exploration wells for natural gas can contaminate natural aquifers
used for drinking water.
Here are two short extracts from the original article:
Of the 300-odd compounds that private researchers and the Bureau of
Land Management suspect are being used, 65 are listed as hazardous by
the federal government. Many of the rest are unstudied and
unregulated, leaving a gaping hole in the nation's scientific
understanding of how widespread drilling might affect water resources.
Industry representatives maintain that the drilling fluids are mostly
made up of non-toxic, even edible substances, and that when chemicals
are used, they are just a tiny fraction of the overall mix. They say
that some information is already available, and that releasing
specific details would only frighten and confuse the public, and would
come at great expense to the industry's competitive business.
"Halliburton's proprietary fluids are the result of years of extensive
research, development testing," said Diana Gabriel, a company
spokeswoman, in an email response. "We have gone to great lengths to
ensure that we are able to protect the fruits of the company's
research…. We could lose our competitive advantage."
"It is like Coke protecting its syrup formula for many of these
service companies," said Scott Rotruck, vice president of corporate
development at Chesapeake Energy, the nation's largest gas driller,
which has been asked by New York State regulators to disclose the
chemicals it uses.'
"When you just look at the data… the aerial extent of the benzene
contamination, you just say . . . . This is huge," says Oberley, who
is charged with water study in the area. "You've got benzene in a
useable aquifer and nobody is able to verbalize well, using factual
information, how the benzene got there."
Other signs of contamination were also worrying residents. Independent
tests in several private drinking wells adjacent to the anticline
drilling showed fluoride -- which is listed in Halliburton's hydraulic
fracturing patent applications and can cause bone damage at high
levels -- at almost three times the EPA's maximum limit.'
You can find the full article at http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=drill-for-natural-gas-pollute-water
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