Failure Is an Option We Should Consider

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

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Those images of the out-of-control nuclear plants in Japan are hard-wired to our own situation in Dallas. Their tragedy is our challenge. The question is whether we see the wire in time.

City council member Angela Hunt has succeeded in forcing Mayor Dwaine Caraway to put the issue of natural gas drilling in urban areas on the city council agenda for a briefing on April 20. Residents near Hensley Field and Joe Pool Lake are worried about plans by XTO Energy to engage in deep rock-cracking operations for natural gas called "fracking" in the drilling trade.

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I'm not saying that fracking can cause a disaster here anywhere near the scale of what is happening in Japan. But it can cause a disaster. And the lessons of Sendai are lessons we need to learn in Dallas.

The public dangers from fracking include possible poisoning of ground water, house explosions and caustic air pollution. Of course, there is also the real possibility that none of these problems will occur because adequate precautions will be taken to ensure they do not. Only an inconceivable failure of our precautionary measures would pose a real threat.

And there is the hard wire. In the wake of the ever-worsening disaster in Japan, some public policy thinkers are beginning to write about the importance and value of inconceivable failure as a planning tool. If you have time, look at this very interesting blog post title "Inconceivable ... why failure should be a part of the plan. And isn't."

It's a pretty simple concept. Look at Japan. Ask yourself: What could they have done to prevent an earthquake and tsunami? Easy answer, right? Nothing. There is no way at all that they or we can plan ahead of or defeat Mother Nature when she decides to give us a beating.

So the idea here is that you start with that concept. Assume failure. Then work backwards. Ask yourself what you're going to do about disaster if and when it happens.

Assume we had four dozen big rigs operating in close proximity to neighborhoods.

Assume a natural disaster like tornado or flood knocks them all a-winding. Assume there is a massive incursion of chemical toxins and radioactive isotopes -- the stuff used in fracking -- into either the ground water or the public water system in Dallas, along with a plume of air pollutants.

Then ask: What could we do? What mechanisms would be in place to protect us? If the answer is that we would not be able to protect ourselves from four dozen big rigs knocked a-winding, then maybe we need to reel it back in and do the same scenario for two dozen rigs. Or six rigs. Or none. There's a difference between optimism and stupidity.

The problem with mechanical precautions is that they are sold to us by the people who want to make money off the danger. We need objective committed experts who will look at these issues and how they affect our communities the same way we would look at a threat to our own loved ones -- very, very realistically, with a whole lot of what-ifs.

That's why the task force that Hunt wants to get up and running is so important. We need experts to help us with these questions. We need a way to ensure that the experts we get are not on the take. We don't want to be 'fraidy cats. But we don't want to poison the babies.

All easier said than done. The sooner we get on it, the better. Notice I didn't even mention the levees.


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50 comments
Sharson
Sharson

It's called the precautionary principle. At some point we dropped that principle.

Julian Fernandez
Julian Fernandez

Risk aversion is not a bad thing.

I am sure that the Japanese were assured that nuclear energy generating 70% of their domestic energy needs was a good idea. Yet Tokyo Electric built and maintained nuclear facilities on a major fault, next to the ocean and had no plan when their secondary generators were wiped out by the totally predictable tsunami. The short-term bottom line of Tokyo Electric trumped logic and experience and the public welfare.

Given the number of times that the "worst-case scenario" plays out in real time on our televisions and that the "Cassandras" pushing caution have been proved to be right, I don't understand how we can continue to trust that Corporate Class knows what's best for society at large. They don't. They know how to line their private pockets with public treasure.

Anecdotal and documentary evidence of the dangers of hydraulic fracturing is piling up. I'm sorry, but destroying our fresh water in exchange for 30 years worth of "Clean Natural Gas" is absurd.

Kim Triolo Feil
Kim Triolo Feil

Dear City Councils, regarding the Lake Arlington produced water spill last July, it was the 1H Olcott South well that was being re-worked. There are more questions regarding just what happened, why we don't know exactly how much spilled (we need to make drillers accountable for knowing what they are holding in those tanks), and why the well was needing to be refracked? If you look at the attached production report, you see how the decrease in production at a decreasing rate is troubling (for mineral holders $). Re-Fracking means more water use (AND DISPOSAL). I read in an oil and gas association website that the rocks deep in the ground give way and the collapse is what interferes with production. My fear is that when the wells are shut-in/not producing, I think that the produced water is still flowing, just not up the well bore. I think that the produced water may be finding a path of least resistance (migration). I read that 20% of fracked shale yields gas and the other 80% may be migrating through all the now pulverized/fracked rocks. The Pantego well had produced water migrating into another nearby well-I sent you all that email. I am concerned about our air quality as my number one concern. If hydraulic fracturing is found to NOT cause migration, then yeah...if we can tackle the diesel pollution problems during trucking, drilling and fracking (what is in that white cloud?), that is one big step forward to drilling right. I don't know how to prevent air pollution, and NORM build up (Lamnipipe?) during flowback. The unknown fracking chemicals that flowback possibly with radioactive tracers also need to be contained. To say that urban drilling is safe is far from the reality of what work still needs to be done by the drillers $$. They need to quit spending all that money on advertising and buy some emission control devices and get the diesel out of our neighborhoods. But for now...we all should expect the worst from fracking...water pollution/migration and long-term, low level toxic airsheds in residential neighborhoods. That is not what people signed up for. Multiple, cumulative emissions are not regulated. The wells that are in production and all that infrastructure sit there and may have invisible emissions that only infrared cameras can detect. This permanently alters our airshed-especially in residential areas. The risks go up as these infrastructures age (we already have some aged pipelines). So we have a gas glut, lets pull back and see how fracking with hydrogen is going to work...the gas isn't going anywhere and we all expect to drink Uncontaminated water. The unthinkable happens more often than we want to believe....BP....Japan.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

Jim I am to Old and been your Friend to long to disagree with you at this late date. Angela Hunt did not force the item,Council rule was followed by Mayor Caraway unlike former Mayor,plus I had spoken with the Mayor and he was only waiting to see what legal liability was involved, since the City has contractual obligations with a gas drilling company.

Kimfeil
Kimfeil

On March 7th, a call was made to 911 & TCEQ by a resident regarding a strong chemical smell at a Carrizo drilling site at Eden and Cooper in Arlington . March 3rd at 360 and Sublett, I was contacted by two different people about a sonic hiss by Chesapeake testing a pressure valve. Pantego had some migration produced water issues two weeks ago and on Wed evening 3/3, Dalworthington Gardens had an XTO valve failure -huge sound sand cloud (by apartments). Then there was the frac truck that overturned and spilled it's toxic load straight into a storm drainage ditch by Botanical Gardens 200 feet from the Trinity last week. Last Wednesday, I had to go on public record at the P&Z meeting about the reason that Lake Arlington is now on a protected use list...I spoke about the unknown quantities that entered our drinking water supply last July. Through open records I learned that an additional 95 barrels was recovered too. One thing I did not get around to telling them as my hoarse voice from all the coughing/asthma? junk in my throat has me stifled...I wanted to say that when I was at the Lake Arlington Master Plan meeting several weeks ago, I asked about how we would protect the lake from the acid rain from all these drill sites and they laughed...but for real...especially the sulfur products do come down..and by the compressor station, high levels of carbon disulfide were detected. Without emission controls, we are allowing toxins into our air and watershed as runoff/acid rain. Each day seems to bring a new event of some sort. Welcome to life in the gaspatch.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Chance, luck, fate, what ever you call it, is a funny thing. Case in point........

The Army Corps and the Bureau of Land Management say that you cannot have seismic activity within 3000 feet of Joe Pool Lake Dam. Hot Dam! if there isn't a Chesapeake pad site in full swing right across the street on West Camp Wisdom Road just down the street from Dallas application #2. That would be 850 feet. Sooooo, what happens IF that dam is weakened, what IF it starts to crack? Ask those thousands that live across the street (in Grand Prairie) and 1/4 down Camp Wisdom (in Dallas) and see what they think.

Yeah, our guy called the Army Corps and the BLM. They're response.? About the same as the nuclear plant guys at Daiichi probably gave a few days ago..... uh..........uh..........

Unless the City of Dallas takes this task force seriously and puts some muscle into the gas ordinance,(currently they can set up a rig 300 feet from your bedroom) we are all going to be collateral damage. I got your risk analysis right there.

Schimmysham
Schimmysham

"Only an inconceivable failure of our precautionary measures would pose a real threat. " Actually, Jim, The current precationary measures are insufficient and the negative effects are largely a reality, not simply a possibility, in every community that has gambled with gas drilling. Relatively unpopulated rural areas in Wyoming are registering ozone levels that rival large smoggy cities. If that is not alarming, I don't know what is. Contamination of water wells has become a common occurance in communities that rely of well water. And in the case of Dimock, the entire town lost its water. Drilling in DFW has already created as much if not more pollution as all the cars on the road according to an SMU study by a former scientist there who is not the head of Region 6 EPA. A recent review of Texas regulators overseeing gas drilling found a largely inadequate response due to understaffing, poor internal policy and conflict of interests. And yet even Texas regulators, in the little assessing they have done have found elevated benzene emissions as at many as 20 percent of Texas wells, in part because the industry and the regulatory system fails to require the use of vapor trap recovery systems, which could lower emissions by as much as 90 percent. So the idea that these are possible outcomes is a fairy tale. There have been individual horror stories from the people living next to these wells across the country, and sadly they are not uncommon either. The Parr family in Wise county had to flee their home when gas drilling chemicals that had filled their home and sickened them over the past year reached aspyxiation levels in the daughter's room according to a test they had commisisone in their home. And that there is the most disturbing part: private citizens had to pay for the test that determined the emergency and saved their lives because regulators were not concerned. So fracking may not cause the most obvious sort of disaster like an explosion or blowout, as happened in Crosby Wyoming and lead to mass evacuations, but it causes lots of quiet disasters that are morre insidious, pervaious and in some cases like water contamination, irreversible. With that said, I appreciate the heart of your argument and that is to prepare for the seemingly inconveivable as well, which is even a more alarming prospect when we aren't even prepared for the conveivable.

And I also appreciate your call to support Angela Hunt's task force, which is the only oppen and transparent review process being offered up by the only council member who from the start has fought for transparency and civic involvement on this issue and has raillied four other council members to her side. We need to write the councilmember and urge them all to back this plan. Here are their emails: delia.jasso@dallascityhall.com

pauline.medrano@dallascityhall.com, david.neumann@dallascityhall.com, dwaine.caraway@dallascityhall.com, vonciel.hill@dallascityhall.com, steven.salazar@dallascityhall.com, carolyn.davis@dallascityhall.com, tennell.atkins@dallascityhall.com, sheffield.kadane@dallascityhall.com, jerry.allen@dallascityhall.com, linda.koop@dallascityhall.com, ron.natinsky@dallascityhall.com, ann.margolin@dallascityhall.com, angela.hunt@dallascityhall.com

Scott Campbell
Scott Campbell

I'm not disagreeing with the premise but there is a certain amount of assumed and acceptable risk involved in doing what is of the greatest overall benefit to society. The risk/reward factor. If we want to avoid all risks we don't get on a plane or even in our cars. The possibility of an errant big rig is known to us but acceptable in commuting to the place that pays our salaries which allows us the life we want. Since we don't want to live under a rock we accept the risks. I agree we need to analyze and insure integrity to make sure the risk is acceptable.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

The party planning celebrating the Dallas Major Gas Find is in full swing . JIM Why do you ask doubtful questions ? Do you really want to RUIN these folks fun ?

Juliabarton
Juliabarton

Hey, good link! Where'd you get that?

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

Jim, admit it, you just like to say "fracking."

gabbahey
gabbahey

This is the problem with our culture. Elected leaders bend over for the folks with money, who want more money, and will spend as little as possible on what they are required to provide, but spare no expense on the fat of their projects. The culture in N. Texas is carved and butchered to accommodate those with money, who don't give two shits about you and I, or our well-being. Drilling in the greater metro area is ridiculous, but it as long as we live here, some company will pay some local politician to open the door for them to set up their rigs. It is not a matter of "if", rather, "when". Again, with every project in N. Texas, someone stands to gain (especially your council-persons in Dallas). Yes, we've seen this before: Follow the money trail, vote the culprits out of office.

tracker
tracker

"Thus, we'd be putting our billions into small businesses, not huge ones, into basic things like food and insulation, instead of big luxury items that bring in profits in good times, but are useless in bad ones. " Could we possibly draw some analogies here in Dallas? Like maybe parks and safe clean streets instead of fancy bridges and hotels?

Enrique De La Fuente
Enrique De La Fuente

I don't see what they need to drill in a major metro area. If the Shale is as big as they say it is, they why not frack everywhere else first?

Eam0061
Eam0061

The problem is making plans and creating safe guards costs money that tax payers may or may not see benefit from. Its hard to convince elected officials to pay for mitigation for catastrophes when the risk is slight. Especially now. However, the costs now are pennies compared to the costs of cleaning up a disaster. le sigh.

IQ
IQ

Form a task force........hire a consultant, or maybe two or three to study this issue and create a report..........have we seen this pattern before?

Heywood U Buzzoff
Heywood U Buzzoff

Well we could always start with the flood control levees in Dallas but ... we need that money for the Mayor's protection from his phone call to the Chief of Police. Priorities people! Or elite may have to do without and you how often they do that!!

Kim Triolo Feil
Kim Triolo Feil

Contractual obligations? Those were speculative times and risk was/is on the table. There was no guarantee that council HAD to pass the permit. If what we know now about fracking causes us to "pause" and err on the side of caution...council's first priority is the welfare of the public's health and safety.

Edgar
Edgar

"Uh" is also the sound of bewilderment at a stupid line of questioning. A pad site is where gas wells are drilled. No one...not even the most anti-fracking, water-loving, tree-hugging, life-affirming, Gasland-watching seismologist on the planet...has been able to draw any link to fracking and any registerable seismic activity. Some have been able to draw a link between injection of saltwater at saltwater disposal wells and the seismic activity in Cleburne a couple years ago. Most scientists have since dismissed those links as correlation, not causation.

So, are they drilling disposal wells in addition to gas wells on that pad site? If they aren't there's not concern. If they are, there's next to no concern.

Kim Triolo Feil
Kim Triolo Feil

"...the greatest overall benefit to society".... I'm not a rat in a lab!

Jenny
Jenny

Acceptable to you but not to me, and I would venture to most if they new all the risks. You miss the point that many of the risks that are manifesting in reality across the country from gas drilling are entirely prevantable with the proper regulation. Vapor trap recovery systems alone would reduce toxic benzene and other emissions by as much as 90 percent and even save the industry money in the long run but for some inconceivable reason, they are not required or regularly implemented. The city of Dallas also wants to be able to drill a well a ridiculous 300 feet to your home, a distance no other surrounding city allows because of the problems they have been experiencing from drilling which have lead many to double or even further increase the distance. So if you are going to challenge the relevancey of the risks and argue they are acceptable, at least offer supporting evidence rather than platitudes. And my guess is if you ask the people of Dimock, whose entire water supply was irreversibly contaminated by gas drilling, they wouldn't think the risk was worth it. Nor did the state of NY when it instituted a state wide moratorium after a risk assessment showed the entire city of NY's water supply was at risk from gas drilling. That hardly sounds like an acceptable risk. I think if you talked to Wise County family the Pars, who had to flee their home when drilling chemicals filled the house and reached aspyxiation levels in their daughter's room, they might quibble with your asserrtion as well. Do your research.

JimS
JimS

Not the same idea. It's not that we strop doing everything because we're afraid of risk. It's that we look at risk honestly, which means looking at what we can or cannot do in the veent of a failure. If we know in advance that the risk is something we cannot handle, why would we not go to Plan B, that we can handle?A lot of thisis cultural. If you sift through these posts, you will see in soem of themthe attitude that safety is for pussies and we'd rather have big bass boats and SUVs now, even if it means our grandkids will all have to live in the tunnels downtown.Cool.

JimS
JimS

Oh, you know, I'm just very Catholic.

Julian Fernandez
Julian Fernandez

It doesn't matter where exactly they drill. On the scale that the industry is proposing(hydraulic fracturing in 36 states), the destruction will be widespread.

The drilling explosion in Tarrent, Wise, Collin counties over the last twelve years is the reason that DFW air quality is what it is. We're downwind of each of those 12000+ wells, each leaking methane plumes.

The Natural Gas industry wants us to trade our fresh water and air in exchange for 30(maybe) years of "clean natural gas". The process of hydraulic fracturing is unsustainable. The short-term profitability of Chesapeake Energy and XTO should not be our first concern in this matter.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Totally agree, that's the first thing that came to mind for me as well. Aren't there better areas to do this in than a metro area? I don't get how you can compare Sendai to Dallas. There's nothing around that can wipe this place off the map with the exception of city government.

Montemalone
Montemalone

It's not for the taxpayers to pay. That onus falls upon the beneficiaries of the project; in this case, the drillers. They stand to profit by creating risk, they should plan for all contingencies, and prove it.

Kim Triolo Feil
Kim Triolo Feil

Last flood we had in Tarrant county, some drillers had to be rescued from their rig...how much pollution flowed off that site and into our strom drains?.

Say a tornado or flooding engulfs these pad sites....no one can contain those effluents..so why put them by people?

The heat of the summer exponentially drives our air pollution up...research the Jacobson Effect by a professor at Stanford University. Where urban SMOG exists...more pollution dramtically increases even more ozone which permanently pokes holes in your deep lung tissue. Children are most effected and can end of with the functionality of 80 year old lungs for the rest of their (not so productive) life.

NoFrackingWayJose
NoFrackingWayJose

Edgar, yours is the most assinine, uninformed opinion I have ever read about the issues of fracking. There is a wealth of documented evidence of fracking causing seismic activity, and if you actually had any knowledge of this subject then you would know that the very process of fracking IS seismic activity - drillers literally set off explosions in the frack pipes to fracture the shale layers and allow gas to escape. Before pumping in all those chemicals they have to open fissures in which to pump the frack fluids so that they can open the shale layers.

And, if you had any knowledge of basic physics or geology then you would also know that no two solid substances can simultaneously occupy the same time and space, so whenever frack fluids are pumped into the ground at 16,000 psi something has to give. Since the earth is too dense to be displaced downward due to the composition of the earth's core and the much greater depth below the fracture all that pressue forces the ground above the fracture to be displaced upward and/or sideways. Fissures are opened by fracturing. Proppants are used to hold those fissures open to allow the flow of gas into the drilling pipe so that the gas can be recovered on the surface.

Eventually, those elements of rock and soil that are displaced upward settle back into the lower reached from where they came, which is precisely why wells have to be re-fractured every 2-5 years to maintain viability. All that expansion and contraction, much like what happens to clay-based soil when it is wet by rain and dried by the sun, causes the earth's surface to move accordingly. Eventually, that causes surface structures to shift on foundations, and that most assuredly includes dam footings, in which case dams can break. It has already happened in several places, and the USACE is well aware of the potential for such problems which is why they have a mandatory setback of 3,000 feet from the base of any dam structure.

I recognize your servitude to the oil and gas industry, and I understand your trying to shill for them, but you are simply coming to a battle of wits unarmed.

JimS
JimS

MMM... Well, now I have to give you one. I am aware of a family where the dad died tragically, and the family was sure glad to get a gas well on their property. And it would not have been right for anybody to come along and take that well away from them for any reason other than a real good one. So the truth probaly lies somewhere between us (I hope nobody blows it up).

JimS
JimS

Edgar -- sorry man, but are you really arguing that injecting millions of gallons of water and causing underground explosions next to a dam is totally safe? Let me ask you something else. Do you think the prohibition of "seismic activity" means earthquakes? That seems like an instruction that would be directed more to God than to man. If that works, they need to put those signs up all over California. I don't think even the most pro-fracking, drill-hugging, Mel-Gibson-watching, cancer-causing industry flak in the world would agree with you on this one.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

no, that answer was more like ..."uh, I think somebody knows something".I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens down the road. My advice to those people out there: Get flood insurance, oh wait, State Farm doesn't insure gas drilling related damages anymore. Sux to be you I guess.

Earthquakes in Cleburne, and the 800 earthquakes in Arkansas. They ceased activity up there for a while and guess what? The earthquakes stopped. My friends in Cleburne say they and their neighbors have foundation damage but I guess that's because of the uh.... how would you say, natural causes?

But thanks for that reassurance Mr. Chesapeake. That makes me feel so much better.

Anonymous
Anonymous

The cultural issue that I see is more of a question of not thinking that companies should be accountable for their actions, nor should management be held personally responsible for bad outcomes. When something goes wrong, a certain crowd of people has the attitude that "well, accidents happen, but everyone benefited from having more oil, cheaper prices at the pump, and more natural gas. if you make industry pay for every little thing that can be blamed on our actions, we will stop drilling, pumping, refining, etc and then you will all be screwed."And that's where I have a problem. We need to match risk and reward. If the system was set up to make companies pay for the effects of their activities, you'd see a lot more caution being taken. If you went to the next logical step and held the decision-makers criminally liable for things, I suspect you'd see materially more caution (taking risks to make a profit is their justification for a huge paycheck anyways, right?). The chance of a tornado running through and spewing chemicals everywhere may be remote, but if the CEO knew he was going to jail if a single child died from ingesting contaminated drinking water from chemicals his company had leaked into the groundwater, I guarantee that project would not move forward. It's a risk he is comfortable taking on behalf of all of us, but not for himself.All I'm asking for is true capitalism here. What I can never understand is why conservatives aren't all for this. Letting people pay for the consequences of their actions is supposed to be what they are all about. Most people and companies would self-regulate if they actually thought they'd be held accountable. In the current system, your company gets a fine and some damages that are paid on your behalf, and maybe you get fired as a sacrificial lamb. Because the industry doesn't actually see what you did as wrong, you get hired by a competitor for even more money.

Edgar
Edgar

They did and they have drilled everywhere else first. Urban areas of Tarrant County were higher up on the tree, and have been picked after rural Tarrant, rural Johnson, and rural Denton. There were literally thousands - yes, thousands - of fracked Barnett wells before serious attention was paid to more urban areas. The problem is, urban Tarrant turned out to be a sweet spot - good geology.

We can try to plan for all sorts of disasters that haven't and probablky never will happen, but how? "Planning for the inconceivable" - kind of oxymoronic. Should we sit our task force in a media room and force them to watch a bunch of end-of-days Hollywood movies to kick-start a brainstorm on what could go wrong? And why stop at gas drilling? If I were better at brainstorming, I could think of lots of circumstances and activities around us that are bigger and badder. Aside from levee failures and carcinogens at scrap-metal yards, how about methane explosions at feed lots northwest of DFW on a day with prevailing northwesterly wind? Or attacks on DART rail/bus lines - not an issue so far, but we don't seem to be doing much in the way of prevention? Water towers - who's watching them to ensure they don't get poisoned? There are literally tons of horrific possibilities all around that we do zilch about. It would be a colossal undertaking to address even some of them...why start with this?

Enrique De La Fuente
Enrique De La Fuente

At least on the surface, it would seem that Chesapeake and other companies would save some money from "community relations" and lobbying if they were to frack in rural areas than in the cities.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Making them pay for the risk they create would make most mineral energy sources unprofitable in the longer term. For better or worse, more people demand cheap energy then demand environmental safety, and the human brain has a hard time justifying short term trade offs based on remote (if paralyzing) negatives in the future. The rational response to high oil prices right now because of instability in the Arab world would be to tax gas to artificially suppress demand and encourage substitution, but I've actually heard people say that we should intervene because it's making gas too expensive. Whether we drill in Alaska, up and down the California coastline, and out into the depths of the Gulf, the world market price for oil will always be set based on supply in the Middle East. No credible energy expert will tell you otherwise.

cp
cp

How about we just not let them create the risk? Call me a fraidy cat.

Mellanylamb
Mellanylamb

Great explanation of physics that maybe even Edgar can understand.

Kim Triolo Feil
Kim Triolo Feil

I'm amused when these old farts get up at the council meetings and rally for a gas well cause they want the money....ya see they don't have any long term plans cause they have one foot in the grave anyway...so what about those young families...those children have dreams and plans to live to be adults and not get leukemia. Research the fast acting cancer that killed Pastor Ken Diehm in Grapevine. Then research the wind directions from the compressor station nearest to his church...really scary NOW! Cause/effect...too bad he didn't have a baseline blood test before the compressor station went in. If his cancer would have been caught in time and if BTEX was found to be in his body, WOW what a lawsuit! But more importantly, his children and his wife do not even know to wonder if he'd still be alive if Chesapeake didn't have that Cottenbelt Compressor station near his church...how sad. In light of the http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu... study showing a positive association between oil and gas field work and acute myelogenous leukemia, we can no longer wait on our local, state or federal governments to protect us.

Think Again
Think Again

So are you stating because you have mineral or property rights or God forbid some tragedy has taken your livelihood away or the ability to support your family that you should be able to harm others? I think not.

The issues with hydraulic fracturing are too many to dismiss--carcinogenic emissions, water and soil contamination, split estate, and seismic activity associated with injection wells. Where there's smoke there's fire.

Kim Triolo Feil
Kim Triolo Feil

Edgar,...dump on property owners mineral rights? Excuse me but your right to your minerals ENDS when it compromises my right to clean air and water.

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

Do those crazy-ass bass-thumping SUVs and Monte Carlos qualify as seismic activity? My house literally shakes every time one of those future hearing-aid users drives by...

Edgar
Edgar

I don't recall arguing that. To the contrary...nothing is completely safe. I thought that's what this dialogue was all about. And no, "seismic activity" is obviously not limited to earthquakes. Seismic events range from squirrel footsteps to 8.9-style big-ass Japanese earthquakes. What I am getting at is that something far more than the squirrel footsteps is acceptible risk. I've never seen anything to suggest that hyrdaulic fracturing ("explosions" may be a touch hyperbolic) at a depth of 7,000+ feet causes seismic activity that could possibly undermine a foundation of a house, much less a reservoir dam. But, given the consequences of dam failure, I'll go with you on this one...maybe we should find another location. (Maybe not, though...is the well even being drilled toward the dam once it turns horizontal?)

A subsequent post of yours today posits that the right-winger politicos have commandeered the government apparatus from the moderate majority. What I'm wary of is the converse: the anti-everything crowd convincing politicians to implement never-ending moratoria, thereby taking a steaming dump on private-property rights. You seemed to exercise some restraint by arguing that some rigs should go, but not all...fair enough. But what I've seen from the commenters approximates a complete absence of restraint. Most overstate the case against gas drilling by leaps and bounds. I don't want them to hijack private mineral rights -- not just those of producers, but also those of landowners -- for no good reason. I'm open to hijacking them for very good reasons, but I don't hear them all that often.

Kim Triolo Feil
Kim Triolo Feil

Fracking causes waste disposal causes injection well acitivity is closely linked to earthquakes... get the picture? Fracking may indirectly cause seismic activity. Just like fracking (if not from migration) surface spills or bad casing causes water contamination so "Fracking indirectly is responsible for water pollution" The drinker of polluted water doesn't care HOW the water was contaminated, they care that it has happened. And so we drank from the Lake Arlington source last July and never knew a drilling surface spill occured.

Kim Triolo Feil
Kim Triolo Feil

I like your idea to match risk with reward. The mineral holders are willing to take the money, but if an accident occurs, they don't have to pay to remediate or compensate...so I propose that all those who sign permission to drill be a stakeholder in being sued when things go south.

Kim Triolo Feil
Kim Triolo Feil

Because drilling is in neighborhoods and now we have neurotoxns for neighbors. Permanently changing our zoning from residential to industrial hits the PANIC button.

DoubleOJoe
DoubleOJoe

The first step of disaster planning is risk analysis. A disaster recovery or mitigation plan can never cover every single possible issue that might arise. When we work through that process, we balance efforts on a continuum that runs between the likelihood of a disaster occurring and the severity. Small, unlikely threats don't get a lot of resources thrown at them. Large but unlikely threats necessarily have to be looked at more closely, since they have the potential to do far more damage.

At the root of the plan, though, is a base procedure for handling anything: a small, flexible response team that is capable of analyzing issues as they occur and recommending the best course of action. In the case of fracking, there is very little concrete planning that can be done at this point, because no one knows (or is willing to admit) what the real, tangible risks are.

Edited to add:I should also point out that in a real-world planning situation, total and catastrophic failure must always be considered. Worst-case scenarios are always worth researching, if only to determine the probability of occurrence.

I know it's a cliche, but: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Sharson
Sharson

While you've been sleeping... They have already fracked up all the rural land. Besides, rural people don't want to be polluted any more than urban people do! We are all consumers so we all must bear the burden. The other--and IMO better--choice is to change our lifestyles and drastically cut back on consumption.

Remember, those of us in the rural areas grow your food and the food your food eats. There is an old saying: You don't want to $hit where you eat.

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