Summary of US experience with fracking for oil and gas, with snapshots of shale development activity around the world
Air sampling data on Colorado’s Front Range suggests methane emissions from natural gas operations (drilling, fracking, and production of natural gas from “tight sands”) are occurring at levels that erase any benefit from natural gas being clean burning.
“While conservation, wind, solar, nuclear power, and possible carbon capture and storage appear to be able to achieve substantial climate benefits in the second half of the 21st century, natural gas cannot.”
Argues that the economic models used to project benefits provide only a small fraction of the information needed to understand the impacts because crucial costs to communities are neglected.
According to PADEP records, between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011, 64 different shale gas drilling companies totaled 3,355 violations of environmental laws – that is over 2 violations per day, and about 16 violations per week.
This only includes violations that were discovered!
Department of Interior data on oil and gas companies operating on public lands between Feburary 1998 and February 2011 show that only 125 of the 2,025 documented violations resulted in monetary fines (about 6 percent), and that these 125 violations resulted in $273,875 in fines.
The majority of the safety violations involve faulty blowout prevention, which can lead to watershed contamination, or faulty well casings, which can lead to contamination of underground water supplies.
Finds that there are no individuals with public health expertise among the members of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, the Maryland Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission, and the U.S. Secretary of Energy’s Natural Gas Subcommittee.
Documents animal and owner health problems with potential links to shale gas drilling.
Describes the expansion of drilling and fracking for shale gas as “an uncontrolled health experiment on an enormous scale.”
Analogy between oil and gas industry and tobacco industry also merits excerpting:
“The oil and gas industry has typically rejected this analysis and has approached the issue in a manner similar to the tobacco industry that for many years rejected the link between smoking and cancer. That is, if one cannot prove beyond a shadow of doubt that an environmental impact is due to drilling, then a link is rejected. This approach by the tobacco companies had a devastating and long-lasting effect on public health from which we have still not recovered, and we believe that a similar approach to the impacts of gas drilling may have equally negative consequences.”
Details campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures by those seeking to profit from opening up New York to shale gas development.
Explains how allowing widespread drilling and fracking in New York would fragment and degrade the states forests, destroying wildlife habitat and devaluing the ecosystem services the forests provide, including large scale filtering that provides clean water.