Instead of posting links that also advertise why "Girls Should Get Into Guns" or "Crazy Celebrity Tattoos", let me post something that's actually factual.....
It should be common sense that fracking with such lethal chemicals would taint our drinking water, however researchers are unable to investigate many suspected cases because their details are sealed from the public when energy companies settled lawsuits with landowners.
Current and former E.P.A. officials say this practice continues to prevent them from fully assessing the risks of certain types of gas drilling.
“I still don’t understand why industry should be allowed to hide problems when public safety is at stake,” said Carla Greathouse, the author of the E.P.A. report that documents a case of drinking water contamination from fracking. “If it’s so safe, let the public review all the cases.” Settlements are sealed at the request of both landowners and operators.
Still, a documented E.P.A. case, which has gone largely unnoticed for decades, includes evidence that many industry representatives were aware of it and also fought the agency’s attempts to include other cases in the final study.
The report concluded that hydraulic fracturing fluids or gel used by the Kaiser Exploration and Mining Company contaminated a well roughly 600 feet away on the property of James Parsons in Jackson County, W.Va., referring to it as “Mr. Parson’s water well.” “When fracturing the Kaiser gas well on Mr. James Parson’s property, fractures were created allowing migration of fracture fluid from the gas well to Mr. Parson’s water well,” according to the agency’s summary of the case. “This fracture fluid, along with natural gas was present in Mr. Parson’s water, rendering it unusable.”
Asked about the cause of the incident, Mr. Wohlschlegel emphasized that the important factor was that the driller and the regulator had not known about the nearby aquifer. But in comments submitted to the E.P.A. at the time about the report, the petroleum institute acknowledged that this was indeed a case of drinking water contamination from fracking. “The damage here,” the institute wrote, referring to Mr. Parsons’ contaminated water well, “results from an accident or malfunction of the fracturing process.”
In their report, E.P.A. officials also wrote that Mr. Parsons’ case was highlighted as an “illustrative” example of the hazards created by this type of drilling, and that legal settlements and nondisclosure agreements prevented access to scientific documentation of other incidents.
“This is typical practice, for instance, in Texas,” the report stated. “In some cases, the records of well-publicized damage incidents are almost entirely unavailable for review.”
Bipartisan federal legislation before Congress would require judges to consider public health and safety before sealing court records or approving settlement agreements.
Dan Derkics, a 17-year veteran of the environmental agency who oversaw research for the report said that hundreds of other cases of drinking water contamination were found, many of which looked from preliminary investigations to have been caused by hydraulic fracturing like the one
from West Virginia. But they were unable to learn more about them.
“I can assure you that the Jackson County case was not unique,” said Mr. Derkics, who retired from the agency in 1994. “That is why the drinking water concerns are real.”
Once chemicals contaminate underground drinking-water sources, they are very difficult to remove, according to federal and industry studies. One E.P.A. official involved with a current study being conducted by the agency on the risks of fracking on drinking water said the agency encountered continuing challenges to get access to current cases because of legal settlements. “Our hands are tied,” said the official, who spoke anonymously because he is not authorized to speak to reporters.
Brendan Gilfillan, a spokesman for the agency, said that it had indeed encountered these barriers but that there were still enough alternate cases to study.Instances of gas bubbling from fracked sites into nearby water wells have been extensively documented. The industry has also acknowledged that fracking liquids can end up in aquifers because of failures in the casing of wells, spills that occur above ground or through other factors.
The Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization, studied the Parsons case extensively over the past year, interviewing local residents and former state regulators as well as reviewing state and federal documents. The organization found at least four abandoned gas wells within 1,700 feet of the gas well Kaiser drilled on Mr. Parsons’ property and roughly the same distance from the water well. All of these abandoned wells had been plugged with cement and other materials but had some of their casing
removed, which is common for such wells, according to state records.
“The evidence is pretty clear that the E.P.A. got it right about this being a clear case of drinking water contamination from fracking,” said Dusty Horwitt, a lawyer from the Environmental
A 1999 report by the Department of Energy said there were about 2.5 million abandoned oil and natural gas wells in the United States at the time.
Ms. Greathouse, the former environmental research contractor and the lead author of the 1987 E.P.A. report, said that she and her colleagues had found “dozens” of cases that she said appeared to specifically involve drinking water contamination related to fracking. But they were unable to investigate those cases further and get access to more documents because of legal settlements.
A link to my reference material I found on Google Scholar: http://www.esm.ucsb.edu/academics/documents/Urbina2011-08-03.pdf