Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The big Fracking companies are coming.

Recent articles in the Daily News Record (I say Wrecker) about the proposed drilling and gas fracking in the Bergton, Virginia area have consistently used the term: "small" when referring to the chemicals used in the process. These amounts have been reported to be about one percent. One percent contamination is 10,000 parts per million. The taxpayers every where are presently paying their own Sewer Authorities to treat their waste down to the single digit parts per million range (a ten thousandth of a percent). Further, our own local "contaminants" are nitrates and various suspended solids, not benzene and the other hundreds of (and presumably proprietary) chemicals used in the fracking process. To call 10,000 parts per million of a carcinogenic chemical like benzene "small" is to engage in misinformation. Wouldn't it be nice if the next reference to fracking chemicals in the news would use the term "massive pollution"? Even the Fracking Company admits that something close to half of the contamination is not recovered for Treatment.

The contamination of surface and ground water by Big Fracking Gas Companies has been exempted from regulation by the EPA, the State of Virginia DEQ, and the Department Of Minerals and Mines by a Bill proposed by Dick (Haliburton) Chenney. The only entity that still has a voice in the process of permitting the drilling (the wells, NOT responsibility for the pollution and presumably redress by the citizenry) is local County Government; a group singularly unprepared to deal with the complexities of geology, waste treatment, and chemistry. The company (as is usual in a great free market) is buying up leases as fast as it can prior to local folks learning about what the leases are worth and what the problems might be (like water wells catching on fire - See the movie "Gasland" - The company (and the news paper) imply that the "bad stuff" is going to be way down there thousands of feet below your water well.

If we've learned anything from the drilling tragedy in the Gulf, it should be that fluids (gases and liquids) thousands of feet down in the earth don't really want to stay there. All that rock is heavy and it will squeeze that stuff back up here where we and our water wells live. Especially if you "frak" the rock strata. The only way to make this worse is to put the industrial waste lagoons in the flood plain. That's what they're planning to do.

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