It’s a tale of ravage, rape, ruin, and nondisclosure – the latter only if you develop some leverage over the money and power behind what can be the fracking scourge.
Sound like a soap opera? Don’t we wish! But a soap opera can be turned off and committed to oblivion. Fracking can be a plague with maybe 45% odds against those residing near it. Our thirst for cheap energy has brought our unthinking acceptance, while testimonials by those in power have supported it – at least until we become its victims. It will continue to be propped up by power, propaganda, pimps in leadership and money – lots of it.
It began with the Dark One, Dick Cheney, who mimicked the pope by granting legal dispensations to gas companies and their affiliates from the penalties and constraints of the Clean Water Act. Cheney also deemed that the gas industry needn’t disclose fracking chemicals that they used. The principle affiliate happened to be Halliburton which was paying Cheney’s retirement – and one might guess bonuses — as a former CEO.
Two showcases for the story – and one for the future — stand out in Gaslands, Part II shown on HBO. We picked only a few locations mentioned in Gaslands. But wherever there is an abundance of shale, you usually find valuable deposits of natural gas or crude oil. To free them there is fracturing of the shale, a practice that uses millions of gallons of water and undisclosed chemicals pumped into the earth at high pressure to force fractures in the shale. This we call fracking. Shale deposits (shown above) are found throughout the US, as displayed by the “Treasure Map” above; ergo, fracking is currently being conducted in 34 states.
Resident John Lewis of Pavillion, Wyoming knows and tells the story with well-directed expletives. A Purple Heart Viet Nam veteran, he waited 3 years to find justice through an EPA investigation, his property deemed worthless due to well water being unfit to drink or even bath in. The EPA passed the problem on to Wyoming, which is also in bed with the gas industry. John Fenton and Louis Meeks are neighbors, also in ruined water misery. In utter hopelessness, Louis stated ruefully that once contaminants get in the ground water, it is impossible to remove.
Steven Skyler Lipski of Parker County, Texas just finished building his prize, his new 12,000 square foot home. Range Resources, owning the mineral rights and without his approval built a horizontal well under his home. His well water soon contained methane, uranium, sulfur compounds, and other fracking chemicals, enabling him to light it on fire with little effort, but not use it for any other purpose. Before he was forced to move, he spent $1000 a month for delivered water.
In the nearby small town of Dish, Texas there are 10 pipelines crisscrossing most properties and over 21 wells surrounding most homes. The air is so foul, on many days, Bob and Lisa Parr gasped for air. Lisa has fracking chemicals in her lungs. Their children have severe nose bleeds. Doctors said to move or face sky-high medical bills and the prospect of cancer for themselves and their children.
Fifty percent of the people of Dish, Texas have sued the responsible gas companies. The gas companies never admitted fault for the toxic environment but settled with many who sued, including the Parr family. There is not only the insult of being forced from your home but also nondisclosure agreements forbid them to tell their story. Even the mayor of Dish left.
According to a scientist on Gasland, thirty-five percent of over one million wells in the world leak. Over five percent of the concrete containment around fracking wells fail immediately. Within 30 years, 50% of all containments fail. Fracking has also been tied to earthquakes in Ohio and Arkansas, the latter having almost 1000 unprecedented small quakes over a few short months, which many seismologists have tied to several fracking wells.
Even rich urban areas within California have been subjected to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
Wells hidden within windowless buildings on the famous Beverly Hills High School campus and 3 other nearby clusters produced 805,000 barrels of crude oil in 2011, 1 million cubic feet of natural gas, and 8.8 million barrels of waste water. Such activity is deemed risky near fault lines.
That is why the San Andreas fault running through the Monterey Shale can be potentially troublesome for California residents, considering many oil companies covet some 13 billion barrels of oil lying beneath it, a cache even bigger than Bakken in the northern US.
Such worrisome facts make witnesses of all the unrestrained plunder ruminate on our future and perhaps resort to mutations of bad commercials and lines from good movies for our dour comments.
Drill heartily my friends, and perhaps we’ll all sleep with the fishes.
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