doesn't tell you the ratio, but it does list them in order of quantity.

Re:Secret Sauce (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370514)

1) The actual components, the vitamins, minerals, carbs, fat, etc are all explicitly tested and listed, so you have an idea of what you're puting in your body. 2) those ingredients are also monitored closely by the FDA for safety

Re:Secret Sauce (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370374)

Frankly, imposing almost-certainly-negative externalities on unconsenting bystanders' persons and property during the course of your business makes you the ethical equivalent of a serial mugger. It is a pity that it doesn't make you the legal equivalent of one.

That's what I've never understood about the notion that these sorts of environmental regulations are 'anti-freedom' or 'anti-free-market'... Effectively, emitting pollutants that leave your property(as they almost always have a nasty tendency to do...) is some combination of assault and destruction of property, depending on exactly how much damage to other people's health and damage to other people's property you cause. That would seem to bring you trivially under the police power of the state to protect its citizens from violence against them by others.

Failure to protect the people from pollution involuntarily forced on them seems different only in degree from failing to prosecute poisoners or fly-tippers. Also arguably, environmental regulations that allow some harmful levels of pollution are actually more statist; because they assert the state's right to submit everyone to damage to the benefit of specific parties(almost exactly the same thing as the almost universally reviled Kelo v. City of New London decision: The state asserting its right to involuntarily transfer part of the property of everybody to the polluter for 'economic development' purposes). The only real areas of economic regulation that would seem to be purely 'environmentalist' in motivation, as opposed to a downright libertarian exercise of the state's right and duty to protect its citizens from violence, force, and fraud, would be those that govern pollution affecting only the polluter and those who have given informed consent to the pollution(employees accepting high risk for higher pay, say, with knowledge of that risk) and those that protect species and wetlands and things in themselves even when they are fully encompassed within a single chunk of property.

Politically, it isn't exactly a surprise that "libertarian" and "environmentalist" usually don't get along all that well; but ideologically, I've always been fascinated by how immediate, direct, property crimes for profit have no friends at all, and we can't seem to hang the perps high enough for anybody's satisfaction; but covert, indirect, property crimes for profit are eminently respectable, and have friends in all the most desirable places... (As for the case of the 'secret sauce' product, it seems like it would depend on exactly why the sauce is secret: if, as is common at the experimental edges of medicine, nobody knows exactly what the sauce will do, it would seem to be the right of a competent adult to take risk upon themselves. If the sauce is secret because I'm just not telling you what it is, it becomes much harder to argue that we have actually achieved a genuine consent in the contractual sense, since I'm deliberately keeping you in a state shy of 'informed consent' for my own convenience.)

Re:Secret Sauce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370466)

As a (small l) libertarian, I agree with much of what you say. If someone shits upstream of my water supply, they have impinged on my use and enjoyment of my property.

Re:Secret Sauce (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370636)

Frankly, imposing almost-certainly-negative externalities on unconsenting bystanders' persons and property during the course of your business makes you the ethical equivalent of a serial mugger. It is a pity that it doesn't make you the legal equivalent of one.

Too many people (and thus the companies they own) are all too happy to let other people suffer or die if it helps them make a buck.

They used to offshore the death and misery so we wouldn't have to see it, but we don't matter anymore either.

nice (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370036)

Fracking, natural gas, and health risks. Slashdot don't let me down.

Finally got a handle on the friggin' fracking (1)

dmmiller2k (414630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370038)

Yes, but will it be enough, and soon enough to protect the water supply?

Re:Finally got a handle on the friggin' fracking (1, Insightful)

LoyalOpposition (168041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370248)

Yes, but will it be enough, and soon enough to protect the water supply?

Soon enough? Fracturing has been done in the United States since 1947.

~Loyal

Re:Finally got a handle on the friggin' fracking (5, Interesting)

CowTipperGore (1081903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370490)

Soon enough? Fracturing has been done in the United States since 1947.

And if you think today's fracking is anything like what was done in 1947, you have no business in this conversation. Industry misinformation like this is not relevant to the discussion.

Re:Finally got a handle on the friggin' fracking (1, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370664)

Evidences that it's different? NO? I didn't think so.

Irrelevant i any case, there is no evidence fracking impacts any water supply.

Re:Finally got a handle on the friggin' fracking (4, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370954)

Evidence that this is different?

Energy Policy Act of 2005 - specifically the Halliburton Loophole exemptions to the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Fracking for gas didn't "take off" until that loophole was passed - so clearly SOMETHING they are doing is different that the loophole enables them to do.

The problem is that the same exemption allows them to hide what they are doing.

Re:Finally got a handle on the friggin' fracking (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370990)

Irrelevant i any case, there is no evidence fracking impacts any water supply.

That's as asinine as saying that drilling for oil does not impact the environment. There is always an impact. If done right, the effects should be minimal; however, in the rush to exploit fracking, the impacts (especially the long term ones) are not being studied and simply won't be known. Disclosing what companies put into the ground is a good start.

Re:Finally got a handle on the friggin' fracking (4, Informative)

CowTipperGore (1081903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38371006)

Evidences that it's different? NO? I didn't think so.

Evidence? Anyone who has spent 10 minutes caring about this issue knows there are significant differences. Let me save you a few keystrokes on Google and start with much deeper wells, moving from vertical wells to horizontal ones, and greatly increasing the amount of fluids used and waste generated.

Irrelevant i any case, there is no evidence fracking impacts any water supply.

You're a bit behind the times I'm afraid. Again, let me save [usatoday.com] you [cnn.com] a trip [bloomberg.com] to Google:

This information might have been out there for you years ago had Cheney not inserted his Haliburton exemption in his energy bill back in 2005.

Re:Finally got a handle on the friggin' fracking (2)

Spectre (1685) | more than 2 years ago | (#38371040)

http://www.epa.gov/region8/superfund/wy/pavillion/EPA_ReportOnPavillion_Dec-8-2011.pdf [epa.gov]

Alternative explanations were carefully considered to explain individual sets of data. However, when considered
together with other lines of evidence, the data indicates likely impact to ground water that can be explained by
hydraulic fracturing.

The EPA disagrees with you.

smashing the EPA (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370566)

true, but the 2005 changes to Underground Injection Control in the Safe Drinking Water Act let the companies off the hook for disclosing toxins that are going into fracking. And there is quite a bit of work going on to get the EPA defanged / defunded (http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/05/06/164077/senate-republicans-introduce-bill-to-abolish-the-epa/).

http://www.gilbertsville.com/fracking/frackaccidents.pdf

Re:Finally got a handle on the friggin' fracking (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370640)

Yes, it has. And just look at the beautiful track record it has had! There's a reason it was exempted from the Safe Water Act by Halliburton: Cleaning the shit out of that water is damn expensive, and the waste water has about 750 chemicals in it. Why don't you be the first to have a nice big glass of the stuff and tell us how it tastes?

This is fracking great! (1)

Bearded Frog (1562519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370058)

Someone had to say it...

Re:This is fracking great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370106)

You're fracking gay!

Re:This is fracking great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370158)

DRINK YO fracking PRUNE JUICE

Re:This is fracking great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370234)

I did. Right before I gave you a huge Cleveland steamer.

Re:This is fracking great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370358)

UMADBROUMAD?!

Progress! (3, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370096)

"In 2011 Colorado passed a law forcing drilling companies to disclose what just what the hell they were pumping into the ground in massive quantities."

Progress!

Re:Progress! (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370282)

Unless what they're pumping is a trade secret.

"The solution was a new form requiring a company to attest — under penalty of perjury — that a chemical is proprietary."
http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_19542430#ixzz1gWXCPYOi [denverpost.com]

For a nice audio visual aid to fracking: (2, Interesting)

wjcofkc (964165) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370140)

For a nice audio visual aid to fracking:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=timfvNgr_Q4 [youtube.com]

To see what it can do to your water supply:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U01EK76Sy4A&feature=player_detailpage [youtube.com]

Re:For a nice audio visual aid to fracking: (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370338)

It's on Youtube so it must be true. I mean there's no way naturally occurring methane could ever seep into a well someone drilled in their back yard. That stuff is waaaaaaaay below the surface.

Re:For a nice audio visual aid to fracking: (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370688)

STOP being stupid.

That has been happening in well water for longer then fracking has existed.

Re:For a nice audio visual aid to fracking: (4, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370968)

Except that wells that have run clean for decades started showing signs of contamination within months of drilling commencing.

Dimock, PA had clean water for decades in their wells - not any more.

Fracking disclosures... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370276)

I thought the Cylons were cussing the disclosure.

"A controversial method of natural gas extraction" (1)

kick6 (1081615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370280)

For the love of god is ANYONE going to actually bother learning what frac'ing actually is before they start passing laws on it? I have yet to read a single article from any news outlet or any anti-frac'ing website that has given the public a real definition of what frac'ing is. Its utterly terrible, and must be on purpose. Anyone who thinks this technology is new knows nothing about the oil & gas industry. Companies were frac'ing wells decades before it ""suddenly"" started causing problems.

Re:"A controversial method of natural gas extracti (0)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370482)

Yes, but that was before it started to promise to reduce the odds that the amount of recoverable oil would drop to the level that we would have to return to the stone age without government intervention. This new development (that fracking will make a large enough amount of fossil fules available to keep our civilization running into the next century) means that if the enviro-whackos are going to get their wish to return us to the stone age, the government will need to intervene.

Re:"A controversial method of natural gas extracti (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370552)

This is your brain on Rand.

Re:"A controversial method of natural gas extracti (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370702)

Sorry, I never listen to Rand Paul or his father.

Re:"A controversial method of natural gas extracti (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370496)

Could it simply be a volumetric issue? 1 well drilled 20 years ago using the exact same process = little impact. 1000's of wells drilled today in the same manner = tons of issues. Does this mean it was safe 20 years ago? I don't think it proves or disproves it. But I think we are seeing adverse impacts which did not appear until after the fracking started.

Re:"A controversial method of natural gas extracti (0)

ari_j (90255) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370530)

I don't think you understand. A well was fracked 30 miles from a woman's house and now her kitten is sick. It's the duty of our news media to make sure that this stops immediately before fracking in the Rocky Mountain region starts causing AIDS in Africa or antisemitism in Florida.

Okay, maybe that's not fair. But this is: It is the business model of the news media to create controversy where none exists so that they can report on the controversy.

oddly the sarcasm is close to the truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370672)

*Wyoming - benzene, a common chemical used in fracking, was discovered throughout a 28-mile long aquifer. (ProPublica, 12/31/09)(http source- http://www.gilbertsville.com/fracking/frackaccidents.pdf [gilbertsville.com] )

Re:oddly the sarcasm is close to the truth (2)

ari_j (90255) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370992)

Here's some actual sarcasm (the story about the kitten is an actual claim I've heard made): Nice source. The document you point to is entitled "Horizontal Fracking - Unacceptable Risks" and its thesis is "Do we really want this in Michigan???" Yes, with three question marks. This is not a scientific journal. But, let's continue our research and find out whether the claim is valid.

Taking the one item from the list you pointed to, I find propublica.org, which is a website whose first-listed "major project" is "Fracking - Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat." Their perspective on the world is clearly prejudiced against fracking, but even a broken clock is right twice a day, so we continue.

A little searching finds this article [propublica.org] as the one most likely intended to be cited by your source. The reference there to the event in question is, in full, "In another case, benzene, a chemical sometimes found in drilling additives, was discovered throughout a 28-mile long aquifer in Wyoming."

There is no citation to when or where this event occurred, other than somewhere in Wyoming. No information about who reported the event or investigated it. No information on whether benzene, which the article says is "sometimes found in drilling additives," is ever found in substances other than drilling additives. No information about how deep the aquifer is, what gas wells and depths had been drilled and fracked nearby, how far away those wells were from the aquifer, or even the slightest tidbit that would allow a person to do independent research to verify or dispute the claim. It is correlation equating to causation at its finest, and that's being generous.

Re:"A controversial method of natural gas extracti (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370692)

I don't think anyone is saying it's new. I think it's just getting a lot more attention now because of the new natural gas "gold rush" in the U.S. A lot more people are seeing these drilling operations out their windows these days, and becoming concerned (especially if they're suddenly able to light their well water on fire).

Re:"A controversial method of natural gas extracti (3, Informative)

BitwiseX (300405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370804)

Hydraulic fracturing for stimulation of oil and natural gas wells was first used in the United States in 1947.[2][3] It was first used commercially by Halliburton in 1949,[2] and because of its success in increasing production from oil wells was quickly adopted, and is now used worldwide in tens of thousands of oil and natural gas wells annually. The first industrial use of hydraulic fracturing was as early as 1903, according to T.L. Watson.[4] Before that date, hydraulic fracturing was used at Mt. Airy Quarry, near Mt Airy, North Carolina where it was (and still is) used to separate granite blocks from bedrock.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_fracturing_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]
OK, so it's been around awhile..

With the explosive growth of natural gas wells in the US, researcher Valerie Brown predicted in 2007 that "public exposure to the many chemicals involved in energy development is expected to increase over the next few years, with uncertain consequences."[24] As development of natural gas wells in the U.S. since the year 2000 has increased, so too have claims by private well owners of water contamination. This has prompted EPA and others to re-visit the topic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_fracturing [wikipedia.org]
and it's getting more prevalent...

I don't think anybody is saying that it's "suddenly" causing problems. It seems like the concern is the growth. As much as I dislike using a car analogy, I think if we hadn't have chosen automobiles as our primary form of transportation, we wouldn't have emission standards and the like, because what makes it an issue is quantity. We'd be fools to not question or investigate this, especially since fracking is questioned international. It's being investigated in many countries, and it's already banned/stopped in others. What if they're right?

Re:"A controversial method of natural gas extracti (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370982)

Then why is it that drilling on a massive scale didn't occur until after the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was passed, exempting drilling companies from the Safe Drinking Water Act?

CLEARLY something is different - otherwise the regulatory changes in 2005 would have been a no-op instead of causing a major boom in drilling activity.

Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370336)

I'm an engineer that has performed hydraulic fracturing treatments for 30 years. My resume includes about a hundred treatments without environmental contamination. People act like this is a new phenomenon - we've been doing this safely since WW2. Fracturing treatments are done on geologic formations that have held oil and gas in place for millions of years. Seriously - what are the chances of these chemicals migrating upward through a couple miles of solid rock?

The ONLY time "fracking" can pose a hazard to potable groundwater is when you have a mechanical failure. If the steel well casing fails, some of the chemicals might exit through a shallow leak. Here's a short list of activities that are a greater risk to potable groundwater:
1. Underground fuel storage tanks. How many existing and abandoned filling stations and convenience stores are near you, compared to oil or gas wells?
2. Disposal of fuel, motor oil, and antifreeze into storm sewers.People actually do that.
3. Old, abandoned or inactive oil or gas wells. Corrosion happens.
4. Railroad derailments. Each locomotive can carry 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel.
5. Refineries.
6. Pipeline leaks.

Please encourage folks to remove their tinfoil hats. There's nothing to see here.

Re:Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (4, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370452)

Yeah sure, that's why you posted anonymously with a talking points bullet list.

Re:Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370730)

He posted anon because the tin foil hats on slashdot will mod ALL his posts down.

I have evaluated independent studies on fraking. Nothing to see here.

Stop letting people tell you what to think.

Re:Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (1)

BMOC (2478408) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370538)

So what are the substances generally used for modern fracking operations?

/personally I use her rack, some Caprican brandy and a stogie or two.

Re:Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (4, Insightful)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370574)

Seriously - what are the chances of these chemicals migrating upward through a couple miles of solid rock

Well, that would be kind of hard to independently assess without actually knowing what chemicals to test the water for, which is kind of the point of the law under discussion.

Re:Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370814)

Right. No one's ever cut corners right? That fracking fluid never gets into the water table, right? There's never been any reported cases of runoff directly into rivers and streams because this is miles underground?
Ohh, and rock is porous, combined with high pressure and tidal influences it does a number of underground structures which add instability causing earthquakes and ruptures which can lead to fluid infiltrating the water supply.

Re:Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370872)

I'm a painter from the 1940s that has been using lead paint for 30 years. My resume includes several hundred houses painted without anybody getting sick. People act like this is a new phenomenon - lead paint has been around since WW1. Paint is using lead that his been around for millions of years. Seriously - what are the chances that of this paint crumbling up and being inhaled?

The ONLY time "lead" can pose a hazard to people is when you eat it. If you have small children, some paint chips may get eaten. Here's a short list of activities that are a greater risk to children:
1. Playing in the street. How many cars and busses are near you, compared to lead paint chips?
2. Taking candy from strangers that is poisoned.People actually do that.
3. Old, abandoned, or neglected animals. Rabies happens.
4. Railroad derailments. Each locomotive can easily squash your child.
5. Pedophiles.
6. Running with scissors.

Please encourage folks to remove their tinfoil hats. There's nothing to see here.

Bullshit (2)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370920)

Read the recently released EPA report, or at least reporting on it [arstechnica.com] . Wells which had been pure for years have suddenly had massive influxes of hydrocarbons which cannot be explained by bacteria means. Chemicals used in fracking are also showing up in these drinking wells in significant quantities, with no other plausible source. Fracking is polluting our water table and should be stopped immediately.

Re:Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370996)

"Seriously - what are the chances of these chemicals migrating upward through a couple miles of solid rock?"

Well that is the entire point of the fracking in the first place, to get chemicals to rise to the surface through miles of rock.

/. is a family show (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370396)

F[censored] Disclosure Rules Approved In CO

Even if you don't like the rules, there's no need to cuss about it.

Re:/. is a family show (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370438)

A family show? I guess if your idea of family fun is goatse and frosty piss.

The food industry has to do this (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370504)

For a long time, the food industry has had to label their products indicating what exactly they contained. Trade secrets must take second place to public safety.

Why is this not obvious to our legislators?

IT doesn't have to be new (3, Insightful)

minstrelmike (1602771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370506)

Just because it isn't new doesn't mean it can't be dangerous. sheesh.
Vehicles didn't cause air pollution in Los Angeles until there were a million of them.
Infecting the Ogallala reservoir with 10ccs of anything except plutonium isn't going to poison that many people. But dumping in ten million gallos of almost anything will affect the water.
It isn't the use of any resource that causes issues; it is only the overuse (by definition).

Re:IT doesn't have to be new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370550)

Just because it isn't new doesn't mean it can't be safe. sheesh.

There, FIFY.

Re:IT doesn't have to be new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370914)

Vehicles didn't cause air pollution in Los Angeles until there were a million of them.

Yup. The haze in the Los Angeles Basin used to be caused by the trees. And the occasional oil fire (the stuff still leaks out of the ground).

EPA report is flawed - they drilled down to gas! (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370590)

Turns out the EPA in their zeal to discredit tracking, drilled way past normal well depth [thefiscaltimes.com] and actually into the same gas layer the oil companies are targeting!

AND the chemicals they found, they also found in control samples...

The EPA at this point has gone way beyond the mandate they are supposed to have, they are no longer protecting public health based on science but on feeling alone.

Public Safety (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370618)

Of course, it's so much safer to leave all that petroleum and benzene in the ground, and let it seep up naturally into the water table and contaminate it for millions of years. One little earthquake and nobody has a water well.

This one concerns me the most (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370628)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmMp7evxRjw

Fracking (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370660)

Perhaps I watched too much Battlestar Galactica, but from reading the headline, I thought this had to do with adult consent laws in Colorado!

So say we all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370686)

So say we all.

Disclosure as driver for less-toxic substitution? (1)

Guppy (12314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370736)

Hopefully, this will also push for substitutions using less-toxic fracking fluid components, even if some of these components may be higher cost.

For instance (pulling hypothetical example out of my butt, no personal expertise in fracking fluid chemistry) a mineral-oil based carrier vs. a diesel-fuel carrier. I mean, the mechanical properties of the fracking fluid seem like the most important, right? So there should be some fungibility regarding exact chemistry used.

Who cares... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370934)

I'd rather frack Starbuck (2003 Version, please).

Nuclear industry (1)

max2312312 (2486294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370940)

I wonder when they will make their reactor designs a trade secret and we are not allowed to know about them anymore. It seems insane that somebody would even consider pumping huge amount of fluids into the ground and the only thing we know is that they say "It won't cause problems."

Yay! at first (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38371010)

A step in the right direction but not adequate. I we had adequate laws in place already, BP's Gulf disaster, and others like it*, would be far less frequent and less disastrous. In short, this ain't enough to keep your groundwater from igniting. It's just going to cost corporations a little more money to keep doing what they're already doing. The only real answer here is to cull the demand if what your after is environmental conservation. Expect egregious and negligent violations whenever money and energy are involved.

[*] - http://www.osha.gov/dep/bp/Fact_Sheet-BP_2009_Monitoring_Inspection.html [osha.gov]

that's nothing, full-on fascism is here ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38371084)

In Pennsylvania the government is going to give corporations the right of eminent domain, so they can run gas pipelines just about anywhere they want.

And you can't do anything about it:

http://articles.philly.com/2011-12-13/news/30512176_1_pipelines-pipe-firm-marcellus-shale

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