You were right all along. Fracking is poisoning the groundwater

“All of the above” energy policy? I’d like you to meet “3 strikes and you’re out,” as in it’s three strikes and she’s out for Gina McCarthy of the EPA, and, oh, about a dozen strikes for President Obama and his big plans to fight climate change. WTF? Seriously.

There is now further proof that fracking contaminates groundwater, plus the extra added bonus of the EPA covering up the facts they’ve been sitting on for years. Common sense has told the average person that fracking a) contaminates the groundwater, b) is causing earthquakes, c) is no better or less damaging than any other fossil fuel extraction process, and d) is absolutely NOT part of any solution to climate change. And YET, our elected officials, and those who they control, have been poo-pooing (or, rather,”shitting on”) what everyone has not only known, but what they’ve felt in their bones. Call it common sense, intuition, survival instinct…whatever you call it, it’s something that the US government does not collectively possess.

And this should be a teachable moment except that I suspect most of us have given up on the lesson by now. But we can’t. Our president is either totally corrupt or insanely gullible. And he’s forced those around and below him to do, or be, the same. But who suffers? Unfortunately, it’s not only humans, which would be bad enough, but it’s also plenty of other living, breathing, innocent creatures that have no voice and no choices about what to do or where to go.

The latest evidence about the dangers of the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking process that I referred to appeared today in an article in Scientific American. The article references a study conducted by Dominic DiGiulio (now at Stanford) and Rob Jackson titled, “Impact to Underground Sources of Drinking Water and Domestic Wells from Production Well Stimulation and Completion Practices in the Pavillion, Wyoming, Field.” Unfortunately, their paper is behind a paywall, but an abstract can be read here. DiGiulio had to retire from the EPA just to continue his work uncovering the truth and getting his message out. The paper flatly states:

“Concentrations of major ions in produced water samples outside expected levels in the Wind River Formation, leakoff of stimulation fluids into formation media, and likely loss of zonal isolation during stimulation at several production wells, indicates that impact to USDWs has occurred. Detection of organic compounds used for well stimulation in samples from two monitoring wells installed by EPA, plus anomalies in major ion concentrations in water from one of these monitoring wells, provide additional evidence of impact to USDWs and indicate upward solute migration to depths of current groundwater use.”

If you are unable to access the full paper,  I highly recommend you read the Scientific American article about it, which can be accessed here. DiGuilio’s co author, Rob Jackson, had this to say about the EPA: 

“The national office of EPA has tended to downplay concerns of their own investigators, in part because the Obama administration has promoted natural gas,” Jackson said.

Another takeaway from the Scientific American article is this:

“In February 2012, it [EPA] assembled a technical team from the USGS, Wyoming state regulators and tribal representatives from the Wind River Indian Reservation. They retested the monitoring wells in April 2012.

This time, they also tested for methanol. But EPA never released those results to the public. In 2013, the agency backed out of its investigation in Pavillion, handing it over to state regulators, who moved forward using a $1.5 million grant from Encana.”

“Moved forward?” Does anyone else smell a rat? By the way, whenever you see the group, “Energy in Depth,” which is mentioned in the SciAm article (and who are now running TV ads related to the presidential election), shield your eyes and ears because they’re a bunch of total liars and crooks, just a front group for the fossil fuel industry. Their cloven hooves are all over this mess.

I’ve written about fracking quite a bit. The “secret sauce” used in the injection process, which is blasted into the ground is, literally, secret. Some genius made it a proprietary secret (ever hear of the Halliburton Loophole – thanks, Dick Cheney!) so the industry doesn’t have to report on what their toxic stew is made up of. It’s all voluntary, and if scientists don’t know what they’re looking for, how can they identify it in water and soil samples, right?  Imagine taking all the chemicals and cleaners in your kitchen, garage, basement, and the local hardware store, dump it all into a big old barrel, and then sit down with a super long straw for a nice big slushy. Eww. That stuff shouldn’t be consumed by plants, animals, or humans (except Dick Cheney).

And what about those state regulators referred to in the Scientific American article? Totally corrupted. And in places like Pennsylvania, which is saddled with the Marcellus Shale natural gas extravaganza, they not only have groundwater contamination, but, as I wrote here, radioactivity. The Pennsylvania DEP claimed it was all totally safe, lauding the most lame report ever written, which I actually printed out (400+ damn pages long) and poured over. The Pennsylvania DEP claimed it was “peer reviewed,” but I proved that it was not peer reviewed. Not even close. And the math wasn’t even right, so, there’s that.

I wanted to like Gina McCarthy. I sort of liked her spunk and her accent and demeanor. She’s worthless dangerously complicit. I, of course, also wanted to like, or at least respect Barack Obama, who I voted for twice. History will not judge his presidency kindly. At the exact time when the planet needed a warrior, what it got was more of the same, or worse, actually. Hillary Clinton will, I fear, do even more damage than Obama has managed to do because she basically always has. It’s not even a guess. We have proof and everything, and once elected (if elected), there will be no stopping her. I’ve written about Obama’s “all of the above” energy policy many times, and I’ve also written about fracking many times. Instead of putting links throughout this post, I’ll put some references at the bottom of this page for further reading.

The point which I’d really like to drive home is that no one is keeping us safe. We are not protected or governed, from the bottom to the top, by anyone who is doing anything to preserve our planet, or help us live healthy lives.  If you suspected that fracking was NOT a good thing, you were right, despite being told you were wrong, or crazy. Keep in mind that those people or organizations who were trying to convince you that something that just seemed really bad was actually being done responsibly and, of course, also trying to sell natural gas as “clean energy,” well, they’re liars. People need to not only hear this, but, like fracking, feel it in their bones, down to their core. If we don’t speak out and stand for what is right, and if we don’t call out what is wrong, our elected leadership will (continue to) do nothing, except what they’re told to do by corporations and crooks.

People say that places like Libya and Syria are “failed states.” The definition of a failed state is, “a state whose political or economic system has become so weak that the government is no longer in control.” There are plenty of lists, circulated each year, naming such countries, with important statistics and pictures of starving infants used by supposed “security experts” and other know-it-alls who think they’re in a superior position to know such things. That’s a lot of horse shit, actually. Sure, there is a lot of misery and corruption and horrific goings-on, but quite a few of those nations on such “lists” got that way thanks to the United States and other Western powers who decided to do whatever they wanted to do, and to take whatever they wanted, in those places. And if some ill-advised war needed to be started to (really) get what we wanted, so be it.

So where does that leave the United States? The simplistic (and somewhat innocuous sounding) term, “failed state” doesn’t cut it here, because we not only poison, deceive, and destroy our own nation, but we have also managed to export such misery all over the place. In fact, more than a few dictators aspire to such heights (or perhaps, “depths”). In a scathing, and yet correct, interpretation of the United States’ position in the world, economist and former Treasury official (under Reagan) Dr. Paul Craig Roberts says that the US is not only a “failed state,” but it’s also a “plague upon the world.” He took the words right out of my mouth.

Further reading:

FracFocus – Wall of Shame award winner, November 2014
“Most successful President in history?” January 2015
A Strategy for an Update on a Report of a Plan, February 2015
Warrior, skeptic, denier, shill, May 2015
Yes. Fracking is killing you, October 2015