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EPA Report That Lowers Methane-Leak Estimates Further Divides Fracking Camps

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the good-and-bad dept.

Earth 127

gmfeier writes "The EPA has significantly lowered its estimate of how much methane leaks during natural gas production. This has major implications for the fracking debate, but puts the EPA at odds with NOAA. From the article: 'The scope of the EPA's revision was vast. In a mid-April report on greenhouse emissions, the agency now says that tighter pollution controls instituted by the industry resulted in an average annual decrease of 41.6 million metric tons of methane emissions from 1990 through 2010, or more than 850 million metric tons overall. That's about a 20 percent reduction from previous estimates. The agency converts the methane emissions into their equivalent in carbon dioxide, following standard scientific practice.'"

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127 comments

I can't (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575121)

Take the article seriously because hearing "the fracking debate" makes me think someone from the BSG is arguing.

Re:I can't (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575937)

I can't take anything about this technology seriously because it's firmly in the realm of the political, not technological.

It could be perfectly safe and it wouldn't matter. Or, more likely, it could be a safe and effective option when done properly, that just needs typical industry oversight and regulation.

But it doesn't matter, people would just claim it's all a corporate conspiracy and the only thing to do is put all our collective efforts into [insert other technology here].

Change in Protocol (2)

jasnw (1913892) | about a year ago | (#43575149)

They stopped counting methane released by all that fracking flatulance from the industry's employees.

What 2 camps? (2, Funny)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#43575157)

They should take all their fracking gear, fracking sell it, and build some fracking wind turbines, solar towers, and solar panel arrays. That's really the only camp out there, assuming everyone allowed to go camping has a basic understanding of chemistry and the atmosphere.

Re:What 2 camps? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575203)

Don't worry. The economics of solar and wind will crush gas, natural gas and coal.

Re:What 2 camps? (1)

JabberWokky (19442) | about a year ago | (#43577015)

Don't worry. The economics of solar and wind will crush gas, natural gas and coal.

But the portability and current infrastructure of petroleum energy is tough to beat. I'd like to see hydrogen do it, but there's still the infrastructure cost to ameliorate -- with the next generation of infrastructure tools likely coming out before the first widely used generation is paid for. It's a tough problem, only easy when you handwave the real concerns (or throw in massively improbable solutions like "we just need to change society", the ultimate universal solvent of non-practical discussions).

Re:What 2 camps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575205)

basic understanding of chemistry and the atmosphere.

Basic indeed.

Re:What 2 camps? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575449)

Nope. Acidic.

Re:What 2 camps? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575227)

Yes, let's heat millions of tons of metals and run heavy industry on wind and solar power!

Re:What 2 camps? (5, Insightful)

Dutchmaan (442553) | about a year ago | (#43575707)

Why does everyone assume that renewable energy is an all or nothing thing. Think about when the Wright brothers first flew, you'd have people out there saying things like:

"Yes, let's just transport thousands of people around the world daily on your little flying contraption!" /sarcasm

The *goal* is to make a system that doesn't rely on depletable resources, especially with a population that is continually expanding... you have to start somewhere.

Re:What 2 camps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43576549)

What conclusion would you draw when you see words to the effect of "get rid of fracking equipment in order to fund solar"? your post is more appropriate as a reply to ggp.

Re:What 2 camps? (1)

Pecisk (688001) | about a year ago | (#43579119)

""Yes, let's just transport thousands of people around the world daily on your little flying contraption!" /sarcasm"

Sarcasm or not, that's how awfully lot of people (including some really smart scientists) saw flying in Wright brothers time :)

Re: What 2 camps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43578309)

Indeed! That works perfectly fine in Norway (big hydro-powered aluminum plants)

Re:What 2 camps? (2)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about a year ago | (#43575377)

But you can't store the power delivered by those turbines, towers and panels. Can't run a truck on it. Nor can you even use the power you get when suddenly wind power dumps a lot of electricity, close to their max power (which is rare btw) whereas the hour before you were getting squat shit from it.

Barring some ill-defined or expensive solution, all these "renewable" energies require near-line power plants that burn, you name it, frackin' natural gas.

Re:What 2 camps? (4, Interesting)

mellon (7048) | about a year ago | (#43575423)

Of course you can store the power. What an absurd assertion. We may not have the storage set up right now, but it is eminently storable. You can't run a truck on it, but you certainly _can_ run trains on it.

Re:What 2 camps? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575625)

It's imminently storable, but it's not eminently storable. You have no concept of the magnitude of power used in the western world. It's just not plausible with current technology to store enough solar energy for use overnight. There are also some severe scale problems with replacing diesel vehicles with electricity. Large numbers are a bitch, and physics still wins.

Re:What 2 camps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43576217)

But you can use the electricity to decompose water to hydrogen, and then run your diesels off hydrogen! We all know diesels run on anything, innit? It's just details from here on in!

Re:What 2 camps? (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | about a year ago | (#43579217)

Actually, it IS storable. Pumping water between a high and low reservoir can easily store enough energy. Keeping the pumps reliable and high-volume enough is the challenge.

Re:What 2 camps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575583)

yes, wind power from windpower is intermittent, if you put ALL turbines in the same place. If you spread out the turbines over your whole continent this intermittency disappears: it is a quite stable and reliable energy source. just look at a wind map. Furthermore, at hundreds of feet up, the wind is *much* more constant than much lower, at 'treetop/top-of-building' level.

Re:What 2 camps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575909)

I will give you wind speeds are much more consistent hundreds of feet up, however, spreading turbines across the country doesn't work the way you're assuming. The tower density would have to be insane in order to power the entire country during burst of wind speed in every corner of the country.

Re:What 2 camps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43579375)

burst of wind speed in every corner of the country.

the chance of that happening is zero. take a look at a weather map will you ?

Re:What 2 camps? (2)

snowjest (638941) | about a year ago | (#43575969)

Yes you can store the power. All you need to do is convert the energy into some other form when the sun is shining and release that energy when it is not. Something like the Dinorwig power station in North Wales, UK. Whilst that was built for something very different, (to supply power for short surge demands), the principle holds for storing renewable power. The reason it isn't currently done for renewable power is because the generators get more money from replacing fossil fuel based power generation, than they would do from shifting mega tonnes of water. If there were no fossil fuel based power generation then that would no longer be true. Burning fracked gas is not an option, the long term cost from global warming will be bigger than huge. As for your truck, all it takes is a bit of imagination. Use overhead power cables on the main routes, like trolley buses do, and then run on batteries for the last few miles to your house (I'm guessing you don't live in the wilds as you have access to the Internet - but then again, maybe you're using satellites)

Whew! I'm so relieved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575163)

Now, we only have to worry about earthquakes and groundwater contamination!

Re:Whew! I'm so relieved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575263)

Better of two evils is a convincing argument in politics, why not elsewhere? *solar/wind = Ron Paul

Re:Whew! I'm so relieved (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575337)

solar and wind power aren't insane people set out to selfishly ruin the country.

Re:Whew! I'm so relieved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575363)

No, he specifically said Ron Paul, not Republicans and Democrats.

Re:Whew! I'm so relieved (1)

bsane (148894) | about a year ago | (#43575367)

I would consider doing this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbIe0iUtelQ [youtube.com] to my house selfish.

Re:Whew! I'm so relieved (1)

polar red (215081) | about a year ago | (#43575641)

that's why when new wind turbines are put up, they are built hundreds of meters from buildings. There are rules and regulations for these now.

Re:Whew! I'm so relieved (1)

nametaken (610866) | about a year ago | (#43576081)

Yeah, this seems like a simple enough problem to solve. Well, simple for new installations.

That video, which is the first I've ever seen on this, mentions that the location is about 1,000 ft (300m) away, but it looks like the distance needs to be greater than that.

Re:Whew! I'm so relieved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575391)

Going full Paulwind will result in large unforeseen structural consequences, your only choices are Romneycoal or Obamagas. Bushnuke had some f-ups in the past so people are scared to pick him again.

Re:Whew! I'm so relieved (1)

russotto (537200) | about a year ago | (#43576573)

solar and wind power aren't insane people set out to selfishly ruin the country.

No, they're insane people set out to ruin the world for eminently altruistic reasons.

By "ruining the world" I don't mean the relatively benign side-effects of solar and wind power; I mean the power budget imposed upon the world by the concentration on those technologies over all else.

Re:Whew! I'm so relieved (1)

Intropy (2009018) | about a year ago | (#43576751)

Last I heard the jury was still out on the earthquake issue. But if fracking does actually cause earthquakes that's an unintended benefit not cost. The amount of energy being put into the ground during fracking is minuscule. The energy released in a quake is already stored there, and it is going to come out via earthquake (or eruption if that avenue is available) eventually. It's generally less damaging to have more smaller earthquakes than fewer larger ones.

Industry says don't worry (3, Insightful)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#43575197)

From the AP article:
"The EPA said it made the changes based on expert reviews and new data from several sources, including a report funded by the oil and gas industry. But the estimates aren't based on independent field tests of actual emissions, and some scientists said that's a problem."
So... the industry produced a report which claimed it has really cleaned up its act... and we should believe them?

Re:Industry says don't worry (3, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#43575221)

"The EPA said it made the changes based on expert reviews and new data from several sources, including a report funded by the oil and gas industry.

Note the "several sources" and "a report funded by the oil and gas industry".

So, no, it's not just an industry report behind this. It might be *gasp* actual science.

Re:Industry says don't worry (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#43575277)

No, not science... just speculation.
They specifically said that they didn't measure actual field emissions (that's the science part).

Re:Industry says don't worry (3, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year ago | (#43575425)

No, not science... just speculation. They specifically said that they didn't measure actual field emissions (that's the science part).

The EPA didn't. They took somebody's word that they did the measurements and accepted the results on face value. Considering the main thrust of this is from an industry-backed report, I find it very suspicious.

Re:Industry says don't worry (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43576383)

You accept AGW based on nothing but scientific wild ass guesses in a computer model, why not this?

Re: Industry says don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43578015)

Lets see. We can barely keep a space station and the nearest habitable planet does not exist yet. Prudence and logic dictate you don't destroy the one we are on.

Re:Industry says don't worry (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year ago | (#43575415)

"The EPA said it made the changes based on expert reviews and new data from several sources, including a report funded by the oil and gas industry.

Note the "several sources" and "a report funded by the oil and gas industry".

So, no, it's not just an industry report behind this. It might be *gasp* actual science.

Those sources were 'expert reviews' of unnamed experts. Where are the peer-reviewed articles? Where are the links that show somebody, anybody did real live science on this instead of an industry-backed report and 'expert reviews'? If it's not peer-reviewed, it's not verifiable.

For instance, I could claim I built a flying saucer in my back yard, complete with working antigravity thrusters and a ftl drive. Without peer review, it would be proper to call me a fake until I proved my work to physicists.

Re:Industry says don't worry (1)

HiThere (15173) | about a year ago | (#43575555)

It doesn't sound like science to me. Still, a lot can frequently be done with proper reanalysis of the data.

Unfortunately, there have been a few too many similar examples where the "science" turned out to be psychology, sociology, or political science rather than the purported specialty. One thinks, e.g., of Elsevier publishing a Journal that was totally funded by one of the major durg companies, and where all the reviewers worked for that company. It took several years for that one to come to light.

So I'm dubious about the honesty of the revisions, though who whas lying, and who was being deceived, and who was just keepign quiet is a bit difficult to determine.

But it *could* be honest. That's just not the way I would bet.

Re:Industry says don't worry (2)

nametaken (610866) | about a year ago | (#43575839)

So, no, it's not just an industry report behind this. It might be *gasp* actual science.

Fracking is a bullshit political issue now, not a technology issue. Nobody is interested in real information anymore... only rhetoric.

Re:Industry says don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575273)

Next you'll tell me the Government Accountability Office is funded by the government.

Re:Industry says don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575303)

I know belief comes into things heavily for both "deniers" and "changers" but the beauty of science is you can take a look at things for yourself and decide what to think.

Re:Industry says don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43577285)

They *paid* for it. It is possible to *pay* people to do a study without paying them to fudge it.

The trick is to have someone else review the study. *Like the EPA*.

Biological Contributions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575257)

What about all the "natural gas" that is passed ... into the atmosphere by biological means. My personal contribution is non-trivial I can assure you

Re:Biological Contributions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575317)

Carbon tax on Mexican food NOW!

Re:Biological Contributions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575333)

This is why you're not a politician. Why are we taxing carbon? We should be taxing the hydrogen. Revenue will quadrouple!

Re:Biological Contributions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575353)

Let's just tax entropy.

Less methane? So fracking what? (5, Insightful)

danaris (525051) | about a year ago | (#43575285)

So there's less methane being released. OK, that's good and all--but it still doesn't address the several other really important problems with fracking.

Like the fact that the toxic chemicals they use to force apart the shale layers are a) basically unknown, b) often left down there, and c) known to be contaminating groundwater in some instances. Or the fact that the gas companies come in, tear up the countryside, create an ecological disaster, make vast amounts of money, and then, when they decide it's no longer worth their time--they just pack up and leave. And the local communities get to deal with the mess for the next 100 years or so.

The basic problem is that there's insufficient regulation here. Preventing companies from exploiting natural resources for tremendous profit while leaving behind a horrific environmental mess--and, in general, preventing privatized profits with socialized costs--is precisely what regulation is best for. The market not only will not deal with these issues, it cannot. It has no way of taking account of the externalities associated with hydrofracking.

Put in place some good common-sense regulation of hydrofracking, with enough teeth to make it actually mean something, and then we can talk about allowing it to happen within 100 miles of my house.

And yes, I live in the northernmost extension of the Marcellus shale in upstate NY, so this issue does affect me personally.

Dan Aris

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575329)

Not less methane. It's lowers methane. RTFH, my son.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575525)

Sorry, you dumb fuck, they don't need your permission. They don't need to talk to you at all. They'll do as they want while you continue to suck at the teat of the one party system. You deserve what you get and you've decided to give up your power to contest it.
 
So get ready to suck a big fat dick. You got what you deserved.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575557)

The chemical that they use in fracking is well know. It is very dangerous. My friend drives a truck n Canada in the oil fields and transports this chemical. He drives on roads that are well built and contained...more environmentally destructive than the roads you drive to work every day. They take great care not to do anything wrong because they know all are watching. The local economies are BOOMING in Canada with the wealth being distributed as all liberals in America wish it were here. Everyone is prospering and the fracking will continue for a very long time...they get more oil from a single drill point than traditional drilling...that is the point...less impact and cost and harm to the environment.
 
Oh yeh, the chemical they pump into the ground that my friend delivers is commonly known as dihydrous-oxide. Many people die every year from this. If they have too much...death. It's also a part of acid rain. Its even found in our wells and city pipes. Look it up to know more so you make points that are detailed with specifics and not generalities.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (4, Informative)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#43575719)

The chemical that they use in fracking is well know. It is very dangerous...

Oh yeh, the chemical they pump into the ground that my friend delivers is commonly known as dihydrous-oxide..

Bull. Fucking. Shit. They add all sorts [wikipedia.org] of chemicals [fracfocus.org] into that water before they pump it into the ground.

Another idiotic hipster (1)

boligmic (188232) | about a year ago | (#43575771)

Nope - fracking has been and always will be 100% safe. Try again.

Re:Another idiotic hipster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43576957)

Well thats an obvous lie. Nothing is absolutely 100% safe.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (1)

Paltin (983254) | about a year ago | (#43575787)

Oh no, not chemicals! The vast, vast majority of what is pumped is water.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (2, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#43576047)

Oh no, not chemicals! The vast, vast majority of what is pumped is water.

Are you that fucking stupid??? Yes, there's only about 0.5% chemical additives, yes the "vast majority" is water (if you exclude the propants, which are pretty benign). But some of the chemicals are highly toxic, and there's millions of gallons used per fracturing, so you're talking about thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals being pumped into the ground every time.

Widespread contamination has not been demonstrated, but there is as-yet unquantified risk--and examples of contamination.

So to say "it's just water" is either gross ignorance, or lying. Maybe I should visit you and offer you a drink, with the assurance that you'll be fine because it's 99.5% water ;-)

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (1)

Paltin (983254) | about a year ago | (#43576153)

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (0)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#43576203)

Well, goddamn, you actually are retarded. Or an industry shill.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (1)

Paltin (983254) | about a year ago | (#43576271)

I hear that gasoline is toxic, and we pump that into our cars, so we better ban cars, too.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (1)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#43576483)

I hear that gasoline is toxic, and we pump that into our cars, so we better ban cars, too.

Stupidest comment ever??? We did ban underground gasoline storage tanks which were prone to leakage, precisely because we didn't want it put into the ground.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (1)

Paltin (983254) | about a year ago | (#43576507)

Underground gasoline storage tanks are banned????

I'd better go tell my every gas station in the US, they're got a problem!

As far as your claim that you can't quantify the risks, why don't you try and do so? Here's a hint: It's doable. There are several ways you can do it, either from a geology direction (Hint: what are the characteristics of a hydrocarbon reservoir?) or from a public safety direction (Perhaps deaths and injuries/year? It's not like we don't have a massive amount of field testing from the past two decades.... Just to be fair, do a comparison to a comparison to the technology that cheap gas is reducing, which is coal).

Let me know what you find out.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (2)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#43576579)

Underground gasoline storage tanks are banned????

Not all of them, just the type prone to leakage [epa.gov].

I'd better go tell my every gas station in the US, they're got a problem!

Well, as a matter of fact this was a problem for them. Many smaller stations that did marginal volume were forced out of business.

As far as your claim that you can't quantify the risks, why don't you try and do so? Here's a hint: It's doable. There are several ways you can do it, either from a geology direction (Hint: what are the characteristics of a hydrocarbon reservoir?) or from a public safety direction (Perhaps deaths and injuries/year? It's not like we don't have a massive amount of field testing from the past two decades.... Just to be fair, do a comparison to a comparison to the technology that cheap gas is reducing, which is coal).

OK, the question "stupid, or industry shill?" has been answered. There are problems with the industry's claims about the geology, and it's not all replacing coal.

You should note that I would not advocate for a ban, but rather much stricter oversight, which I'm sure you'll deride as unnecessary.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (1)

Paltin (983254) | about a year ago | (#43576779)

Oh, no, I agree, there is evidence that oversight isn't strict enough. There are also questions about sourcing the water used for fracking, and of course concerns for what to do with waste afterwards; it is a much newer technology and regulation has clearly lagged behind because of it.

But the fact remains, when you pump water and soap 3000 ft below the surface, into an area where there is a reservoir, and you are worried about what it getting out... you sound like a paranoid anti-science ignoramus.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year ago | (#43577699)

But the fact remains, when you pump water and soap 3000 ft below the surface, into an area where there is a reservoir, and you are worried about what it getting out... you sound like a paranoid anti-science ignoramus.

It's what that water come back out with that is a big problem. You think it comes back out as soap?

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43577771)

Hint: what are the characteristics of a hydrocarbon reservoir?

Hints won't work here. One of the key characteristics of a hydrocarbon reservoir is that it keeps chemicals in one place. Else it wouldn't be a reservoir. These chemicals can be oil or they can be the less valuable fracking chemicals that drillers replace oil with.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43579421)

So, you're saying that these chemicals will stay in the reservoir, as long as nobody is stupid enough to break that reservoir by attempting fracking in the same place as where those chemicals where used.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43579727)

I'm merely pointing out that reservoirs by their nature, hold things. When properly done, fracking (a procedure that is incidentally many decades old) isn't going to change that.

As I see it, the complaints about fracking chemicals leaking into water supplies are really complaints about drilling companies not following good procedure. In turn, that would mean regulatory agencies aren't enforcing existing regulation. I gather drillers who have taken short cuts have indeed caused some degree of damage over the decades. There's no reason to expect that those short cuts would be less damaging now than then.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43577663)

Just once I'd like to see some moron NOT all someone else an "industry shill".

It's like calling someone racist when you start to lose a political argument.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43576181)

Who do you pay to mod up your comments so quickly after posting each one? Or do you use another account to mod yourself up?
 
GO SUCK ANOTHER DICK, LIAR FUCKING FRAUD.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (1)

fnj (64210) | about a year ago | (#43576451)

Who do you pay to mod up your comments so quickly after posting each one?

Pssst. The secret is he doesn't post as a COWARD, you foul mouthed loser pimple on the ass of humanity. Get a clue. Sheesh.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43576521)

His not posting as an AC has nothing to do with him getting followed by someone who automagically mods him up, if he's not doing it himself. Given how fast you were to attempt to defend him with the lamest of misdirection tactics makes me think it could be you.
 
Oh, yeah, you can go suck a dick too, bitch ass trick.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43576587)

You are welcome to drink as much fracking water as you want. The rest of us sane people aren't interested.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43577247)

Glutaraldehyde is a known fracking fluid (http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/catalog/product/sial/g625). Toxic if swallowed. Target organs: Central nervous system, Heart.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575903)

Quick question for you, is that a list of what is used, or has been used in the past? Because I see a couple in the wiki page that I know the oil industry used to use, but now it's costing it millions of dollars in lawsuits, due to them knowing they cause cancer, so they avoid them like the plague. They haven't used some of those chemicals in more than 20 years.

I also see in there quite a few petroleum distillates. Again, how terrible. Putting oil products back into where they came from.

And as I pointed out before, if they're regularly using all these horrible chemicals, how are they getting there? If it's being trucked in, the truck would have to state what it is carrying, yet oddly enough, those trucks never show up. Maybe they're using transport beams?

Seriously, do you guys think that these wells are squeaky clean to begin with and the oil companies are fouling them up? They're full of crude oil, yes, even natural gas wells are full of oil.

Your only partially valid point is contaminating ground water, and I'm sorry, but do you know the pressure inside a natural gas well? All the places you've read about where the ground water was contaminated already had issues of elevated methane in the water before the fracking started. Yes, there have been incidences where they fracked and they shouldn't have, but that is the exception. The pressure used to frack isn't significantly higher than the pressure of the well itself, so chances are, if the fracking is going to contaminate the ground water, it was already contaminated by the well itself.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year ago | (#43577679)

The local economies are BOOMING in Canada with the wealth being distributed as all liberals in America wish it were here. Everyone is prospering and the fracking will continue for a very long time...they get more oil from a single drill point than traditional drilling...that is the point...less impact and cost and harm to the environment.

Proof that you have no idea what you are talkinng about. In My area - Pennsylvania, which until recently didn't even hav ean extraction fee, so there was a lot more reasons to frack here. Job boom? Most employees were "independent contractors, which means no health care, not HR type work, absolutely no benefits. A friend worked there as a geologist. Those booming gmanna from heaven economic benefits?

1. Driil the wells. Do it as quickly as possible.

2. leave town and go to the next state. About two or three years of job boom, the wells are in place. then it's back to the unemployment line. If you can collect unemployment as an independent contractor.

That booming economy and all those jobs are gone. In my area, we now have these nice little pads in the mountains at the drilling sites. It's not so bad looking. And they've fixed up some of the roads. But jobs? all went away whne th egas companies moved on.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43578571)

IDK about you, but I'd sure rather have a job for 3 years than not at all.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43579267)

I went on site where they were doing fracking and the stuff looks exactly like green lava hand soap. Feels like it too. Trucks of sand , water and green stuff mixed together.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575665)

I'm sorry, but the toxic chemicals are unknown? Umm, no, they aren't.

Federal DOT regulation requires that all vehicles hauling dangerous chemicals MUST be placard. So, if you want to know what horrible unknown dangerous chemicals they're using, look at how the truck is placard when it pulls up to deliver the chemical, and then look up with the DOT, what the placard means.

And as somebody who lives not within 100 miles of a fracking site, but more like 100 yards (really 500 yards, but eh), I can tell you what those unknown chemicals are. Yup, it's farm use diesel fuel, water, and soap. The complaints in our community is that the oil and gas companies should have to pay more to process the waste water. And guess what, they do. Other than that, *gasp*, the horror, they're pumping in a refined petroleum product into a unrefined petroleum well. If anything, the well is cleaner after they've finished than when they started.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#43575713)

Ground water for human consumption comes from the upper 100 meters or so. Gas is produced fro a depth of more than 2000 meters. The water down there is undrinkable toxic brine. Adding some more salts to it makes no big difference and it stays down there, it is not produced to the surface.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year ago | (#43578887)

Fracking produces unpredictable fracturing of the ground and when you talking about tens of thousands of wells, avoiding mixing is impossible. Want the proof, quite fucking simple. That is exactly why the legislated to exempt fracking from water pollution controls. They knew 100% with out doubt they would be polluting the environment, they wanted the profits and to fuck over everyone else who has to clean up the mess.

Don't think so 'THEN WHY THE FUCKING LAWS GRANTING THE POLLUTION EXEMPTIONS FOR FRACKING'. Why would those corporations pay their political puppets to write those laws if they did not need the legal protections from the harm and damages they are causing.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43577295)

c. Is a damn lie. There has never been a proven instance.

Despite the hysterics, fracking has been going on for over 50 years. You stereotypical, smarmy north-easterner cries for massive regulation, notwithstanding, and the weird, mythical problems you imagine have not occured.

Re:Less methane? So fracking what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43578643)

Sometimes we pump acid. Being in the oilfield as a service engineer for the last 7 years; I have noticed that these companys will do anything they can to stay out of the press. I do not mean in a shady way. They really have changed for the better. Not all have but most have. The bad press is parpamount to the bigger guys. Also to anyone who thinks this stuff ends up in your drinking water....LOL. I do primarily offshore stuff which is deeper and much higher pressures than land. Example acid fracing at 10KPSI. The deepth of these hydrocarbon deposits are far under even the Ogallala aquifer. Sorry for the bad spelling I am on a dive vessel atm and takes me over 1min to load a page.

If you start seeing oily residue or OIL come out of your tap, then you need to worry.

Look people... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43575307)

...whether in the fracking or anti-fracking camp, both groups are in it regardless of the outcome or truth. There is no reasoning that is ever accepted today to end a matter. Everyone is out for himself. There is no integrity left anywhere in the world.

Re:Look people... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43576131)

Exactly this.

Fracking obviously comes with a short list of things that could be harmful. But these are things you can certainly mitigate, just as we do with everything else.

Rules like, "Ok fine, but you can't use [highly toxic substance] in the fluid." Not even at the ridiculously minimal concentrations it's normally used. Or, "Here are the steps that needs to be performed to minimize potential issues with methane..."

In a sane world, we'd just insist that those things are done, and go on with our lives.

Drops in buckets (2)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about a year ago | (#43575647)

Gas has been flared in parts of Nigeria for over 40 years, 24/7/365. [justiceinnigerianow.org] I've wondered how that stacks up against the more intensive drilling going on in NA. The energy industry does some remarkably odious things outside of the jurisdiction of the developed world.

I also see that plans are underway for Nigeria to reduce gas flaring to two per cent by 2014 [oilreviewafrica.com], and supposedly they've already gone from 30% in 2010 to only 11% now, so they're on their way to making this a moot point/non-issue - supposedly. I wonder how the rest of Nigeria's notoriously awful fossil fuel extraction is coming along, assuming this isn't all propaganda/lies.

Are NOAA and NASA The Only Ones Left? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43576189)

Aside from NOAA and NASA, can anyone name a federal agency that hasn't yet been purchased by private corporations? The FBI conducts raids for the MPAA and RIAA. The EPA is laughable. The FCC is run by telecoms. Our laws are delivered to our legislators by lobbyists. We know where the CIA gets a good chunk of its money from. I wouldn't be surprised to find out the NSA does whatever McAfee tells them to. What happened to a government that was supposed to represent people? It's nothing but a bunch of corporate interests now.

Re:Are NOAA and NASA The Only Ones Left? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43576827)

How's that bunker home and diet of moss treating you?

Re:Are NOAA and NASA The Only Ones Left? (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#43577571)

It basically sounds to me that you believe every government agency who doesn't toe the same line that you do clearly must be privately owned for that reason and that reason only.

Re:Are NOAA and NASA The Only Ones Left? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43579459)

It basically sounds to me that you believe every government agency who doesn't toe the same line that you do clearly must be privately owned for that reason and that reason only.

Well, let's see if there exist any objective reasons, such as... evidence? Hey, how 'bout that.. first google, literally 10 seconds after I typed "evidence"... googled for "FBI RIAA"... www.ifpi.org/content/library/enforcement-bulletin-26.pdf

If you pick just about US government agency you want, take an objective unbiased view, and spend a few minutes checking for instances where that agency was strongly influenced by corporate interests, you'll have no trouble finding them.

This isn't tinfoil hat stuff, it's due to the simple fact that there's a revolving door system in place: Government officials are constantly cycling back and forth between government positions and corporate positions. Cheney, Halliburton. Chertoff, the company that sold all the body scanners to the TSA. It's pretty simple, really. If you were interested at all, I'm sure you could find the people who left the FBI and started working for the RIAA without too much trouble. It's just how things are.

Fracking (and related industries) are malicious! (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about a year ago | (#43576529)

Here in Australia a recent report showed that Coal Seam Gas exploration in this country was waved past all the usual environmental checks-and-balances by over-eager Government departments promised literally thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue.

And when I say "waved past" for example there was a specific case of an "environmental impact study" which *completely dopped* an entire chapter (er, the only chapter) evaluating contamination of the water table, which (oddly enough) was actually THE PRIMARY ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERN.

Time and time again we see The Industry just bypassing ALL concerns in the interest of "but but but we'll make bazillions in profit".

Let me say this clearly: UNBRIDLED GREED AND LACK OF CARE FOR THE FUTURE WILL MAKE THE ENVIRONMENT UNABLE TO SUSTAIN HUMAN LIFE.

Re:Fracking (and related industries) are malicious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43578861)

Let me say this clearly: UNBRIDLED GREED AND LACK OF CARE FOR THE FUTURE WILL MAKE THE ENVIRONMENT UNABLE TO SUSTAIN HUMAN LIFE.

It's time to make a new documentary! REVENGE OF THE NEANDERTHALS: HELLO HELSTROM!!

If Homo not-so sapiens does survive the tipping point, it will likely be the result of our latent stash of neanderthal genes. If we can ride out the 10^3's of years before Gaia rights herself, we need evidence of the willful race to the bottom of the natural checking account and a blue-print for reasonable return to a responsible lifestyle, complete with low-tech solutions to the glaring problems of persistent organic pollutants left in the air, the soil and oceans.

We need to find a way to preserve the best scientific knowledge necessary to quickly and efficiently revive the 60's hippie movement. Then we can get back to the land and live like soul brothers and sisters, as Ram Das, Jesus, Sidhartha, Lao Tzu, Leary and Gandhi all advised us. It might be a good idea to see if there's a way to test for megalo-maniacal right-wing conservatism that we could pass on to the survivors as well.

Hey, aren't you from the land of Tim Flannery? Perhaps he can convince someone in the Ozzie parliament to allocate the funds necessary to genetically modify politicians to be honest and businessmen to have a social conscience. Oh, and it wouldn't it be nice if people with faith chose to orient their belief systems toward testable hypotheses and away from charismatics and baseless promises of reward in the next life. There must be a gene for that, somewhere on the 24th chromosome.

Re:Fracking (and related industries) are malicious (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#43579011)

Some people will complain about anything.

The coal seam gas is already down there. Taking it out can only REDUCE the contamination of the water table.

Ditto with the stupid complaints about producing oil from tar sands. The tar sand produciton in Canada is the world's lagest environmental cleanup operation, and people still complain.

Don't flare, sell it. (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#43579003)

The gas producers have no reason to leak anything. The whole purpose of gas production is to sell it.

Mission Conflict (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43579321)

The EPA's mission is to enforce environmental Law and carry out the administration's policy with regard to how that Law enforcement takes place.

NOAA's mission is the be the political mouthpiece of far-left environmental activists, washed-up hack scientists, and Al Gore.

How to write a bloody awful headline (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43579415)

EPA Report That Lowers Methane-Leak Estimates Further Divides Fracking Camps

(EPA Report That Lowers Methane-Leak) Estimates (v.) Further Divides Fracking Camps - nope...
(EPA Report That Lowers Methane-Leak Estimates (n.) Further) Divides Fracking Camps - maybe...
(EPA Report That Lowers Methane-Leak Estimates (n.)) Further Divides Fracking Camps - could be that too...

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