Thursday, July 25, 2013

Gasland II - Fracking is Worse Than You Think

Josh Fox during filming of 'Gasland II'- you'll be appalled at what he reveals.

Part 2 of Gasland II,  Josh Fox's intense and informative HBO documentary,  begins with interviewing Jeremiah Gee, a Pennsylvanian, and Ph.D. candidate at Penn State.  Gee relates the "real" definition of fresh water is - as provided by the company(Shell Appalachia) fracking near his home.  That is, one can no longer go by the standard definition, but rather that "fresh" means "fresh to THIS site" - where they are now fracking.  It doesn't mean pure or free of contaminants, just free of contaminants from previous frack sites - maybe.

Then the camera pans to Gee's barn and the loads of bottled water which he now needs to ship in, because ingesting the fracked water would be a death sentence. At a cost of over $1,000 a month he has no other choice, and as he notes, he even has to provide it to his chickens and pet dogs. The alternative is obviously too horrific to contemplate.  As one watches this, absolute fury builds at the assholes that have destroyed his quality of life and imposed such destruction of his prime life resource. Meanwhile, a realtor conveys the actual current  market value of his home, at 00.00. Readers can see more in this article:

The emphasis then shifts to  Tony Ingraffea, a Cornell Professor of geological engineering. He is a two time award winner - from the National Research Council - for rock mechanics research - so is in no way the bozo that the frackers' anti-Fox disinformation websites have portrayed! Ingraffea explains clearly and with easily understood diagrams, how cement can fail and methane can migrate into ground water. Referencing one of the fracking pipes, Ingraffea sketches the interior cement annulus of 1 -inch which is the sole barrier between the fracking contaminants and the water supply. As he says, "what you don't want is for that cement to fail".

"Failure" includes: corrosion, crumbling, or disappearing entirely as a barrier over time. If that happens, then "what's down there" (i.e. the contaminants) can get into the annulus. He then rubs out the chalk barrier representing the cement in the annulus, using his fingers and indicates an arrow moving into it from outside. To quote Prof. Ingraffea:

"So now shallow gas goes into the open annulus, pressurizes the annulus, and the gas migrates into an underground source of drinking water."

Once this happens, other frack contaminants can also migrate into the water, such benzene, toluene and dozens of cancer causing chemicals.

Alternately, the scene flashes to the lying scumball Tom Ridge - appearing on a talk show- who insists that such problems as methane in water "occurred long before there were any fracking wells." In truth, such incidents were relatively rare and represented no where near the level of contamination of water currently experienced, when water issuing from hoses can be set afire - and homeowners are advised to not even water their lawns. Ridge, as a PR whore hire, is merely repeating the bollocks fed to him by the PR firms underwriting the misinformation campaign waged against citizens, and those like Josh Fox who seek to expose their disastrous schemes.

Prof. Ingraffea notes that the cement failure phenomena he illustrates are "very well known and at least as long as we've been drilling wells and casing them".  He adds that in his view there are only "three things that are certain: death, taxes, and fracture".  In the latter case, he explains that amongst the thousands of gas wells including those offshore, there is a probability of 1 in 20 will immediately show a failure (opening between the well casing and rock), and that means methane migration. It also means anything else stored in the rock, including salts, heavy metals, other deleterious things now have a pathway.

That is, 5 percent of all wells will be affected and woe betide any home owners in their vicinity. Ingraffea invokes the 100,000 odd wells in PA alone, noting that failure rate means 5,000 wells have immediately failed in Pennsylvania alone. That translates to 5,000 methane migrations into the ground water and ruination of citizens' lives. Just one well going bad means one aquifer will be polluted, such as in Dimock.

From Prof. Ingraffea, Josh goes to an expert on corporate public relations, Naomi Oreskes, on the PR Departments that serve the vermin frackers and their lot. She is the author of 'Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming'.  Oreskes explains that the job of corporate PR depts. is not to necessarily show they're right, but merely to spur and stir phony debate. Once the debate is consolidated, it becomes a matter of endless back and forth, "he said, she said" etc, and the ruse succeeds by staving off regulation because, hey, "the issue isn't settled". But in reality it is, as much as the fact that 6 million Jews perished in a holocaust.

Josh names the public relations firm Hill and Knowlton which in the 1950s-60s and later was responsible for mounting the phony campaign that tobacco smoke doesn't cause cancer- sowing enough doubt to postpone regulation for decades. America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) hired Hill and Knowlton in 2009 as their PR firm, so when you google  'Gasland 2' and find ANGA website blistering Josh Fox and his documentary, you know it's really Hill and Knowlton behind it.  And be sure, they want to sow enough doubt in your mind to foist a national debate, as opposed to the undeniable observed facts that Fox has revealed. (The recently released "DOE study" - see next blog- which claims fracked water is now "safe" - smells to me like another elaborate PR stunt wrapped up in the supposed gravitas of "gov't scientists". Well, hey, government "scientists" i.e. in the Ramsey panel, were also behind the botched acoustic interpretation of the shots fired in the JFK assassination!)

To show ANGA are liars about the extent of gas leaking, Josh presents actually published memos (Some "fell off the back of a truck" - fortunately for the rest of us!) from the gas industry, headed up 'Leaking Through Casing'. They indicate aspects like "2,000 components" in the fracked liquid, the influence of "harsh conditions",  how wells fail and that they've been trying to solve the problem "for decades".  Worse, they concede in the documents that there's no way of completely preventing or fixing the problem.

In one document, from Southwestern Energy, the diagram clearly shows that the gas well has a cement barrier with a casing that prevents gases from migrating upwards. But this isn't a Powerpoint about drilling wells but rather about how cement and casings fail and allow methane gas and other substances to migrate into aquifers.  Thus, we see from their own documents how cement fails.

Another document from Schlumberger, shows that cement failure occurs at alarming rates - as depicted in one of their graphs showing 'fraction of wells affected by cement failure' vs. the well age in years.  Pausing the DVR to show the graph, I can read off a failure fraction of 40 percent after only 12 years, and a failure fraction of 50 percent after 30 years.  That means if 1.5 million new wells are added in the US of A, as projected, 750,000 will leak after thirty years. If 180,000 are added to PA, that means 90,000 will leak after 30 years.

Another document from Archer, a well servicing outfit, shows the existing percent of wells with "integrity issues" and in the Gulf of Mexico this is 45% of all 6, 650 wells (and according to news reports last night, one is already burning, reminiscent of the BP disaster) and 34% in the North Sea, out of some 1, 600 wells. Moreover, 40 percent are at high risk of "uncontrolled discharge".

Another power point slide is shown from the Society of Petroleum Engineers, that shows given an existing global well population of 1.8 million, and that 35% of them are leaking.  Despite this, the idiots plan to drill MORE wells in the next decade than have been drilled in the last 100 years. (All of which, btw, points to the fact we indeed have passed the Peak Oil mark, and which explains the extent to which extreme drilling is now becoming so common- to the point people's drinking water, air quality is an accepted collateral casualty.)

Recent Department of Pennsylvania Environmental Protection stats back up findings of failure, showing 1,609 wells were drilled in 2010 an there were 97 well failures, or a 6% failure rate. Of the 1,972 wells drilled in 2011, 140 failed, for a 7.1% failure rate.  Of the 1, 346 wells drilled in 2012, there were 120 failures, or an 8.9% rate. Who are you going to believe on this, the paid PR liars for the gas fuckers....errrr....frackers, or your lying eyes?

The Dept. document concluded that the published statistics are "consistent with previous industry data" and that the situation "is not improving".

As Josh puts it, "just as there are no safe cigarettes, there is no safe drilling, and they know it".

Indeed they do. So why LIE to us about it? Why make us, the citizens who note the lies and complain about the destruction of our life quality, the bad guys? The "anarchists"? The "terrorists"? Well, because money is on the line, lots of it, and they want to spread this malignancy worldwide!  That is the next part of Gasland II, Part 2 designed to send shivers down your spine.

Thus we see a humble Australian farmer also is having to deal with flaming water, contaminated by methane gas, and an inability to tend to his land. This, in a country with an already at- risk water table because of prolonged drought. But does the industry care? Does the U.S.? Hell no! As Josh goes on to show, in 2010 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration started the 'Global Shale Gas Initiative', charting shale "plays"  in over thirty countries and pledging a "government to government engagement to help develop shale gas around the World, from Europe, to Africa, to the Arabian peninsula to southeast Asia and South America. Everything now will be destroyed, all the planet's remaining potable water, for the profits of the gas -shale oil frackers. So, in a matter of months, the blighted U.S. map (smeared with red for fracking contaminated regions) metastasized into the map of the world undergoing the same. (Believe me the Germans are pissed off at this as well, and my friend Reinhard assured me they're prepared to fight it tooth and nail!)

Now, all this might be accepted IF the technology of hydraulic fracturing was proven safe and reliable, but as the stats presented show, it isn't.  Hence, it follows that the spread of shale fracking is indefensible.

It's even more indefensible because contrary to the spin, according to Prof. of Environmental Biology at Cornell, Bob Howarth, shale gas is not any better for global warming than other fossil fuels. He notes that the hypothesis that natural gas is a "good transitional fuel" has been tested and the answer is 'NO!'. Howarth adds:

"The White House has clearly bought into this idea that natural gas is part of the solution to moving us gradually off fossil fuel. But they didn't do that with good science".

Howarth estimates that between 3.6% and 7.9% of the total amount of gas produced over the lifetime of a well is emitted into the atmosphere as methane. As he notes there is "continual leakage at the well head, at the storage and processing facilities, purposeful venting and also in the pipeline systems."

This is important since methane is 120 times more efficient at trapping heat than CO2 is over a short 20 -year period. That means that if much more methane outgassing also occurs - from melting permafrost in the Arctic- and those global drilling wells are multiplied, we will likely be in the throes of the runaway greenhouse effect much, much sooner.

Sadly, at the end we see the Paar family in Texas moving from their family home, as well as the Gee family in PA, as well as hundreds of other families. None of them are allowed to tell their stories due to binding 'shut your mouth' mandates issued by the frackers. As Josh notes, "there is something inhuman about not even allowing people to talk". And having to leave their life long homes is bad enough.

Louis Meeks, in Pavilion, WY, meanwhile, isn't about to leave and he attends a meeting with neighbors where the water tests conducted by the EPA are being disclosed. The findings?

-Methane in 10 of 28 water wells at "near saturation" level of 19 mg/L, with "similar isotropic signature to production gas"

- Presence of synthetic organic compounds including glycols, alcohols and 2-butoxyethanol.

- Other petroleum -related detections including - benzene at 50 times the safe drinking water level, as well as phenols, tri-methylbenzenes and diesel and gasoline based organics on a "fairly widespread basis"

The last scenes of the documentary are heartbreaking to a real citizen, as Josh attempts to gain access to a House fracking hearing with his camera (to film for the public's benefit) but is instead handcuffed and led away. NO first amendment rights, at least if you show up with a video camera to hold the vermin weasels in our gov't to account for their own words!
Does this nonsense have to be stopped? Absolutely! The alternative is our total water supply being filthed and undrinkable within another five years. 'Good' only for rats and vermin and I doubt even they'd drink it.

THIS is what's driving the anti-fracking movement (including returned, outraged vets from Iraq shown having to deal with fracking effects including from poisoned water and earthquakes), and what's for sure is it will not stop - not so long as citizens are engaged and aware

To be fully aware, citizens need to know the massive misinformation campaign mounted by the gas frackers against Fox and his documentaries. To see one illustration of the misinfo (as well as disinfo) see:

Sadly, Fox shows the power basis of much of this is because our government has become corporatized, and now corporations wield more power over it than do citizens. (Whose cyclical votes are inevitably trumped by corporate campaign contributions and lobbyist bribes once the dust settles.) How else explain the writing and passing of a law that actually exempts the frackers from the Safe Drinking Water Act?  Read more at:


Also, see this Youtube presentation on the gas industry's misinformation campaign and why you, as a citizen, need to see this documentary however you can. What befalls and affects your fellow citizens also affects you. The corporate gangster state laying waste to your fellow citizens' lives will also one day come to destroy yours, if you are passive and non-engaged.

As Fox observes, quoting the mayor of Dish, TX, "Now you know. Once you know, you can't  not know".

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