No One Could Have Predicted, Hoocoodanode, Dog Bites Man, There Were No Warning Signs, How Could This Have Happened, We Had No Idea, We Need to Look Forward Not Backwards

I’m shocked, shocked I say:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that fracking — a controversial method of improving the productivity of oil and gas wells — may be to blame for causing groundwater pollution.

The draft finding could have a chilling effect in states trying to determine how to regulate the process.

The practice is called hydraulic fracturing and involves pumping pressurized water, sand and chemicals underground to open fissures and improve the flow of oil or gas to the surface.

The EPA’s found that compounds likely associated with fracking chemicals had been detected in the groundwater beneath a Wyoming community where residents say their well water reeks of chemicals.

Health officials advised them not to drink their water after the EPA found hydrocarbons in their wells.

The EPA announcement has major implications for the vast increase in gas drilling in the U.S. in recent years. Fracking has played a large role in opening up many reserves.

It’s so good to know that the EPA has now confirmed what homeowners with water buffaloes in their front yard have known for quite some time. I simply can’t believe all those energy companies were lying to me in all those commercials on my tv about how safe fracking is and how I should pay no attention to the hysterics. It’s just amazing to me the cavalier attitude taken about polluting our most valuable resource- clean water.

The most depressing thing about this, though, is what the response to this declaration will be. In a sane universe, it would be an IMMEDIATE cessation of all fracking activity around the nation. Stop. NO MAS. Halt. You simply can not replace poisoned water. So stop until we figure out how to do this safely. We don’t live in a sane universe, so what will happen is the Republicans And Blue Dogs from energy states will double down on the calls to disband the EPA, energy lobbyists will triple, and the energy industry will keep on a drilling and putting out more and better commercials telling you that toxic sludge is good for you.

Nothing will be done about this until we are well and truly fucked.

74 replies
  1. 1
    cathyx says:

    And some hearings on the matter. It could take years to resolve this.

  2. 2
    Jennifer says:

    Nothing will be done about this until we are well and truly fucked.

    Or fracked, as the case may be.

  3. 3
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    You simply can not replace poisoned water.

    What do you mean? There’s Brawndo!

  4. 4
    Soonergrunt says:

    you know what will fix this and protect our children?

    Deregulation of the petroleum and natural gas industries. We should do that.

  5. 5
    Arclite says:

    The market will fix this. People will just stop buying natural gas if the industry doesn’t clean up its act. The good folks at Reason said so.

  6. 6
    scav says:

    @Soonergrunt: Lower taxes and it certainly wouldn’t have happened if everyone had been carrying firearms.

  7. 7
    Violet says:

    @Soonergrunt:
    Freemarket! Holds up lighter.

  8. 8
    scav says:

    @Violet: NOT NEAR THE SINK!

  9. 9
    Violet says:

    @scav:
    Reverse counter top check. If your counter tops are linoleum, you’re probably poor enough that you can’t fight back if your water catches on fire.

  10. 10
    martha says:

    I sense an epic thread of darkly cynical comedy in the making…popping popcorn…

  11. 11
    balconesfault says:

    Unfortunately, I am not sure that the EPA currently has the mandate needed to put a moratorium on fracking, except perhaps where the groundwater aquifer in question has designation under the Clean Water Act.

    Now, Congress could certainly push through emergency legislation enabling the EPA to have such powers. HA!!! I crack myself up sometimes …

  12. 12
    Steve says:

    An important caveat from the article:

    The EPA also emphasized that the findings are specific to the Pavillion area. The agency said the fracking that occurred in Pavillion differed from fracking methods used elsewhere in regions with different geological characteristics.


    The fracking occurred below the level of the drinking water aquifer and close to water wells, the EPA said. Elsewhere, drilling is more remote and fracking occurs much deeper than the level of groundwater that anybody would use.

  13. 13
    martha says:

    Oh, and we MUST abolish the EPA, those communist job haters only impede the free flow of commerce…

  14. 14
    scav says:

    @martha: well, as my countertops are indeed linoleum, maybe we can borrow Violet’s lighter and at least get a little use and joy out of the conflagration.

  15. 15
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    I want to drill, laterally, through Cheney’s ranch in Wyoming whether natural gas
    or his intestinal gas can be exhumed.

    The energy production, whether NG or Methane will be substantial.

  16. 16
    scav says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: If you get near the theorized heart area, be sure to switch to wooden pipes.

  17. 17
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Benjamin Franklin:

    I want to drill, laterally, through Cheney

    FTFY

  18. 18
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Quaker in a Basement:

    LOL. Gatorade Awaits !!!!

  19. 19
    Violet says:

    @The Other Chuck:
    Can we leave some water buffaloes in his front yard? Or maybe mucking about in his bladder?

  20. 20
    Sock Puppet of the Great Satan says:

    Probably poor well completions creating a conduit. Decent well completions would prevent this from happening.

  21. 21
    jo6pac says:

    @Jennifer:
    Yep, 0 and friends will do what they did to womens rights today.

  22. 22
    piratedan says:

    you can’t drink the water but damn if those counter tops aren’t shiny as hell!

  23. 23
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    Yep, watch this be the impetus to completely eradicate the EPA instead of calling into question the practice of fracking.

  24. 24
    Violet says:

    @piratedan:
    And they even catch on fire when the water hits them! Party trick!

  25. 25
    piratedan says:

    @Violet: that’s a feature, not a bug!

  26. 26
    Waynski says:

    You can’t stop making flammable water spit through the 99% pipes! It amuses the servants to no end. Otherwise they’d be lighting their farts, which is entirely more offensive and certainly less appealing to the nose. You people are hysterical. – David Koch

  27. 27
    Violet says:

    @Waynski:
    Servants are made to be set on fire.

  28. 28
    scav says:

    I finally caught a glimpse of the invisible words the invisible hand had writ between “free” and “market”:

    from regulation, oversight, liability, accountability, consequences,

    and here the typesize went really really really small(er) so I’m off to find an electron microscope.

  29. 29
    MikeBoyScout says:

    As I live in a location without frackable natural gas available, I praise those of you who will be sacrificed for the greater good profit of Free Market Frackers and Al Gore who is fat.

    Look, drink the kool-aid water and spit fire!

    It’s a feature, not a bug!

  30. 30
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    Ugh…I’m finding my heartrate going up too since this shit just infuriates me. The state of environmental politics in this country has totally gone to shit, and there seems to be know fucking way to get around it anymore, because everyone knows ‘scientists lie’, you can’t trust the EPA or anyone that dare says anything about climate because ‘they’re in on the hoax’ or are just a bunch of loony loony lib lib motherfuckers who want to destroy the economy. We obviously can’t trust them because “OMG THEY HATE SUCCESS AND WANT TO DESTROY BUSINESS, WE HAVE TO STOP THESE FUCKING HIPPIES NOW NOW NOW FUCKING NOW, BEFORE THEY DESTROY US ALL, NOW GODDAMMIT NOW!!!!”

    I just wish it didn’t all seem so futile, because I really am honestly convinced the EPA will be dismantled before any consequences to frackers are handed down. Oh, there will be consequences. It’ll just be for those dumb fuckers who actually trust the water they’re drinking in places like PA and Wyoming and such. Consequences for thee, profits for me,

  31. 31
    Brandon says:

    Just think, if a Republican were in the White House, an oil and gas industry exec/lobbyist would have either supressed the report or edited the report such that the conclusions/findings could be

  32. 32
    Jay B. says:

    Well, there’s one sure way to solve this, just have the person who is in charge of the Department of Energy void the findings. After all, if there’s one thing we’ve learned is that scientists shouldn’t be trusted, they aren’t all that and who the hell cares about science anyway? Why, Stuck took Vioxx! Don’t you know that completely invalidates science and federal regulations altogether?

  33. 33
    RSA says:

    fracking… may be to blame… compounds likely associated with fracking chemicals had been detected

    Of course, as long as there’s even a whiff of uncertainty, energy companies will deny everything. Plausibility, even overwhelming evidence, isn’t enough. See also global climate change.

  34. 34
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Brandon:

    It’s worse than that. They would draft legislation which allows bottling the
    brew as mineral water with tax incentives attached.

  35. 35

    We all live along the banks of the Cuyahoga now.

  36. 36
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    @Benjamin Franklin:

    Plus an ad campaign to convince people that the murkiness actually proves it’s healthier, along with a pithy slogan like, ‘Water’s clear, better fear’ or something.

  37. 37
    Elizabelle says:

    Ho ho ho.

    Off topic: Oprah’s network is airing “Becoming Santa” tonight at 9. Like in about fifteen minutes. Sounds charming.

    The SXSW documentary audience award winner Becoming Santa was released on iTunes and Amazon.com this week, and Inside Pulse Movies’ Jenny Rebekah had the opportunity to conduct an interview with the star, Jack Sanderson, and the director, Jeff Myers. The entertaining and informative documentary, which explores the origins of Santa legends all around the world, and shows the secret underground world of men who have chosen to be year-round Santas, comes highly recommended.

    Guess that’s worth sitting through who knows how many tampon commercials.

  38. 38
    patrick the pedantic literalist says:

    The CBS report I saw claimed that Wyoming land owners do not own mineral rights to their own land and cannot stop or profit from frakking done on their property. Can that possibly be true?
    The land owner interviewed claimed his water was poisoned but he had no control or profit over what was happening to his own property.
    If this is true, who owns the rights and who profits from the sale/lease of those rights?

  39. 39
    S. cerevisiae says:

    Bottle the water and market it as “Fire of the Holy Spirit” water. You can make a fortune from gullible evangelicals.

  40. 40
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @RSA:

    Well, there always was a wiff of uncertainty about cancer sticks, too.

    That’s the way these vile parasites play the game.

  41. 41
    Steve M. says:

    You left out the part about the energy companies hiring hackers to break into servers full of e-mails from the scientists responsible for this finding, followed by a massive wingnut Wurlitzer campaign to distort the meaning of every flippant remark in those e-mails, until all the GOP candidates, including Huntsman, insist that the science is suspect.

  42. 42

    This country has really gone off the rails. I know conservatives always screech about “original intent!” and “what the framers wanted!” and all that, but unless they’re talking about something they like, like states rights, they don’t give a shit what the framers wanted. I’m not going to go digging around for anything specific right now, but the guys who set our country up 200 years ago saw businesses as underakings that would bring some benefit to society as well as to the owners. They didn’t buy into this Profit at all costs! crap we see today. Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Samule Adams, Thomas Paine, these guys would be leading the next revolution if they came back today and saw what walmart or Exxon or the Kochs or Bank of America or whoever was doing now. I bet even Alexander Hamilton would think things have gotten a little out of hand.

  43. 43

    My mother in N MI, at 84, is up to her armpits in the anti-fracking movement.

  44. 44
    patrick the pedantic literalist says:

    …until all the GOP candidates, including Huntsman, insist that the science is suspect.

    The republican governor of Wyoming, Matt Mead, was doing exactly that on CBS news this evening.

  45. 45
    Waynski says:

    @Violet: Well, you can set the servants on fire, only so much as they won’t miss work in the morning. One must be humane. We are not wolves. — David Koch

  46. 46
    dmbeaster says:

    @patrick the pedantic literalist: There are many many places where land has been sold with mineral rights reserved, which allows someone to remove oil and gas below your property without royalty. They typically dont have rights to surface access to exploit the oil and gas, but I cant say for sure that the law makes that provision everywhere when mineral rights are reserved. I would assume that pollution caused by such activity would have consequences for the drillers, but also cant say for sure.

  47. 47
    cmorenc says:

    @Arclite:

    The market will fix this. People will just stop buying natural gas if the industry doesn’t clean up its act. The good folks at Reason said so.

    Yes indeed, because the folks who get cancer and other terminal degenerative diseases from it will soon no longer be in the market for gas for heating their house and firing up their gas grill. OTOH because people who hope they still have their health will be fleeing regions where fracking has been going on, so the free market will devalue property for anything but its true best market use, fracking natural gas. And so the free market will sort things out properly after all, with property in regions away from fracking going up in value as more people want to move there, and property in regions near fracking going up in value for energy companies interested in fracking the land.

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Remember the episode of TNG where the Ferengi scientist had this incredible breakthrough in shield technology, but he was an outcast in his own society because he was interested not in the profits, but the knowledge and respect of fellow scientists?

  49. 49
    wasabi gasp says:

    I’ll have a thirst mutilator.

  50. 50
    srv says:

    I see a future in which WV or southern PA are blazing like the Deepwater Horizon.

    God Bless America for creating all those jerbs.

  51. 51
    Regnad Kcin says:

    Sorry.

    Screw Wyoming.

    They have enjoyed the benefit of disproportionate representation at the federal level for generations now, and instead of using to fix shite like this, they’ve used it to screw me and mine out of clean government, so I say they can all go pound sand (ha, literally!) and quit all this whiny BS.

  52. 52
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: That perfectly sums up the thought processes (such as they are) of both the NeoConfederates and their media enablers.

  53. 53
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    @Regnad Kcin:

    Too bad environmental stuff like this has the annoying tendency to not recognize political borders.

  54. 54
    carpeduum says:

    Boehner introducing a bill to defund the EPA as a response in 3…2….1

  55. 55
    Jamie says:

    well the good news is you can make a lot of money from your land. the bad news is your children will become mutant zombies.

  56. 56
    eco2geek says:

    Partial bibliography:

    Dr. Seuss. The Lorax. New York: Random House Children’s Books, 1971.

  57. 57
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Steve:
    …Yeah. I’m sure this is just an isolated incident, and that there is NO chance that the fracking going on in everyone else’s backyard can pose a health threat.

    (Not responding to you per se, but to that quoted section.)

  58. 58
    Regnad Kcin says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik:

    Oh, right; they may contaminate Idaho and Utah into the bargain.

    Excellent!

  59. 59
    The Moar You Know says:

    I do not have mineral rights on my land. It’s a small house in San Diego, but I actually read my sales contract, and I don’t have the rights. It did not state who did, but suddenly I’m curious.

  60. 60
    shano says:

    It is worse than you think. We use the natural gas from fracking to process the tar sands. Dick Cheneys dream energy policy written by the Multinational oil corporations in 2000.

    And those ‘tanks’ you see in the gas fields do not “contain” anything, they are releasing VOCs and other pollutants into the air 24/7. Spewing it out through a pressure valve on the top of the tank.

    We subsidize this crap with our tax dollars.

  61. 61
    Argive says:

    I live in Philadelphia. The gas companies want to start fracking in the Delaware River Watershed, which provides the drinking water for me and about 15.6 million people. The vote to allow them to do so was recently delayed, thankfully. But they won’t stop trying.

    I would love to meet the CEO of one of these companies. Maybe then I could take him to Dimock, PA and force him to go to a well that’s been corrupted by fracking and say to him, “Look at this, you son of a bitch.”

    God damn them all.

  62. 62
    dadanarchist says:

    Cole: Nothing will be done about this until and we are well and truly fucked.

    Fixed.

    By the time scavenging hordes are fighting tooth and nail for clean water, our Masters of the Universe will have “Gone Galt” to some Swiss mountain fastness, or Thielian floating city. It’s been obvious since about 2002 – the “reasonable” people are going to kill us all, and by the time we start paying attention to the “radicals,” it’ll be too late.

    At least we can snark ourselves out as the ship goes down.

  63. 63
    Lyrebird says:

    @Chuck Butcher: Awesome! My grandmother is not as active (though always votes)… she remembers when the coal companies promised they’d put the hilltops back. Ha. She was not fooled either time, & is pretty disgusted. (we are in PA, with a disgusting governor she voted against!)

  64. 64
    Mino says:

    It will be interesting to see how many statehouses go Republican this time. If there were ever an object lesson, this current crop has shown it. Georgia and Alabama might get some surprises, too, in their leges.

  65. 65
    William Hurley says:

    Indeed, it’s a disgrace.

    Too bad we don’t have a President who would use the powers of the Executive and the national reach of executive branch agencies to thwart this poisonous technique from being used in new towns, news communities and new states every day.

  66. 66
    Marc says:

    @William Hurley:

    When in doubt, blame Obama. Regardless of the subject, regardless of whether he has anything to do with it.

  67. 67
    sukabi says:

    gee, who woulda thought that high pressure pumping of chemicals into the earth to fracture, dissolve, and ‘liberate’ oil in shale deposits would also move along the fault lines broken in the shale and find refuge in the ground water…

  68. 68
    Wyolib says:

    Dick Cheney/Haliburton got a pass from the EPA for fracking while he was VP
    http://www.earthworksaction.org/halliburton.cfm

    Where fracking is doen water from faucet are flammable
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEQMA0zwMM4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRZ4LQSonXA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....&NR=1
    Check youtube for more

    Countries are banning or considering banning due to earthquake link
    http://rt.com/usa/news/france-.....disasters/
    http://planetsave.com/2011/07/.....-fracking/
    http://www.reuters.com/article.....0020111102

    US may finally do something about this problem
    Ironic that the first national coverage of this came from the state Cheney is from

  69. 69
    bob h says:

    It is comforting to live in NJ where fracking is not allowed and never will be.

  70. 70
  71. 71
    Steve says:

    @Jay in Oregon: I think your sarcasm is misplaced. The article explains why this particular episode of fracking may, in fact, be more dangerous than fracking as it is practiced elsewhere. A lot of people think they know (in their gut, because that is where true science is performed) that fracking is an environmental disaster in every single case, and they may even be right, but they shouldn’t go thinking this article is proof that they’re right.

  72. 72
    JR says:

    The energy billionaires will frack up the clean groundwater until decent drinking water costs MORE than oil, or beer.

    Then we’ll learn to create balanced meals without meat, because no one will be able to afford to water their cattle.

    Eventually we’ll be where they want us, naked and starving in hovels and no threat to their overlordship over the planet. Then who will buy their products? How much will a handbuilt iPad cost?

  73. 73
    Silver Owl says:

    Executives are the only people where society and people in power give them free reign to kill people for money and in the name of capitalism.

  74. 74
    Felonious Monk says:

    It’s been my dream to start a non-profit that would go around the country opening toxic waste dumps and fracking in the aquifers right next to the main residences of the 1%, knowing full well that they would support my entrepreneurial spirit.

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