Oil and Gas Companies on Defense over Fracking

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Hundreds of millions of gallons of hazardous or cancer-causing chemicals were pumped into underground wells by the oil and gas industry from 2005 to 2009, according to a report by congressional Democrats.
Companies injected the chemicals into the earth across the country as part of hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, a drilling process used to tap into large reserves of natural gas.
Staffers working for the House Energy and Commerce Committee found that 14 hydraulic fracturing companies used 866 million gallons of products, hundreds of which contained chemicals that are or might be carcinogenic or are listed as hazardous air pollutants. Chemicals included benzene, toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene.
States with the heaviest use of harmful hydrofracking fluids are Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas.
The controversial drilling process received more bad news with the reporting that Cornell University professors have concluded that hydraulic fracturing contributes to global warming as much as coal, or even more, because of the volume of methane it releases into the atmosphere.
 -Noel Brinkerhoff
Chemicals Were Injected Into Wells, Report Says (by Ian Urbina, New York Times)
Methane and the Greenhouse-Gas Footprint of Natural Gas from Shale Formations (by Robert W. Howarth, Renee Santoro and Anthony Ingraffea, Climatic Change Letters) (pdf)
Arkansas Suspends Drilling of Injection Wells after Earthquake Swarm (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Wyoming Town Warned to Use Fans While Showering to Avoid Chemical Explosions (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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