It's okay, people. We've been blowing this whole fracking thing way out of proportion. Dr. Barry Stevens of TBD America sets the record straight in hopes that we'll re-align our focus and concentrate on the real issues at hand, which, by the way, is not fracking (Spoiler Alert: it's toothpaste).
Over at OilPrice.com, Dr. Stevens has provided an exhaustive retort to some “environmentalist” who posed the question, “if hydraulic fracturing is so safe, why do drilling operators working in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale Play dispose the backflow out of state in Ohio?”
Let me summarize some of Dr. Steven's salient points for you:
Earthquakes really aren't that big a deal.
“…injection well seismicity typically ranges from 1 to 4 on the Richter scale and rarely cause damage.”
Sure, Youngstown, Ohio, where the earthquakes happened, may have never had them before, but that doesn't mean anything. The State Representative there is just going way overboard in calling for an indefinite moratorium there. The citizens should really be thinking of it as a free city-wide massage. Besides, the D&L Energy said it will be conducting its own investigation. I’m sure they’ll find it’s nothing to worry about.
It's only a few chemicals.
“The fracturing fluid is a proprietary mixture consisting of at least 98% water and sand with the remaining 2%, or less, of chemical additives, each having a specific function. Although there are dozens to hundreds of chemicals, which could be used as additives, typically, there are no more than 12 chemicals used in the fracturing process. Most of the additives are commonly used household or personal care items, which pose little or no health risks. However, a limited number are classified hazardous substances.”
ONLY 12, GUYS. Those chemicals could be shampoo, kitty litter, or arsenic, not that we would know because the companies won't release that information, but you know, we should trust him anyway because he's a doctor. It's not worth much concern, unless toothpaste is one of the household chemicals- then we better watch out.
I thought the actual reason gas companies are dumping fracking fluid in Ohio was because we never really forgave the state for helping re-elect Bush, but clearly, according to this article, it's because Ohio's geography is just better suited (don't pay attention to the fact that the rest of that article tries to explain why fracking is causing problems in Ohio).
It's totally safe.
“Since the 1960s, there have only a handful of incidents due to direct contact or chemical migration into aquifers.”
“Both horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are established technologies with a significant track record; horizontal drilling dates back to the 1930s; and hydraulic fracturing has a history actually going back as far as 1860’s, when nitroglycerine was used to stimulate shallow, hard-rock oil reserves, it was surprisingly very successful and not so surprising very hazardous and often illegal.”
“These two processes have allowed shale gas development to move into areas that previously were not accessible, literally your backyard.”
It's just like your leaky gas grill.
“There are few, if any, known cases of anyone being hospitalized or harmed from chemical contact with the fracturing fluid and/or its flowback…proper geology, construct and cement the casing, and manage the handling, injecting and disposal have just about eliminated problems and complaints.”
He forgot to mention the super lucrative offer when you sign a non-disclosure agreement to “eliminate your complaint.”
And seriously, in comparison to fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coal, look how dangerous toothpaste is:
“Poison Center Control reports between 1989 and 1994, 12,571 reports were found from people who had ingested excess toothpaste. Of these calls, 2 people – probably both children – experienced “major medical outcomes”, defined as “signs or symptoms that are life-threatening or result in significant residual disability or disfigurement.”
As opposed to:
“Since 2001, 69 oil workers have been killed on the job, with more than 1,300 injuries and around 800 fires,” and “Since 2001, there have been more than 60 deaths per year in coal mines, with annual injuries in the tens of thousands.”
See, totally in perspective.
All this concern over fracking is just silly because you really should be concerned about toothpaste, and also, deicing salt, dry cleaning, the chemicals in household products (except the ones used in fracking fluid), garbage, and the toxicity of children's toys instead.
And with all his previous experience with RCA, CBS, Kodak, and Radioshack, he totally knows what he's talking about. I mean, his CV even says that he's been figuring out how to drive energy development projects to “higher levels of profitability” for over a decade! Business and environmental science are practically interchangeable.
Even so, when you get your information from Energy Facts PA, you can't really go wrong. I'm sure the Commonwealth Foundation, who runs Energy Facts PA, is completely unbiased on environmental issues (especially when their mission statement hearts free-markets and liberty).
So stop worrying about fracking.
Four out of five industry men recommend it.