“Fracking” is the latest assault on our land, water, wildlife and health-

Hydrofracking injects water and toxic chemicals deep into the rock to create pockets of volatile hydrocarbons (natural gas of a variety). Unfortunately, the toxic mess underground often doesn’t stay there.  It comes out into surface waters, often carrying the original chemicals plus new pollutants, such as radioactivity, picked up underground.  These new fracking wells are poorly regulated, and, of course, the budget battle is being used to make sure they stay barely regulated.

Drilling Down. Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers. New York Times.

What the frack is the matter with the gas industry? By Matt Marusiak. Tainted Green

They’ve made a mess of Pennsylvania and they are spreading out.

Top House Democrats launch investigation into ‘fracking’ on public lands. By Andrew Restuccia. The Hill. This would seem to be good news, but in the new U.S. House the Koch Brothers pretty much run this committe.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

6 Responses to Natural gas extraction keeps getting dirtier

  1. JimT says:


    This article is about the battle of a Wyoming man and pollution of his well as well as the history and larger context of fracking fluids, the lack of regulation, and the harm done and to come.

    I believe Polis and Digette from Colorado have introduced a bill to get rid of the Safe Drinking Water Act exemption for these fluids–I highly doubt it will go anywhere.

  2. MAD says:

    Well, having grown up on the East coast and along the Marcellus Formation (which stretches from NY to Virginia), this is a huge environmental time bomb waiting to happen. Considering the faltering economies of the States, the push for cleaner energy production and the massive deposits, and it’s only a matter of time before the politicians cave in and open the floodgates to this dangerous form of drilling.

    A few friends of mine are working to keep hydrofracking out of NYS, and specifically Catskill and Adirondack State Parks. Unfortunately, the mining and gas companies are already signing agreements with landowners in the event NY allows this type of drilling since there are private property holders inside the boundaries of the Parks. There is currently a moratorium on hydrofracking in NYS.

    Now add to the mix that drilling companies refuse to disclose the chemical compounds of their fracking fluids (trade secrets, very important stuff) and a sluggish regulatory scheme and we have a nice recipe for polluted, radioactive drinking water and big businesses reaping billions of dollars in profits. The EPA better straighten this out in hurry because the politicians and corporations are chomping on the bit all over the country.

  3. MAD,

    Defunding the EPA is a major push of the radical Republicans in the new House of Representatives.

    They are already using the unrest in the Middle East as a further talking point.

  4. Doryfun says:

    As quoted from: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/us/27gas.html?_r=2&emc=eta1

    “While the existence of the toxic wastes has been reported, thousands of internal documents obtained by The New York Times from the Environmental Protection Agency, state regulators and drillers show that the dangers to the environment and health are greater than previously understood.”

    “The documents reveal that the wastewater, which is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it and then discharged into rivers that supply drinking water, contains radioactivity at levels higher than previously known, and far higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for these treatment plants to handle. ”

    “We’re burning the furniture to heat the house,” said John H. Quigley, who left last month as secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “In shifting away from coal and toward natural gas, we’re trying for cleaner air, but we’re producing massive amounts of toxic wastewater with salts and naturally occurring radioactive materials, and it’s not clear we have a plan for properly handling this waste.”

    The middle east crisis only serves politicians to push for things like drill baby drill, push for the arctic wildlife refuges, send the megaloads up to the Tar Sands of Canada, etc.

    Is this anyway to wean ourselve off oil and aim hard for alternative energy sources? While the republicans (and some corpocracy inclined democrats) are shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to global warming and its dire consequences, I hope they include in their aim, their heads. Bad policy destinations reflect cerebral atrophy. Surgery above the neck might be the only possible cure.

  5. Cody Coyote says:

    Do yourself a favor if you haven’t already…rent or buy Josh Fox’s excellent documentary movie ” Gasland” , about fracking. It starts in Pennsylvania right outside his front door and eventually travels to Wyoming, Texas, and Colorado.

    If “Gasland” had been as polished and tightly editted as “Inside Job ” , the Charles Ferguson documentary about the real reasons for the financial meltdown and global recession that were the direct result of Wall Street greed, the Oscar race for Best Documentary would’ve been a dead heat.

    ‘Gasland’ is must-see.

  6. Doryfun says:

    Thanks for the info on gasland. I was not aware of it, so googled around. Haven’t seen the film, but did read some reviews and also found an interesting site that disputes much of that film:
    Yes, it is put out by ANGA: Americans Natural Gas Alliance, but they have some good points. While I do have a hard time trusting anything associated/influenced with big time corporate oil, I still want to know real facts, to help make better decisions. We need to go to alternative energy here, like yesterday, and all things should be put on the table to be considered. Their disputes seem legitimate. A lot of what their little video on this site goes through, sounds reasonable.

    The problem these days (as if it is any different than it always has been) is trying to filter out fact from fiction, when all sides sometimes stretch things to fit their agenda’s. Clean coal (like saying black is white) is hard to take, so clean gas, is also hard to take. The wordsmiths on all sides get so sophisticated these days, it makes it hard for anyone in the general public to decipher what is really going on in the real world. Most people are saddled down trying to make ends meet, then only want to do video games or watch tv to relax.

    Anyone on these blogs and taking time to learn as much as possible, are the exception (would be my guess); which is exactly where the elites want everyone. Apathy means less resistance to doing business as usual.


February 2011


‎"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