Category Archives: natural gas drilling

Federal Fracking Panel Responds to Growing Backlash Against Polluting, Destructive Practice: Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenona

August 11,2011



WASHINGTON – “Today, the Shale Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board released its recommendations regarding the regulation of U.S. shale gas production. With six out of seven of the subcommittee’s members having direct financial ties to the natural gas industry, their recommendations will not go nearly far enough in protecting consumers and the environment from the risks associated with shale gas obtained through the process of hydraulic fracturing. The report does outline the major environmental and public health issues associated with shale gas drilling.

“While the natural gas industry has advocated for, and has been granted exemptions from key environmental regulations, it has racked up countless violations of the rules that do apply to them, and has been questioned about the validity of their gas production forecasts. Yet the subcommittee nonetheless suggests that natural gas producers should play a large role in ensuring that hydraulic fracturing operations do not endanger consumers or natural resources by providing the public information about shale gas production and adopting industry-wide ‘best practices.’

“Just last week The New York Times reported that players within the natural gas industry helped bury evidence produced by the Environmental Protection Agency that hydraulic fracturing had, contrary to industry claims, contaminated drinking water supplies. How can we trust the industry to show ‘leadership in improving environmental impact’ when it has actually gone to great lengths to cover up its detrimental impacts to public health and natural resources?

“Much like the hearings it convened in the months leading up to the study, which mainly reflected the views of the natural gas industry and policymakers, this study downplays the concerns of those affected by fracking—communities that have been turned into sacrifice zones at the expense of the natural gas industry’s desire to turn a profit.

“While the report recommends allowing the natural gas industry to create a new national organization to police its own practices, it proposes leaving protection of public health and the environment to ‘each relevant jurisdiction.’ We know that industry has gone to great lengths to influence local governments, and even greater lengths to avoid culpability at a national level. Why should we let the industry police itself while leaving localities to fight for themselves?

“Moreover, we are extremely disappointed that federal involvement in this matter will focus on providing money to the natural gas industry for research and development to help greenwash their practices, rather than removing exemptions from key environmental regulations. The federal government should be taking an active role in protecting consumers and the environment from hydraulic fracturing, not throwing money at a destructive and unprofitable industry.”

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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.


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Filed under clean water, consumer protection, Department of Enviromental Protection, drinking water pollution, Food and Water Watch, Fracking, natural gas drilling, press release, public health, shale gas

Is New Jersey Playing Games with Fracking Ban?

The following commentary from Dennis Anderson, Chair of the Jersey Shore (Monmouth) Group of the Sierra Club and Joellen Lundy, President of N.J. Friends of Clearwater appears on the website Newjerseynewsroom.com as well as a few other sites.

I post it here because the subject of hydraulic fracturing(fracking) shale in order to release natural gas deposits that were unattainable before the process was developed, has become a very big issue. The chemicals that are used in the process have polluted ground water and surrounding lands with hazardous and carcinogenic residues, guest blogger Linda Baum posted a column about fracking and it’s dangers here back in April.

Since then a number of articles on the subject, both Pro and Con, have been making there way into the media.
Legislation banning Fracking in NJ, is sitting on Governor Christie’s desk waiting for his signature. Why he hasn’t signed it yet is anyone’s guess.
NJ is the most densely populated state in the nation and our natural resources will be placed at risk if franking is allowed to continue without the proper safety constraints in place to ensure that drinking water, wildlife and the general population are not placed risk:

Opponents of the environmentally damaging practice now sweeping the country of hydrofracking shale deposits for natural gas were delighted last week when the N.J. Legislature voted to ban the practice. The vote, 33 to 1 in the Senate and 51 to 11 in the Assembly, showed such a rare bi-partisan agreement so absent in today’s political discourse that many environmentalists hoped New Jersey’s politicians finally recognized that solving the state’s pollution problems transcends partisan bickering.

We hope this is the case, but we’re not sure. Gov. Christie, who has become increasingly hostile to the state’s environmental problems, has yet to sign the bill. If he does, it will be a watershed event. But will he? Sen. Joseph M. Kyrollis Jr. did not vote on the bill but offered an amendment — rejected by the Senate — to ban hydrofracking for five years. But why would Kyrollis delay hydrofracking?

There is growing public anger over hydrofracking, which requires enormous amounts of water and a number of toxic chemicals that the frackers are not required by law to report. Vice President Dick Cheney accomplished this dodge while in office. These undisclosed chemicals pollute both underground and surface water supplies. This debacle is very hard for politicians to support, so we may be seeing a “pretend” vote where pro-development politicians duck citizens’ ire by voting against hydrofracking, knowing that the governor will use his veto power to avoid an out-right ban and force environmentally responsible politicians to accept Kyrollis’ “compromise” that opens the door in five years.

The state of New Jersey deserves better. Until hydrofracking is absolutely safe, it must be banned. The first step would be to require complete disclosure of the chemicals they plan on indirectly pumping into our water supply.

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Filed under Fracking, Gov. Chris Christie, hydrofracking, Joe Kyrillos, Linda Baum, natural gas drilling, New Jersey Newsroom, NJ Friends of Clearwater, Sierra club

>Halt gas drilling until water safety is assured

>There were a few very good editorials posted today on the Star-Ledger’s website NJ.com. This first one should be of interest to many environmental groups like the Sierra Club, Riverkeepers and Waterkeeper Alliance and anyone else that thinks clean drinking water is more important than drilling for natural gas along the Delaware river as new Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett wishes to do, should be concerned about this.

The process of drilling for natural gas along the Delware river would entail using a drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”. This process injects chemical fluids and other materials into boreholes to fracture bedrock for the purpose off releasing oil or natural gas. Fracking could lead to ground water contamination and air quality issues :

The Delaware River Basin is downstream from planned drillings for natural gas. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has instructed his economic development officer to fast-track permits for drilling. About 10,000 wells are expected to be green-lighted, creating jobs, producing clean fuel and lessening our dependence on foreign oil for several decades.

But there’s a dark side: The process of drilling, known as hydraulic fracturing — or “fracking” — has the potential to contaminate the Delaware, which provides drinking water for 15 million people, including 3 million in New Jersey. The federal Environmental Protection Agency is investigating the threat, but won’t be done until next year. Pennsylvania should not be allowed to proceed until we know it’s safe.

New York already has a moratorium and New Jersey should follow suit. Two bills before the state Assembly tomorrow recognize the urgency of the situation: One would put the brakes on drilling until the feds complete their study, and the other asks Congress to no longer exempt fracking from safe water regulations, as it has since 2005, and to require drilling companies to reveal all chemicals used in fracking. “We’re asking for transparency,” said Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Bergen), the bills’ sponsor. Both bills are key to protecting our water supply.

Fracking shatters rock formations to release the gas through high-powered drilling using sand, chemicals and billions of gallons of water. Along with the gas, the chemically contaminated water also is released. The earth’s naturally occurring radioactive radium also is disturbed by fracking. Wastewater treatment plants can’t scrub clean all the pollutants in Pennsylvania’s drilling waste water which, by one account, totaled more than a billion gallons in the past three years.

Preliminary reports by EPA consultants and regulators found it highly likely that toxic water unleashed in Pennsylvania would endanger the Delaware River, and evidence exists that the drilling wastewater also corrodes treatment plants, undermining their ability to break down regular sewage.

The Delaware River Basin Commission, which represents the watershed interests of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware, is proposing its own regulations for fracking. But the commission should take the advice of 39 New Jersey state legislators, who have asked it to wait until the federal study is complete. Jeff Tittel, of the Sierra Club’s New Jersey chapter, says the commission’s proposals are deficient because they don’t explore the vast clear-cutting of forests and construction of roads that accompany fracking….

Read more >>> Here

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Filed under clean water, Delaware river, Fracking, natural gas drilling, Pennsylania, Riverkeepers, Sierra club, the Star-Ledger, Waterkeeper Alliance