Originally posted at Writeindependent.org on October 23, 2011
Fracking – hydraulic fracturing – energy – chemicals – ground water – contamination
Yesterday I wrote how energy companies go ahead and drill first, answer questions later. I meant what I said. I hereby quote the report which came out April of this year, and can be read in its entirety here: Hydraulic Fracturing Report (see bottom of page).
Here’s just a little taste of that report:
“In many instances, the oil and gas service companies were unable to provide the Committee with a complete chemical makeup of the hydraulic fracturing fluids they used. Between 2005 and 2009, the companies used 94 million gallons of 279 products that contained at least one chemical or component that the manufacturers deemed proprietary or a trade secret.”
Do you think that oil companies should be required to release information that is a public concern?
Do you think government should regulate businesses to protect the environment so that its citizens can live without fear of contaminants in their water and air?
Here are a few facts uncovered in the government’s research about fracking:
- The 14 leading oil and gas service companies used more than 780 million gallons of hydraulic fracturing products, not including water added at the well site. Overall, the companies used more than 2,500 hydraulic fracturing products containing 750 different chemicals and other components.
- The components used in the hydraulic fracturing products ranged from generally harmless and common substances, such as salt and citric acid, to extremely toxic substances, such as benzene and lead. Some companies even used instant coffee and walnut hulls in their fracturing fluids.
- Between 2005 and 2009, the oil and gas service companies used hydraulic fracturing products containing 29 chemicals that are known or possible human carcinogens, regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) for their risks to human health, or listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.
- The BTEX compounds – benzene, toluene, xylene, and ethylbenzene – are SDWA contaminants and hazardous air pollutants. Benzene also is a known human carcinogen. The hydraulic fracturing companies injected 11.4 million gallons of products containing at least one BTEX chemical over the five-year period.
- Methanol, which was used in 342 hydraulic fracturing products, was the most widely used chemical between 2005 and 2009. The substance is a hazardous air pollutant and is on the candidate list for potential regulation under SDWA. Isopropyl alcohol, 2-butoxyethanol, and ethylene glycol were the other most widely used chemicals.
- Many of the hydraulic fracturing fluids contain chemical components that are listed as “proprietary” or “trade secret.” The companies used 94 million gallons of 279 products that contained at least one chemical or component that the manufacturers deemed proprietary or a trade secret. In many instances, the oil and gas service companies were unable to identify these “proprietary” chemicals, suggesting that the companies are injecting fluids containing chemicals that they themselves cannot identify.
Energy companies that act in this manner don’t really care about the health of our communities. They make so much money they would rather drill first and have their law firms clean up the mess of litigation from getting sued later. Great system, guys!
Let’s develop companies that can be proud of their products that provide energy to their customers.