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Pa. Fracking Boom Accompanied by Rise of Deadly Carcinogenic Gas in Homes


#1

Pa. Fracking Boom Accompanied by Rise of Deadly Carcinogenic Gas in Homes

Jon Queally, staff writer

Researchers in Pennsylvania have discovered that the prevalence of radon, a radioactive and carcinogenic gas, in people's homes and commercial buildings that are nearer to fracking sites has increased dramatically in the state since the unconventional and controversial gas drilling practice began in the state just over a decade ago.


#2

I terminated my career in environmental research when I came to the conclusion that there is ample knowledge available on how to prevent pollution. My research focused primarily on how to remediate compromised sites. The lack of political will to apply the former finally made me see the futility of the process. Capitalism will eat the earth and then itself. The 1% won't know how to feed themselves when they've finished off the 99%. Won't know how to fix their air conditioners, either.


#3

Your point reminds me of a children's book in which all the trades people emigrate to mars in order to eliminate association with boring one percenters.

I wonder if the smart politicians use electric stoves. If former vice president Dick Cheney lives in an all electric home, may we then conclude his exemption of fracking chemicals from environmental review is premeditated murder of mere mortals?


#4

While it is true that high pressure injection processes for extracting the remaining oil in depleted wells has been around for that long, the hydraulic fracturing process used in shale gas deposits is fairly new (20-25 yrs) and was only minimally studied by governmental agencies before Chaney put the kibosh on further investigation. Now we are involved in a huge live experiment in which all of us are test animals.

How long before all that fracturing below leads to aquifer contamination by the unrecovered portion of fracking fluids? Only the right set of circumstances are needed for that to happen, and with the thousands of wells being drilled probabilities are high. Some of the chemicals used to frac are chosen specifically because they permeate tight rock very well. Such as diesel fuel.

What is the quantitative limit on high pressure injection of waste fluids before shallow geological stability is seriously impaired? My homeowner's insurance policy has a rider for earthquake damage (which I pay for - New Madrid fault/threat complex.) If an earthquake is triggered by injection well activity how can it be considered an "act of nature?" If, for example, the New Madrid fault were to again release some serious energy on its own (the quake of 1811 was one of the strongest quakes ever recorded) will the existence of all these pressurized pockets of waste strata intensify the damage here? Who knows? That's the point.

Fluids pressure injected into underlying strata can migrate according to dip and strike, permeability, faults, etc: Since the un-severed estate (those rights to minerals and gas which have not been sold to another entity) of my property extends to the center of the earth, can I sue a waste injection operator if the toxic waste migrates within the boundary of my property? Of course surface owners wouldn't become aware of that eventuality since perimeter monitoring wells drilled to the same depth are not required for permitting. Though at the depth of these waste injection wells (typically about 12,000ft here) might never contaminate shallower aquifers, such a migration and deposition nonetheless would constitute an illegal trespass and an illegal taking.

Yes life is full of risks, and the official line is that according to the best procedures and understanding the risks are minimal. Just chicken little hysteria. But the fact is that the fracking boom was husbanded by the economic malaise of 2000 onward, and no-one in authority really wants to know the risks and are glassy-eyed about the rewards. No fed regulation means a wild-west state competition to give away the farm the fastest. If the radon/fracking correlation is true then what I have suspected might be true. The fracturing process can continue and dissipate into overlying strata, creating pathways for all sorts of migrations. This concern was expressed in W.Va. about ten years ago where about 5000 older conventional well-heads are of unknown condition/status.

Don't know if many caught it, but about 2 wks ago an industry assoc/mouthpiece issued a statement saying the shalegas boom would only last about another ten years so the time is now to start exploring/developing the arctic for gas and oil. Of course that might have been desperation cheerleading with the oil price so low and climate concern increasing, but if true I'm sure the gas operators won't be around here to clean up the messes that might start surfacing. We're used to it though; king coal left much of this area toxic wasteland. Many declared bankruptcy, walked away, and with the wealth they retained re-incarnated themselves as "energy barons," instead of merely coal barons.

SW Pa. and NW W.Va. have many deep mines doing longwall mining. Since the process always results in surface subsidence because the structure crumbles and collapses from the removed coal seam to the surface, I can only wonder at the associated radon levels there. By the way, Marcellus extraction is going on concurrently in these coal mine areas. Like we used to say at the open face of the landfill: "smells like money to me."


#5

The divisive politics brought to us by the two-party monopoly have only served to sever our thinking from all common sense. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that fracking is bad practice and regulated fracking is only slightly less worse, just like most “regulated” petro-extraction industries. When will Americans understand that human survival is not a partisan issue? And neither is greed—the only thing driving the expansion of fossil fuel drilling. We have the technology and the manpower right now to start switching to a green economy driven by sustainable energy, one of the fastest growing and profitable segments of our economy. If we let our common sense guide us, instead of the nonsense offered up by the ruling elite of both parties, then we would be well on our way to solving this problem (leave it in the ground) and so many others.

Our first mistake was allowing corporations and the wealthy 1% to determine our destiny. Our second mistake was believing they could fix the problems they created for us; those problems serve their purpose. And our final and biggest mistake is believing we can vote our way out of this. We the People need to take to the streets to claim our human rights, including the most basic right—the right to life—and reassert our power in a democratic framework that includes all natural persons and no corporations.


#6

Meanwhile on the west coast, California is now restricting water for residential use but is not putting any restrictions on the immense amount of water that is not only being used by but is also being contaminated by the fracking industry.


#7

They only need a few totally cowed slaves. They are warring on us. Why are we not warring back?


#8

A bunch of 1%'ers in northern California are going to make it a lot worse with their secession movement. The only thing that can sustain us is the rule of the commons. Concentrated wealth is life destroying tyranny.


#9

Our mistakes were (and evidently are) beyond our repair. Also, why would they "...fix the problems they created for us...? They created them on purpose, as you suggest. The unfortunate (and now dangerous) fact is that the some of the "brands we know and love" have turned into mega-monsters...because our system ALLOWS them to do so. While we've been busy not paying attention, they've rigged the system so they cannot lose. What we NEVER acknowledge is that these corp's are NOT immutable laws of nature; they are operated by flesh and blood humans like you and me.
If they cannot be brought to justice by our fellow humans, what remains of our democracy will simply disappear entirely (but at least we'll stlll have our high-tech toys).


#10

Greetings from frackland PA! Here in western PA if you live outside of the cities of pittsburgh, or Washington, or waynesburg or uniontown, you are most likely being fracked under. Two anecdotes that are very prescient to this subject that I experienced are first, in 2010 after fracking had statted in our area, all of the sudden our home insurance rates went up nearly fifty percent in one year. She I called my agent to ask why, he seems to whisper into phone "I can't tell you that this is about fracking, but this is about fracking."
The second was after a public meeting that featured low life's from range resources and a timid little fellow from the PA state DEP. He basically echoed the same thing that my insurance agent said. He said the governors office (the elite scumbag Tom Corbett) had all but threatened any PA employee that spoke out against fracking. To this date, the PA DEP has never done a legitimate study on the effects of fracking. The only study they have even taken part in was one that used data supplied by the drilling companies.
Now we sit here in PA surrounded by crumbling infrastructure and apparently growing levels of radiation. We don't even have our souls to fall back on, as we have already sold them.


#11

“When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.”
― Shirley Chisholm

When fracking was being considered in states in the Western US in the 1970's (Colorado was a prime target at the time), studies revealed that not only would it poison surrounding ground water/rivers/streams, it would be prohibitively expensive and supremely detrimental to the environment and the geological/structural integrity of immediate and adjacent surfaces thus causing increased seismic activity. Here we are, more than four decades later and fracking has been billed as the answer to all our energy woes. Environmental oversight of the industry is non-existent for all intents and purposes. No one polices the energy companies with any fortitude or imposes crippling penalties on the fracking/energy extraction entities. And all life pays the price.

Sad.


#12

Two things: The creep's name is Cheney, not Chaney; and you left out the most critical component of all: Water. Given that droughts are quickly spreading and ancient aquifer levels being drawn down dramatically, all the water utilized by the fracking industry adds insult to injury. Not only do wells and no doubt streams end up tainted, as was pointed out in response to Jerry Brown's "25%" consumer water reduction rule, it's mostly the fracking industry and agriculture that use up prodigious amounts of water in California (and elsewhere).

No living beings can survive without water and when the water is tainted, it causes cellular degeneration.

This is critical.


#13

It's obvious to me that you and Lobo4 justice set up and reinforced a "blame citizens" frame, albeit slightly disguised.

There has NEVER been a time when the powerful elites were entirely made to heel to the rule of law. Emperors, kings, czars, dictators, and dynastic systems have run human affairs since the onset of Patriarchy--and that means for several thousand years.

Our own nation began by essentially allotting sovereignty to white male landowners. The Indigenous were muscled off their former lands, women had no vote nor economic power, and Blacks were enslaved. Each minority group that came to this "vast melting pot" had to start out with lowly jobs and face prejudice. Add the Japanese internment camps and rampant anti-Semitism to the mix and any notion that "we the people made mistakes" is a false narrative.

It presumes that We, the People are a singular thread in total agreement; and it also implies that this collective WE has held a history of influence, kept political and empowered corporate bodies accountable to the rule of law, and operated within a fair and universally just Justice System.

The truth is that Power always concedes little, and that with so much power now consolidated (as the Piketty and Page & Gilens Studies, among others make clear) into small but incredibly empowered groups, it is not The People determining idiocies like Fracking. Corporations force their will by buying politicians and judges, tainting law, publishing false data on their deeds, owning enough media to maintain false stories, and impeding both honest elections and a REAL choice amongst a plethora of candidates... at least a few, answerable to The People.

You set up a bogus level playing field that turns the public into the party at fault for not paying attention or not noticing what Fracking is about... as if THAT is true or relevant to the narrative of Corporate Control of our system.

Some corporately-funded think tank obviously pays individuals to continue to push this meme.


#14

Here again as if by coincidence the same meme is being played in this thread. This poster moves directly from what Fracking corporations do in compliance with the political operators they fund to an all-inclusive indictment of WE, the people. As if it's WE who sold our souls... rather than corporate insiders!

The person being raped is NOT the rapist.

The homeowners being screwed did not ask for or invite in the Frackers.

In state after state, citizens, environmentalists, and homeowners are being forced to fight this fight and if TPP passes, it will serve to further kneecap the just since ONLY the profit motive will stand up in courts that are to justice what military kangaroo courts are to an honest defense (offered to "the accused").

I will continue to point this dishonest use of framing out since people sit here and DELIBERATELY turn the malfeasance of very specific corporations and their financial hold over identifiable politicians into faulting the public, at large.

As I've stated before (in a metaphor quickly lifted and used by others without any attribution), this argument is tantamount to stating that slaves chose their enslaved state.

Until and unless there is equivalent power, a media that honestly reports on events, and a legal system that upholds law instead of catering to the powerful (i.e 1% and/or corporate interests)... one cannot hold the public at fault.


#15

Mm-hm. As to premeditation: Vividly recall when the previous "vp" was being interviewed on ABC-TV by Martha Raddatz. This was the day that the 4,000th U.S. soldier had died in Iraq/Afghanistan. When asked for his
reaction, he paused and asked "so?"
Business as usual.


#16

SiouxRose
"It's obvious to me that you and Lobo4 justice set up and reinforced a "blame citizens" frame, albeit slightly disguised."

No intent, and no motivation to "disguise." Do not blame citizens, though do fault our disinterest and passivity.


#17

Not to nitpick but slavery is imposed upon people by an act of violence, as is rape. Fracking, and all of its horrific side effects are the result of an electorate and its gullibility. We, the people of Pennsylvania knew Ed Rendell was in the pocket of big business, yet we voted for him anyway, twice! We of course knew that Corbett practically promised to sell PA out to the highest bidder, yet we voted for him anyway. Now we have voted for another democrat, Tom Wolf, who simply wants to tax drillers, with no mention of ending fracking.
Ths is a democracy. We do get to vote. And what we here in pa have done since the days of Richard Thornburgh have literally voted to be raped and enslaved.


#18

To the blame the people meme , this is democracy as practiced today.

Citizen: I am hungry, I do not have any water. You control all of this I need something to eat and to drink.

The Man: We are here to help. But there are conditions and choices you must make.

Citizen : Choices?

The Man: Oh yes we are a democracy after all and you have free will and the right to choose.

Citizen: What are my choices then.?

The Man: Here is a RED gun. It has six chambers. 5 of them are loaded . You can pick up that red gun and hold it to your head and pull the trigger and will get your food and water.

Citizen: Err and the alternative?

The Man: Here is a bottle of blue pills. There are 6 in the bottle. One will cause no harmful effects. Two will kill you but you will die in a state of bliss. The other three will kill you but it will be a painful lingering death. If you select the harmless pill you will get your food and water.

Citizen; Are those my only choices?

The Man: Oh not at all. This is a FREE country! It is a democracy! we believe in Liberty. You can choose not to eat or have any water.

Citizen: And If I choose none of the above?

the Man: Then that policeman over there will arrest you and you will be incarcerated.


#19

Very well described Suspira, Thank you.
Its no free country when you are expected to live one certain lifestyle or starve to death behind some bushes somewhere out of sight because homeless vagrants get incarcerated. After the Native people got rounded up and put on reservations, squatters rights got taken away too. To live someplace, we are required to pay for it- that is we have to acquire money before we can acquire the means to live. There are no commons in this farce of a free country and that only benefits the 1%. There are no commons by the very deliberate design of the 1%.


#20

You really need to get a grip. You continue to prove your small-mindedness. Everyone knew I was referencing Dirty Dick. As for not mentioning water, why don't you address your complaint to the author of the piece? Oh, it seems the story he was reporting was about RADON. As far as I have been able to infer you live in Florida; don't presume to tell those that live in frac central what it is all about. When I began learning for myself all I could about fracking, water was my first concern and still is. I was pointing out other aspects that you probably never considered, living in Florida.

And, more to the point, it is about much more than just water. The pervasive and invasive infusion of money via production leases, surface operation leases, pipeline ROW permitting and compensating is causing social and cultural upheavals in property ownership patterns, property devaluations, and neighborhood deteriorations. Guess who's there to buy up devalued properties, and in the midst of those natives who would stay? The regional economic boom and bust cycle of gas plays is fairly well-documented, but we will chase these quests endlessly. The local infrastructures are severely impacted by intensive gas operations while the states and localities don't have enough money for adequate repairs because they pegged their gas excise taxes too low or at nothing - like Pa. Who will be the most "business-friendly?"

Your behavior on this forum is strange, which is the mildest word I'd choose to use. And I find it one of the most disagreeable aspects of this forum, going all the way back to the beginning. I purposely don't reply to your comments because I don't want to get sucked into the gravity well of the planet you live on. If you lived in my neighborhood and I saw you walking down the street I'd cross to the other side to avoid talking to you. That is what I do here. Get over it. Respond if you think you must, but you can be assured that I won't.