The Denton Record Chronicle did a little myth busting on some answers Ed Ireland gave to the Corinth drilling task force.
Help tough to find for Corinth panel
Committee seeks answers from gas drilling experts
Saturday, August 14, 2010
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe
Corinth is having a tough time finding people who will advise them in writing their drilling ordinances. Notice the one person not from industry mentioned:
Wilma Subra, a Louisiana chemist and environmental scientist, also has provided assistance, but it has been difficult to find others, said Bruce Hanson, the committee chairman.
Wilma, a MacArthur “Genius” Award winner is also on the board of EARTHWORKS and is a steering committee member of Texas OGAP. She was recently featured in a CNN report, Environmental warrior takes on industry, and profiled in the FW Weekly, Unmasking the Polluters.
A portion of the fact check:
Statement: Regarding a recent BSEEC-funded air quality study that found formaldehyde at one site, Ireland said, “That’s not a part of natural gas. That’s from combustion — an incomplete burn. It comes from cars, trucks and engines. The upwind canister was higher than the downwind canister. It was blowing in from a point south. It’s a heavily industrial area.”
Verdict: Unclear. Representatives for the Houston Advanced Research Center disputed the study’s findings in their testimony before the Environmental Protection Agency, saying elevated levels were detected all around the facility — five samples ranging from 69 parts per billion to 127 ppb — and were too high to be explained by traffic or other industries. The HARC representative called for a more sophisticated study, since formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.
The HARC representative, Jay Olaguer, director of air quality research, also said the formaldehyde readings were “astoundingly high.” More from HARC via the SA Current: the chemical is also a “powerful radical precursor” that jumpstarts the creation of ground-level ozone.
Olaguer writes of a recent case in Wyoming:
… it was discovered that there are severe ozone exceedances in the middle of winter (long thought impossible) over the Jonah/Pinedale oil and gas fields. After I informed Wyoming DEQ of the SHARP study results that implicated formaldehyde as an under-reported radical and ozone precursor, they commissioned a fast-turnaround study by TRC to look at the impact of formaldehyde emissions from drill rig engines on wintertime ozone. TRC found that when they put those emissions in (there were none at all previously), wintertime ozone over the gas fields spiked enormously.
Back to the DRC fact check:
Statement: “The bottom line is, frack fluid is 99.5 percent water and sand.”
Verdict: Misleading. No one knows the toxicity of fracturing fluid because the industry has not been required to disclose the additives used at individual well sites. The New York state Senate has voted to impose a ban on horizontal hydraulic fracturing until the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation and the federal Environmental Protection Agency can study reports of groundwater contamination. Environmental groups have identified more than 250 compounds used in fracking, including carcinogens, neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors.
99.5% water and sand only leaves five percent for the chemicals. Five percent can’t be that much, or can it?
“Industry spokespeople claim that 0.5% of frack fluid is comprised of chemical agents but Earthworks’ research shows that companies can use as much as 40 tons of chemicals for every million gallons of water they use for fracking.”
EARTHWORKS How hydraulic fracturing works
It was enough to kill 17 healthy cows in only a couple of hours when the frack fluid was spilled into their pasture.
Cathy Behr, an emergency room nurse in Durango, CO, almost died after treating an oil field worker who was splashed with fracing fluid. From A Toxic Spew? Officials worry about impact of ‘fracking’ of oil and gas.
Back to the DRC fact check:
Statement: “The state’s blood samples showed the same levels of volatile organic compounds in Dish residents as in 95 percent of the population.”
MisleadingFALSE. The Texas Department of State Health Services tested 28 Dish residents in January for the presence of 33 toxic compounds in their blood and urine. The national databank for blood samples contained medians for only three — benzene, toluene and m-/p-xylene. But no median was established for Dish residents, nor was any control group used, to establish a scientific correlation. Toluene was detected in the blood of 18 of the 28 residents sampled, with levels in five people above the 95th percentile. According to environmental scientist Wilma Subra, the biological sampling of several Dish residents found the same toxic compounds as had been measured in the air. State investigators did not sample the air during the biological testing, as the agency had previously announced.
For more information about the biological testing in DISH see: