The Whole Truth

Dirty Tactics And Clean Truths

It's no secret that anti-energy activists will resort to just about any tactic to stop the responsible development of shale gas in the Barnett. Unfortunately, that includes distorting the facts, ignoring the truth, and using emotion and fear as a weapon.

We think that's wrong. And every time we hear another one of their misstatements, we’re going to set the record straight. We're going to start with these, but keep checking back for updates, corrections, and the real truth.

Dirty Tactic:   “Hydraulic fracturing is a new, unproven process”
Clean Truth:   Fracking, as it’s called, has been around – and has been regulated – for 60 years. It has been used in more than 1 million operations, and there has not been a single proven case where it has contaminated drinking water.

Dirty Tactic:   “Fracking contaminates water supplies”
Clean Truth:   The shale being fracked is a mile below the surface, and is separated from water supplies by about a mile of solid rock. Scientists say it is very, very unlikely the frack water would find a seam in the rock and travel upward – against gravity – into an aquifer. Besides, fracking water is basically salt water, it’s 10 times heavier than sea water, and “it’s not going to percolate up,” one regulator says. Beyond that, when the EPA charged that drillers contaminated wells in North Texas, the Railroad Commission of Texas held hearings and concluded – in a unanimous decision – that drilling played no role. According to one commissioner, natural gas operators “have not contaminated and will not contaminate” the wells in question. In that same case, EPA officials, under oath, admitted that they could not say if drilling operations had anything at all to do with the water issues.

Dirty Tactic:   “Fracking can cause water to catch on fire”
Clean Truth:   This charge comes primarily from the documentary Gasland, which was described as “great emotional filmmaking and absolutely rotten science” in an objective, in-depth newspaper investigation of fracking. It stems from three cases in Colorado where water did, in fact, catch on fire. But those incidents were thoroughly investigated by the state, and the state concluded fracking was not responsible.

Dirty Tactic:   “Fracking is not adequately regulated”
Clean Truth:   A report from the Groundwater Protection Council and the U.S. Department of Energy concluded: 1) “State oil and gas regulations are adequately designed to directly protect water resources”; 2) “All oil and gas producing states have regulations which are designed to provide protection for water resources such as those governing the authorization for drilling, completion, operation and closure of wells”; and 3) “Claims that the oil and gas E&P industry in the U.S. is unregulated are not supported by the findings of this report.”

Dirty Tactic:   “The chemicals used in fracking solutions threaten health and the environment”
Clean Truth:   The typical fracking solution is over 99 percent sand and water. The remaining additives, according to the joint Groundwater Protection Council and Department of Energy report, “including sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and diluted acids, present low to very low risks to human health and the environment.”

Dirty Tactic:   “Shale gas development pollute the air”
Clean Truth:   The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality surveyed 100 natural gas facilities in the Barnett Shale and found no cause for concern about potentially dangerous pollutants. A massive air quality study done for the City of Fort Worth in 2011 identified no health concerns from natural gas drilling. The Barnett Shale Energy Education Council released findings from an air-quality project that showed there are no harmful levels of benzene and other components being emitted from gas sites that were tested.

Dirty Truth:   “The fracking process consumes a dangerously large amount of water”
Clean Truth:   Fracking does use a lot of water. But all of the shale has wells drilled in America combined used only about 0.02 percent of total water used in the country. Shale drillers also recycle more than 70 percent of the wastewater used in fracking operations. In many cases, more than 70 percent of the wastewater used in fracking operations can be recycled.
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