Woe betide any teacher (especially in Weld County) that enters into a fracking protest and also tries to educate her students on the dangers of this misshapen energy industry, including pollution of soil, air and water. She will likely pay dearly when a pro-fracking PR clown attacks her in the media. Apart from that, WHY is it the frackers need so many PR hacks & outfits to defend their abominable operations? Like those mentioned in the book 'Toxic Sludge Is Good For You'.
Such was the case yesterday when a fracker PR hack named Joni Inman tried to push her bafflegab on Denver Post readers in a letter dismissing a Weld Co. teacher's complaints and writings. First, WHO is this Joni Inman? A cursory Google check reveals she's head of a Lakewood, CO PR firm, Joni Inman Consulting - obviously helping the frackers to forge their absurd arguments in the media (including in letters to editors) to attempt to convince the gullible to accept fracking the state into oblivion.
In this sense, she and her outfit are no different from the legions of PR mavens already exposed who tried to push smoking on an unsuspecting public. Thus her "consulting" firm joins the public relations liars from 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. No surprise that America's
Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) hired Hill and Knowlton in 2009 as their PR firm,
Most people, sadly, are unaware that much of the "news" today is not truly that, but carefully crafted PR designed to manipulate public opinion. That goes for letters to the editor like that of Inman, appearing in the Post's Op -Ed page yesterday. (Yes, it's on an "opinion page" - but many hacks state opinions as facts and too many of the hoi polloi can't tell the difference.)
Inman writes, for example:
"The oil and gas industry paid $265 million in property taxes to Weld County in 2013. Schools are supported primarily by property taxes. This industry also supports the jobs of families in the district."
But no mention of the hundreds of millions of dollars lost to Weld home owners in terms of their diving property values - such that most couldn't sell a home now if their lives depended on it - and in many cases they do. Also, no mention of the exploding medical costs to Weld residents, what with respiratory diseases from polluted air on the rise, as well as cancers of lungs, kidneys, breast, and liver. The crock about jobs is also just that and as Bill Maher has often pointed out, what good are these jobs if for every buck earned two bucks are lost in medical treatment or PhrMA drug costs? Get other jobs for fuck's sake!
"Fracking is what makes oil and gas development financially feasible"
To which I say, bull pockey! Read any pages in recent issues of the Wall Street Journal or Financial Times and see how banks are now calling in hundreds of millions of bucks in loans from the frackers because their exploits are no longer financially sound - given we are in the midst of an oil glut. As we know, once the cost of oil falls below about $70 a barrel fracking is no longer financially rational since it costs more to extract the oil (actually kerogen) than the cost of the energy put into extraction - including transportation, well maintenance and cost of pumping etc.
Right now then, fracking is adding to the oil glut, driving oil costs down even lower, and making it necessary to lay thousands off, even as many well outlets are shut down. The cost of running them is simply not worth it given the pitiful remuneration.
Inman then minimizes the scale and effects of fractures, writing:
"Hydraulic fractures are half the size of a human hair and occur more than a mile underground."
But no mention of the leaks or well failures.
Tony Ingraffea, a Cornell Professor of geological engineering has shown (on Gasland II) how cement can fail and methane can migrate into ground water. Referencing one
of the typical fracking pipes, Ingraffea sketched the interior cement annulus of 1 -inch
which is the sole barrier between the fracking contaminants and the water
supply, noting, "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 adds:
shallow gas goes into the open annulus, pressurizes the annulus, and the gas
migrates into an underground source of drinking water."
happens, other frack contaminants can also migrate into the water, such benzene,
toluene and dozens of cancer causing chemicals.
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 "there are only three
things that are certain: death, taxes, and fracture". In the latter case, he observes that among the thousands of gas wells including those offshore, there
is a probability of 1 in 20 they 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. This probability means even if a frack well is "only operating 30 days" as Inman cllaims, there is a good chance of immediate failure in one of every twenty wells. If Weld County then puts up 1,000 wells in the next year and runs them for 30 days each, we're looking at 50 "immediate" failures.
That is, 5 percent of all wells will be affected and
woe betide any home owners in their vicinity. Ingraffea invoked the 100,000 odd
wells in PA alone, noting that failure rate means 5,000 wells have immediately
failed in Pennsylvania . That translates to 5,000 methane migrations into
the ground water and ruination of citizens' lives.
So much for Inman's soft soaping..
What about the ANGA PR liars re: the extent of gas leaking? One document actually retrieved from the frackers, 'Leaking Through Casing' indicated "2,000 components" in the fracked liquid, and problems they've been trying to solve "for decades". Worse, they conceded in the documents that there's no way of
completely preventing or fixing the leakage problem.
In one document, from
Southwestern Energy, the diagram clearly showed that the gas well had a cement
barrier with a casing that prevented gases from migrating upwards. But this wasn't
a Powerpoint about drilling wells but rather about how cement and casings failed and allowed methane gas and other substances to migrate into aquifers. Thus, we could see from the frackers' own documents how cement fails.
Thus, Inman's blabber about "hydraulic fractures occuring more than a mile underground." is mere misdirection from the real risks.
Another document from
Schlumberger, showed that cement failure occured at alarming rates - as depicted
in one of their graphs showing "f'raction of wells affected by cement failure'
vs. the well age in years". Their graphs showed 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 150,000 are added
to CO, that means 75,000 will leak after 30 years.
Another document from
Archer, a well servicing outfit, showed 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
Another power point slide is shown from the Society of
Petroleum Engineers, showed that 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.
Inman can complain all she wants about the "wasted space" of teachers (and others) attempting to educate the public, but the real wasted space belongs to her and her PR ilk.