Friday, February 6, 2009 2:05 AM MST
Wyoming senators are considering resolution SJ5, hydraulic fracturing.This resolution — drafted by the oil and gas industry — will request that our state’s congressional delegation support the exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act for hydraulic fracturing.
Currently this exemption allows the oil and gas industry to operate without regulation regarding fracturing fluids that are injected underground in large volumes. Many suspect that these practices are endangering our underground aquifers; however, because of the exemptions, scientific verification is unavailable.
We are impacted by gas field hydraulic fracturing. My wife and I have lived in the middle of the Pavillion Gas Field, and for 33 years had good water. We’re both born and raised in Wyoming. Over four years ago our water was contaminated by hydraulic fracturing. Since then, we’ve been fighting to get someone to do something about it. We feel that fracking is a threat to peoples health, in Pavillion and across Wyoming.
We’re very concerned that our health has been directly impacted by hydraulic fracturing and that industry keeps the chemicals and fluids they use in fracking proprietary. We should know what they are putting in the wells and if it could affect our health. If there is no danger to our health, why keep it secret?
Please ask your state senator to vote no on SJ 5 to protect our groundwater and drinking water aquifers. Call the voter hotline 777-7711 and leave a message for your legislator. Please save the water for our grandchildren.
LOUIS MEEKS, Pavillion
Boom in gas drilling fuels contamination concerns in Colorado
Some scientists and citizens want firms that extract natural gas to reveal what chemicals they’re using.
If hydraulic fracturing is so damn safe, why won’t Big Oil reveal the chemicals they use?
“We now use five to 10 ‘frac’ jobs per well, with up to 100 million gallons of fluid used per frac,” says geologist Geoffrey Thyne of the University of Wyoming, whose analysis of the large gas fields around Divide Creek found elevated methane and chloride levels in groundwater samples.
“They are injecting fluid that may or may not be hazardous into thousands of wells and not recovering all of it. We have to ask, what is in those fluids and where does the fluid go?” says Mr. Thyne.
Theo Colborn, a leading researcher on the effects of toxins on the human endocrine system, has been trying to glean what is in the injection fluid.
Preliminary results of her study identify 65 chemicals that are probable components. She is urging that groundwater sampling be expanded to determine whether these chemicals or their byproducts are showing up in areas where hydraulic fracturing is being used.
“We know less and less about what chemicals are being used, but the ones that we do know are being used are very dangerous,” says Dr. Colborn.
Chemicals such as benzene, glycol-ethers, toluene, 2-(2-methoxyethoxy) ethanol, and nonylphenols were used in the fracturing fluids, her study found – all of which have been linked in previous research to health disorders when human exposure is too high.
“There is little reason to continue the exemption,” says Representative DeGette in a phone interview. “Communities have a right to know what is potentially threatening their water.”
Energy industry officials say there’s no evidence that hydraulic fracturing contaminates groundwater or threatens public health.