The fracking rumor mill says that Dallas is considering a 300 foot setback for their drilling ordinance.
Despite all the information presented to the Dallas Drilling Task Force and all the emerging science, Dallas seems to be in a race for the bottom of the heap. Even the International Energy Agency (IEA) says: Legitimate public concerns over fracking must be addressed.
A 300 foot setback ignores those legitimate public concerns. Even the alternate 650 foot setback, one of the weakest in the Barnett Shale, will create sacrifice zones.
You can read A Moron’s Guide to the Fracking of Dallas and play “The Game of Frack.”
You can read about how shale gas claims are just a bunch of smoke and mirrors at Energy Policy Forum in the post The Magic of Shales.
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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Chip Northrup says
That is the length of a football field – something most Dallasites can understand. Or the length of two city lots, back to back, without an alley . . .
Rosemary Reed says
Stupid is as Stupid does….
Stupid is the only explanation for this task force after all the facts, figures and comments from residents/citizens all over Texas who KNOW from experience what is to come for Dallas. They came to speak before the Task Force to help them NOT make the same mistakes that other cities have made in the past. I guess this Task Force is not as smart as we thought they were going to be. Ignorance is different than stupidity!
I don’t get how they seem incapable of learning from others mistakes.
I don’t get how they are so easily cowed by industry threats.
A few hundred foot setback for high pressure gas wells is dangerously low. This high pressure gas is not like the old oil wells (with West Texas Pumpers on site) which have no surface pressure. On the oil well, push over the pumper and nothing much happens—–push over the tree on a high pressure shale gas well and you better RUN. Something like 3000 feet is appropriate for a setback for gas wells!
kim Feil says
never U mind….Dr Evironmental tester told me the fallout downwind is 1,800-2,500 feet (where the leukemias are showing up)….B U T … I’d also NOT like to be in the explosion flash zone either….we’re all fracked
The San Bruno CA pipeline failure took out 38 homes over a wide area:
Look at page 19. That was a 30 inch pipe, but only 375 psi. The kill zone of a massive gas leak, pipeline, or from a well, depends upon the pressure & size of the source. Note that raw gas is not inherently safer that processed gas.
Then, there’s the H2S danger, plus how much of the heavier gasses are in the raw gas flow. Ethane, propane, butane, etc., are heavier than air, so they make the danger area (explosion flash zone) rather wide if they are not getting burned up.
Been busy with work. Like you comment on the subject.
Yes, a rig in your backyard is very dangerous and can kill someone or alot of people if it blowout and fire is involued which can happen in these cases. The standard setback on a oil & gas lease is a 300′ setback from a house or structure. Is this far enough? I pray that it is when drilling. Maybe in a city it needs to double that.
I guess for someone like me in the business is that I am know that all safety prodcures are cover and enforce by the operator because if something did happen, you better have all the basis cover.
Nobody in this business wants to see a loss of life because it is not worth it no matter want the profit is.
Have A Nice Day!
Don’t blame the task force as a whole. An excellent article in the observer regarding the politics behind this joke of a decision:
Mark Mills says
Hello from England, UK – we have similar problems starting.
I wrote to the Government Minister in charge. No reply yet.
Here is my letter, thank you, Mark
13 September 2012
John Hayes Esq, MP
3 Whitehall Place
Fracking on the Fylde coast in Lancashire for shale gas
I write to help inform you on behalf of my fellow residents of the Fylde Coast of my experiences to date of the hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) process being undertaken by Cuadrilla Resources in the search for shale gas.
Having established a number of businesses on the Fylde Coast over 20 years, being a local employer with other interests nationally and internationally, I do feel that the Government is “sleepwalking” into a disaster.
Firstly, Cuadrilla has played a very long, quiet, game using PR effectively to start operations. I had seen one rig and presumed, incorrectly, that drilling for gas was just a drill boring a hole seeking pockets of gas which would then escape to the earth’s surface under its own natural pressure. I did not know of, and do not agree to, the injection of chemicals into the land beneath where I live and draw water from to fracture fissures in rocks and make the rock mass considerably less stable. I particularly object to this on a large scale, untested for its long term effects onshore, given the inherent risks to the environment and water supply.
Secondly, whilst undertaking their geophysical survey, Cuadrilla’s agents and employees entered my land in a number of areas without permission and installed wiring and stakes in over 40 locations. Despite discovering this and ordering them to desist, they returned and marked an area where they intended to drill 10 metres and set off an explosive charge in the middle of my garden. They subsequently set off explosive charges in adjoining land, causing my properties to shake and resulting in considerable physical damage.
Thirdly, as a result of this nuisance and trespass, I have taken legal action against Cuadrilla, whose CEO Mark Miller wrote and apologised and accepted their wrongdoing, but I have also had to take legal action against my neighbouring farmer who had let them onto his land and who,
incorrectly, thinks that this will be a “gold rush” for landowners. This has been divisive in our small community and I fear more division will come, on a greater scale, particularly when the residents of other counties discover where the effluent will be treated and where similar pockets may be available for this type of invasive drilling.
As residents, we do not yet collectively seem to appreciate the sheer volume of chemicals, pre-dilution, which will be transported on our roads presenting an additional hazard. The chemicals are subsequently injected, whilst diluted by millions of gallons of water (which is supposed to reassure us but does not negate the fact that they are still intending to inject millions of gallons of chemicals into the ground, diluted or not) through our water table (which will at the very least be contaminated by the drilling process) and puncturing the layer of rock in hundreds of places (the Manchester Marl) which is the natural barrier they are relying upon between the chemicals and the water which we draw and drink.
The people of Manchester do not appear to understand that the “flowback” water, chemically ridden and full of naturally occurring radiation, has been treated near to the Trafford Centre and its treated content released in the Manchester Ship Canal which will invariably affect Liverpool and the Irish Sea.
To date, one short period of fracking, as a test, in Lancashire caused two earthquakes. The earthquakes themselves damaged the casing and the well is irrecoverable. We can presume therefore that the integrity of the well has been breached, thus allowing chemicals to spill into unintended areas underground and by definition, we are already sitting on a time bomb of an environmental disaster after only one test drill. Cuadrilla admit that they cannot test for a flowback leak into the aquifer.
There is literally no cohesive or clear regulation for onshore drilling and inadequate resources anyway, with the local Council admitting that they are relying upon the exploration companies to act properly but we have recently found out in one case that Cuadrilla’s planning permission to drill had expired and they continued to drill for two months anyway. More worryingly, when Cuadrilla, under the terms of its licence, has to give up 50% of the area, operators will be seeking to profit from potentially less fruitful areas of gas, thus forcing them to operate at lower cost, which as was found in America, resulted in compromised wells and chemicals entering the water supply. Distressingly, a well which exploded in 2009, could, many suggest, have been avoided with adequate resource and meaningful regulation. Our Government seems to feel that self-regulation will be adequate and as that did not work for an innocuous sector such as banking, it is legitimate to question whether an industry injecting poisonous chemicals into the earth and extracting its resources, might need to be closely monitored, provided the potential for human and environmental loss.
The industry also uses highly radioactive probes lowered into the wells and any one of these being lost or compromised represents a real risk to public health and human life.
In years to come, does any sane person truly believe that injecting millions of gallons of chemicals into the earth beneath us, puncturing our protective rock and exposing the water we drink to the chemicals, whilst drawing trillions of cubic metres of gas from the same area and then transporting radioactive waste in huge quantities over 60 miles daily for years to come will not, at some point in the future, cause some form of disaster, illness, panic, earthquake or unforeseeable adverse event?
As our Government you are supposed to protect us but have admitted that the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency and Department of Energy and Climate Change are all underfunded and my own experience of them is that they are disorganised, apathetic and hoping to “get away without a disaster” whilst relying on each of the others to ensure somehow that “nothing bad happens”. The Health and Safety Executive has not visited one well in two years in Lancashire, as determined by a Freedom of Information request and this is not acceptable.
The Government has engaged a private company, Cuadrilla, to pay for the exploration, at no cost to the Government, and the Government will then collect corporation tax, irrecoverable VAT, levies and whatever else from the gas extractors whilst partly solving the energy crisis created by successive governments’ short sightedness. Make no mistake, I can see that the Government is highly motivated to make this work and has calculated that an acceptable level of “collateral damage” including loss of human life, wildlife and damage to the environment is acceptable. This disgusts me to my core, particularly given that there are many other viable forms of energy generation available.
A number of years ago, I formed an Energy from Waste company wherein waste is burnt at high temperature whilst starved of oxygen with little residual waste, no environmental impact and removing waste from going to landfill whilst creating energy through heat. An important reason for not having succeeded in that business yet is the fact that it needs Government/EU subsidy and, in the context of Cuadrilla’s activities, I now understand your Government’s reluctance to support it and why they have reduced Feed-in Tariffs (subsidies) for solar panels too. I also investigated a wind turbine at home but was told that Warton Aerodrome (BAe) and Blackpool Airport would object on the grounds that it would be picked up by their radar, yet we can have drilling rigs under the flight path 40m high. I have managed to reduce my energy consumption considerably by installing an air source heat pump, without subsidy, and proving that alternative, efficient technologies are already available and can reduce energy consumption, which should be our short, medium and long term goals.
Lastly, the promise of jobs and income for all is without foundation. The farmers will receive payments for allowing their land to be used but this will be offset by campaigns explaining that food produced on land which is being fracked will not be popular for human or animal consumption. Similarly, once wells are fracked, given the lack of credible or relevant regulation, there will not be thousands of jobs created and indeed it is likely to reduce the popularity of the areas for tourism, relocation of companies for fear of long term health issues, and inward investment and, as a result, I calculate the net benefit will be job and economic negative. The price of gas may fall to our short term advantage, given the increase in supply, and this will then work against the landowners whose “royalties” will be similarly reduced.
The net beneficiaries are the Treasury, our Government and London.
My request to you is that you do not allow Cuadrilla to enter a new phase of horizontal fracturing (which is effectively the production phase), nor may they continue with any other operations, until a credible and enforceable regulatory regime is unequivocally in place and adequately funded.
Until such point, local residents will continue to gather and voice objections and will refuse to support your political party and indeed will actively support and vote for candidates who oppose fracking or will support a suspension of any activity until regulation is in place.
I consider myself to be open-minded and, were fracking safe, I would consider supporting it, if all other options had been exhausted. I am not a “greenie”, just a husband and father who feels that the railroading of our Government must now stop and fracking banned, or at least delayed,with investment being pushed towards less damaging and divisive forms of renewable and sustainable energy.
Copy: Mark Menzies, MP
Mike Hill, Independent Engineer