In the ongoing heated debate over hydraulic fracturing, can we all at least agree that chemical contamination does not come from the mostly water and sand (with a little bit of chemical additive) that is pumped a mile or more below the earth’s surface? The general public hears from the media echo chamber that “fracking threatens water supplies” and assumes that somehow, in some way, chemicals will rise up from a mile below the ground and contaminate water wells and aquifers near the surface. It just doesn’t happen—it’s a physical impossibility. Here’s an excellent analogy recently printed in Popular Mechanics to put it in perspective:
In a split 3-2 decision in May of this year, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) voted to confer public utility status on Laser Northeast Gathering, a 30-mile, $55 million pipeline that stretches from Susquehanna County, PA to Broome County, NY (see MDN story here). When complete, the pipeline will connect wells in Susquehanna County with the Millennium Pipeline in Broome County. The Millennium is an interstate pipeline that transports gas from Steuben County in western NY to Rockland County, near New York City, hooking in with several other large interstate pipelines along the way. Laser sought public utility status so it would have the power of eminent domain—the power to run the pipeline under property even if landowners object. At the time, MDN objected.
Even though “fracking” – a reference to hydraulic fracturing – has become a dirty word for some, it’s certainly a good business to be in. Frac Tech International is one such company in the business of providing fracking services to oil and gas drillers. Just 11 years old and with yearly revenues exceeding a billion dollars, Frac Tech is set to float shares of stock and become a public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company plans to change its name to FTS International and wants to raise $1.15 billion in an initial public offering (IPO).
Several thousand residents of Peters Township, a small township in Washington County, Pennsylvania, are attempting to force a ban of all natural gas drilling in the township by amending the township’s charter. It’s not clear whether or not the town council will allow a vote on the proposed measure: