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Chesapeake Energy Changes Natural Gas Drilling Over Water Concerns

Chesapeakenatural gasDue to environmental concerns over safe drinking water, Chesapeake Energy Corp. has agreed not to drill for natural gas within the New York City watershed, a small area within the Marcellus Shale natural gas reserve, which includes some of the Appalachian regions of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and West Virginia, reports EARTHWORKS.

According to Chesapeake Energy, the company’s decision is primarily based on the distraction caused by environmental concerns over drilling in the NYC watershed.

“Though Chesapeake believes it can drill safely in any watershed, including New York City’s as confirmed by New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation’s supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS), we have chosen to focus our efforts on more promising areas for gas development in the state,” stated Aubrey K. McClendon, Chesapeake’s Chief executive officer, in a press release.

McClendon also noted that the company supports setting high environmental standards for the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, and supports the Department of Environmental Conservation’s decision to have all hydraulic fracturing vendors register their products and reveal the chemicals used in them.

Chesapeake has already disclosed the frac chemicals, which can be found at either www.chk.com and www.hydraulicfracturing.com.

Hydraulic fracturing, the technology that has opened shale gas deposits across the country to profitable drilling, continues to be exempt from the U.S.’s safe drinking water law because of a loophole — called the Halliburton loophole — included in the 2005 energy bill, according to EARTHWORKS.

In June 2009, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) together with U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), and Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced companion Senate and House bills, called the FRAC ACT — Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, amending the Safe Drinking Water Act (H.R. 2776 and S. 1215) — to repeal the exemption provided for the oil and gas industry, ensuring that hydraulic fracturing is regulated to protect drinking water. The legislation would require them to disclose the chemicals they use in their hydraulic fracturing processes.

Currently, the oil and gas industry is the only industry granted an exemption from complying with the Safe Drinking Water Act, according to the legislators.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” which is used in almost all oil and gas wells, is a process where fluids are injected at high pressure into underground rock formations to blast them open and increase the flow of fossil fuels. This injection of unknown and potentially toxic chemicals, including diesel fuel, benzene, industrial solvents, and other carcinogens and endocrine disrupters, often occurs near drinking water wells, according to the legislators.

There are a number of cases in the U.S. where hydraulic fracturing is the prime suspect in incidences of impaired or polluted drinking water including Alabama, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming, reports EARTHWORKS.

As an example, the 2008 contamination of two springs in Western Garfield County, Colorado, has been connected with nearby water pits used to hold toxic sludge from gas wells, according to a report by Halepaska and Associates of Littleton, reports the Post Independent.

The report names the Williams Production and OXY USA gas companies as the “likely” culprits in the Prather spring contamination cases, based on studies of the groundwater, soils and drainage patterns of the terrain, according to the article.

Testing showed that the water was heavily tainted by a chemical brew known as BTEX, containing benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, which typically comes to the surface during the drilling process, reports the Post Independent.

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3 thoughts on “Chesapeake Energy Changes Natural Gas Drilling Over Water Concerns

  1. I have land along the Delaware River not far from Hancock,N.Y. On the hill side of PA over looking Hancock. I want a well drilled. How far from the River does N.Y.C. think they can control. I may sue them for hindering my income ability and making us more dependent on foreign fuels. I hope we have a cold winter and they beg for gas.

  2. In reply to the Gales comment..there is a surplus at this time of gas in the US. I have a file of water tests by a nationally certified laboratory that show very dangerous chemicals are now in the drinking water in WVa and in PA. The water in both the Mon and the Ohio river has been contaminated as well.These people have knowingly poisoned the drinking water and as they have a history of doing this in other countries and also poisoning our own military in Iraq, I am sure that arrest and trial for crimes against humanity by sociopaths is the only answer…these people are killing their own workers and covering that up as well..latest case is Danny Puckett with drilling mud additives being found responsible for his death in Texas…these are the criminals on the inside who hide behind our laws and destroy and pollute. these are the greatest public enemies in our time and the fact that they have once again lied about their ingredient list should speed the process of getting them under oath, seizing their tankers for inspection and give them life in prison with no mercy. Mothers want them to drink the fraced water that they have poisoned….

  3. I have a problem with Marilyn’s comment. In 2005 the EPA was bought out by industry, plain and simple. The part that people seem to forget is how they got to work that day when they go online and complain about how the oil and gas industry is raping the land and murdering people slowly. They drove to work, unless you are one of the very very few people who own an all electric car, by burning a petroleum product. But wait also a little discussed topic is that New York produces the majority of its power on natural gas and coal. So even the very very few electric cars aren’t getting their power from the wind. The demand by the gas using American public is so high that in order for the EPA to keep its people in power they have to bend their own rules to survive. Its not right but that is what has happened. Surface waters in the NYC watershed are the only things endanger when natural gas drilling takes place. Groundwater would not be affected. There are those out there who believe (falsely, I might add) that when underground injection occurs that it is being pumped into the water table. The underground injection of produced well water is being pumped roughly a mile below the water table in the Marcellus shale and according to a study done by USACE there is about a 1 in 2,000,000 probability that it will ever contact the water table. Even less of a chance is that the produced water would mix enough into the water table to affect public health. So the summary is that NY needs to set up underground injection wells and only allow minimal surface storage. Mr. Gales could get royalty checks and you could quit slinging out information that is based on unresearched propaganda. By the way you are also using fossil fuels right now to look at this message. Plastics in your computer, warm/cool air in your home, and the electricity in your wall to turn this machine on is all being brought to you by oil, natural gas or coal. It sucks when some truth is put out there but hopefully you will get used to it.

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