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!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Both of the major Little Rock Newspapers have been remiss about thoroughly covering this story, and yet this is Arkansas' "deciding issue" as we look forward. ..Why are they deliberately not covering the story?