A landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site, the Department of Energy told The Associated Press.
After a year of monitoring, the researchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to free gas trapped deep below the surface stayed thousands of feet below the shallower areas that supply drinking water, geologist Richard Hammack said.
I’m very afraid, health-wise, for the kids, just because of the exposure to the water and the constant not-knowing what we’re breathing in outside.”
Big players are rushing in. Exxon has invested $30 billion in the Marcellus in recent months. Foreign investors are also swooping in. India’s largest company, Reliance, has purchased a large stake. China, Korea, and Britain are investing in gas drilling in the Marcellus shale.
As gas companies rush in to make deals with landowners for the right to drill, the money on the table - signing fees and royalties - is substantial, and hard to argue with in a recession … hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases.
In Pennsylvania, 60 gas companies hold 4,504 permits to drill, almost half (1,195) granted this year alone.
What’s driving the drilling rush here, and across the country, are advances in hydraulic fracturing, or “hydro-fracking,” a process whereby millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are blasted deep underground - about 5,000 feet - forcing cracks in the shale and freeing natural gas for collection.
It is at the surface where problems have been reported, like blowouts and spills into ground water …
… And - as depicted in the HBO documentary “Gasland” - ignition at the kitchen sink.
A Burning Debate Over Natural Gas Drilling - Chemicals Energy Cos. Secretly Use Fuel Water Concerns
Legislation is being proposed in the Senate, sponsored by Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., called the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Ac