Posted by: lisaracz | September 21, 2010

Gas drilling causes environmental contamination

Evidence that drilling causes water contamination has increased over the years.  After Vice President Dick Cheney spearheaded a massive energy bill four years ago that exempted natural gas drilling from federal clean water laws, Congress is beginning to have second thoughts about the environmental dangers.

Stock photo : Oil And Gas Drilling Rig

Growing proof that drilling can cause damage to our water supplies moves Democratic leaders in Congress to consider repealing  the exemption of natural gas drilling from federal clean water laws. This will, for the first time, require all drilling companies to disclose all chemicals used in the key drilling process wich is called hydraulic fracturing.

What is hydraulic fracturing? Hydraulic fracturing is a process where millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground to break apart the rock and release the natural gas.  These chemicals may cause an environmental threat  underground or on the surface as fluid waste is handled and sometimes spilled .

A wave of reports have emerged that the drilling is affecting water in Colorado and Wyoming. State and federal officials have concluded that benzene and other contaminants have made their way into aquifers, streams and well water as a result of drilling accidents or spills of drilling fluids.

Click to see an enlarged picture

The EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management (OWM) oversees a range of programs contributing to the well-being of the nation’s waters and watersheds that  promote compliance with the requirements of the Clean Water Act through effective and responsible water use, treatment, disposal, and management and by encouraging the protection and restoration of our watersheds, but does this include gad drilling which is exempt from federal water laws?

As the law currently stands, the EPA is not allowed to set conditions for hydraulic fracturing or even require states to have regulations of their own.

The Safe Drinking Water Act, enacted in 1974, governs what chemicals can be injected underground in the U.S.  It limits pollution levels of what are allowed, but then permits states to create more detailed regulations if they choose and also sets minimum standards for well design and other protections of health and safety.

The Save Drinking Water Act  is the principal federal law in the U.S. that ensures safe drinking water for the public. Pursuant to the act, the EPA is required to set standards for drinking water quality and oversee all states and water suppliers who implement these standards. SDWA applies to all public water systems in the United States, but does not cover private wells nor to bottled water which is regulated by the FDA.

The industry argues that state laws and regulators are doing an adequate job of regulating the hydraulic fracturing process, and that more layers of regulation would be burdensome and expensive.

Basically, the  current exemption of natural gas drilling from federal clean water laws with the oil and gas industries means the information necessary to evaluate the health threats from these practices aren’t enforced to be available.

To view the July 19,2010 House of Representatives investigation into hydraulic fracturing memorandum visit:  http://energycommerce.house.gov/documents/20100719/Memo.Hydraulic.Fracturing.07.19.2010.pdf 

They were unable to receive full responses from all the 14 oil and gas companies and the drilling companies are stating that the responsibilities lie with the well owners. Is this the “pass the buck” game????

Should we be worried about what is coming out of our faucets for our consumption and what were giving to our pet to drink? Yik!

For more water safety information visit http://water.epa.gov/watersafety or  http://water.epa.gov/drink.

“With the disappearance of nature comes an unnatural world and the loss of natural environmental purity.”

With respect,

Lisa Racz – For all that is natural in our earthly environment.

Environment Editor/Writer

Puma Press

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Responses

  1. […] Lisa’s Environmental Blog: Environmentaly non-invasive gardening and Gas drilling causes environmental contamination […]

  2. Water is very important! But you forget to mention the earthquakes it causes. Check ths out.
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/faq/?faqID=1
    http://folkworm.ceri.memphis.edu/recenteqs/Quakes/quakes0.html
    I live in Greenbrier and it not uncommon lately to have 20 a day since deep well injections


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