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    Health Professionals: Fracking Can’t Be Done Without Threatening Public Health
    By Grant Smith, Senior Energy Policy Advisor and Tasha Stoiber, Senior Scientist
    FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2018
    Quote Fracking for oil and gas poses an impending health crisis in the U.S., two leading groups of health professionals warn in a new report. Not only do existing fracking regulations fail to protect Americans from increased risk of cancer, asthma and birth defects, but there is no evidence fracking can ever be done without threatening public health, according to the authors.

    The report, by Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility, pulls together studies, data and news reports on the health and environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing of natural gas and oil wells. In fracking, a slurry of water, chemicals and sand is injected deep underground at drilling sites. The chemicals and chemical-laced wastewater can contaminate drinking water and send hazardous emissions into the air, endangering people who live nearby, as well as workers at drilling sites.

    One of the report’s authors, Dr. Sandra Steingraber, told Rolling Stone
    See: https://www.rollingstone.com/politic...cancer-w517809
    ...that in her long career as a biologist, environmental writer and advocate, “Fracking is the worst thing I’ve ever seen.” She continued:

    Those of us in the public health sector started to realize years ago that there were potential risks, then the industry rolled out faster than we could do our science. Now we see those risks have turned into human harms and people are getting sick. And we in this field have a moral imperative to raise the alarm.

    The report is the fifth edition of a yearly compendium that details extensive studies on increased risks of cancer, asthma and birth defects for people who live near fracking sites. For example:

    In 2017, researchers from Princeton University, the University of Chicago and the University of California, Los Angeles found that children born within half a mile of fracked wells have a one-in-four probability of low birth weight and significant declines in average birth weight.
    In 2014, a study by researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health examined data on more than 100,000 births in rural Colorado between 1996 and 2009. They found an association between the the proximity of the mother’s residence to natural gas production sites and an elevated risk of birth defects, such as heart and neural tube defects.
    In all, the new report surveyed 1,300 peer-reviewed studies from 2012 through 2017, and found:

    69 percent of the water quality studies found potential for or actual water contamination.
    87 percent of air quality studies found significant air pollutant emissions.
    84 percent of human health studies found signs of harm or indication of potential harm.
    FracTracker, a nonprofit that studies and maps fracking nationwide, estimates that there are 1.3 million facilities tied to the fracking industry, including wells, compressor stations and processing plants in the U.S. A peer-reviewed 2017 study by researchers from the nonprofit PSE Healthy Energy, Harvey Mudd College and the University of California, Berkeley estimated that 17.6 million people live within one mile of at least one active oil or gas well, including 1.4 million young children.

    The new report says fracking poses significant threats not just to air, water and people’s health, but also to “public safety, climate stability, seismic stability, community cohesion, and long-term economic vitality.” The threat could get worse, it says, because “the current [Trump] administration has announced a new era of ‘energy dominance’ based on surging domestic production—and export—of oil and natural gas, much of it extracted via fracking.”

    The report singles out California, saying the risks posed by fracking there are unique. Much less water is used and is not injected as deeply underground as in other areas. But the fracking fluid is more chemically concentrated and more likely to reach groundwater aquifers. California is also the only state that allows oil and gas wastewater disposal in open, unlined pits.

    EWG has been at the forefront of work to bring transparency to fracking and oil and gas regulation in California:

    EWG reports and advocacy were instrumental in passing landmark legislation in 2013, making California the only state to require comprehensive chemical testing of drilling waste and public disclosure of results.
    Using the state’s data, in 2015 two EWG investigations revealed just how toxic fracking chemicals and chemical-laced wastewater are, identifying substances linked to cancer, reproductive harm, hormone disruption and other health impacts.
    The report’s most disturbing finding is that no amount of regulation can prevent air and water pollution, or the subsequent health impacts, from fracking and other oil and gas infrastructure. To eliminate the public health threat fracking poses, we need not better regulation, but to switch from dirty, dangerous oil and gas to clean, safe renewable energy.
    'The Harms of Fracking': New Report Details Increased Risks of Asthma, Birth Defects and Cancer
    By Justin Nobel 3/13/18
    Quote "Our examination…uncovered no evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health," states a blistering 266-page report released today by Concerned Health Professionals of New York and the Nobel Peace Prize-winning group, Physicians for Social Responsibility. Drawing on news investigations, government assessments and more than 1,200 peer-reviewed research articles, the study finds that fracking – shooting chemical-laden fluid into deep rock layers to release oil and gas – is poisoning the air, contaminating the water and imperiling the health of Americans across the country. "Fracking is the worst thing I've ever seen," says Dr. Sandra Steingraber, one of the report's eight co-authors, a biologist who has worked as a public health advocate on issues like breast cancer and toxic incinerators. "Those of us in the public health sector started to realize years ago that there were potential risks, then the industry rolled out faster than we could do our science." In recent years, the practice has expanded from rural lands to backyards, farms, and within sight of schools and sources of drinking water. "Now we see those risks have turned into human harms and people are getting sick," says Steingraber. "And we in this field have a moral imperative to raise the alarm."

    The researchers behind the report, titled "Compendium of Scientific, Medical and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking," are quick to point out that fracking, or "unconventional oil and gas extraction," extends far beyond the idea of a single well obediently gurgling up natural gas or oil. Fracking is part of a complicated extraction process with a spider web of infrastructure that extends many miles from the well pad. At virtually every turn, the process contains public health hazards. Residents living near an active site breathe air laced with carcinogens, including benzene and formaldehyde, and research has shown an increased risk of asthma, a decrease in infant health and worrisome effects on the development of a fetus, such as preterm births and birth defects. "Pregnant women have a major risk, not only themselves but they're carrying a fetus whose cells are multiplying continuously," says Dr. Lynn Ringenberg, a retired Army colonel and the president-elect of Physicians for Social Responsibility. "If those cells get hit by some toxic chemical from fracking, it may not manifest itself for years."

    Fracking sites have caught fire – others have exploded, as happened last month in Belmont County, Ohio – torching chemicals whose dangerous components local fire chiefs may be surprised to learn are an industry secret. Communities have long feared the fracking process can contaminate underground aquifers with hazardous chemicals and research in Texas and Pennsylvania has now confirmed this to be the case. Fracked gas flows via pipelines, whose leaks and explosions are now well-documented. Piped gas must continuously be re-pressurized at compressor stations which have been documented to emit methane, fine particulate matter, as well as benzene, formaldehyde and other known human carcinogens. Report co-author Dr. Kathleen Nolan, a pediatrician and bioethicist who has examined numerous people sickened by fracking-related contamination, describes the harrowing case of one western Pennsylvania family. "They would see a yellow fog, kind of like a chemical mist coming from the compressor station," says Nolan. "Their two youngest children, nine and 11, started having tics where their muscles would go into spasms, those spasms would persist even when they were asleep."

    Then there's the issue of the waste that flows back up a fracked well. Although the industry calls it "brine" or "produced water," this material contains carcinogenic chemicals, can be flammable and, in much of the country, also contains radioactive elements from deep below the surface. Occasionally, this toxic waste is used to frack new wells. Often, it is hauled by trucks that must weave around narrow local roads to sites called injection wells, where this hazardous slurry is injected deep into the earth, a process that has repeatedly been linked to earthquakes. In 2016, in Barnesville, Ohio a truck spilled approximately 5,000 gallons of fracking wastewater when it crashed beside a stream that leads into one of the village's main reservoirs

    Last November a truck carrying fracking waste overturned near Coolville, Ohio and emptied fluid into a culvert that connects to a creek. Residents were prepared; they'd been living for years with the menace of injection wells, including what resident Susie Quinn calls a "chemical factory like smell" around their homes. Like many in the region, she spends free time researching risks the industry and her own government have failed to protect her against. More than a week after the frack truck overturned, she visited the site to take samples, but forgot gloves. "About an hour and twenty minutes later all the fingers on my left hand were burning underneath my fingernails," says Quinn. Tests later revealed the culvert was loaded with barium, as well as strontium, whose isotopes can be radioactive.

    In West Virginia and Pennsylvania, radioactive fracking waste is being processed at facilities like Antero Clearwater in Doddridge County, West Virginia, which claims it can produce water clean enough to be discharged back into nearby local waterways. But Antero's website contains scant details on how this is done, and radioactivity experts, like Dr. Marvin Resnikoff, a nuclear physicist and international consultant on radioactive waste, remain concerned. "The radioactive levels at the Marcellus shale formation are off the charts," he says, referring to the gas-rich layer that underlies much of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. "What is radioactive underground is still radioactive when it’s brought to the surface," says Resnikoff. "This is not alchemy where radioactivity disappears." A tour last February with local residents through heavily-fracked Doddridge County revealed Antero's facility, located just six miles from Doddridge County High School, was emitting tremendous amounts of steam that drifted away in the wind. "There may be radioactive elements in the steam," says Resnikoff.

    The "Harms of Fracking" report also highlights astonishing risks for an often overlooked group in the public health discussion on fracking: The workers. Fracking has created 1.7 million jobs, says the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the industry has potentially exposed workers on the ground to extremely dangerous conditions. "These are killing jobs," says report co-author Dr. Sandra Steingraber. "We have actually detected benzene in the urine of workers at levels known to raise the risks of leukemia." Dr. Pouné Saberi, a Philadelphia-based occupational and environmental medicine physician says workers face a wealth of risks, but their injuries rarely show up in the data, for a variety of reasons. They often work as non-unionized sub-contractors, allowing parent oil and gas companies to avoid reporting injuries, and the oil and gas industry is exempt from certain worker safety rules. Also, doctors and major Pennsylvania health care providers that service the industry, potentially a valuable source of worker data, says Saberi, rarely mention anything negative about fracking. "There is a code of silence that exists," she says. Plus, workers themselves rarely report injuries or hazards, for fear of losing their jobs.

    "If you asked too many questions, you were labeled a tree-hugger and you were gone," says former fracking waste truck driver Randy Moyer, who describes his stomach-turning experience on a website called Shalefield Stories. "Every day was different," he writes. "Some days I'd carry mud, but most days I'd haul wastewater from fracked wells…It was an endless parade of trucks on those back roads." Moyer was never told the contents of the waste he was hauling. At the well-site, waste was kept in a makeshift pit, and when loading his truck Moyer often had to climb in and squeegee out material. To avoid getting their boots wet, "some guys would go in there in their bare feet." Moyer was given no safety gear, aside from a flame-resistant coat, because, he explains, "If the public sees guys in hazmat suits they're going to start to ask questions." As one would anticipate from a human being with direct exposure to radioactive waste, Moyer became quite sick
    "My tongue, lips, and limbs all swelled up," he writes. "I've had three teeth snap off. The first two broke while I was eating garlic bread and spaghetti. I have burning rashes all over my body that jump from place to place." Moyer has seen over 40 specialists across West Virginia and Pennsylvania. "One told me that I had bed bugs. Another said it must be a food allergy."

    The report, which is in its fifth edition, flips the narrative on an energy rush that is quite literally powering the nation. Fracking has "bolstered our economy and energy security" says Seth Whitehead, a consultant with Energy in Depth, a website affiliated with the Independent Petroleum Association of America. The numbers bear out: Fossil fuels supply the U.S. with a majority of its electricity, and gas has overtaken coal as America's number one power source. Meanwhile, about 60 percent of the gas produced in America and 48 percent of the oil now comes from unconventional oil and gas deposits. Fracking has helped ease America off foreign fossil fuels. And the boom extends far beyond the well pads.

    Ethane, one of many components in fracked gas, serves as the base ingredient for the production of numerous plastics and petrochemicals. On the Gulf Coast, these industries are making big investments in infrastructure to take advantage of America's newly abundant cheap gas. "With more than $35 billion in planned chemical plant expansions in our area over the next five years, these are the 'good old days,'" Chad Burke, President of the Economic Alliance Houston Ship Channel Region, posted on the organization's website. The American Chemistry Council bullishly estimates that over the next decade the plastics industry will generate over 300,000 jobs. "The surge of natural gas production from shale has reversed the fortunes of the U.S. plastics industry," states a 2015 Council report.

    But these glowing numbers rarely take into account the fracking boom's epic toll on public health, the American landscape and the world's climate. In fact, against a mounting pile of personal testimony and scientific data, the industry continues to claim it is doing nothing wrong. "The science clearly indicates that, with an emphasis on prevention…energy production can and is being done right, and that hydraulic fracturing is not leading to widespread, systemic effects to drinking water resources," Stephanie Wissman, an Executive Director with the American Petroleum Institute, stated at a recent meeting of the Delaware River Basin Commission. "It's sad," Marcellus Shale Coalition spokesperson Erica Clayton Wright wrote in an email, "that some shoddy so-called 'studies' focused on attacking American energy and the tens of thousands of hardworking Pennsylvanians that work across the industry are the subject of fake news stories like these."

    But the science on fracking is getting more difficult to dismiss. "With fracking," says Steingraber, "we had six peer reviewed articles in 2009 pointing to possible public health risks. By 2011 we had 42. Now there are more than 1200." Some states are indeed listening to the scientists. New York, Maryland and Vermont have banned fracking, and even Florida's state legislature is seriously considering a ban. "The chickens are going to come home to roost," says Ted Auch, an environmental scientist with FracTracker Alliance. He believes that as negative impacts on health and water supplies continue to stack up, the fracking industry will have an increasingly difficult time gaining investors, an issue highlighted in a December article in the Wall Street Journal. "Shale has been a lousy bet for most investors," the article states, referring to the deposits where fracking typically occurs. Within the past decade, says the Journal article, "energy companies…have spent $280 billion more than they generated from operations on shale investments."

    As a result, many companies have taken extreme measures to politically protect their investments. Last month, Wyoming became the third state, after Iowa and Ohio, to introduce a bill criminalizing protest activities like the ones undertaken at Standing Rock. “It is a war,” says Tina Smusz, a retired emergency medicine and palliative care physician and Virginia-based member of Physicians for Social Responsibility. “And in this war one of your most valuable weapons is science.”

    How a Small Town Is Standing Up to Fracking
    Grant Township, Pennsylvania, population 741, has became the front line of a radical new environmental movement – and they're not backing down
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    Default Re: Fracking And Related Stuff

    That's still highly biased.

    Fracking is breaking up rock under pressure.

    It is done all the time. It is done safely.

    Where it is NOT safe comes when any firm disposes of waste in what is called a DISPOSAL WELL, and neglects to take into account OLD WELLS in the area which have deteriorated.

    Continually negating that, and pushing "fracking" as a dirty word, continues to miss the reason such is done. I have plenty of posts which describe what actually happens and where problems appear.

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    Definitions of words can change over time with usage.
    It seems that the way that the scientists who are using the term "fracking" to describe the whole process is changing that definition to include more than the original meaning.
    Apparently fracking is also done unsafely a lot, when it's done repeatedly, thousands and thousands of time, all along fault lines and in old volcanic areas, such as Dutchsinse describes in this thread:
    In his most recent reports, he goes into great detail about the "slow slip" all along the west coast of North America that is resembling more and more the one that was created in Japan just before the big quake in 2011, and it doesn't appear there is any question that fracking is contributing to that, and that it's a very dangerous situation.
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    'Enhanced' geothermal plant implicated in South Korea's second most destructive earthquake

    Mark Zastrow Nature
    Sun, 24 Mar 2019 20:35 UTC

    © Yonhap/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

    The nation's energy ministry expressed 'deep regret', and said it would dismantle the experimental plant. A 2017 earthquake in Pohang, South Korea has been linked to a geothermal plant.

    A South Korean government panel has concluded that a magnitude-5.4 earthquake that struck the city of Pohang on 15 November 2017 was probably caused by an experimental geothermal power plant. The panel was convened under presidential orders and released its findings on 20 March.

    Unlike conventional geothermal plants, which extract energy directly from hot underground water or rock, the Pohang power plant injected fluid at high pressure into the ground to fracture the rock and release heat - a technology known as an enhanced geothermal system. This pressure caused small earthquakes that affected nearby faults, and eventually triggered the bigger 2017 quake, the panel found.

    The quake was the nation's second strongest and its most destructive on modern record - it injured 135 people and caused an estimated 300 billion won (US$290 million) in damage. The nation's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, which had provided funding for the plant, said in a statement that it accepts the panel's findings and "expresses deep regret" to the citizens of Pohang who were harmed by the event.

    The ministry announced that it would dismantle the power plant, restore the site to its original condition, and invest 225.7 billion won to repair infrastructure in the hardest-hit area. The results support the findings of a pair of studies published in Science1,2 last year, which suggested the plant as a likely cause of the quake.

    Earthquakes have been linked to geothermal power plant in other parts of the world. But the Pohang quake is by far the strongest ever tied to this kind of plant - 1,000 times mightier than a magnitude-3.4 quake triggered by a plant in Basel, Switzerland, in 2006.
    1. 1.Grigoli, F. et al. Science 360, 1003-1006 (2018).
    1. 2.Kim, K.-H. et al. Science 360, 1007-1009 (2018).
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    After Decades of Fracking, We Finally Know How the Fluid Spreads Underground
    By Allison McCartney and David Wethe
    October 25, 2019

    (Also posted this here: http://projectavalon.net/forum4/show...=1#post1322403 )
    (There is an animated illustration at the link which I don't know how to embed)

    "Given how profound an effect hydraulic fracturing has had on the U.S. economically in recent years, it can come something of a shock to discover how little we know about it.

    Blasting water, sand and chemicals into shale rock formations deep underground has unlocked vast hydrocarbon reserves previously considered almost impossible to exploit. Over the past decade, fracking, as the technique is also known, has transformed the country into the world’s largest oil producer, adding supply equal to all the black gold pumped by Saudi Arabia. It has remade America as an exporter both of crude and natural gas, something once unthinkable.

    It’s also sparked controversy over environmental concerns that have long dogged the industry. Fracking has been blamed for causing earthquakes in Oklahoma and poisoning groundwater in Pennsylvania. New York and Vermont have banned it.

    Much of the controversy is driven by mystery surrounding the fracking fluid itself. Oil-services giant Schlumberger Ltd. once described fracking as employing “brute force and ignorance.” But for the first time, we have a clear picture of how the fluid used in fracking travels underground.

    The extraction process begins when a well is drilled vertically about a mile into oil-rich shale rock, then turns and carves horizontally through the shale zone for another mile. The well is encased in metal tubes for protection.

    A combination of water, sand and chemicals is then pushed down the well at high pressure to fracture the shale at various equidistant points along the wellbore.

    The thinking went that in a perfect frack, the fluid would be distributed in regular, even increments for each stage of hydraulic fracturing.
    But data from Deep Imaging, a small oilfield technology company in the suburbs of Houston, seems to confirm what many oilfield engineers have feared but couldn’t prove: a typical frack comes with lots of uncertainty—and bears little resemblance to the ideal.

    Deep Imaging uses an electromagnetic field to detect the flow of fracking fluid through the Earth’s crust—and their results show a chaotic scene where fluid spreads unpredictably. Areas of rock affected by fracking are both considerably larger and shorter than planned.
    Take this well in Oklahoma as an example. In some cases, fluid seeps into areas that have already been fracked, meaning there’s less oil and gas available to extract. When fluid doesn’t seep as far as intended, valuable oil and gas is left behind.

    When wells are dug in close proximity, fluid that spreads beyond the intended range of the frack could interfere with a neighboring well—leaving both compromised. In this case, fluid from multiple fracks seeped into previously fracked areas, as well as space drilled by a neighboring well.

    Fracking has minted a string of billionaires and created modern-day oil booms in North Dakota and West Texas. Deep Imaging says their data can help the industry drill wells more strategically to maximize production and profits.

    But decades of drilling without a detailed picture of how fluid spreads means many existing wells are inefficient. And oil and gas that has been left behind by imprecisely drilled wells is now inaccessible with current technology.

    The new data could also inflame those who seek more oversight over fracking, as there are still questions left unanswered. Deep Imaging’s technique does not measure how far the fluid travels vertically, so it wouldn’t be possible to detect if fluid is seeping up high enough to enter underground water sources.

    While the push for greater regulations over fracking has mostly died down from state legislatures, the issue has gained steam nationally. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said in a Tweet last month that if elected, she will ban fracking “everywhere” on the first day of her presidency.

    Such a move would be “incredibly bullish” for the price of natural gas in the U.S. and oil around the world, according to analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein. But Credit Suisse says even just restricting the well-completion technique on federal lands seems unlikely. William Featherston, an analyst at Credit Suisse wrote in October that taking a frack ban to private land would need an act of Congress, making such a move “untenable.” "
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