Just When You Thought Prospects of Fracking Couldn’t Get Any Scarier…

Sounds unbelievable, right? How could the Fracking situation get any worst? Well, consider this: The industry is testing out other substances to reducing their use of water. What are they using to replace it? Just good old, harmless, propane of course! State Impact Texas from NPR Reports:

““We don’t use any water,” said Eric Tudor, a Houston-based official with GasFrac, a Canadian company that fracks with propane geland butane. “Zip. None.” At a GasFrac operation in South Texas last month, a sticker on one worker’s hard hat showed a red slash through the word H2O.

Water-free fracking still remains an early-stage technology, with potentially higher initial costs than conventional fracking methods. But as lawmakers and oil regulators focus on the large quantity of water used for fracking wells, the concept is getting a closer look.

GasFrac has led the way, bringing its propane fracking operations to Texas, and there is talk of using other substances like carbon dioxide or nitrogen.

“We’ve looked at [propane fracking], and I would say that absolutely our industry is open to all possibilities,” said Michael Dunkel, the director of sustainable development for Pioneer Natural Resources, in testimony last month before a joint hearing of the House Energy Resources and Natural Resources committees.

Waterless fracking is “a viable technology for sure,” said David Yoxtheimer, an extension associate with the Marcellus Center for Outreach & Research at Penn State University. However, he noted, there is a reason that companies use water, namely that it is “virtually incompressible” and thus is very effective in bringing pressure against, and ultimately breaking up, rock.

Currently there are no special rules on fracking with propane or other nonwater liquids in Texas, according to Christi Craddick, one of three members of the Railroad Commission of Texas, which regulates the oil and gas industry. The technology is “exciting” but still rare, she said, and no rule changes are on the horizon.

“We’ll see as the technology evolves if our rules need to evolve,” Craddick said last week in an interview.

Tudor, of GasFrac, said his company began working in Texas in 2010, after fracking its first well in Canada in 2008. It has done roughly 100 fracks in Texas so far, he estimated. (Some wells get fracked multiple times.) Much of the work has been in South Texas. A recent job bored into the San Miguel formation, which is a relatively shallow formation in the vicinity of the Eagle Ford Shale. But GasFrac has also done “a couple of prototype fracks” in West Texas, he said.

“We’re just getting started,” Tudor said.”

Read the full post at State Impact Texas from NPR.

We’re winning the war! Industry report labels movement as ‘Highly effective’.

WOW. The industries own data shows how effective our growing movement is. This from Truth-Out:

“To avoid ever-increasing blockades and moratoriums, Wood advises gas companies to follow his four-step plan for quelling the anti-fracking movement: acknowledge local grievances, engage communities, work to reduce the damage fracking does to the environment, and “create more winners” (by which he means giving communities a fair share of the money from fracking). Wood also suggests that, “Movements towards greater transparency and voluntary disclosure, however grudging, are a positive step in this direction.”

You can tell you’re winning when even their own advisers are telling them to do the right thing. You can read the full article at Truth-Out.

Leaked EPA Documents Expose Decades-Old Effort to Hide Dangers of Natural Gas Extraction


Sidney New York Passing Gas Drilling Moratorium 2/14/13

By Cathy McNulty

Last Evening about 80 people attended the Sidney Public Meeting for the proposed Moratorium on Gas drilling and associated activities, and the Sidney Town Board Meeting. Lawyers Joseph Ermetti and David and Helen Slottje had differing opinions on the legality of the Special Meeting that voted to send the proposed Moratorium to the Delaware County Planning Board for review. Tobias Whitaker cited the Association of Towns Lawyer’s opinion that it was a proper meeting and that Town Board Members Eric Wilson and Supervisor McCarthy had adequate notice as they attended the Previous TB meeting and voted on the time and place. Supervisor McCarthy granted Privilege of the Floor to Everett Wood who stated that he had obtained notarized petitions from land owners that represented 20% of the acreage in the Town against the Moratorium and consequently a Super-majority vote would be required to pass the Moratorium. Supervisor McCarthy did not have the votes to put off the Public Meeting or the vote on the Moratorium. Town Board Member Eric Wilson left the meeting before the Public hearing and before the vote. Speakers for and against HVHF presented facts on air pollution and the need for a comprehensive health study, land owners rights (my land, my water, my air?) and limitations (air and water pollution do not respect property lines), three insurance companies that will no longer offer homeowners insurance to properties with gas leases (Nationwide, Allstate and most recently Leatherstocking), public support for the Moratorium by petitions and by popular vote, and respect for the Comprehensive Plan citing rural Character, Natural Beauty, Peace and a Clean Environment. The Town Board voted in favor of the Moratorium:Bob McCarthy NO, Bill Heath YES, Tobias Whitaker YES, Pete Cordes YES. Community Environmental Defense Council Attorney David Slottje stated that the landowners petitions were not legal ‘on their face’ and that Delaware County had failed to respond in writing two days prior to the Public Meeting making the 3 to 1 Majority vote sufficient to pass the Moratorium.

The Fracking Smoke Screen

Have you ever stopped and wondered ‘How is it pro-fracking forces and the industry are able to create such an effective media smoke screen?’ There’s no doubt there has been a lot of confusion stirred up in the media, and in public opinion, despite numerous studies that provide insights into the dangers of fracking. So how are they able to create this confusion? What makes them so effective?

Maybe it’s because they’re using some of the same media consultants as the tobacco industry. They say talk is cheap, but any fan of satirical comedies can tell you it’s anything but when it comes to dangerous industries, such as tobacco and energy. These industries know what their products and procedures do, and the damage they create, so it’s in their best interest to spend on spin; and spend well.

From our friends at Texas Sharon:

““Excessive regulation,” “over-regulation,” and “unnecessary regulation,” are soundbites the under regulated fracking industry is recycling from the tobacco industry. Although fracking was developed with government help and despite the fact frackers receive $4 billion in corporate welfare, they repeat the cigarette industry’s appeal to independent Americans by calling for “individual liberty, free enterprise and limited government.”

“It’s your right to smoke” has morphed into “it’s your right to lease your minerals.” Like secondhand smoke fracking can wreck your neighbors’ health. Worse than secondhand smoke, fracking can wreck your neighbors’ property values and serenity and leave them without clean water.”

You can read the full article at Texas Sharon.

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INCASE YOU MISSED IT: Check out this heated exchange at the state assembly’s last minute public hearing!

Did you catch this exchange between Democratic Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh and Karen Moreau of the New York State Petroleum Council? As featured on North Country Public Radio:

“”Is it your assertion that you do not believe that groundwater anywhere has been contaminated by high volume hydraulic fracturing operations anywhere it’s been done?”

“That’s what I advocate.”

That’s Karen Moreau of the New York State Petroleum Council responding to a question from Democratic Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh.

“You believe there’s been no groundwater contamination from this practice?”

“I’m talking about, the problem is people mix apples and oranges here, that’s part of the issue here—people mix up”

“Well, that’s what we’re here for is to get clarity, so let’s separate the apples from the oranges.”

“You have a drilling process, you have a casing process, you have a fracking process, you have a removal of wastewater from a site. There’s a lot of things that go along with development.”

“Right and what we would be approving is a process that includes all of those elements, if the state were to approve high volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State.”

“The state is going to be regulating every aspect of this development.”

“I understand that and that development is currently not permitted. And if they approve it, it’ll be permitted. So what I’m asking you is when you said in your testimony, you sort of summarized the history of groundwater contamination, that single sentence, and I’m just trying to understand, do you believe that this process, as it’s been practiced elsewhere, has or has not caused groundwater contamination in other places?”

“There are clearly cases.”"

You can read the full article and listen to audio from this exchange at North Country Public Radio. The comment period on the DEC’s draft regulations wrapped up on Friday, with a reported 200,000 + comments submitted. Cuomo is expect to make an announcement next month. The DEC’s deadline could be pushed up to as early as Feb. 13th, with the current draft regulations set to expire on Feb 27th. That would be a huge set back for the DEC and the industry, as they continue to subvert the will of the people.

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Governor Cuomo Obviously Doesn’t Get It.

No big deal, claims Gov. This from Press Connects:

“ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday said no one should read into his decision not to address shale-gas drilling in his State of the State speech, pointing to the ongoing review of the technique.

Cuomo’s 80-minute address on Wednesday did not include anything on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, despite attracting more than 1,000 fracking protesters who lined the concourse outside of the Empire State Plaza Convention Center.

“We’re doing a review of fracking on the merits,” Cuomo told reporters Thursday. “We’re now looking at the health consequences of hydrofracking, as you know. That has nothing to do with the State of the State.””

You can read the whole article at Press Connects.

Nothing to do with the State of the State?!?! Is this not a hot button environmental issue? Are thousands of people showing up in Albany on weekdays outside of your offices because they are way too upset over some minor, inconsequential issue? Is this NOT a public health risk? Even proponents would say it is at least an economic issue… Is this not a huge determining factor for what the future will look like in New York?

Governor, get you head on straight. You seem only interested in taking on safe issues, like an assault weapons ban after children have been massacred in a neighboring state; why not truly stand up for the future generations of New York and protect their land, air, and water? Otherwise, frankly, at best you look like an opportunist, and at worst Governor, you look like a coward.

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Not a word; Governor Cuomo ignores thousands of protesters and dodges fracking in State of the State

From Press Connects:

“ALBANY — More than 1,000 protesters lined a pathway on Wednesday, chanting and wielding signs as lawmakers and lobbyists made their way to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s third State of the State address.

Cuomo’s 80-minute speech, however, had nary a mention of the topic they were protesting: hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

Opponents of shale-gas drilling crammed a quarter-mile stretch of the Empire State Plaza’s underground concourse, which connects the state Capitol and Legislative Office Building to the convention center where Cuomo delivered his address. Some chanted at lawmakers as they made their way in; others sang, as 93-year-old folk legend Pete Seeger led an impromptu rendition of “This Land is Your Land,” aging banjo in hand…”

Read the full article at Press Connects.

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From our friends at New Yorkers Against Fracking:

The New Yorkers Against Fracking coalition is calling on all New Yorkers to come to Albany for a rally to keep fracking out of our beloved state. We will take our message right to the Governor as we gather outside the annual State of the State Address, delivered by Andrew Cuomo.

We’ve never needed your voices more than now. On November 29th, the Department of Environmental Conservation took the reckless step of releasing draft rules and regulations that would sanction the process of fracking in New York State, thus setting the clock ticking on a decision-making process that, absent our intervention, could lead to permits in early 2013. Never mind that the environmental impact statement (sGEIS) that is supposed to serve as a scientific foundation of those regulations has not been released to the public. Never mind that the unfinished health “review” that is supposed to sit at the heart of the sGEIS is shrouded in secrecy. Never mind that the work of the health study is being carried out by three outside experts who are contracted for a mere 25 hours–three days–of their time. Never mind that Governor Cuomo said NO to New York’s own physicians and scientists who have demanded a transparent, comprehensive health impact assessment.

Let’s tell the Governor that everything about this process is wrong: it is backward, undemocratic, hasty, and irrational. A secret, 25-hour health review? Shockingly inadequate. An industry-influenced sGEIS? Fatally flawed. And cart-before-the-horse rulemaking? Un-fracking-believable.

See below to sign up for a bus, contact an organizer in your part of the state or for carpool/parking information.

What: Rally to Stop Fracking in NY at the State of the State Address
When: Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
Time: 11AM – 3PM
Where: Empire State Plaza – Concourse hallway near the entrance to The Egg (Indoors), Albany, NY