Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Earthquakes from fracking?

So what does the largest earthquake to hit Arkansas in 35 years have to do with us?  It seems that Arkansas, home to the Fayetteville Shale, has fallen victim to more than 800 small earthquakes since September alone.  Some are drawing a possible connection between the earthquakes and the large amount of fracking going on in the area.  They have issued a  6 month moratorium against new injection wells while they study any possible connections.

The following excerpt is from article posted by the Associated Press yesterday:

Largest earthquake in 35 years hits Arkansas
by Sarah Eddington

GREENBRIER, Ark. — The central Arkansas town of Greenbrier has been plagued for months by hundreds of small earthquakes, and after being woken up by the largest quake to hit the state in 35 years, residents said Monday they're unsettled by the increasing severity and lack of warning.

The U.S. Geological Survey recorded the quake at 11 p.m. Sunday, centered just northeast of Greenbrier, about 40 miles north of Little Rock. It was the largest of more than 800 quakes to strike the area since September in what is now being called the Guy-Greenbrier earthquake swarm.

The activity has garnered national attention and researchers are studying whether there's a possible connection to the region's natural gas drilling industry. The earthquake activity varies each week, though as many as nearly two dozen small quakes have occurred in a day....

...What woke Tarkington was a magnitude 4.7 earthquake that was also felt in Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee and Mississippi. No injuries or major damage have been reported, but the escalation in the severity of quakes in and around the small north-central Arkansas town has many residents on edge. Some said they're seeing gradual damage to their homes, such as cracks in walls and driveways....

...[S]cientists continue to study whether there may be a connection between the earthquakes and local injection wells, where the natural gas industry pumps waste water that can no longer be used by drillers for hydraulic fracturing....

To read the original article in full, please click HERE.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


No, it didn't win the Oscar.  But it's won on so many other levels. Thanks to this documentary, people are talking about a topic that most had never heard of a few years ago.  Case in point: the front page of today's New York Times.  Thank you, Josh Fox, for all of your efforts, your tenacity, and your refusal to back down or be silenced.  You may not have a golden statue for those efforts, but you have the thanks and respect of thousands of people around the world fighting this fight.  And the fight continues!

Top House Democrat outraged over admissions in today's NYTimes.

The front page story in today's New York Times caught the eye--and the ire--of Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey who promptly fired off a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson demanding immediate action.  As referenced in our previous post, the NYTimes investigative report discloses information from internal reports and studies by not only the EPA, but the drilling industry itself.  Read all about it--including portions of Markey's letter, by clicking HERE.  To read the previous post from this blog--which includes the link to the New York Times article--click HERE.

NYT uncovers confidential gas industry, EPA reports.

The New York Times published a lengthy story online yesterday (appearing on the front page of today's newspaper) detailing just how inadequate the existing regulations are when it comes to fracking for natural gas.  Of particular note: the revelation in a gas industry report that "treated" fracking water released back into our streams and rivers still contains amounts of radioactivity that cannot be diluted.  Seems like a no-brainer to me but it's the first time I've heard an industry insider admit it.  Of course the admission takes place in a confidential report that is only now seeing the light of day.  Furthermore, EPA scientists express concern in their own study--also never made public--that water treatment plants are incapable of removing certain contaminants and are in all likelihood violating the law.

Here's an excerpt:

"...While the existence of the toxic wastes has been reported, thousands of internal documents obtained by The New York Times from the Environmental Protection Agency, state regulators and drillers show that the dangers to the environment and health are greater than previously understood.

The documents reveal that the wastewater, which is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it and then discharged into rivers that supply drinking water, contains radioactivity at levels higher than previously known, and far higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for these treatment plants to handle.

The Times also found never-reported studies by the E.P.A. and a confidential study by the drilling industry that all concluded that radioactivity in drilling waste cannot be fully diluted in rivers and other waterways...."

To read the entire article in full, click HERE.