Between 2005 and 2009, oil and gas service companies injected more than 30 million gallons of diesel fuel or hydraulic fracturing fluids containing diesel fuel in wells in 19 states, according to an investigation released by House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats.
Image of frackwater via Keith Srakocic/Associated Press. Frackwater is a byproduct produced from natural gas drilling activities.
Image of protest sign via ltmayers on Flickr.
The fossil-fuel industry doesn’t make or produce coal, natural gas, petroleum, or any other type of fossil fuel. The industry merely extracts materials that have been made by natural processes within the Earth.
However, the fossil-fuel industry reaps huge profits by polluting the human environment and natural landscapes. Although, the fossil-fuel industry has a well-documented history of making profits at the expense of the environment and human health, the industry has received billions in subsidies from governments and taxpayers. The entire process is deplorable and immoral. More via the Dallas Morning News (emphasis added):
Drilling companies violated federal law by injecting 16 million gallons of diesel fuel underground in Texas to extract natural gas, senior House Democrats said Monday.
In a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency , the lawmakers said the companies failed to obtain necessary permits when they used diesel fuel in their hydraulic fracturing mixtures. The fracturing process, which is widely used in North Texas’ Barnett Shale, has come under scrutiny as environmental groups and some residents allege it has contaminated drinking water supplies.
The congressional inquiry, which began in early 2010 when Democrats controlled the House, did not conclude that the use of diesel polluted any drinking-water sources. The Democrats said the firms they questioned couldn’t provide data on the proximity of drilling operations to underground sources of drinking water.
. . .
Nationwide, over 32 million gallons of diesel fuel or fluids containing diesel were injected underground, the lawmakers wrote. The drilling firms used 10.2 million gallons of “straight diesel fuel” and 21.8 million gallons of products containing at least 30 percent diesel, the letter states
The ugly truth of the natural gas boom via the post-gazette.com:
The natural gas boom gripping parts of the United States has a nasty byproduct: wastewater so salty, and so polluted with metals like barium and strontium, that most states require drillers to get rid of the stuff by injecting it down shafts thousands of feet deep.
But not in Pennsylvania, one of the states at the center of the gas rush. In Pennsylvania, the liquid that gushes from gas wells is only partially treated for substances that could be environmentally harmful, then dumped into rivers and streams from which communities get their drinking water.
In the two years since the frenzy of activity began in the vast underground rock formation known as the Marcellus Shale, Pennsylvania has been the only state letting its waterways serve as the primary disposal place for huge amounts of wastewater produced by a drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. State regulators, initially caught flat-footed, tightened the rules this year for any new water treatment plants, but let existing operations continue discharging water into rivers.
At least 3.6 million barrels of the waste were sent to treatment plants that empty into rivers during the 12 months ending June 30, state records show. That’s enough to cover a square mile with more than 8 1/2 inches of brine.
Halliburton is among twelve companies that were cited in the House probe. Via Reuters:
The probe of diesel use in hydraulic fracturing, a practice that has allowed drillers to tap abundant shale gas, found that oil services firms such as Halliburton (HAL.N: Quote) and BJ Services, which was bought by Baker Hughes Inc (BHI.N: Quote), injected millions of gallons of fluids containing the fuel into wells between 2005 and 2009. A total of 12 companies were cited in the probe for using diesel without proper permits.
Critics say the chemicals used in the process, called “fracking,” can contaminate drinking water.
In 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency entered into a voluntary agreement with Halliburton, BJ Services and Schlumberger (SLB.N: Quote) to eliminate the use of diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing fluids injected into coalbed methane wells.
In addition, a 2005 energy law exempted hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, except when diesel is used.
Still, the probe found that no oil and gas service companies sought or were issued permits for the use of diesel fuel in fracking between 2005 and 2009.
Democrats who sponsored the probe in the House of Representatives urged the EPA to look into this matter.