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Earth United States

Fracking Disclosure Rules Approved In CO 279

ExE122 writes "Colorado has approved new measures taking a tough stance on the disclosure of chemicals used in fracking. The new law is 'requiring companies to disclose the concentrations of chemicals in addition to the chemicals themselves.' Fracking is a controversial method of natural gas extraction that raises concerns about health and safety issues to surrounding communities. This measure is said to be tougher than similar measures passed in Texas earlier this year."
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Fracking Disclosure Rules Approved In CO

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  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Informative)

    by NatasRevol ( 731260 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @11:36AM (#38370250) Journal

    Too bad the chemicals aren't required to be listed if they're trade secrets.

    "The solution was a new form requiring a company to attest — under penalty of perjury — that a chemical is proprietary." []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @11:42AM (#38370336)

    I'm an engineer that has performed hydraulic fracturing treatments for 30 years. My resume includes about a hundred treatments without environmental contamination. People act like this is a new phenomenon - we've been doing this safely since WW2. Fracturing treatments are done on geologic formations that have held oil and gas in place for millions of years. Seriously - what are the chances of these chemicals migrating upward through a couple miles of solid rock?

    The ONLY time "fracking" can pose a hazard to potable groundwater is when you have a mechanical failure. If the steel well casing fails, some of the chemicals might exit through a shallow leak. Here's a short list of activities that are a greater risk to potable groundwater:
    1. Underground fuel storage tanks. How many existing and abandoned filling stations and convenience stores are near you, compared to oil or gas wells?
    2. Disposal of fuel, motor oil, and antifreeze into storm sewers.People actually do that.
    3. Old, abandoned or inactive oil or gas wells. Corrosion happens.
    4. Railroad derailments. Each locomotive can carry 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel.
    5. Refineries.
    6. Pipeline leaks.

    Please encourage folks to remove their tinfoil hats. There's nothing to see here.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @11:42AM (#38370338)

    It's on Youtube so it must be true. I mean there's no way naturally occurring methane could ever seep into a well someone drilled in their back yard. That stuff is waaaaaaaay below the surface.

  • Re:Great! (Score:4, Informative)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @11:49AM (#38370448)

    On the upside, if you live near one of these drill sites you'll get free natural gas! It'll be through your water pipes, but hey, free's free.

  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Informative)

    by AnotherAnonymousUser ( 972204 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @12:02PM (#38370622)
    Because the water from precipitation is so low in Colorado and we're in a semi-arid climate, there's a lot of concern for the watershed and depriving the people downstream of water. Rainbarrels are technically illegal because that moisture is needed to maintain the natural flow of streams - damming, controlling, or restricting its natural flow can cause problems further down the line, or so it's proposed. But it's scarce enough on a climate level that even the rain is considered necessary.
  • Evidences that it's different? NO? I didn't think so.

    Irrelevant i any case, there is no evidence fracking impacts any water supply.

  • by BitwiseX ( 300405 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @12:13PM (#38370804)

    Hydraulic fracturing for stimulation of oil and natural gas wells was first used in the United States in 1947.[2][3] It was first used commercially by Halliburton in 1949,[2] and because of its success in increasing production from oil wells was quickly adopted, and is now used worldwide in tens of thousands of oil and natural gas wells annually. The first industrial use of hydraulic fracturing was as early as 1903, according to T.L. Watson.[4] Before that date, hydraulic fracturing was used at Mt. Airy Quarry, near Mt Airy, North Carolina where it was (and still is) used to separate granite blocks from bedrock. []
    OK, so it's been around awhile..

    With the explosive growth of natural gas wells in the US, researcher Valerie Brown predicted in 2007 that "public exposure to the many chemicals involved in energy development is expected to increase over the next few years, with uncertain consequences."[24] As development of natural gas wells in the U.S. since the year 2000 has increased, so too have claims by private well owners of water contamination. This has prompted EPA and others to re-visit the topic. []
    and it's getting more prevalent...

    I don't think anybody is saying that it's "suddenly" causing problems. It seems like the concern is the growth. As much as I dislike using a car analogy, I think if we hadn't have chosen automobiles as our primary form of transportation, we wouldn't have emission standards and the like, because what makes it an issue is quantity. We'd be fools to not question or investigate this, especially since fracking is questioned international. It's being investigated in many countries, and it's already banned/stopped in others. What if they're right?

  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) < minus caffeine> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @12:20PM (#38370894) Homepage

    Hyrdrofracking for gas is an extremely recent development - at least in the form currently used. It was not legally possible to use the current methods of hydrofracking until the Halliburton Loophole exemptions to the Clean Water Act were pased as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

  • Evidence that this is different?

    Energy Policy Act of 2005 - specifically the Halliburton Loophole exemptions to the Safe Drinking Water Act.

    Fracking for gas didn't "take off" until that loophole was passed - so clearly SOMETHING they are doing is different that the loophole enables them to do.

    The problem is that the same exemption allows them to hide what they are doing.

  • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) < minus caffeine> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @12:27PM (#38370968) Homepage

    Except that wells that have run clean for decades started showing signs of contamination within months of drilling commencing.

    Dimock, PA had clean water for decades in their wells - not any more.

  • by CowTipperGore ( 1081903 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @12:31PM (#38371006)

    Evidences that it's different? NO? I didn't think so.

    Evidence? Anyone who has spent 10 minutes caring about this issue knows there are significant differences. Let me save you a few keystrokes on Google and start with much deeper wells, moving from vertical wells to horizontal ones, and greatly increasing the amount of fluids used and waste generated.

    Irrelevant i any case, there is no evidence fracking impacts any water supply.

    You're a bit behind the times I'm afraid. Again, let me save [] you [] a trip [] to Google:

    This information might have been out there for you years ago had Cheney not inserted his Haliburton exemption in his energy bill back in 2005.

  • by Phoenix666 ( 184391 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @12:39PM (#38371108)

    My sister owns a water quality lab in Montana. Every town is required to test their water supply regularly for biological and chemical contaminants and for years they have submitted their samples via regular mail to labs like my sister's for testing. Except that the EPA has shortened the window for getting your samples in to a lab from 48 hours to 30 hours, which the Post Office cannot manage with current levels of service. UPS and FedEx don't serve many rural areas, so there is no way for many towns to test their water any more. Add in large, imminent cutbacks at the USPS, and you have a looming public health crisis as it is.

    Now with the advent of fracking in the state there is a real possibility thousands of people will be poisoned by ground water contamination, but thanks to the breakdown in the testing it won't be discovered until it's far too late.

    Winning more natural gas is a plus for energy independence, but if we're doing that at the cost of putting benzene into our drinking water then perhaps we need to look at other ways to generate power.

  • Re:Great! (Score:4, Informative)

    by fnj ( 64210 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @12:55PM (#38371356)

    Because that movie sure PROVES that the phracking caused the phenomenon in the water supples.


    What I saw was a series of anecdotes with some supporting science, but predominantly just a lot of OMG speculation. Sure, it was very disturbing, and merits scientific investigation. This regulation will help that investigation.

  • by pavon ( 30274 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @01:13PM (#38371716)

    No they intentionally drilled to the same depth as fracking operations in order to determine the extent of horizontal transfer of fracking fluids and how much fluid was left after being pumped out. This was in addition to testing at normal water well depth. Their paper lists as a regret that they were not able to drill to intermediate depths to better understand how the fluids are moving.

    The majority of Encana "refutations" are pure bullshit, and the few minor issues that aren't are mentioned in the EPA report as limitations of the current study. In particular the EPA report does compare the current water well against historical values, contrary to that propaganda piece you linked.

  • Re:Great! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @01:18PM (#38371800)

    I am in my late 30's and grew up hearing the term fracking, because my dad worked in the natural gas business. My uncle ran a workover rig and did frack jobs when I was a kid. So, pumping liquids deep in the ground to cause fissures in the rocks holding the gas pockets has been around for a long long time. Back then it was mostly done to older wells to get them to produce more, and today it is done more often on the front end to reduce the risks associated with re-entering existinig wells.

    If you are saying that the technology has developed over the decades and the chemical mix or the exact process has developed then sure. But to say it didnt exist is like saying that because the processor in my PC is faster now that PCs didnt exist before now.

    Based on the people I have talked to who have been doing this for decades the percentages of chemicals used has been reduced over the years in favor of a higher percentage of water. So, if what you are saying is they used to pump all kinds of stuff deep in the ground, and now the process is mostly water - then I agree.

    There is so much FUD surrounding this issue, and it is obscuring what the real concerns should be. Are there risks associated with gas and oil exploration - yes there are many. Should there be regulations on these industries - no doubt. Do we need to continue to evaluate these regulations and the safety measures as the drilling technologies and the saftey technologies develop - for sure. Are the general public and most news reporters capable of understanding and evaluating the risks vs. the amount of regulations and safety requirements - not from what I can tell.

  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Informative)

    by mdarksbane ( 587589 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @01:26PM (#38371938)

    And the law is so complex that having 1000x the lawyering is an advantage, because...?

    Look, if we're going to assume a libertopia hypothetical, assume it all the way.

    Actually, the more educated libertarians (not the internet nut/strawmen type) do have better (or at least more developed) solutions to this problem then "take them to court in this system that is completely rigged in favor of the big companies." Mostly involving more highly developed property rights and protections. But it's a bit long to go into in slashdot comment.

    It's fairly frustrating. Most of my political conversations, if I want to defend my point at all, risk turning into a lengthy lecture on libertarian theory. Because there *is* more to it than just "government bad", but if you haven't read the economic arguments it doesn't really work...

Overload -- core meltdown sequence initiated.