Frackers in Pennsylvania used illegal additives


Barbara McPherson
When fracking approaches an old vertical well, blowouts can happen
An environmental watchdog group, Environmental Integrity Project(EIP), has blown the whistle on frackers in Pennsylvania who have been pumping kerosene into their wells.  Much of the fracking liquid used in the petrochemical industry’s rock fracturing operations is unregulated in the USA. The Energy Policy Act 2005 makes most of the additives exempt from regulation except for diesel. Diesel and its products can be used if a permit is granted.

EIP’s report Fracking Beyond the Law, alleges that using the companies’ own self-reported date that kerosene, derived from diesel, has been used in Pennsylvania operations. There have been no permits issued for its use. They go on to state that diesel has been used widely throughout the states to extract oil and gas.

"Injecting diesel fuel into the ground to fracture shale and extract gas or oil is a potential threat to drinking water supplies and public health because diesel contains toxic chemicals, such as benzene, that cause cancer or other serious health problems, even at low doses. EIP"

The exemptions to the US Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act afforded to the petroleum industry are smirkingly referred to as the “Halliburton Loophole”. Halliburton is the company involved with the giant Gulf of Mexico well blowout. Dick Cheney former US vice-president has served as a top level executive for the drilling company.

Some drilling companies in the US have maintained that they are not using diesel in their fracking liquid. In 2014 the US Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) released an updated guide to clarify which substances contain diesel. Included in the list is kerosene. It is important to note that the drilling companies wishing to use these substances containing benzene, xylene, toluene are not prohibited from doing so. They must get a permit to do so.

Adding to the controversy over rock fracturing to gain petroleum products is the huge amount of water that each well consumes. The water becomes toxic waste when the unknown chemicals are added to it. Often the fracking is using the precious resource in areas of severe drought.

One of the arguments for fracking in the USA is so that that nation can achieve energy independence. Unfortunately much of the natural gas presently extracted is processed and shipped overseas.

No Water No Life
Sources:
Environmental Protection Agency    

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