With gas/oil being the precious and important thing it is, along with most Americans I was pleased to learn about a new source of natural gas and some petroleum in the U.S. that could be produced through fracking. Fracking is getting at shale sources by drilling one line into the ground, expanding out several more lines underground from that one hole. A mile or so underground would sprout several pipes out like spider legs in all directions. To get to the deposits, water, under pressure, would be forced to open up the natural gas deposits and extracted. Wonderful.
When the process was about to be put to use, then-President George W. Bush put V.P. Dick Cheney in charge of utilizing fracking in the U.S. Ugh. Big mistake. Cheney immediately found a way to side-step the Environment Protection Agency and get his old company, Halliburton, to benefit tremendously. Horrible results began to take place.
People in Pennsylvania and elsewhere began to suspect things were going very badly. Their drinking water began to smell of petroleum and other products. People found out the water they were using was so bad that they could light it afire with a match! People were getting ill from showering with the water. The permission that was granted Halliburton and other companies was turning out to be a disaster [but big profits for Halliburton]. Children were getting very, very sick. The EPA issued a request that the fracking companies tell them what was in the liquid they were using to do the fracking. The companies all complied, except Halliburton. A subpoena was issued to force Halliburton to comply. What was happening is readily available from many sources that have reported it...
"The subpoena is the latest bad news for Halliburton, which has been under fire for its role in the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Investigators for a presidential panel say the company pumped faulty cement into a well that later blew out, killing 11 people and spewing more than 200 million gallons of crude oil.
"The company also has faced renewed criticism over a provision in the 2005 energy law that prevents the EPA from regulating fracking. The exemption is commonly called the 'Halliburton loophole,' in reference to the company's pioneering role in fracking. An energy task force convened by former Vice President Dick Cheney, a onetime Halliburton CEO, had urged the EPA exemption." -Huffington Post 9-11-10
"Thankfully, the good people at Halliburton devised a way to obtain the gas through hydrofracking decades ago. Now that it has been 'perfected,' oil and gas companies are locking up land leases and drilling rights, or purchasing properties located atop shale throughout the United States. Oh, but there were pesky environmental protection laws along the way that sought to curtail rampant exploration of natural gas through this process. Fortunately for the oil and gas companies, they had big Dick [Cheney] on their side. In 2005 he was able to amend the energy bill to preclude the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating hydrofracking through the Safe Water Drinking Act. This important addition, known as the 'Halliburton Loophole,' paved the way for aggressive growth in the industry.
"While hydrofracking has been around for years, recent technological advances and an insatiable consumer demand for fossil fuel have exponentially increased exploration. Because the growth has been so sharp, few regulators and landowners truly understand the actual process until it's too late. After drilling vertically deep enough to bore through the shale, the drills then move horizontally, pushing sand, water and proprietary (read: none of your business) chemicals with extreme pressure through the shale to explode the pockets of trapped natural gas. Once at the surface the gas is stripped of the propane element and captured.
"The problem, naturally, is that hydrofracking has disastrous consequences to the groundwater. There have been countless documented cases in neighboring Pennsylvania of contaminated wells, ruined water sources, and even underground explosions resulting from the brutal process. Some homeowners who live near these drilling operations can light their tap water on fire." -Long Island Press 7-21-10
"In recent times the rural town of Dimock, Pa. has been 'fracked' by the environmental legacy of the George W. Bush administration. (Vice-President Richard Cheney was its czar of 'fracking').
"There are sixty newly-drilled shale gas wells in Dimock. Water from the town's water wells is no longer potable, nor usable for anything. Water has turned brown, gaseous, and corrosive. Dimock is the 'Love Canal' of the Bush-Cheney era. Values of homes and farms have collapsed.
"This is just one town in Northwest Pennsylvania. In Texas, in Oklahoma, in New Mexico, in Colorado, in Wyoming, and in Louisiana water contamination has cropped up in drilling operations, many a fearsome public health atrocity appearing in local papers. The boom in gas exploration leasing of rural acreage has been going on in more than thirty states during the past five years, many of them far less vigilant than Pennsylvania.
"That state's Department of Environmental Protection has had to rescue the new water-deprived Dimrock, at great cost, by ordering water brought in. DEP probably had never heard of the farming hamlet before its aquifer was fracked. Methane and drilling mud leaked through faulty cement well-casings." -http://jcbcast.blogspot.com/2011/02/fracking
"Fearing for his children's health, Mayor Calvin Tillman is leaving behind his government position and getting out of Dodge...or rather Dish.
"Dish, Texas is a town consisting of 200 residents and 60 gas wells. When Tillman's sons repeatedly woke up in the middle of the night with mysterious nosebleeds, he knew it was time to move -- even if it meant leaving his community behind. In an exclusive interview [Tillman] reveals that when it came down to family or politics, the choice wasn't a tough one to make..
"Tillman, first elected mayor of Dish, Texas in 2007, has spent his time in office fighting to regulate natural gas companies that are drilling into the Barnett shale, which holds up to 735 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
"According to the Associated Press, residents of Dish have complained of nosebleeds, pain, poor circulation since the first compressor station was built in their town in 2005...
"Last Memorial Day was the final straw. Tillman's 5-year-old son awoke in the middle of the night with a severe nosebleed. 'He had blood all over his hands, blood on the walls -- our house looked somewhat like a murder scene.' In the weeks prior, both of Tillman's sons had experienced severe nosebleeds. At the same time, the town was surrounded by a strong odor from their natural gas facilities." -first posted on 2-24-11 in the Huffington Post "Mayor Tillman Leaves Dish, Texas Fearing 'Fracking' Effects On Family's Health