Earthquakes, water pollution, political pollution, and now toxic chemicals in the air near fracking wells-

It seems every day the news about the negative side effects of fracking gets worse (and the TV ads run by the American Petroleum Institute and others more manipulative).  Aside from the methane in the natural gas, a number of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) have been detected, such as benzene.  VOCs also combine with pollution from industries and transportation in the presence of UV sunlight to create classic smog. In Colorago, frack wells have been drilled as close as 500 feet from homes. Read: Bloomberg News: Fracking Wells’ Air Emissions Pose Health Risks, Study Finds. By Jim Polson and Jim Efstathiou Jr.

Natural gas leakage undoes benefits from the production of less carbon dioxide-

There is no doubt that natural gas, which is mostly methane burns much cleaner in terms of carbon dioxide greenhouse gas release than coal, wood or refined products from oil.  Unfortunately methane itself in the atmosphere is 25 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. As a result if much methane leaks out during the extraction process, the benefits or reduction of greenhouse gas can be easily more than undone.  With fracking wells, especially at the current level of technology, this is likely.  Read: Natural Gas May Be Worse for the Planet than Coal. A preliminary analysis suggests that natural gas could contribute far more to global warming than previously thought. By Kevin Bullis  Technology Review (published by MIT).

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

25 Responses to News about fracking keeps getting worse. Now it is air pollution

  1. avatar Mike says:

    I think it shows the self-defeating nature of the human race that its allowed to have gone even this far.

    Dumping poison back into the ground where it can leech into water? Really? Brilliant.

    At some point, folks, it’s time to kill the SUV’s. That’s priority #1. Reduce demand right off the bat. Get rid of worthless crap like gas-powered leaf blowers, weed-whackers. Use rakes. use brooms. Get rid of fuel wasters like motorsports, etc.

    There are numerous things we can do to reduce demand. But the easiest thing is to get rid of vehicles that use twice as much oil as a car.

    • avatar Mike says:

      Yikes.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      INteresting Nancy. I have no idea, but the unrestrained enthusiasm for oil and gas trapped in shale is going to grow with little regulation, sense of scale, or prudent rate of production until there is some big disaster (lots of bodies) happens. A major quake in a generally quake free area is one possibility.

      Decision makers should be reading about the wasteful development of the first oil fields in the early 1900s — all the wasted oil, pollution of the land, land subsidence, and unstable prices of gasoline, to avoid the same mistakes. They won’t bother, of course; and natural gas won’t be “a bridge to sustainable energy.” It will be a bridge to nowhere.

  2. avatar Doryfun says:

    1. All things are connected

    2. We never learn from history, so destined to repeat shooting ourselves in the foot.

    3. Brown science and denial is getting more sophisticated and worse.

    4. Nothing wil change untill our broken system is fixed and real democracy replaces corporatocracy and oligarchy.

  3. avatar Doryfun says:

    Why is it that when it comes to working out solutions to our energy problems, curbing our own numbers is never an option put on the table?

    Many people are getting sick of being held hostage by the delusions (religious beliefs) of others.

    If liars like Romney and Delusionaries like Santorum were to get elected, our hopes will drain away even faster. Though not a great champion for the environment himself, Obama at least represents a slower leak, and better potential for change to alternative energy.

    • avatar Salle says:

      …in case anyone missed this, I think it’s the most definitive description of the candidate and what he’s really about:

      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/#46816690

      (it’s the first segment of the broadcast)

    • avatar Harley says:

      It is quite possible that those of us that you categorize with ‘deluded’ beliefs feel that perhaps one day you will wake up to the delusions of your own making.
      Try not to lump all the people who have a faith (which is vastly different from ‘religion’) as deluded individuals and I’ll try not to lump all the scientific conservation minds as a bunch of wackos.

      • avatar Doryfun says:

        Harley,

        I don’t think all points of view are equally valid or that all truth is relative to the individual. Sorry, but faith based beliefs are processes that are unreliable. They are unlikely to lead one to truth. I will take my chances with evidence based reasoning, recognizing of course, I am not privy to having acquired total knowledge or have powers of seeing accurately into the future.

        It is entirely possible, that lumping all religions into a category of unreliable processes to arrive at the truth, can be true, while lumping all conservationists into a whacko category, can be false.

        Perhaps separation of church and state, and this kind of delusionary reasoning is why the framers to our constitution and architects of our democracy, (at least the non god-centered ones) applied the exclusion of religion from politics to begin with.

        Like smoking, I don’t care if other people have religion, as long as I, or any other critters don’t have to breath their smoke or feel their wrath. Unfortunately, that is exactly where our politics of today seem to be headed.

        • avatar Doryfun says:

          Regarding delusions.

          Three criteria for a belief to be delusional:

          • certainty (held with absolute conviction)
          • incorrigibility (not changeable by compelling counterargument or proof to the contrary)
          • impossibility or falsity of content (implausible, bizarre or patently untrue) (Easter Bunny-ish test).

          • avatar Harley says:

            Faith:

            confidence or trust in a person or thing
            2.
            belief that is not based on proof
            3.
            belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion
            4.
            belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
            5.
            a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith

            By your reasoning, faith is all delusional. While I too be believe that religion does not belong in politics, and I too do not trust those that wish to wipe out an entire species or those that feel that simply because they are, that trumps the rights of others, I also have my faith. If that makes delusional, I’m proud to be among those that are. I also do not believe in cramming my Faith or Belief down your throat. Just stating my opinion, not trying to convert.

  4. avatar Salle says:

    Speaking of all things being connected…

    GOP Budget Calls For Fire Sale Of Public Lands While Preserving $40 Billion In Tax Breaks To Big Oil

    http://thinkprogress.org/green/2012/03/21/449046/gop-budget-calls-for-fire-sale-of-public-lands-while-preserving-40-billion-in-tax-breaks-to-big-oil/

    Unfortunately, I don’t think this is an “etch-a-sketch” issue.

  5. avatar Doryfun says:

    Salle,

    I saw that episode. Maddow is an exceptional journalist and one of my favorites. She does her homework and doesn’t use pretzel logic. Unlike Fox News – where one would have to spend half the time checking facts, she does research and applies reason before she makes claims, based on documented sound data.

    Her interview with Inhofe applies to this post, as do the rest of the following links (at least in my view, anyway).

    Her interview with him:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/#46755044

    Senator James Inhofe (R – OK) Environment & Public Works Committee – he is a free market capitalists, and has written the book: The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future

    Then go to this site for another take:

    Inhofe’s Stunning Admission To Maddow on Global Warming: ‘I Thought It Must Be True Until I Found Out What It Cost”

    http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2012/03/16/446008/inhofe-maddow-global-warming/?mobile=nc

    Here is another good one:

    Lying, cheating, and stealing:
    http://lying-cheating-stealing.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-bubble-burst.html?spref=fb

    Lastly, related to why we are being held hostage by religionists. Freedom for religion is one thing, but when it gets into state affairs, that is another.

    Faith as a Cognitive Sickness

  6. avatar Doryfun says:

    Oops, pardon my mis-spelling. That should have been “Fixed Noise.”

  7. avatar Doryfun says:

    “God is Shaking Our City – Lets have a revival”

    I just saw this on tv – it was a sign in the city having all the noise talked about on this post.

    • avatar Salle says:

      I watched that Inhof interview and was just amazed at how staunchly he clings to the rhetoric that has been soundly discredited-brings back memories from the dark ages of pre-1970s. This is a ploy by the theocratic sect to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. Like I’ve said before, the self-fulfilling prophesies can’t become the reality unless the rest of us go along with them, because there are so many of us who don’t buy the story-line. Like the rapture thing, it can’t happen unless we all (the non-indoctrinated) die off so the chosen ones can have their ethnically, religiously,culturally and racially cleansed world… by whatever means necessary. It’s about who controls whom and what they will consume to achieve their intended goals – with no concern for individual free will or anything like that.

      In some states, like the three we comment about regularly here, there appears to be little-no separation of church and state. I call that a lack of representation for those who aren’t members of the favored/”chosen” group.

      Unquestioning belief and acquiescence vs. rational, critical thought in decision-making. It’s starting to look like the choice for voters this election cycle.

  8. avatar malencid says:

    Population growth has got to stop. The permagrowth model of capitalism must end.

  9. avatar David says:

    Hello,

    In Pennsylvania our legislature recently passed a giveaway bill to the fracking companies. Our govenor, Tom Corbitt (R) in order to garner a few campaign bucks for his party passed a bill taking away all local zoning rights (which previously municipalities had gone to court to excercise – and won!) so that his party will be able feed our rights directly to their corporate benefactors. All three of our local representatives/senators (all R’s) approved the bill. I live in Nockamixon township, we are having a local information meeting to discuss the new bill, but only one of the R’s has had the guts to attend. It is amazing to me how a party claims to want to get the government off your back and as soon as they can they take away your local rights, reproductive rights, etc.. Abe Lincoln would never recognize this party. The bill allows drilling in any zoning area, within 300 feet of homes, streams, schools – screw the people. To me it is “frankenscience” : they have no idea what the long term implications of the drilling will be. Sad – but when you are talking about my well water you are directly threatening my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness (i.e. a cold glass of water!!)

    Dave

    • avatar Doryfun says:

      David,

      “frankenscience” Great term to add into the fracktivism lexicon, not to mention climate change, and a lot of other justifications for continuing on with business as usual, in disregard for green science. Corrupt politics and brown science makes for bad drinking water.

      Slick marketing campaigns, like the oil industry funded, welcome back to the gulf tv ads, encouraging tourists to visit, because things have returned to normal, (that is, if you ignore dead dolphins and other indicators that don’t align with industry claims), fit in well with your “frankenscience.”

      Despite Obama’s answer of how much more we are “drilling” at home, in rebuttal to the Republican foe, isn’t a comforting feeling. Only in the sense that under his administration will the pursuit of home grown black energy, be less than the rival Republican hunger for such, a comfort here. (a far strech of the word comfort)

      Yep, too many people, with high consumption addictions, denial of science, and unwillingness to address human population issues, is bad calculus for healthy planetary solutions.

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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