1. Gov. Hickenlooper has drunk fracking fluid, so it’s not toxic.
Reply: Different companies use different mixes in their fracking fluid, often tailoring it to the rocks they need to frack. A controlled small amount of known to be safe fracking fluid injested is NOT proof all fracking fluid is safe. Some sewage outflow water CAN be made safe, but mostly it isn’t!
One is reminded of UK MP Selwyn Gummer, a Tory Minister, who publically gave his child a burger during the ‘Mad Cow Disease’ crisis! A well sourced burger of known content and origin could be completely safe, however many others clearly weren’t! These sorts of publicity stunts like Gov. Hickenlooper are just that, a calculated ‘LOOPY’ act.
Internationally published detail on John Hickenlooper and his stunt:
There are few politicians – Republican or Democratic – who more singularly embody the notion of “drill, baby drill!” than Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. This week, in a Washington PR stunt, he yet again proved how devoted he is to deceiving the public on behalf of the oil and gas industry at a high-profile Senate hearing.
Before we get to the stunt, remember that Hickenlooper started his career as a petroleum geologist and his gubernatorial campaign was bankrolled by the fossil fuel industry. Remember, too, that Hickenlooper has publicly denied that global climate change is even happening; appointed one of his fossil fuel industry donors to a key regulatory position; overseen both an explosion in oil/gas spills and a decrease in state fines against oil/gas companies for those spills; and is offering to help oil/gas firms overturn local drilling regulations. He has, of course, also repeatedly claimed that hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”) is completely safe and poses “literally no risk” to human health.
On top of all this, Hickenlooper became the first sitting governor in America to moonlight as the official spokesman for the fossil fuel industry while still in office – that’s right, he appeared in the industry’s paid ads dishonestly repeating the oil and gas industry’s claims that fracking is perfectly safe. And mind you, he has done all this despite scientific reports from (among others) the Environmental Protection Agency, Duke University, the University of Colorado and the fossil fuel industry itself all documenting fracking’s very potential hazards.
Evidently, though, all this wasn’t enough. As if worried that he hadn’t already proved his standing as the fossil fuel industry’s most reliable political puppet, Hickenlooper on Tuesday took to Capitol Hill to promote one of the most dishonest storylines yet about fracking – a story claiming that despite all evidence to the contrary, fracking fluid is so innocuous that humans can not only be around it, but can can safely drink it.
Here is the stunning story in the conservative Washington Times, reporting on how Hickenlooper is now trying to prevent Congress from even forcing fossil fuel firms to tell us what is in fracking fluid (emphasis added):
The first-term Democrat and former Denver mayor told a Senate committee on Tuesday that he actually drank a glass of fracking fluid produced by oilfield services giant Halliburton…
The fluid is made entirely “of ingredients sourced from the food industry,” the company says, making it safe for Mr. Hickenlooper and others to imbibe.
“You can drink it. We did drink it around the table, almost rituallike, in a funny way,” he told the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. “It was a demonstration…they’ve invested millions of dollars in what is a benign fluid in every sense.”…
While some laughed at the governor’s statement, he brought up the incident to make a serious point: that oil and gas companies have taken major steps forward in fracking technology…
Mr. Hickenlooper stressed that the Halliburton food additive mixture is so safe, one can literally drink it. He also cautioned against state and federal lawmakers going too far with laws to force companies such as Halliburton to disclose the formulas for such products.
“If we were overzealous in forcing them to disclose what they had created, they wouldn’t bring it into our state,” he said.
This is a story Hickenlooper has told before here in Colorado – and sure, it sounds wonderful doesn’t it? Why don’t we just laugh along with Colorado’s governor and go a step even further by just sell fracking fluid as a health food, right?
Well, because that would probably make a lot of people very sick – a fact Hickenlooper’s story is designed to obscure.
Last year, after Hickenlooper first bragged about “taking a swig” of that Halliburton fracking fluid, the political website ColoradoPols showed how misleading Hickenlooper’s story really is – how it is quite literally designed to distract from inconvenient facts. Here’s the key excerpt:
Presumably, Gov. Hickenlooper “took a swig” of Halliburton’s fracking fluid product called CleanStim, which we reported on last August–though in the AP report we read then, Halliburton’s CEO Dave Lesar pointedly did not drink the fracking fluid, handing it off to another executive instead. CleanStim, as Hickenlooper said like reading from a script, is indeed composed of chemicals “sourced from the food industry,” though many of those chemicals are still considered hazardous on CleanStim’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
“CleanStim’s” biggest problem? According to the Houston Business Journal, it’s only a small fraction of all the “fracking” chemicals sold today. There’s no requirement in Colorado or anywhere else that “CleanStim” or another newer “food grade” fracking fluid actually be used, and we’ve been unable to find any sales figures to demonstrate how much “CleanStim” is actually being used in Colorado compared to, say, whatever the gaspatch worker in
Durango showed up at the emergency room covered in a few years ago that almost killed his nurse.
Thus, we see that Hickenlooper’s latest whopper is just that – a deceptive fable carefully designed to distract from the real problems. It cites one tiny example as alleged proof that the far more pervasive norm isn’t a problem. Essentially, it’s the equivalent of rolling out a prototype fuel cell car and then saying that because you happened to have gotten a test drive of it, it must mean that pollution from all cars on the road pose no serious threat to human health.
Hickenlooper is no doubt making a political calculation – he is betting that if he decides to run for president in 2016, his “drill, baby drill!” profile will generate him so much oil and gas industry cash that he will be able to spend any environmental or public-health critic into the ground.
He is betting, in short, that enough money will be able to buy him enough ads to distract Democratic primary voters from asking (or even knowing) about his environmental and public-health record. We will soon see if his bet pays off – and here’s betting that he will refrain from taking a swig of more typical fracking fluid if someone on the campaign trail offers him a sip.
David Sirota is a staff writer at PandoDaily and the best-selling author of the books “Hostile Takeover,” “The Uprising” and “Back to Our Future.” E-mail him at email@example.com, follow him on Twitter @davidsirota or visit his website at www.davidsirota.com.
2. The rocks are shattered and not destabilised. Overlying strata pressure closes the cracks.
A basic understanding of what goes on seems to be missing here.
Holes are blasted by explosive charge through the fracking drill pipe when it is horizontal. The fracking fluid is then pumped down at huge pressure, about 130,000 psi. This fluid forces cracks to open up near the holes. Sand, or whatever particles that are employed, are forced into the cracks to keep them open and let any fissures in the rock (that have been reached by the fluid) to release their gaseous (and occasionally oily) content. The effect of the pressure goes down by the square-root of the distance from application, so the representation by the gas industry of a branch-like networking of cracks is scientifically proven wrong. A better representation would be of ink concentration on blotting paper gradually fading with distance from the ink spot.
Frack fluid by nature is the slippiest material we have ever devised. It has to be, so to allow that massive pressure to remain strong at such a distance from source, by making friction within the delivering drill pipe negligible. Rock strata pressure is not always downwards, in fact it is more often lateral. Strata lubricated in such an efficient way are bound to slide. How much slide determines whether you get just a tremor or an earthquake. Fortunately so far, no major earthquake has been associated with anti-friction frack fluid pumped into the ground. However, there are reports recently (2014) coming from Texas and Oklahoma (where there have never been remembered earth tremors before) of more and more earth tremor incidents. Church visitors from these states to the UK have reported a worrying increase in such incidents.
3. Professor Ingraffia’s methane myth has been overturned.
Far from being a myth, the escape of methane from oil and gas rigs is a proven fact that the industry has to deal with safely on a day to day basis. They occasionally fail to do so and the results are spectacular!
In a recent fracking debate at the Cheltenham Science Festival (June 2014) Professor Paul Ekins stated that as much as 20% of the methane may leak throughout the various parts of gas production and distribution. This is now given the term ‘ fugitive gas escapes’, which describes the difficulty well. Andrew Quarles, the Technical Director of Cuadrilla, (a leading fracking company in the UK), sat by and did not dispute the fact after Professor Ekins’ statement.
Methane is increasing in the atmosphere by an alarming rate. Over a 20 year period it is 85 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2. In the 18th century it was about 500 parts per billion. That has risen to 1,900 now and is thus 1.9 parts per million. This is still well below the 400 ppm of CO2, but with that 85x multiplying factor it won’t take much more increased leakage, from whatever source, to cause us real concern. As the planet warms up, trapped permafrost methane will inevitably be released. So why, oh why! are we trying to increase that danger even more, by pursuing gas trapped deep within the ground as a new energy source. It seems totally insane to do so!
4. Charges of devastating the area are scaremongering.
It is true that fracking as an industrialised process and technology has advanced with use. The multiple well pads have caused less area to be consumed. However, the devastation to the areas involved remains the same. Environmental recovery around each site is slow. The effect on agricultural production and worse still on local wildlife is devastating.
Because of the nature of the process, it multiplies and consumes the landscape. It is not like the big oil and gas platforms at sea. With fracking you don’t just get one fracking well, you fracking well get hundreds, spreading into thousands. A real pox on the landscape, if ever we could infect it with one! This process should be seen as open cast mining going on under our feet and it popping up to surface every so often. Fracking does to our landscape what moles do to a lawn!
Our farmers have been working so hard, not just to feed us, but to provide a living from a sustainable caring for the landscape. They have made the effort to provide wildlife highways to help preserve our wildlife species. That is ALL under threat with fracking.
Where fracking appears, there will be disruption of those wildlife highways. Wildlife devastation and collapse of our precious countryside biodiversity from fracking and its form of industrialisation will be catastrophic. Anyone with any concern or care for the countryside should be against this potentially devastating process.
5. The showing of the Jonah Field in Wyoming on the Fracking-unsafe website is duplicitous because the Jonah Field is a vertical fracking and not horizontal fracking site.
It is true that we have used the view of an older site that was before horizontal fracking became the key process to allow its spread, (because of the improved economics with horizontal fracking). The fracking industry, however, has consistently claimed that fracking has been with us for a long time and so must be accepted as a practice with a good lengthy history. To complain therefore about picturing this site, highlights and emphasises their lie! It is the pot calling the kettle black!
The fracking process will improve with time, but, not to environmental standards, the improvement will be mainly in their primary concern, that of profit and economic viability.
Fracking companies are not there to make the world a nicer place, they are there to make MONEY!
LOVELOVE OF MONEY
6. All in all, the Fracking-unsafe website is less than honest scaremongering.
No! The Fracking-unsafe website is a genuine attempt to answer a lot of the questions that the fracking industry wants to avoid.
We are facing a potentially disastrous scenario for life as we know it on this planet of ours and the last thing we need at the moment is to have to deal with greed ridden individuals and corporations. The world needs saving from the most serious threat it has faced so far in the history of mankind; that of potentially catastrophic climate change with little or no time for life adaptation.
Our emphasis should be to seek the way to solving our needs in the most planet friendly way and not batter and abuse her.
The merchants of profit are offering us to walk an ‘environmental gangplank’ with fracking. We must not use it and fall off the end of it! The Fracking-unsafe website is merely the sign on that gangplank, near the start, informing us of what lies ahead on such a path.
OPPOSE FRACKING, ACTIVELY AND VOICIFEROUSLY, NOW!