Read the studies on fracking, Fishermen concerned about industry if fracking approved, West coast fishermen wary of possible problems

Fishermen concerned about industry if fracking approved, West coast fishermen wary of possible problems by CBC News, August 15, 2013
Port au Port Peninsula fishermen voiced concerns at a meeting Wednesday night about the future of their industry if fracking were to be approved near the waters where they fish. … Terry Tucker, a fisherman in the area, said he doesn’t think fracking is a fool-proof process. Fishermen on the Port au Port Peninsula are concerned about fracking plans in the area. Fracking is a technique which injects oil, water and chemicals into wells to draw out oil.Fishermen on the Port au Port Peninsula are concerned about fracking plans in the area. “They’re pumping a bunch of chemicals down into the ground, they’re pumping it down into a mile down — no one really knows what goes on down there,” Tucker said. “This is all just a guess and this is a big chance to take. If things go wrong and there’s no fix, and NASA engineers can’t fix it, and it’s just unfixable. So then this place here just goes — everything goes.”

Tucker said he actually used to work in the fracking industry, but he didn’t like what he saw. “It’s actually scary when you think of what they were doing because after the job was done, I went over cause I was just there watching, and I grabbed a handful of the … sand that we put down into the ground, and just dumped on the ground,” he said.  “And when I had … the sand in my hand, one of the chief engineers ran over to me and said, ‘Get that out of your hand, wash your hands, do you know what’s in that?’ They just dumped it in a field, just in a cattle field, so it seems to me that they weren’t really too concerned about just dumping that stuff into a cattle field and I don’t think they’d be really concerned about dumping that stuff into Bay St. George or Port au Port Bay where I fish.” Tucker said he would be happy to have more development in the area, but doesn’t think it would be worth the risk to the natural environment. “I’d love to see development here. I’d love to see companies coming in and bring jobs and bring money and bring everything to the place, but I don’t think it’s worth the chance of destroying something, even if there’s a small, small chance that it could just go to crap,” he said. … Black Spruce Exploration is planning to establish fracking wells on the Port au Port Peninsula, pending approvals from government and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board. [Emphasis added]

Read the studies on fracking by Edwin Bezzina, August 15, 2013, The Telegram
I write in response to Barry Stagg’s letter that is in favour of fracking in western Newfoundland (The Telegram, Aug. 2.) … Those who are hesitant about fracking have many reasons to be and there is more to be concerned about than just the “spectre of pollution from drilling materials.” In addition to the difficulties involved in storing, transporting and disposing of fracking chemicals (those that do not remain in the ground, that is), one must also consider the release of uncaptured methane gas from the wells (a very potent contributor to climate change), air pollution, toxic leaks at the fracking site, the depletion of freshwater supplies to service the fracking wells, minor seismic activity, and heavy truck traffic on a coastal road system that is not equipped to handle it. I suggest that Stagg consult the following three studies.

The first one came out of Duke University (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. 108, no. 20, pp. 8172-76), and it examines water contamination from fracking in over 50 private wells in the Marcellus Shale in the Pennsylvania area. The methane contaminating the water has been traced to the shale layer targeted by fracking operations. Even though the shale is thousands of metres below the aquifers, the methane is able to reach them probably through cracked cement casings in the well bore; cracks in the casings could be occurring because of minor tectonic activity. Fracking also creates new and unanticipated fissures in the ground, potentially creating pathways for the methane gas to migrate upwards.

The second study is a major book written by Tom Wilber, “Under the Surface: Fracking, Fortunes, and the Fate of the Marcellus Shale” (Cornell University Press, 2012). This is a very balanced book on gas-fracking in mostly Pennsylvania. The book documents widespread risks associated with fracking, the difficulties involved in trying to obtain redress from a particular company responsible for contaminating private water wells, and the inability of regulators to keep up with the pace of shale-gas development.

The third study is a 93-page inventory on water contamination caused by fracking, compiled by environmental consultant Jessica Ernst. While some fracking proponents continue to claim that the process has been used safely in Western Canada in 200,000 wells, we read in the Ernst report that groundwater contamination due to fracking is, in fact, a real problem. In 2012, the Alberta Energy and Resources Conservation Board released a report admitting that fracking near Grande Prairie had contaminated fresh water with toxic chemicals used in the fracking fluids. Nor are these incidents anomalous. They are numerous enough to give any intelligent citizen cause for doubt. [Emphasis added]

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