NY Attorney General Demands Full Environmental Study; NYTimes Reports Natural Gas Companies Responsible for Injection of Hundreds of Millions of Gallons of Hazardous Chemicals in Over 13 States; and Cornell Study Finds Fracked Gas More Dangerous to Climate than Coal
NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today pledged to sue in 30 days if the federal government doesn’t commit to conducting a full environmental review of proposed regulations that would allow natural gas drilling – including the potentially harmful “fracking” technique – in the Delaware River Basin. Click here to read the full story
In August of 2010, Catskill Mountainkeeper, along with 24 other conservation and community organizations from across the US, asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a congressional committee to investigate whether natural gas and oil companies broke the law by injecting diesel fuel underground during hydraulic fracturing processes. On Sunday, April 16th, the New York Times published an article highlighting some of the findings from this investigation.
In the last week two important developments have helped give momentum to our fight against the dangerous and destructive process of hydrofracking.
The Dangers of Fracking Are Front Page News in the New York Times
On Saturday, April 16th the New York Times featured a front-page article on the dangers of fracking. Ian Urbina, the reporter who wrote the three-part series on fracking that was published several weeks ago, reported on the recent investigation by Congressional Democrats, which found that oil and gas companies are responsible for the injection of hundreds of millions of gallons of dangerous toxic chemicals in wells in over 13 states between 2005 and 2009.
This article confirms and publicizes what Catskill Mountainkeeper and you have known for quite a while – that many of the over 300 chemicals used in fracking are highly toxic, dangerous and in numerous cases carcinogenic. Further, the risk of cross contamination to our water supply is real and if that were to happen the results would be devastating. It is further indication that the fight against fracking is increasingly going mainstream. This is an important development in continuing to educate our government officials and the public. To read the full article click here
Scientific Study Reveals that Shale Gas from Fracked Wells Produces More Greenhouse Gas than Oil, Coal or Conventional Gas
One of the mantras of the natural gas industry has been that unlike other fossil fuels, natural gas is clean burning and emits lower levels of potentially harmful byproducts into the air. In a groundbreaking study released last week, Cornell University professors Robert W. Howarth, Renee Santoro and Anthony Ingraffea repudiated this allegation. Their scientific study found that the footprint for shale gas is actually greater than that for conventional gas or oil when viewed on any time horizon and in comparison to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20% greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon.
Natural gas is composed largely of methane, a powerful and damaging greenhouse gas with a global warming potential that is far greater than carbon dioxide, particularly over the time horizon of the first few decades following emission. The study found that between 3.6% to 7.9% of the methane from shale-gas production escapes into the atmosphere in venting and leaks over the lifetime of a well which is at least 30% more than and perhaps more than twice as great as those from conventional gas.
The higher emissions from shale gas occur at the time wells are hydraulically fractured — as methane escapes from flow-back return fluids — and during drill out following the fracturing.
This stunning revelation undermines one of the key tenants of the rationale for drilling for natural gas in the United States. Officials and even some environmental groups have justified gas drilling as a bridge fuel to meet our energy needs in the coming century. Now we not only know that the process of drilling for gas using hydrofracking is unsafe, we know that it has greater potential to increase global warming than other fossil fuels.
This study substantiates the rush to drill using hydraulic fracturing in New York State should be slowed down until all the facts are known. Catskill Mountainkeeper continues to strongly advocate that drilling should not be allowed unless it can be proven to be safe.
Next Step – Make Sure As Many People As Possible Are Aware Of These Important Developments
Movements for positive change turn into action and obtain critical mass when broad segments of the public become aware, motivated and active. Frequently that’s when Government gets the message, overcomes organizational inertia and does what’s needed.
The battle to prevent unsafe and dangerous gas drilling has the potential to approach the necessary critical mass now.
Take Action Now!
First, forward this action alert to everyone on your contact list so they can understand the size and scope of the threat.
Second, click on the links below to send a note and a copy of this scientific study to:
Please make a contribution to Catskill Mountainkeeper so that we can continue to fight against unsafe gas drilling on your behalf.