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Vermont Bans Fracking 278

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-more-gas-for-you dept.
eldavojohn writes "Vermont is the first state to ban fracking (hydraulic fracturing), a process that was to revolutionize the United States' position into a major producer of natural gas. New York currently has a moratorium on fracking but it is not yet a statewide ban. Video of the signing indicates the concern over drinking water as the motivation for Vermont's measures (PDF draft of legislation). Slashdot has frequently encountered news debating the safety of such practices."
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Vermont Bans Fracking

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  • Idiots (Score:5, Informative)

    by J'raxis (248192) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:02PM (#40035199) Homepage

    No fracking will be coming here, due to our geology [nashuatelegraph.com]. But don't let that stop grandstanding politicians from doing something to solve a problem, even one that doesn't exist.

  • by ediron2 (246908) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:18PM (#40035327) Journal

    I'm not a geologist, but the quantity of slate and shale I saw hiking the green mountains makes me doubt there's nothing there.

    And going at the question another way, the Dakotas were hardly hotbeds of petrol -- natural gas and shale oil projects are huge employers in NoDak right now. Idaho's never been good for coal or petroleum, but gas is interesting enough to someone with deep pockets to cause preliminary drilling near Payette (if memory serves). And Idaho saw LOTS of legislative fury as the state preemptively denied counties/towns any control over fracking. Yep, politicians that never shut up about local control all lined up and voted to completely deny any local control on fracking chemicals or processes.

    Something stinks, and I'm betting it's energy-extractive industry working fast and quiet before revealing their hand.

    Looking forward to those cornfed seabass; YUM.

  • by EdIII (1114411) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:23PM (#40035379)

    You would think that right?

    I have experience with fraccing, and have been on several very deep wells with huge fracs (or so I thought).

    Logically, by most definitions of fraccing it is nigh impossible for the water table to be affected by activity thousands of feet below. If it is being affected it is because of shoddy casing (the cement lined straw that goes through all the formations), which has nothing to do with fraccing.

    Shoddy casing is surprisingly more common than I thought. Fraccing puts a lot of strain on casing anyways. A bad casing job will absolutely have problems if it is exposed to the water table.

    Several months ago a poster pointed me to an article about a different method of fraccing that is being used in these wells. For the life of me I wish I had it book marked. It described a fraccing process that I could only say was irresponsible at best. It was *not* a simple one time frac thousands of feet below water tables.

    The method described in this article could easily affect water tables in a short period of time.

    When I first heard about the controversy over fraccing I thought exactly as you did. It was ridiculous. Basic knowledge about fraccing precludes such possibilities.

    I tried looking up the article in Google again... and lo and behold... 4 advertisements. 2 pro, and 2 con. Can't find anything about this method of fraccing anymore. Hmmmm....

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:27PM (#40035425) Journal

    His point is that there is no evidences that any of t is getting into the water table.

    Well, there have been cases where the stuff that is taken out does find its way into the drinking water [npr.org] but the common argument is that it was mishandled. The way I see this, in a very unscientific way, is that we're doing something similar to when we dumped mountains of garbage into the Pacific Ocean because, hey let's face it, there's nothing out there and nobody's ever going to be able to find it, right? And now we just sit there and stare at it wondering if anyone's going to do anything about it [seattlepi.com] saying stupid shit like "Well, it doesn't matter if we stop, Japan will keep dumping out there."

    And, you know, this fracking stuff just sounds like more of the same mentality and I feel like it could bite our ass in the future when all of Pennsylvania has pockets of water underneath it that, by themselves pose no risk but added up eventually cause us some discomfort. And yet, all the comments on Slashdot assure me I'm just a fear monger [slashdot.org] so what are you to do? People seem to get upset when I try to place the burden of proof that this will not harm us in anyway on the companies that are going to make billions of dollars off it and the people that still own mineral rights are telling me to shut the hell up at all costs. These natural gas companies sound like really unsavory types [thisamericanlife.org].

    DO you even know what chemicals are in there?

    Now that's a funny question if you're in PA [theatlantic.com] (and I don't mean "ha-ha" funny).

  • Re:About time.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by phrostie (121428) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:39PM (#40035565)

    you're closer than most, thank you.

    rather than taking the Luddism approach they should first educate the people about the difference between fracking and disposal wells. they are not the same.
    the media never got it right, and they passed that ignorance on to the alarmist, who ran with it.

    when problems happen it's not the fracking, but the completion of the well that was done wrong. that's when you cement the steel casing(pipe) to isolate your production zone from the other formations your drilled thru. they should be passing laws to require more strict control durring this phase.
    they should be hiring and training more inspectors.
    that they aren't paying attention until several steps later tells me this probably isn't regulated at all in these states.

  • Re:yeah sure (Score:5, Informative)

    by LurkerXXX (667952) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:41PM (#40036229)

    Casings crack and leak ALL THE FREAKING TIME. If you think they are some magical seal that always works you are ignoring the reality in the field. Oil/gase companies experiment with new casing techniques all the time because cracking/leaking happens a lot, and they are still looking for solutions to the problem. Claming casings seal off the hole is grand ignorance of reality.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:51PM (#40036319)

    Compositions of many of the fluids are freely available because of complaints about the issue.

    Here's one source of information:

    http://fracfocus.org/chemical-use/what-chemicals-are-used [fracfocus.org]

  • Re:About time.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by LurkerXXX (667952) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @09:02PM (#40036405)

    I call Bullshit on your Bullshit. Many folks have sued for the information and not been able to obtain it. Not something the companies would deny providing if it were publically available.

  • Re:About time.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by DeadCatX2 (950953) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @09:37PM (#40036643) Journal

    His point is that there is no evidences that any of t is getting into the water table

    If it can't possibly affect the water table, why do drilling companies end up shipping water to people such as Mr. Ira Haire [huffingtonpost.com], who live near their fracking sites?

    Why are the horses and pets in Dimock, PA, losing their hair [vanityfair.com]?

    Why is the EPA detecting fracking chemicals in the aquifers of Pavillion, Wyoming [bloomberg.com]?

    How about this Oklahoma Geological Survey report [ou.edu] (PDF) that suggests the recent uptick in earthquakes were caused by fracking?

    What about waste treatment plants that fail to successfully reduce the levels of contaminants [cbslocal.com] before discharging the water into a river?

    How about the President of the Marcellus Shale Coalition admitting that fracking has contaminated the drinking water in PA [cbslocal.com]?

    And what happens to the chemicals *after* they're pulled out of the ground? Sometimes they just dump it, like the case of Josh Foster [wnep.com].

    Fracking can be done right. But it's expensive and requires the cooperation of many disparate companies and enforcement of regulations (or any regulations at all; I'm looking at you, Halliburton Loophole [nytimes.com]). And expensive is not profitable.

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