By L&T Managing Editor Larry Phillips
Despite decades of proof that oil and gas well fracking is not polluting ground water across the nation, as leftist environmental groups would have you believe, a newly released study will help silence that rubbish.
One case in Pennsylvania, where actually, all the hubbub initially started, has been studied for more than a year by the Department of Energy. This is what Associated Press reporter Kevin Begos wrote last Friday, July 19.
“A landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site, the Department of Energy told The Associated Press.
“After a year of monitoring, the researchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to free gas trapped deep below the surface stayed thousands of feet below the shallower areas that supply drinking water, geologist Richard Hammack said.”
Of course, loyal readers will remember the Leader & Times reported about fracking last year, after Kansas University’s Kansas Geological Survey Executive Director Rex Buchanan gave a presentation about the importance of water in the history of Kansas at the annual membership dinner of the Seward County Historical Society.
When Buchanan was asked, “Does oil well fracking endanger fresh water zones?”
His answer was simple.
“No,” he said.
In fact, Buchanan was one of the authors of the KGS Public Information Circular No. 32. (to see, go to: www.kgs.ku.edu/Publications/PIC/pic 32.htm).
It was pointed out in that April 2012 article that the first well ever “fracked” in the nation, happened in 1947 in the Hugoton gas field in Grant County, just 20-some miles north of Liberal.
In that PIC-32, the Kansas Corporation Commission was accredited with this: “In Kansas, more than 57,000 wells have been hydraulically fractured since that first ‘frack job’ in 1947, and an estimated 90 percent of the wells drilled in Kansas over the next decade will be fractured.”
The paper PIC-32 also goes on to note, “… fracking fluids coming up through the ground and contaminating the water sands or zones, according the KGS, has never been reported or found in Kansas since the very first one.”
That “fact” readily came to mind Monday when another AP story came across the wire with this headline: “Kansas regulators considering new fracking rules.”
The article opens with, “Kansas utility regulators are considering new rules to require oil and natural gas companies to disclose some information about the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing.”
My first reaction was, “Why?”
Why do regulators need to know what chemicals are in fracking fluids? Some companies use mixtures that are probably kept secret, if not patented. And why the concern when not one “mishap” has occurred since 1947? By “mishap,” I mean spills or such even at the surface, not casing problems downhole or at the producing zone.
The proposed regulations note that “companies could avoid disclosing all of the details if the chemicals they used were a trade secret. Those substances still would have to be disclosed to the KCC and other state and local officials if there’s a problem, even if it’s not an emergency.”
It seems KCC attorney Ryan Hoffman, who outlined the proposed regulations for legislators, said, “This is as far as other states have gone.”
I personally don’t care what other states have done, especially when they’ve been lied to and badgered by misinformed environmentalists and people who would have us riding horses to work. We in Kansas don’t have to kow-tow to unsound science and extortion.
We have a track record with fracking – since its development – and it’s safe.
Anyone who believes fracking fluids can somehow eke their way through thousands of feet – if not miles – of rock, shale and earth to ground water, doesn’t have much basic knowledge of geology.
The leftists like to use scare mongering and issues of drinking water contamination in Pennsylvania that had nothing to do with fracturing a producing formation downhole. Even Buchanan acknowledged he had heard some of erroneous data.
PIC-32 noted, “(problems have resulted) due to improperly cased wells or leaking pipes.”
Maybe attorney Hoffman should read this in PIC-32: “Casing, cementing, and plugging regulations secure the safety and integrity of the wells when carried out properly. Deep disposal wells are available throughout much of the state, and they have been regulated and overseen by the KCC for many years; consequently, in Kansas, fracking fluids are not disposed of in wastewater-treatment plants.
“In short, Kansas’ favorable geologic setting, its regulatory process, and its successful history of hydraulic fracturing and fluid management make it one of the safer regions of the country to employ the practice.”
Be sure to let the KCC know what you think about more regulatory burdens being placed on our oil and gas producers. Written comments can be mailed to:
KCC Main Office
1500 SW Arrowhead Road
Topeka, KS 66604-4027
Phone: (785) 271-3100
Fax: (785) 271-3354
Just because environmental loons are shrieking nonsense, KCC doesn’t have to cave in.