In the recent Season Two fall release, the Southern Wyoming episode explored and briefly explained a process called “fracking”. For those who have not yet heard the Wyoming episode, or for those who need a refresher on what fracking is, you can visit our Wyoming episode page to listen to the full episode, or choose to listen by segment.
You can click on Segment C and skip ahead to 6:25 to listen more specifically about fracking.
One of the major issues about fracking concerns a precious commodity – water. The issues range from the millions of gallons of water consumed by the fracking process, to the contamination left behind in the water that is intended for human consumption.
There has been a great battle going on between the people of Wyoming living on the land and those who believe that the fracking process outweighs concerns because of the greater benefits it produces in the form of oil and gas.
Since the Wyoming episode aired, some interesting results about fracking have surfaced, so we’re passing on a quick synopsis on the latest developments surrounding the process. Although this study was done in a different part of Wyoming than that of the episode, the results of fracking are interesting, regardless of location. To read this article from ProPublica by Abraham Lustgarten in its entirety, click here. Following is an excerpt from Lustgarten’s article.
“As the country awaits results from a nationwide safety study on the natural gas drilling process of fracking, a separate government investigation into contamination in a place where residents have long complained that drilling fouled their water has turned up alarming levels of underground pollution.
“A pair of environmental monitoring wells drilled deep into an aquifer in Pavillion, Wyo., contain high levels of cancer-causing compounds and at least one chemical commonly used in hydraulic fracturing, according to new water test results released yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“The finding is consistent with water samples the EPA has collected from at least 42 homes in the area since 2008, when ProPublica began reporting on foul water and health concerns in Pavillion and the agency started investigating reports of contamination there.
“Last year — after warning residents not to drink or cook with the water and to ventilate their homes when they showered — the EPA drilled monitoring wells to get a more precise picture of the extent of the contamination.
” The Pavillion area has been drilled extensively for natural gas over the last two decades and is home to hundreds of gas wells. Residents have alleged for nearly a decade that the drilling — and hydraulic fracturing in particular — has caused their water to turn black and smell like gasoline. Some residents say they suffer neurological impairment, loss of smell, and nerve pain they associate with exposure to pollutants …
“The information released [recently] by the EPA was limited to raw sampling data: The agency did not interpret the findings or make any attempt to identify the source of the pollution. From the start of its investigation, the EPA has been careful to consider all possible causes of the contamination and to distance its inquiry from the controversy around hydraulic fracturing …
“The EPA said the water samples were saturated with methane gas that matched the deep layers of natural gas being drilled for energy. The gas did not match the shallower methane that the gas industry says is naturally occurring in water, a signal that the contamination was related to drilling and was less likely to have come from drilling waste spilled above ground …
“The EPA’s research in Wyoming is separate from the agency’s ongoing national study of hydraulic fracturing’s effect on water supplies, and is being funded through the Superfund cleanup program.”
“The EPA says it will release a lengthy draft of the Pavillion findings, including a detailed interpretation of them, later this month.”
We’ve heard a variety of stories on fracking and similar practices since our Southern Wyoming episode aired, and welcome your comments and input on this controversial subject. Are there similar issues affecting your community? Keep the conversation going by sharing your comments below.