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The Tragedy of the Commons, Hardin, Garrett , Science, Volume 162, Issue 3859, p.1243 - 1248, (1968) Abstract

/frack_files/science.gif /frack_files/hardin.jpgGarrett Hardin

See: Criticism: Tragedy of the commons | Wikipedia

More significantly, criticism has been fueled by the "application" of Hardin's ideas to current policy issues. In particular, some authorities have read Hardin's work as specifically advocating the privatization of commonly owned resources.

Consequently, resources that have traditionally been managed communally by local organizations have been enclosed or privatized. Ostensibly, this serves to "protect" such resources, but it ignores the pre-existing management, often appropriating resources and alienating indigenous (and frequently poor) populations. In effect, private or state use may result in worse outcomes than the previous management of commons.

Ostrom, E., J. Burger, C. B Field, R. B Norgaard, and D. Policansky. 1999. Revisiting the commons: local lessons, global challenges. Science 284, no. 5412: 278.

Victor L. Ponce.  Hardin's "Tragedy of the Commons" Revisited or We Are All In the Same Boat.

Another example of a typical commons is groundwater. Nobody really owns the groundwater; it is technically up for grabs. However, individual pumping of too much groundwater can result in the depletion of the resource, to say nothing of other related effects or losses, such as land subsidence and salt-water intrusion...Eventually, depletion by a few means depletion for all.

See: USGS. Land Subsidence

Victor Ponce is a Professor of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at San Diego State University.

See: Marcellus-Shale.us. December 2, 2009. "Dunkard Creek Fish Kill."

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The Tragedy of the Commons

Adding together the component partial utilities, the rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another...  But this is the conclusion reached by each and every rational herdsman sharing a commons.

Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit -- in a world that is limited. Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.

I would like to focus your attention not on the subject of the article (national security in a nuclear world) but on the kind of conclusion they reached, namely that there is no technical solution to the problem.

An implicit and almost universal assumption of discussions published in professional and semipopular scientific journals is that the problem under discussion has a technical solution. A technical solution may be defined as one that requires a change only in the techniques of the natural sciences, demanding little or nothing in the way of change in human values or ideas of morality...

...It is our considered professional judgment that this dilemma has no technical solution.

See:  J. B. Wiesner and H. F. York. "National Security and the Nuclear-Test Ban." Sci. Amer. 211 (No. 4), 27 (1964).

See: The Tragedy of the Commons. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in:

Jean-Marie Baland and Jean-Phillipe Plateau. (1996). "Halting degradation of natural resources". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome, Italy.

Is there a Role for Rural Communities?

The present work is concerned with the topical issue of natural resource management. It does not deal, however, with broad-spectrum environmental concerns such as protection of wilderness areas (for example, the south pole), air or water pollution, etc., but focuses on local ecosystems. What distinguishes local-level resources from larger ecosystems is that:

(1) they are susceptible of appropriation by relatively small units (including individuals) and

(2) they can lead to rivalry in consumption in so far as yields of these resources are clearly perceived as subtractable. This book thus addresses the question as to how these local or village-level natural resources (as contrasted with global commons) can be most efficiently and equitably managed. In other words, can we find guidelines or sound theoretical principles for an optimal long-term exploitation of local resources (forests, irrigation water, pastures, lakes and rivers, sea areas, etc.)?

Disturbing evidence highlighting rapid processes of resource depletion, particularly so in developing countries, has stimulated a lot of theoretical and empirical works during the last decades. Moreover, relevant theoretical tools (such as game theory) have been developed independently of environmental concerns which have potential applications to this field.

Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival?--A Scientific Detective Story, Colborn, Theo, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers , (1997)

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A broad exposé of how chemicals disrupt the endocrine systems of living organisms.

See: Chapter 12, p.210 - "Defending Ourselves" offering advice on how we can avoid the disruptions caused by these chemicals.

See: TEDX | The Endocrine Disruption Exchange | Chemicals in Natural Gas Operations

TEDX: Chemicals in Natural Gas Operations | What You Need to Know About Natural Gas Production (Video)

TEDX: The Fossil Fuel Connection (PDF)

Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective (PDF)
by Theo Colborn, Carol Kwiatkowski, Kim Schultz, Mary Bachran. In Press, International Journal of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Sept 2010

See: Collaborative on Health and the Environment : Fracking: Implications for Human and Environmental Health

Stripping the West, PBS NOW , NOW with Bill Moyers, (2002)

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Powder River region of northern Wyoming.

See: SkyTruth: Upper Green River Valley - A View From Above

Every day millions of gallons of clean ground water in the American West are being contaminated, all in the rush to drill for gas.

BILL WEST: It took thousands of years to recharge these aquifers.

They're pumping it out and in maybe ten years it will be gone...

Transcript of broadcast.

Bushwhacked : Life in George W. Bush's America, Ivins, Molly , New York, (2003)

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Molly Ivins has written about how the EPA was virtually dismantled as the Bush-Cheney administration handed over the role of oil and gas regulation to the oil and gas industry. While Governor of Texas, Bush allowed Texas industry to voluntarily comply with Federal Clean Air Regulations. Of the hundreds of Texas companies that might have volunteered, according to Ivins, only three did.

Bushwhacked by Molly ivins offers a critique of the presidency of George W. Bush, describing how the same flawed policies he used to govern Texas have affected health and safety standards, the economy, and the environment.

Paul Krugman. Strictly Business. Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America Book Review. The New York Review of Books. November 20, 2003.

Chapter 9 of Bushwhacked, by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose, entitled “Dick, Dubya, and Wyoming Methane,” tells you all you need to know about the Bush Interior Department.

We learn, in particular, that J. Steven Griles, the deputy secretary—and probably the real power in the department—has spent his career shuttling back and forth between being a government official and lobbying for the extractive industries.

And he has never worried much about ethical niceties—little things like recusing himself from decisions that affect his former clients. Moreover, Griles isn’t likely to be disciplined, even when he brazenly supports industry interests over the judgments of government experts.

After all, just about every other senior official at Interior, including Secretary Gale Norton, has a similar résumé. So it’s a very good bet that the new rules on mining-waste disposal don’t reflect a careful economic analysis of the pros and cons.

See: Ed Swartz: The Grass Isn't Growing

See: Stripping the West, a NOW Converstion with Bill Moyers.

See C-Span Book TV Oct. 2, 2004. Bushwacked: Life in George W. Bush's America. Read Chapter: "Dick, Dubya, and Wyoming Methane." (152)

See: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Hydraulic Fracturing Study (2010-2012)

See: In Pursuit of Sustainability

See: EPA in the Crosshairs

Hubbert Clip, dahveed7 , YouTube, (2007)

1976 video clip of M King Hubbert speaking about world oil depletion and explaining the concept of peak oil.

See article on the Energy Policy Act (2005).

Natural gas, Fredericks, Carrie , Detroit [Mich.], (2007)

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Fredericks, Carrie. 2007. Natural gas. Fueling the future. Detroit [Mich.]: Greenhaven Press. Discusses advantages and disadvantages of using natural gas as an energy supplier.

SkyTruth: Upper Green River Valley - A View From Above, ecofusiontv , YouTube, (2007)

Using the latest in satellite imagery, aerial photography, and Google Earth technology, this ten minute SkyTruth video explores the environmental impacts of gas and oil drilling in the Upper Green River Valley, an ecologically sensitve area of western Wyoming.

See the view of the Upper Green Valley in Wyoming from the air and the effect of hundreds of gas drilling well pads. According to SkyTruth, 10,000 well pads have been proposed.

Before/After Drilling, GasDrillingTruth , YouTube, (2008)

Digital landscape of the pristine Upper Delaware Watershed - before and after gas drilling.

A slow quiet simulated time lapse on what can happen to the scenic Delaware watershed as gas drilling proceeds in Pennsylvania.

Changing a Water Filter in Prenter Hollow, WV, coalrivermtnwatch , YouTube, (2008)

This video shows a Grandfather changing the water filter on his well water in Prenter, WV.  Coal Waste has been injected into abandoned underground mines near his house.  See sludgesafety.org for more info on coal slurry.

Hydrofracking involves storing gas underground and disposing of fracking sludge in abandoned mines, both a potential threat to groundwater.

See Aurora Lights article on Coal Mining's effect on clean water in West Virginia.

Flow - The War Between Public Health and Private Interests, Salina, Irena , (2008)

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Irena Salina's award-winning documentary investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century - The World Water Crisis.

Salina builds a case against the growing privatization of the world's dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel.

Interviews with scientists and activists intelligently reveal the rapidly building crisis, at both the global and human scale, and the film introduces many of the governmental and corporate culprits behind the water grab, while begging the question "Can anyone really own water?"

Beyond identifying the problem, Flow also gives viewers a look at the people and institutions providing practical solutions to the water crisis and those developing new technologies, which are fast becoming blueprints for a successful global and economic turnaround.

See: Jeannette Catsoulis. Sept. 12, 2008. The New York Times. "The War Between Public Health and Private Interests".

See: Cory Doctorow . Apr 7, 2008. BoingBoing.net. "For Love of Water: infuriating and incredible documentary about world's water-crisis".

See: World-Renowned Scientist Dr. Theo Colborn on the Health Effects of Water Contamination from Fracking

WATER | Fracking and the Environment: Natural Gas Drilling, Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Contamination

See: Clean Water Action

See: WATER: Rulings Restrict Clean Water Act, Foiling E.P.A.

and Supreme Court Restricts Clean Water Act

See: WATER | That Tap Water Is Legal but May Be Unhealthy

See: WATER | FRONTLINE: Poisoned Waters

See: Drinking Water: Understanding the Science and Policy behind a Critical Resource

See:  Connie Watson, CBC Radio | Feb. 4, 2003. "Sell the rain: How the privatization of water caused riots in Cochabamba, Bolivia".

See: SERC (State Environmental Resource Center). 2004.  "The Meaning of Privatization."

Implications of Privatization of Water Utilities

[Provides] examples where privatized water utilities have posed risks of rate hikes, negative economic impacts, inadequate customer service, and harm to natural resources...

See: The Tragedy of the Commons.

PA Gas Rush, WPSU , YouTube, (2008)

Learn how new drilling technology and rising fuel prices are driving the natural gas rush in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale—a 6,000 foot deep rock formation which has the potential to fuel the entire country for two full years.

This live, one-hour, call-in program on Thursday, May 22, 2008, offered viewers objective and reliable advice about:

  • Natural gas exploration and   drilling on leased land
  • Lease negotiations and addenda
  • Financial, environmental, and infrastructure impacts

WPSU: Gasrush

Landowner information on gas leasing in the Southern Tier.  See: Tioga County Landowners Group.

Poison Fire, Johannsson, Lars , YouTube, (2008)

Chesapeake Energy Flares Barnett Shale Gas Well in Trinity Trai, posted by TxSharon - Sharon Wilson - http://bluedaze.org
Poison Fire-The Movie below. Gas flares are visible from space.

"Whose woods these are I think I know"...

If you plan to stop by these woods on a snowy evening bring some marshmallows and expect an evening sunburn. There's a chance your treats will be toxic.

A recent study from Nigeria on mice associates flaring with respiratory and blood problems. Earlier studies from the Worldbank, the U.S., Canada, Climate Justice and a 2002 Schlumberger report note the importance of eliminating flaring to maintain fragile ecosystems and human health.

Why wait until there are deaths and illness to end industrial practices that waste money and human life? As long as the air or groundwater pollution doesn't clog their drill bits, gas industry engineers say these practices are safe.

Marcellus Protest posts an eyewitness account of gas flaring near a consumer shopping mall in Pittsburgh, where the noise and heat from a gas flare runs 24/7.

Can you see how Pennsylvania is starting to look more and more like Nigeria? (Neil Zusman, 2011-01-22.)

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See: Anger grows across the world at the real price of 'frontier oil'

See: Fracking at the (Pittsburgh Mills Mall) | Marcellus Shale Protest 2011-01-10

Sharon Wilson of Bluedaze, Drilling Reform for Texase, recently had a "debate" on her YouTube posting, "Chesapeake Energy Flares Barnett Shale Gas Well in Trinity Trail," regarding flaring.

Sweet gas (natural gas that does not contain significant amounts of hydrogen sulfide) flaring has a longer history in Nigeria. According to the Daily Independent:

The Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) has identified not less than 250 toxins from the gas flared from fossil fuels.

Poison Fire (2008).

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Film Synopsis

In 1956, Shell drilled the first oil well in the village of Olobiri, in the African Niger Delta. Since then, massive quantities of black gold have been pumped out of the ground there, and nobody seems to worry about a little spillage: lots of excess oil gets dumped or spilled, and gas flaring, or the burning of natural gas, takes place as well.

Poison Fire gives the floor to the inhabitants of the Niger Delta. No one sees anything positive in Shell's activities. Cancer, asthma, and miscarriages are all consequences of the pollution caused by the oil giant, and fish, slugs and snakes are dying out.

A group of environmental activists travel to Shell Headquarters in the Netherlands, where CEO Jeroen van der Veer politely addresses them at the entrance. He promises to launch a plan that will stop gas flaring, a practice that has been declared illegal by the Benin City Court. But how can the behaviour of a wealthy multinational realistically be corrected when Nigeria's own authorities are out-and-out corrupt?

/frack_files/poisonfire2.jpg Friends of the Earth International website.

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Read the report:

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Environmental Rights Action, Friends of the Earth Nigeria. "Gas Flaring in Nigeria". Climate Justice. June 2005. (PDF 36 pp.)

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See: Bluedaze Video. Chesapeake Energy Flares Barnett Shale Gas Well in Trinity Trail.

See: Chevron articles on Mixplex.

Daily Independent. "Enforcing the gas flaring deadline." Daily Independent. Lagos, Nigeria. August 9, 2010. Also available from the Norwegian Council for Africa.

See: The Case of Chevron.

See: World Bank. Gas Flaring Around the World. (2009). (Is the World Bank forever tainted by Lawrence Summers?).

A view of global gas flaring based on satellite observations: a joint effort between the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the World Bank-led Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership (GGFR)

See: Global Gas Flaring Identification in Google Earth

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Download .kmz files for country of your choice. They will be addded to your Google Earth places. You can see the massive gas field with gas flaring adjacent to the Hobbs Public Schools and the Junior College in New Mexico.

See: Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado. (CIRES)

Read these reports:

Elvidge, C.D. A Sixteen Year Record of Global Natural Gas Flaring Derived From Satellite Data. Earth Observation Group NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, May 18, 2010. (PDF)

 

Elvidge, C. D, D. Ziskin, K. E Baugh, B. T Tuttle, T. Ghosh, D. W Pack, E. H Erwin, and M. Zhizhin. “A Fifteen Year Record of Global Natural Gas Flaring Derived from Satellite Data.” Energies 2, no. 3 (2009): 595–622 (PDF).

 

Otitoloju, Adebayo, and Jemina Dan-Patrick. “Effects of gas flaring on blood parameters and respiratory system of laboratory mice, Mus musculus.” The Environmentalist 30, no. 4 (October 2010): 340-346. (free preview only)

 

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"...And miles to go before I sleep"

 

Robert Frost. Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening (1923). New Hampshire

The Marcellus Shale Formation Information Site, Hart, Nolan , The Marcellus Shale Formation Information Site, (2008)

Nolan Hart. (2008). Includes photos, maps, illustrations.

Named for the town of Marcellus New York, where the shale reaches the surface, it is a Devonian age (roughly 390 million years old) member of a geological structure known as the Hamilton group. It formed when Devonian age seas...covered much of North America.

Barnett Shale: An Aerial View, TXsharon , YouTube, (2009)

See the true cost of gas!

Natural gas is just another dirty fossil fuel. for more info see: Bluedaze

A [Barnett Shale] drilling rig operating for 3 months has the same impact as a city of 4,000 people—water use, solid waste generation, air emissions and traffic.

~David Burnett, Dir. Global Petroleum Research Institute

Drilling Around the Law: Drinking Water Threatened by Toxic Natural Gas and Oil Drilling Chemicals, Horwitt, Dusty , (2009)

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Dusty Horwitt. (2009). "Drilling Around the Law Report." Environmental Working Group. 24 pages.

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Contains extensive bibliography.

Companies that drill for natural gas and oil are skirting federal law and injecting toxic petroleum distillates into thousands of wells, threatening drinking water supplies from Pennsylvania to Wyoming. Federal and state regulators, meanwhile, largely look the other way.

--The mission of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment. EWG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded in 1993 by Ken Cook and Richard Wiles. Includes the EWG Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization that advocates on Capitol Hill for health-protective and subsidy-shifting policies.

Drilling Wastewater Disposal Options in N.Y. Report Have Problems of Their Own - ProPublica, Joaquin Sapien, and Sabrina Shankman , ProPublica, (2009)

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Joaquin Sapien and Sabrina Shankman.  December 29, 2009 ProPublica.

Environmentalists, state regulators and even energy companies agree that the problem most likely to slow natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale in New York is safely disposing of the billions of gallons of contaminated wastewater the industry will produce...

...Of the six injection wells  that operate in New York, only one is licensed to accept oil and gas wastewater. It's owned by Lenape Resources Inc., which uses it exclusively for wastewater from its own gas fields [near Rochester, NY].

See: Do the natural gas industry’s surface water withdrawals pose a health risk?

See: The Effect of the United States Supreme Court's Eleventh Amendment Jurisprudence on Clean Water Act Citizen Suits: Muddied Waters

Natural Gas Drilling Threatens Communities in Northeastern United States, Noell, Natassaja , Philadelphia Independent Media Center, (2009)

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Joanne Fiorito, acting as the eyes of the DEP, recently discovered a waste spill at a drilling site just off RT 29 and upon reporting the spill was warned not to trespass.

"If the DEP can't monitor these sites on their own," said Ms.Joanne Fiorito "and then the DEP tells us that we cannot trespass after we found a spill on the Grimsley well pad site that wasn't reported to the DEP by Cabot, well then, where does this leave the citizens of PA who are dependent on the DEP doing its job?

It has gotten to the point where I and others will have to do it ourselves, and I personally don't care if they arrest me for civil disobedience, because this land, air and water is what keeps us all alive."

People Feel Threatened

Chesapeake Energy reports that citizens in Wetzel County, West Virginia have placed spikes along RT 89.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that 161 species found killed along 38 miles of Dunkard Creek -- "Sudden death of ecosystem ravages long creek 'Everything is being killed': 161 aquatic species have died along Dunkard Creek" by Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; September 20, 2009.  

Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP), Earthworks , Earthworks, (2009)

OGAP

Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project works with tribal, urban and rural communities to protect their homes and the environment from the devastating impacts of oil and gas development.

See: Bruce Baizel, Senior Staff Attorney for the The Oil and Gas Accountability Project Testimony presented to the Committee on Environmental Protection, Council of the City of New York September 10, 2008.

See:  Patrick Reis. NYT. Oct. 6, 2010. "W.Va. Sues Obama, EPA Over Mining Coal Regulations."

See also:

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Fossil Energy and National Energy Technology Laboratory: Modern Shale Gas Development in the United States: A Primer., U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy and National Energy Technology Laboratory , (2009)

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The Primer provides regulators, policy makers, and the public with an objective source of information on the technology advances and challenges that accompany deep shale gas development and describes the importance of shale gas in meeting the future energy needs of the United States.

Protecting and conserving water resources is an important aspect of producing shale gas, and this effort was championed by the Ground Water Protection Council through a cooperative agreement with NETL.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Fossil Energy and National Energy Technology Laboratory. Modern Shale Gas Development in the United States: A Primer. Washington, D.C. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). April 2009. 116pages. [PDF-5.11MB].

WATER | FRONTLINE: Poisoned Waters, Smith, Hedrick , Public Broadcasting Service Frontline, (2009)

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More than three decades after the Clean Water Act, iconic American waterways like the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound are in perilous condition and facing new sources of contamination.

With polluted runoff still flowing in from industry, agriculture and massive suburban development, scientists note that many new pollutants and toxins from modern everyday life are already being found in the drinking water of millions of people across the country and pose a threat to fish, wildlife and, potentially, human health.

In Poisoned Waters, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith examines the growing hazards to human health and the ecosystem...

...In addition to assessing the scope of America's polluted-water problem, Poisoned Waters highlights several cases in which grassroots citizens' groups succeeded in effecting environmental change: In South Park, Wash., incensed residents pushed for better cleanup of PCB contamination that remained from an old asphalt plant. In Loudon County, Va., residents prevented a large-scale housing development that would have overwhelmed already-strained stormwater systems believed to contribute to the contamination in Chesapeake Bay.

See Credits.

Barnett Shale, Wikipedia , Wikipedia, (2010)

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The Barnett Shale and Marcellus Shale have similar geological properties.

The Barnett Shale is known as a "tight" gas reservoir, indicating that the gas is not easily extracted. The shale is very hard, and it was virtually impossible to produce gas in commercial quantities from this formation until recent improvements were made in hydraulic fracturing technology and horizontal drilling, and there was an upturn in the natural gas price.

Future development of the field will be hampered in part by the fact that major portions of the field are in urban areas, including the rapidly growing Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Some local governments are researching means by which they can drill on existing public land (e.g., parks) without disrupting other activities so they may obtain royalties on any minerals found, whereas others are seeking compensation from drilling companies for damage to roads caused by overweight vehicles (many of the roads are rural and not designed for use by heavy equipment). In addition, drilling and exploration have generated significant controversy.

See the Notes and External Links on this Ft. Worth, Texas Shale deposit using fracking since 2005.

Also see Sharon Wilson, Bluedaze Blog.

Please note that information taken from Wikipedia should be verified using other, more reliable sources. It is a good place to start research, but because anyone can edit Wikipedia, we do not recommend using it in research papers or to obtain highly reliable information.
Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI), Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations(C-DEBI) , Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI), (2010)

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Our mission is to explore life beneath the seafloor and make transformative discoveries that advance science, benefit society, and inspire people of all ages and origins.

In a provocative 1992 essay, Thomas Gold postulated the existence of a "deep, hot biosphere", supported by geological energy sources.  The potential for the oceanic deep biosphere to influence global biogeochemical processes scales with the size of the subseafloor as a habitat.

See: Probe Earth's Interior with Advanced Radiation Sources

The ramifications of a massive buried biosphere of "intraterrestrial microbes" are significant, leading to paradigm shifts in our thinking in the biosciences and geosciences.

"Despite an intense focus on discovering abiotic hydrocarbon sources in natural settings, only a handful of sites convincingly suggest that abiotic organic synthesis occurs within the geosphere...

...The crux of this topic is that currently there is no foolproof approach to distinguishing abiotic versus biotic organic synthesis.  Thus, it is especially important to be cognizant of the possibilities and limitations of abiotic hydrocarbon production when considering a deep subsurface biosphere where the organic matter may be synthesized by both abiotic and biotic processes." (Proskurowski, 2010)

See: Life in the Oceans | The Why Files.

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See: The Sloan - Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO)

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The Deep Carbon Observatory is a program of the Carnegie Institution for Science, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

The Sloan - DCO mission includes the fostering of international cooperation in addressing global-scale questions, including the nature and extent of deep microbial life, the fluxes of carbon dioxide from the world's volcanoes, and the distribution and characteristics of deep hydrocarbon reservoirs.

The DCO is currently composed of four science directorates: Deep Life; Reservoirs and Fluxes; Energy,  Environment, and Climate; and Physics and Chemistry of Carbon.

Gold, Thomas. The Deep Hot Biosphere : The Myth of Fossil Fuels. New York: Springer | Copernicus, 1998.

Goncharov, Alexander. “Unanswered Questions in Deep Carbon Research” presented at the 2009 Annual Meeting keynote | Sloan Deep Carbon Cycle Workshop, Carnegie Institution, Geophysical Laboratory | Washington, D.C., May 15, 2008. (PDF 4.4 MB)

Proskurowski, G. “Abiogenic Hydrocarbon Production at the Geosphere-Biosphere Interface via Serpentinization Reactions” in Timmis, Kenneth N., ed. Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, 2010.

Congress Launches Investigation Into Gas Drilling Practices, Sabrina Shankman, and Lustgarten Abrahm , ProPublica, (2010)

Rep. Henry Waxman announced Thursday that the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which he chairs, is launching an investigation into potential environmental impacts from hydraulic fracturing. (Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images)
Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif.

"Two of the largest companies involved in natural gas drilling have acknowledged pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of diesel-based fluids into the ground in the process of hydraulic fracturing, raising further concerns that existing state and federal regulations don't adequately protect drinking water from drilling."

Source: Energy and Commerce Committee Investigates Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing

Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE): Landowner Information, Cornell Cooperative Extension(CCE) , Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), (2010)

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Cornell University Cooperative Extension. Landowner Information. Links to Landowner Coalitions, Key Points for Property Owners, Gas Rights and Right-of-Way Leasing Considerations for Farms. Woodlands, and more.

See also: Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE): Natural Gas Resource Center

DamascusCitizens.org, DamascusCitizens.org , DamascusCitizens.org, (2010)

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Damascus Citizens for Sustainability is a grassroots group in Damascus, PA. located within the Upper Delaware Basin Watershed.

Site includes excellent links to petition sites, working activist organizations, experts, environmental lawyers, blogs, photographs, and primary documents inlcuding transcripts to testimonials covering the brief history of gas drilling in the U.S.

See: Hearing Set to Shut Down Well Drilling in [Delaware River Basin] Watershed. January 19-26, 2011.

UPDATE: Damascus Citizens. December 16, 2010. e-mail correspondence.

Last week the gas industry withdrew from an important
hearing
intended to challenge 14 "test wells" within
the Upper Delaware Watershed region.

The industry withdrew its multiple challenges to our
assertions of the inherent dangers to public health
posed by their drilling activities. At this time we
are reviewing our legal options...

Delaware RiverKeeper Network (DRN), Damascus Citizens for Sustainability (DCS) and Nockamixon Township are co-appellants in Consolidated Administrative Hearings before the Delaware River Basin Commission.

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Earth Day: Give Earth a Hand, GreenpeaceVideo , YouTube | Greenpeace, (2010)

This fragile Earth deserves a voice. It needs solutions. It needs change. It needs you.

Dirceted by Daniel Bird.

Music and sound design by Hecq.

See: The Story of Stuff | With Annie Leonard

Tides Foundation is proud to present The Story of Stuff — a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns that calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world.

Narrated and created by activist Annie Leonard, the film tells an engaging story about 'all our stuff' where it comes from and where it goes when we throw it away.

Tides Foundation and The Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production and Consumption partnered with Free Range Studios to produce the film and the website, www.storyofstuff.com

The website includes faith-based teaching guides.

See: Beach Lake United Methodist Church. "Gas Drilling Discussion (Suggested Agenda for) : Biblical and Theological Considerations".

You can watch the film here:
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Ed Swartz: The Grass Isn't Growing, The Creative Counsel, and The Fledgling Fund , 1000 Voices - A National Archive, (2010)

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Wyoming rancher Ed Swartz is feeling the affects of environmental de-regulation. Hear his story.

Ed Swartz
Gillette, WY

Added: January 18, 2009

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Co-Presenting Sponsor: The Fledgling Fund supports the creation and dissemination of innovative media projects that can play critical roles in igniting social change.

The Fledgling Fund believes that film and other creative media can often demonstrate what statistics can not, can create broad understandings of social problems, and can inspire both civic dialogue and concrete action.

Fracking Disaster in the Making: A Report, Nikiforuk, Andrew , The Tyee, (2010)

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Independent vibrant, Canadian online magazine based in British Columbia.

Earlier this year at Two Island Lake north of Fort Nelson, two corporations, Encana and Apache, blasted an estimated 5.6 million barrels worth of water along with 111 million pounds of sand and unknown chemicals to fracture apart dense formations of shale over a 100 day period, or what Parfitt calls "the world's largest natural gas extraction effort of its kind."

...Many experts argue that shale gas could retire coal-fired plants or slow down the deployment of wind and solar projects altogether. Others contend that shale formations deplete too quickly to offer secure supplies for the future. At the same time, the "shale gale" has also created abiding controversies about water use, groundwater contamination and the regulation of the industry from Wyoming to Quebec.

Fracture Lines, commissioned by the Program on Water Issues at University of Toronto's Munk Centre, not only sheds light on the scale of development from British Columbia to New Brunswick but highlights industry's largely unregulated water use.

"In the absence of public reporting on fracking chemicals, industry water withdrawals and full mapping of the nation's aquifers, rapid shale gas development could potentially threaten important water resources if not fracture the country's water security," concludes Parfitt. (Parfitt, 2010)

Parfitt, B. Fracture Lines: Will Canada’s Water be Protected in the Rush to Develop Shale Gas? Program on Water Issues Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, September 15, 2010.

Gas Drilling Trucks, Marcellus-Shale.us , Marcellus-Shale.us, (2010)

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Frac Trucks... some call them soup trucks, kettle trucks or frack trucks. Some of these tanker trailers are used to haul frac sand or cement for gas well casings. Whatever the name or use of these various trucks, they usually catch your attention when they are parked roadside or travelling down the highway as oversize loads.

All kinds of weird plumbing, pipes and gauges not seen in everyday life. Some carry containers of frac fluids or other devices that you never saw anything quite like before. Equipment used for installing and fracking Marcellus Shale gas wells.

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Global Warming, Pew Charitable Trusts , Pew Charitable Trusts, (2010)

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The world’s leading scientists agree that the planet is warming and that human activities—especially the burning of fossil fuels and the clearing of forests—are a big part of the cause.

See: Pew Environment Group: Global Warming

In a 2007 report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the international group of scientists charged with reviewing, validating and summarizing the latest research concluded that the warming of the climate system is unequivocal. They stated that it is 90 percent certain that human-generated greenhouse gases account for most of the warming in the past 50 years.

Many published scientific reports have documented the actual observed impacts of a warming planet—including dramatic melting of the Arctic ice cap, shifting wildlife habitats, increased evidence of wildfires, heat waves and more intense storms. Americans are now seeing the impacts of global warming in their backyards. The warming trend poses serious risks to the economy and the environment.

Pew uses two approaches to address climate change: science and policy analysis and advocacy campaigns.

The Pew Center on Global Climate Change is a leading policy and research institute. It advances debate through analysis, public education and a cooperative approach with business. The center launched in 1998.

The Pew Campaign on Global Warming is aimed at adoption of a national policy to reduce emissions throughout the economy, and the Pew Campaign for Fuel Efficiency seeks more stringent fuel efficiency standards for the nation’s cars and trucks.

See: Global Warming Frequently Asked Questions | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

See: Pew Environment Group (PEG) Factsheet: Industry Opposition to Government Regulation (PDF), October 14, 2010.

See: Sourcewatch | Global Warming

Hydraulic Fracturing Applicability of the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act Science Advisory Board Discussion., Dougherty, Cynthia , Washington, D.C., (2010)

epa presentation

Summary Points:

EPA’s central authority to protect drinking water is drawn from the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

The SDWA requires EPA to set legal limits on the levels of certain contaminants in drinking water.

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) also requires EPA to protect underground sources of drinking water (USDWs) from contamination caused by underground injection.

  • §1421 provides minimum standards for underground injection.

  • §1422 provides for state primary enforcement authority.

  • §1425 provides for alternative showing of effectiveness of program by state Underground Injection Control (UIC) Programs (Oil and Gas wells only).

  • §1431 contains provisions to address imminent and substantial endangerment.

Activities not regulated under Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Provisions for UIC (Sections 1421, 1422, and 1425).

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    Oil and gas production activities.

  • Hydraulic fracturing (except use of diesel) per 2005 Energy Policy Act.

  • Natural gas storage.

States may choose to regulate these activities.


Surface water discharges are regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

See: Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) | Safe Drinking Water Act | US EPA

See: Coalbed Methane Development: The Costs and Benefits of an Emerging Energy Resource

See: WATER | Safe Drinking Water Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

See: History of Litigation Concerning Hydraulic Fracturing to Produce Coalbed Methane. LEAF (Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation) and The Hydraulic Fracturing Decisions.

Hydraulic Fracturing of Oil and Gas Wells, Earthworks , Earthworks, (2010)

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Hydraulic fracturing is a common technique used to stimulate the production of oil and natural gas. Typically, fluids are injected underground at high pressures, the formations fracture, and the oil or gas flows more freely out of the formation. Some of the injected fluids remain trapped underground.

A number of these fluids, such as diesel fuel, qualify as hazardous materials and carcinogens, and are toxic enough to contaminate groundwater resources. Read more details in the Oil and Gas Accontability Project's (OGAP) basic primer on hydraulic fracturing.

Washington, D.C. based environmental advocacy group.  Website includes link to video, Fracking and the Environment: Natural Gas Drilling, Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Contamination, from Democracy Now! It includes an interview with ProPublica's Abrahm Lustgarten. 9/3/09.

Hydraulic Fracturing: History of an Enduring Technology, Montgomery, Carl T., and Smith Michael B. , Journal of Petroleum Technology (JPT) Online, (2010)

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Fig. 1—In 1947, Stanolind Oil conducted the first experimental fracturing in the Hugoton field located in southwestern Kansas. The treatment utilized napalm (gelled gasoline) and sand from the Arkansas River.

Since Stanolind Oil introduced hydraulic fracturing in 1949, close to 2.5 million fracture treatments have been performed worldwide. Some believe that approximately 60% of all wells drilled today are fractured. Fracture stimulation not only increases the production rate, but it is credited with adding to reserves—9 billion bbl of oil and more than 700 Tscf of gas added since 1949 to US reserves alone—which otherwise would have been uneconomical to develop.

In addition, through accelerating production, net present value of reserves has increased. Fracturing can be traced to the 1860s, when liquid (and later, solidified) nitroglycerin (NG) was used to stimulate shallow, hard rock wells in Pennsylvania, New York, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Although extremely hazardous, and often used illegally, NG was spectacularly successful for oil well “shooting.” The object of shooting a well was to break up, or rubblize, the oil-bearing formation to increase both initial flow and ultimate recovery of oil. This same fracturing principle was soon applied with equal effectiveness to water and gas wells.

In the 1930s, the idea of injecting a nonexplosive fluid (acid) into the ground to stimulate a well began to be tried. The “pressure parting” phenomenon was recognized in well-acidizing operations as a means of creating a fracture that would not close completely because of acid etching. This would leave a flow channel to the well and enhance productivity. The phenomenon was confirmed in the field, not only with acid treatments, but also during water injection and squeeze-cementing operations.

But it was not until Floyd Farris of Stanolind Oil and Gas Corporation (Amoco) performed an in-depth study to establish a relationship between observed well performance and treatment pressures that “formation breakdown” during acidizing, water injection, and squeeze cementing became better understood. From this work, Farris conceived the idea of hydraulically fracturing a formation to enhance production from oil and gas wells.

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Fig. 2—On 17 March, 1949, Halliburton conducted the first two commercial fracturing treatments in Stephens County, Oklahoma, and Archer County, Texas.

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See: Carl T. Montgomery and Michael B. Smith. "Hydraulic Fracturing: History of an Enduring Technology." Journal of Petroleum Technology (JPT). 2010. (PDF 2.1 MB)

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At the 2006 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE), SPE honored nine pioneers of the hydraulic fracturing industry as Legends of Hydraulic Fracturing. Claude E. Cooke Jr., Francis E. Dollarhide, Jacques L. Elbel, C. Robert Fast, Robert R. Hannah, Larry J. Harrington, Thomas K. Perkins, Mike Prats, and H.K. van Poollen were recognized as instrumental in developing new technologies and contributing to the advancement of the field through their roles as researchers, consultants, instructors, and authors of groundbreaking journal articles.

This CD includes more than 150 papers published by these industry legends; it also includes an overview of the history of hydraulic fracturing, along with personal reflections from a number of the Legends and their colleagues.

Hydrafrac (1946)

See: Search for hydrafrac on Google Scholar.

See: Gow, Sandy, and Bonar Alexander Gow. Roughnecks, rock bits and rigs: the evolution of oil well drilling technology in Alberta, 1883-1970. University of Calgary Press, 2005. Web.

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This book is a comprehensive study of the evolution of the component aspects of drilling technology in Alberta, from the evolution of power sources and drill bit designs to the composition of drilling muds and the use of fishing tools. Included are explanations of the costs and risks of oil well drilling and of the larger issue of industrial technology -- how it evolves and under what conditions. The author draws extensively from original source material such as interviews, photographs, and appendices from both the Glenbow Archives and the Devon-Leduc Petroleum Hall of Fame and Interpretive Centre.

The Stanolind patent (1946), p. 268, was the first patent issued for hydraulic fracturing. You may preview this page by clicking on the snippet in the link I've provided.

See: George C. Howard. "Well Completion Process." Stanolind Oil and Gas Company. Tulsa, OK. June 29, 1949. U.S. Patent number: 2667224, Filing date: Jun 29, 1949, Issue date: Jan 1954.

See also: Erle P. Halliburton. "Method and Apparatus for Drilling Wells, Such As Oil Wells." New Wilson, OK. U.S. Patent number: 1703234, Filing date: Nov 4, 1920, Issue date: Feb 1929.

See: Google Labs Books Ngram Viewer of the historical usage of the term "hydraulic fracturing". Try the word frack or fracking.