Friday, November 18, 2011

Fracturing of Pennsylvania

A very good New York Times Magazine article about money, power, and health issues surrounding natural gas development on the Marcellus Shale.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Frack Water Treatment Webinar

Please join: BSI Management Systems, Eviance and Environmental Protection
Webinar:   Cleaning Frack Water On Site Benefits Environment and Business
1:00PM (EST) - 12:00 (CST) - 10:00AM (PST)
This webinar will discuss the benefits of on-site wastewater treatment, how these integrated mobile treatment services work and how this business model can cut the average cost of treating produced water by as much as 50 percent, while allowing drillers to focus their efforts and manpower on generating oil and gas profits, rather than on water treatment.
Register today at:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Principle of Responsibility: A Guide for Policymaking

The Barnett shale presents at best a mixed picture for Denton. It has created jobs and economic growth. Yet it has also negatively impacted air quality, water resources, and landowner rights while raising legitimate concerns about health impacts. It exposes Denton to the vicissitudes of resource boom-bust cycles and chains the city forever to land rendered useless by abandoned wells. Considered in a larger context, it is an unsustainable practice that does not address our need to conserve and to craft a national strategy that weans us off of fossil fuels.
Denton has little power to influence national policy and must work within existing realities. Nonetheless, as a home rule city, Denton does have significant power to regulate natural gas drilling and production in its jurisdiction. This power ought to be guided by a commitment to responsible resource development. Responsible development means:

·         Setting Priorities: Denton should value above all the health, safety, and well-being of its citizens and the quality of their environment. Drilling and production must meet or exceed performance standards designed to protect these values. Where these standards cannot be met, minerals cannot be accessed.  
·         Making Principled Decisions: Denton city leaders should balance the risks posed by lawsuits with a principled commitment to these priorities.
·         Using Precaution: Where uncertainty exists about environmental and health impacts (insufficient evidence to establish safety), regulations should err on the side of caution to protect public welfare.
·         Internalizing Costs: Denton should minimize the externalities of drilling and production. These are costs incurred by citizens who have not consented to them. Industry and consumers (those who profit and benefit) should pay for the true cost of natural gas and its products.  
·         Mandating Best Practices: Denton should mandate the use of the most environmentally friendly technologies and practices available. The city should enact a flexible ordinance capable of requiring ongoing improvements in drilling and production practices.  
·         Taking Timely Action: Denton’s current ordinance is insufficient, yet it continues to permit wells under existing rules. This presents two options. The hard path is to enact a moratorium on new permits. The softer path calls for the city to strengthen its ordinance by swiftly enacting key changes while it debates more comprehensive reforms. Drawing from citizen and expert input and ordinances from other cities, the DAG will propose recommendations for these key measures prior to the next city task force public meeting in December.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Oct 27 event on environmental and public health video now online

The video of DAG's Oct. 27 event on the environmental and public health impacts of natural gas drilling and production is now online. Thanks to Kevin Roden for his help with this and to our speakers, Prof. Tom LaPoint and Alisa Rich.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Waterless Fracking Method

Check out this interesting article on a new method for fracking that does not require water.

Posted: 06 Nov 2011 03:00 AM PST
Little-noticed drilling technique uses propane gel, not water, to release natural gas. Higher cost, lack of data and industry habit stand in the way.
By Anthony Brino, InsideClimate News and Brian Nearing, Albany Times-Union
ALBANY, N.Y.—In the debate over hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, two facts are beyond dispute: Huge amounts of water are used to break up gas-bearing rock deep underground and huge amounts of polluted water are returned to the surface after the process is complete.
Tainted with chemicals, salts and even mild radioactivity, such water, when mishandled, has damaged the environment and threatened drinking water, helping fuel a heated debate in New York and other states over whether gas drilling is worth its risk to clean drinking water, rivers and streams.
Now, an emerging technology developed in Canada and just making its way to the U.S. does away with the need for water. Instead, it relies on a thick gel made from propane, a widely-available gas used by anyone who has fired up a backyard barbecue grill.
Called liquefied propane gas (LPG) fracturing, or simply "gas fracking," the waterless method was developed by a small energy company, GasFrac, based in Calgary, Alberta.
Still awaiting a patent in the U.S., the technique has been used about 1,000 times since 2008, mainly in gas wells in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and New Brunswick and a smaller handful of test wells in states that include Texas, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Oklahoma and New Mexico, said GasFrac Chief Technology Officer Robert Lestz.
Like water, propane gel is pumped into deep shale formations a mile or more underground, creating immense pressure that cracks rocks to free trapped natural gas bubbles. Like water, the gel also carries small particles of sand or man-made material—known as proppant—that are forced into cracks to hold them open so the gas can flow out.
Unlike water, the gel does a kind of disappearing act underground. It reverts to vapor due to pressure and heat, then returns to the surface—along with the natural gas—for collection, possible reuse and ultimate resale.
And also unlike water, propane does not carry back to the surface drilling chemicals, ancient seabed salts and underground radioactivity.
"We leave the nasties in the ground, where they belong," said Lestz.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rogue well item pulled from tonight's PNZ agenda

We are not sure why, but the issue of the two non-permitted wells will not be discussed by the Planing and Zoning Commission tonight. Will update when we get more news.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Health Effects of Shale Gas Extraction Conference and Videos

The University of Pittsburgh - Graduate School of Public Health is sponsoring its 2nd Annual Conference: Health Effects of Shale Gas Extraction on Nov 18, 2011. Registration is free.
This looks like a great resource...