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Radioactive Water Is Fracking Dangerous

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View David Lawlor's blog posts
27 October 2010, 11:42 AM
Study says hydraulic fracturing of Marcellus shale pollutes water

Bombs, nuclear power plants and groundwater. What do they all have in common? Well, according to a new study published by the University at Buffalo (UB), the answer could soon be uranium.  

The study conducted by UB geologist Tracy Bank shows that hydraulic fracture drilling, or fracking, in the Marcellus shale deposit on the East Coast of the United States will result in the pollution of groundwater with uranium. Bank found that naturally occurring uranium trapped in Marcellus shale is released into groundwater following hydraulic fracturing, a practice of pumping high-pressured water and chemicals into rock formations to break up and release elements; in this case, natural gas.

Explains Bank:

"We found that the uranium and the hydrocarbons are in the same physical space...that they are not just physically—but also chemically—bound. That led me to believe that uranium in solution could be more of an issue because the process of drilling to extract the hydrocarbons could start mobilizing the metals as well, forcing them into the soluble phase and causing them to move around."

Bank’s hypothesis proved correct once samples of Marcellus shale were tested in the laboratory. The implications of the study are significant.Polluting groundwater with uranium, a toxic metal and radioactive element, could cause serious human health impacts if the uranium made its way into municipal drinking water systems or emitted toxic radon gas near communities.

It seems the oil and gas drilling industry would rather not acknowledge the water pollution associated with hydraulic fracturing. Which is why Earthjustice is fighting on Capitol Hill to close a loophole exempting the industry from the Safe Drinking Water Act, challenging backroom deals between government regulators and the oil and gas industry, and fighting for the strongest possible regulations to protect clean air and water supplies.

1) They are drilling for natural gas, not oil. 2) In the free-market you can't just "get rid" of companies. Stop buying their product and they'll go away... eventually. Natural gas and oil companies provide a certain amount of our energy supply, so in order to get rid of them there needs to be some other form of energy that will fill their void if they disappear. Alternative energies are neither of the magnitude or efficiency to completely replace carbon-based fuels. The technology is getting better, but the infrastructure isn't enough to support a complete switch in energy sources yet. If you want to get rid of them, though I'm not certain you understand the significance or requirements of that, you need to help drive the market towards some other product.

Also, to Mr. Lawlor, I think it's important to point out that hypothesis are never "proved correct." It's a fundamental misunderstanding of science and the scientific method to say you proved a hypothesis to be correct--you can only either make findings that support it or make findings that don't support it. I understand the issue you are trying to raise with this excerpt, but an affinity for the actual process is important, especially when dealing with a topic as significantly misunderstood as uranium and radioactivity.

In order to get rid the gas companies, we need only find a way to put the burden of proof on them that they can guarantee an infallible method of extracting gas through the aquifer.

How do we inject "safe" (yet often secret) chemicals into the ground, and believe there is no chance of those same chemicals mixing with the water in the ground. I have heard the argument by industry experts that there are no proven instances of the injected water percolating back up through the thousands of feet of ground and reaching the aquifer. That argument is like saying airplanes don't crash because they fly so far over the ground. Correct, It's the take off and landing!! In Fracking it's the pumping and the handling of waste water (millions and millions of gallons of waste water). We see planes occasionally crash and the occupants die. When we see aquifers getting irreparably polluted by this industry the tragedy is not a singular event but a generational one. there is no way of ever getting it cleaned up. And, in our county of New York, we are sitting on the cleanest water in the whole country. A renewable resource whose value will continue to rise in the future. Why would any right thinking person put that water in jeopardy?

Look at Dimock PA, look at Dish Texas, look at what's happening along the Colorado river. Notice when the water and air pollution in those places are brought up it's always answered with comments like 'Yes we've made mistakes but we've intensified efforts, adopted stricter guidelines, learned a lot, the chances of it happening again are slim" etc.

What are the chances the people in any of these harmed area's would have signed up for gas leases if they new then what they know now? If we should allow this to come to New York, we should get the opinions of the people who have been wronged, and see how they were made whole, for we know that new prospects are golden and old forgotten. And, too often we are told that there is inconclusive evidence linking any problems to the effects of gas drilling, and the issue is fought in courts. Yet Dimock had clean water for a hundred years which now looks like lemonade and is replete with methane. The energy industry persists in telling us that we can have our energy, pollute our waters and drink them too. Emissions are quite surprisingly considerable as well.

Do you drive a car or truck? Do you use electric in your house? How do you heat your home? Where do you think electric comes from? Unless you live where they use a dam, it's an oil or coal fired plant. I don't believe you doom n gloomers. I intend to have them drill asap on my property.

its time to shut these companies and corporations down.
we really dont need oil that badly, if it is only going to kill all life off.
you cannot take anything with you when you die, so we really do need the water and air and soil and pland and animal life as it is.
Wish someone was willing to relly get rid of these companies and take a stand against them.

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