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Banning Fracking: Politically Smart and a Climate Necessity

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/02/07/banning-fracking-politically-smart-and-climate-necessity


Maryland passed a law banning fracking in the state. Proof of excess radiation contamination was documented and presented at the many hearings during the fight for the ban. Not ALL of the radiation is from naturally occurring byproducts. There is significant radiation released from the explosives used in the process. Think nuclear blast. And God Knows what’s in the fluid.
Hearings were closed, I believe. The fear of having to be regulated through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ended any further progress of fracking in MD. The Governor passed the no fracking bill. Unfortunately, Maryland’s Governor Hogan is encouraging using NG as a bridge fuel. He wants to bring NG in from other states and Canada.
Dick Cheney and the Bush II regime allowed the formula for fracking explosives and proprietary injection fluids to be trade secret sauces that companies do not have to reveal. That is at a Federal level. Maybe each state needs to petition and prove that theses companies are using radioactive materials and avoiding regulation under proprietary status of their formulas. Dont Frack Md dot org may be able to assist in proving and exposing the dangers of fracking.


Excellent article! I notice it doesn’t get the chattering comments of a political article but to me, this topic is more political than the big rehash of Iowa’s cheating. THIS fight is the political action that will survive the election, stolen or not, and galvanize people into taking on a corrupt establishment no matter who leads it. And if, as I so fervently hope, Bernie wins, it will be a frontline defense for his policies, especially those attacking the venal corporatists that have set their dogs on him .


Might mention the increase in earthquakes. If fracking is the cause, real damage in the billions of dollars can come from this. Might be worth looking at that science if you are writing an article.



I found this fascinating as it demonstrates how various species in a given ecosystem are integral to the whole. Banning fracking to lower GHG emissions is only one part of the equation. In order to ensure life can survive on Planet Earth we need protect those ecosystems and those species.

Mother nature never ceases to amaze me.


The article references the Rolling Stone report “America’s Radioactive Secret” by Justin Noble (sic). Should be Nobel. That article briefly mentions earthquakes. I’ve read some about them and it does appear the quakes are more surface than deep disturbances. Still not good.

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That is amazing.

Using explosives, chemicals to frack is stupid.
Using critical pressure steam, 3,006 PSIG down deep into a shale oil deposit heats it up, presurizes and lowers viscosity. Up the oil comes without murdering our water table. Which once ruined, cannot be restored.
Must be manned with a skilled worker / operator.

20 miles from Bakersfield, Calif., a steam injection well has a big spill because the engineer / system designer did not bother to forsee what can go wrong. That is why I propose have an employee operate.

Uhhh, MUCH better to STOP IT.


If the freekin frackers spent the money on alternative energy that they do on poison they dispense we would be much further along than we are now. And they would likely already be making a profit.

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And the beautiful country that once was would NOT be a polluted wasteland that doesn’t support crops but instead is poisoning life.

It was easy for Maryland to ban fracking because Maryland has no shale-gas resources to speak of aside from westernmost of Garret County bordering west Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Here in Pennsylvania, any serious political effort to ban fracking would literally precipitate a regional civil war. Fracking employs and generously pays many thousands in the western and northern parts of the state - and these Trump-loving gas-field workers are well-armed and dangerous - and the police would be on their side.

Well, it wasn’t that easy but it is a small area for fracking. We still get the runoff of poison from both east and west PA. It is sad that those “Trump-loving gas-field workers” along with the other residents in the area will soon be too sick to take up their arms. The bosses will collect their pieces of gold and split to the next ugly scene.
I have many friends and acquaintances in western PA. You describe the culture accurately. They are really good people who do not deserve the deception and poisoning they are receiving.

Hi oldie,
The explosion is how you get the pressure and make the frack cracks in the rock. Lower viscosity (of the oil) would make it easier for all that stuff to seep into the water table. I’m aware the process has likely evolved since this report but it’s likely worse, not better. I agree with economagic that it needs to be banned along with tar sand mining in Canada and elsewhere. 1.5 million gallons of water to frack one well is not sustainable.

From Insideclimatenews:
‘The new analysis looked at reports that companies filed with FracFocus about their fracking fluid ingredients from January 2011 to February 2013. About 88 percent of fracking fluid is water, another 10 percent is sand and 2 percent or less is chemicals.’

“The EPA identified 692 unique ingredients among the fracking fluids it reviewed. But the most common substances were hydrochloric acid, methanol and “hydrotreated light petroleum distillates.”

‘Skin exposure to hydrochloric acid can cause irritation and chemical burns. Low exposure to hydrochloric acid fumes can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and mouth; high concentrations [can lead to shortness of breath and asphyxia]
Ingesting moderate concentrations of methanol can lead to [myriad impacts] from headaches to blurred vision, and high concentrations can lead to blindness, possibly death. Hydrotreated light petroleum distillates [can trigger a host of health problems if inhaled] at certain concentrations, such as dizziness, headaches and nausea.

The EPA report also showed that on average, it takes about 1.5 million gallons of water to fracture a well. Such water consumption has become an issue at some oil and gas sites in the West, where drought has constrained water supplies.’

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3,006 PSIG (pounds per square inch gauge) is over 800 degrees and we do not need 1,5 million gallons per well to bring up oil. The steam flows through the sandwiched shale pushing out anything that is resting there. Be it sand pebbles, oil, . Earthquakes are no. Polluting the groundwater is no.

therefore, it is the way to go.
Should have an on site attendant rather than hands off.

So you like fracking and the radiation it exposes? Who is “we”? Even if it doesn’t contaminate the water during the extraction it certainly does at the disposal of the used slurry. How much water do you think it takes? How much carbon power is used to extract? Is it a net sum gain? Is it worth the waste and damage? Fracking is not a good solution to avail people of jobs or a way to make a living. It is quick death on many levels.

“We” is 7 billion peoples all over the earth. Everybody.
California has been using steam recovery of crude oil for over 40 years.
Conoco had a massive spill recently at one site. That is why I wrote that the operation has to have an operator right there.

My great grandfather, who I named after, was the steam boiler attendant at a deep mine east of Cleveland, Ohio. Steam locomotives - I am boilermaker. Great Lakes ore boats were steam powered, and now diesel. Steam produces most of the electric power used everywhere. Solar and hydro do contribute low cost. Japan is building about 22 coal powered electric generating plants. Yup, the coal is burned, heating and boiling water that goes thru a turbine that rotates the generator.

You may visit your local free library and take out a book about steam. Transfers energy to use, right to your finger tips.

The 1.5 million gallons of water per well that you reported would be reduced to tens of thousands.

Just because it’s been that way for 40 years doesn’t mean it’s the best way. 10s of 1000s gallons of water. Drop in the bucket, I think not. Not many places, especially CA, have that to spare.
I appreciate the library reference but I worked in a wind tunnel where steam was used to create a backdraft. I installed and operated the sensors For data collection of the tunnel and units under test. I know a little but could always learn more.
Oh, my mom was in a chloroform stupor when she named me. She had no idea where the name came from.

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were sensors for pressure and temperature?
the wind tunnel is not a vacumn and the steam injected may have been to heat up the air. If condensation occurred, did it damage fan blades as it impinged at high velocity?

Sorry dear. No fans. I was testing aircraft material. Pressure and temperature among other things. The steam from the boiler was used to create High pressure in a container. Then a vacuum was created with a pump in a downstream container. The high pressure is released in a tube or tunnel. Depending on the test we could also vent to atmosphere instead of a low pressure container. It’s called a “Blowdown Tunnel”. It’s used to create supersonic speeds. You can Google it if you can’t get to the library. NASA website has a good visual of a typical Blowdown.

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