Negative Effects Of Fracking On The Environment

Negative Effects Of Fracking On The Environment – This study is part of a collection of pages developed by students of the 2012 introductory Geology and Human Health course in the Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University. Learn more about this project.

Hydrofracking is a controversial method of extracting oil and gas that was developed in the late 1940s to gain access to fossil energy deposits that were previously inaccessible to drilling. The process, “hydraulic fracturing”, basically involves breaking the rock with millions of liters of water – along with sand and various chemicals in order to bring the gas to the surface.

Negative Effects Of Fracking On The Environment

Negative Effects Of Fracking On The Environment

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempted fraud from the Safe Drinking Water Act – this deregulation is often referred to as the Halliburton area.

How Does Fracking Affect The Environment?

Montana fracking is still in the early stages of development compared to other states and has been described by a Texas oil company as “the best kept secret in oil and gas”.

Vertical wells are drilled thousands of feet into the earth, through layers of sediment, aquifers, and shale rocks to access oil and gas. Next, the excavation is poured into the sides, where the cement casing is installed and will act as a conduit for the large amounts of water, fracking fluid, chemicals and sand needed to break up the rock and long time ago. In some cases, prior to fluid injection, small explosives are used to open the rock. Fracturing allows gas and oil to be extracted from previously impermeable rocks.

Although fracking has technically been around for decades, the scale and type of drilling currently taking place, deep drilling, is a relatively new drilling technique and was first used in the Barnett shale. of Texas in 1999.

Show Caption Hide Fracking infrastructure. Image featured in an article in Nature, Sept. 15, 2011, Natural Gas: Should fracking stop?, by Robert W. Howarth, Anthony Ingraffea, & Terry Engelder.

Fracking And Health: What We Know From Pennsylvania’s Natural Gas Boom

Due to the multitude of potential health and environmental impacts of source contamination hydrofracking can be difficult. The location of the well where the drilling takes place is only one piece of the frack puzzle. Since each well may require up to 8 million gallons of water, and up to 40,000 gallons of chemicals, the site may require as many as 2,000 tanker truck trips, chaos each. The well can be split up to 20 times.

Wastewater storage can be done on site, in an injection well, or in open ponds in nearby areas. Waste transport creates a risk of contamination outside the actual well site. Air pollution also extends beyond current drilling and transportation routes, as natural gas that is drilled releases methane gas, one of the most volatile pollutants. of weather conditions.

Natural gas flares from an Orvis County fire on a family farm in Evanson McKenzie County, North Dakota, east of Arnegard and west of Watford City.

Negative Effects Of Fracking On The Environment

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What Does Science Say About Fracking?

Methane is the main component of natural gas and it has more than 25 times the power to trap heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. A recent study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that monitors gas wells in Weld County, Colorado, estimated that 4 percent of the methane produced by these wells escapes into the atmosphere. NOAA scientists found Weld County’s gas wells are equivalent to the carbon footprint of 1-3 million cars.

Many other air pollutants are released through various drilling processes, including the construction and operation of the well site, transportation of materials and equipment, and waste disposal. Some of the pollutants produced by drilling include: benzene, toluene, xylene and ethyl benzene (BTEX), particulate matter and dust, ground level ozone, or smog, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and metals in ‘a diesel fuel– through exposure to these pollutants known to cause chronic diseases, cancer, organ damage, nervous system problems and birth defects or death.

The Associated Press recently reported that Wyoming’s air quality near rural drilling sites is worse than Los Angeles’ – with ozone levels in Wyoming reported at 124 parts per billion compared to the sun. and the worst of the year for Los Angeles, at 114 parts per billion. The Environmental Protection Agency’s upper limit is 75 parts per billion.

Oblique low-altitude aerial view of wellpads, access roads, pipelines and other natural gas facilities in the Jonah Field in western Wyoming above the Green River Valley.

Why Is Fracking Bad For The Environment?

A 2007 report prepared for the Western Governor’s Association, which presented current and future emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide from oil and gas drilling in the west, projects Montana to have an increase of 310 % of nitrogen oxide pollution (smog).

Crystalline silica, in the form of sand, can cause silicosis (an incurable but preventable disease) when inhaled by workers. Sand is the main ingredient used in the fracking process. The National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH) collected air samples from 11 fracking sites around the country. All 11 sites have passed appropriate occupational health standards for exposure to respirable crystalline silica. In 31% of the samples, the silica concentrations exceeded the NIOSH exposure limit by a factor of 10, which means that even if the workers were wearing the correct respiratory equipment, they would not be adequately protected.

Create a HideWaste reservoir. Image credit:, from Oct. 21, 2011 article in Scientific American, EPA Plans to Issue Rules for Fracking Wastewater, by Nicholas Kusnetz and Pro Publica.

Negative Effects Of Fracking On The Environment

Chemical additives are used in the drilling mud, slurries and fluids required for the fracking process. Each well produces millions of gallons of toxic fluid that contains not only added chemicals, but other naturally occurring materials, liquid hydrocarbons, brine and heavy metals. . Fissures created by the fracking process can also create underground pathways for gases, chemicals and radioactive materials.

Halliburton Loophole’ Allows Fracking Companies To Avoid Chemical Regulation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) have just confirmed what the residents of Pavillion, Wyoming have been saying – that hydrofracking has contaminated their groundwater.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initially under an emergency management order forced three oil production companies operating on the Fort Peck Reservation, to reimburse the city of Poplar, MT for water service costs caused by drilling pollution. The oil companies appealed the EPA order, but were forced to correct their violations by a federal judge.

Another situation for contamination to occur is through poor design or construction of cement well casings – something that happened in the BP Gulf disaster. Wastewater storage is currently under the control of countries, many of which have little to no environmental protection policies.

According to Pro Publica reporters, oil companies reported more than 1,000 oil spills in North Dakota in 2011, and many more went unreported, state officials believe. The Associated Press also recently reported that the amount of soil contaminated with chemicals from drilling waste has increased nearly 5,100 percent in the past decade, to more than tons 512,000 last year. Steve Tillotson, deputy director of the North Dakota Department of Health’s waste management division, told reporters that trucks deliver waste to the oil field “24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Hydraulic Fracturing –

An ExxonMobil pipeline rupture spilled 42,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River, near Billings, MT. After the spill, ExxonMobil revealed that the pump was transporting tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, which is a low-grade, toxic and destructive type. Authorities had not been notified that the pipeline was carrying tar sands oil and the announcement was a result of the spill. Tar sands oil was not present at the time of the spill, although authorities are investigating whether or not it played a role in causing the pipeline to expand.

Earthquakes are another problem associated with drilling deep oil and gas wells. Scientists refer to earthquakes caused by groundwater pumping as “seismic events.” Although most of the earthquakes are small in magnitude (the strongest measured 5.2), their association with the storage of millions of liters of toxic waste water does not help to reduce the fear with a long list of powers of fossils.

, examined the potential health effects of oil and gas drilling in relation to chemicals used during the drilling, fracturing, processing and transportation of natural gas. The paper listed 632 chemicals (the list is incomplete due to the release of a trade secret) known from drilling operations across the U.S. intestinal system. About 40-50% can affect the brain/nervous system, immune and cardiovascular systems, and kidneys; 37% can affect the endocrine system; and 25% can cause cancer and mutations.

Negative Effects Of Fracking On The Environment

The health effects of fracking are still being evaluated by health experts, as such large-scale drilling is relatively new. Exposure to toxic chemicals at even low levels can cause significant harm to humans; endocrine system

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