Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Frac Mining

If you haven't seen Split Estate yet on the Green or other channel which covers gas mining mostly in Colorado, I suggest you tune in the next time it is shown. This documentary is a real eye opener as to the health risks associated with this new method of horizontal drilling and fracting of the rock to release the trapped natural gas. Essentially during the fracting process, a million or more gallons of water are pumped down the well shaft along with a mixture of sand and other chemicals which the companies are not required to disclose. During this documentary an environmental researcher who apparently is able to break down some of the chemical composition of these drilling/fracting fluids lists some of the many chemical compounds. Of course this fracting fluid is pumped back out of the wells prior to beginning gas recovery and then must be disposed of. These pits are an environmental nightmare. A significant number of producing wells have blown out, and are burned creating hazardous air pollution. People are getting sick, people are having to move out and their property values have plummeted. In some cases people have simply abandoned ther dream homes and family lands. Methane gas has been seen bubbling up in local streams to the point where they can be ignited with a match. This new type of mining is growing leaps and bounds and is touted as the worlds solution to the energy crises. In reality, the firms mining this gas a take no responsibility for the environmental damage or the health problems which are occurring and if fact on this documentary seen as claiming the fluids are drinkable and completely safe.

Frac mining requires huge amounts of water and a special type of very fine essentially round sand particles. To support all the new gas mining operations, the search for more deposits of this fine sand are underway. A new sand mine is being planned in Izard County, a North Arkansas Ozark Region which has been noted for its pristine waters and many forests teaming with wildlife. This region is a huge recreational area providing world class trout fishing, deer, turkey, bear and other hunting opportunities. Canoeing and other water sports on our many streams and rivers is big business in this area. Another silica mine which has been in existence for a very long time at Guion in Izard County is planning on increasing its sand mining production 700%. And, other sand processing plants are in the works. Do we want our region destroyed by uncontrolled mining in our area? Are we willing to suffer the health consequences when frac mining moves into our area. Do we trust the new mining companies to tell the whole story when it comes to all the hazards to our air and water from these processes? Who will replace our ground water when the aquifers are pumped dry? Who will clean up our streams and rivers when they dump their waste water into our creeks? If you think ADEQ has the resources to oversee what is going on you are terribly mistaken. ADEQ has only 17 people committed to investigate and monitor all the mining, water and waste disposal sites in the entire State.

It is absolutely critical that our citizens become involved and learn the potential risks to our environment, Ozark way of life and our health. These energy companies don't give a damn about your welfare. Think they do? Please watch this video and come to your own conclusions as to whether this is what you want in your region and whether you believe you can trust these energy related companies!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Public Meeting Scheduled on Proposed Frac Sand Plant - Monday Oct 5, Calico Rock

Friends of the Rivers and folks in the Izard County area,

Over the past few weeks it has become clear that a number of "frac" sand mining and sand processing operations have plans to develop in Izard County. The need for sand for gas drilling, especially in the Fayetteville shale, is driving this development. This particular company is planning a large open quarry mine and already has a stormwater permit for 240 acres in a 1000 acre area they own with a multimillion dollar plant proposed. Unimen, the sand plant that has been in Guion for years has filed for permits to expand. At least one other plant has filed for permits.

People involved with Friends of Mill and Piney Creeks (FMCPC)have been leading an effort, with our partnership to understand and grasp the significance of this development and how it will affect our watershed and the streams in their area which flow into the White River from Piney Creek. The City of Calico Rock is considering drilling 3 wells for this company.

The White River Current, the Calico Rock newspaper, is sponsoring this event and it was front page news.

I wanted to share this release from FMCPC and ask that you share with those you think would be interested. We will be updating our web site and blog on this as we're able to get a handle on more solid information. This meeting should be crucial in that regard.

Gene Dunaway
Board Member
Friends of the North Fork and White Rivers

Public Meeting Scheduled on Proposed Frac Sand Plant

Monday, October 5, 6:00pm

Calico Rock Music Hall, Calico Rock, Arkansas

Evergreen Processing will share information about the project and be available to answer questions, as well as respond to any concerns and comments from the community.

Please attend if you are interested in learning details about the project.

Some of the issues of concern are:

  • The proposal to use 850,000 gallons of water per day (what will this do to wells in the area and to the aquifer?)
  • Excess water from processing will be discharged into Bailey and Pearogue Creeks which feed into Mill and Piney Creeks and then into the White River. What impact will this have on these waterways?
  • Noise and lights from a 20 hour per day operation
  • Air quality issue (frac sand is silica sand and in Wisconsin there are major concerns about safety regarding mining of this sand)
  • Impact on our roads – 40-60 trucks of sand per day will be shipped from the plant. Impact on traffic and wear-and-tear on the roads themselves
Quarry mines usually become big holes in the ground. Large scale quarry mining could change the entire character of our area. The Quorum Court should take action immediately to slow this process down until they can determine exactly what is going to happen and assure there is no risk to our water and property.