May 14 2009

Spectra Water Quality?

Spectra Spew:

Reuters Looks at Water Quality Issues Tied to Spectra Energy in Clearville, PA

Spectra Energy continues to pick up more press coverage, but not the kind it wants to share with its Board of Directors.  Reuters’ Reporter Jon Hurdle, published an article earlier this month titled, “Gas drillers battle Pennsylvania pollution concerns.”

Here is the Reuters news link:

Reporter Hurdle visited Clearville, among other Pennsylvania communities, and interviewed property owners Angel and Wayne Smith and Sandra McDaniel.

Noting that “Spectra Energy Corp is drilling to establish an underground gas storage facility,” the reporter visited one of the nearby injection well sites and his description isn’t pretty:

“… three pipes spewed metallic gray water into plastic-lined pits, one of which was partially covered in a gray crust.  As a sulfurous smell wafted from the rig, two tanker trucks marked ‘residual waste’ drove from the site.”

One surprising revelation is that companies apparently are not required to disclose which chemicals are used in so-called fracking fluids.  Fracking fluids are a stew of chemicals – some said to be carcinogenic – that are used in well drilling operations.

According to the Reuters news report:
“The composition of fracking fluid has been unregulated since the oil and gas industry won exemptions in 2005 from federal environmental laws including the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.”

The Reuters report goes on to note, however, that:

“Fracking chemicals include benzene, a carcinogen, plus toluene, methanol, and 2-butoxyethylene, a substance that can reduce human fertility and kill embryos, according to Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, a group that opposes drilling.”

Reuters Reporter Jon Hurdle walked portions of the properties of Sandra McDaniel and Angel and Wayne Smith.  Hurdle writes that Wayne Smith:

“… wonders whether tainted water is responsible for the recent deaths of four of his beef cattle, and his own elevated blood-iron level.

“Smith would like to get his water tested for the full range of fracking chemicals but he can’t do that without specifics on the fluid’s composition.

“‘We don’t know what’s in it,’ he said.  ‘They won’t tell us.’”

They won’t tell us.

On the other hand, if the gas industry doesn’t tell, it can’t lie.  Refer to the “Pious Mouse Wash 1” blog post to see how the definition of lying is a defense for gas companies:

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