PA Dept. of Environmental Protection levies largest fine in state history against an oil or gas company

posted at 4:52 pm on May 23, 2011 by Tina Korbe

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection last week levied the largest fine in state history against an oil or gas company — more than $1 million in penalties against Chesapeake Energy, the second largest natural gas producer in the country, partly because the Department claims Chesapeake contaminated water supplies in Bradford County, Pa., and partly because of an explosion at a Chesapeake well site in Washington County, Pa., in February.

The fine comes amid ongoing controversy about the development of the Marcellus Shale formation that stretches across the western part of the state. One of the largest reservoirs of natural gas in the world, the Marcellus Shale provides Pennsylvania with significant economic benefits, even as it offers the country important energy production possibilities. But to access the natural gas, oil and gas companies have to use a process known as hydraulic fracturing — a process that poses some environmental risk. About that, local opponents say: “Don’t frack with our water!

Opponents of the mining technique of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” fear the contamination of water supplies, worried it will forever ruin small communities in the stampede of billion-dollar outsider energy corporations to make a quick buck.

Industry experts say the environmental impact neither has been nor will be as severe as opponents like to claim.

Chesapeake and the DEP have done sampling. … What we’re seeing is any environmental impact has been minimal,” hydrologist David Yoxtheimer said in a Washington Times article.

At a forum at the Carnegie Science Center last week, EQT senior vice president Lindell Bridges said the environmental risk of hydraulic fracturing is very small:

Bridges said that additional casings placed around the well’s pipeline are intended to prevent chemicals and fracking fluids from entering the aquifer. He said a “minimal” amount of chemicals is used in the fracking process.

“We are trying to fine-tune our fracking process in any way that we can,” Bridges said. “Frankly, it’s economic. The fewer chemicals needed to be used in the process the better.”

Bridges is right. Water and sand make up 98 percent of hydraulic fracturing fluid. All other chemicals amount to no more than 2 percent of the fluid. And according to the Ground Water Protection Council, the potential for fracking in deep shale natural gas and oil wells to impact groundwater is extremely remote, as low as one in 200 million.

So, it’s possible Chesapeake deserved the fine it received from the Pennsylvania DEP, but it’s still unreasonable for opponents to wish away fracking — and not merely because of jobs, although those numbers are nothing to sneeze at (50,000 new jobs in 2009 alone).

The Marcellus Shale conservatively contains 168 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, but the figure might be as high as 516 trillion cubic feet, according to Terry Engelder, professor of geosciences at Pennsylvania State University, and Gary Lash, a professor at the State University of New York. America (U.S., Canada and Mexico) currently produces roughly 30 trillion cubic feet of gas annually. Sophisticated horizontal drilling technologies, combined with hydraulic fracturing, could enable the recovery of 50 trillion cubic feet of gas just from the Marcellus.

Plus, natural gas as an energy resource really can’t be beat: According to the United States Geological Survey, it burns cleanly and emits the lowest amount of carbon dioxide per calorie of any fossil fuel.


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Now our Senate Republicans, led by our RINO President Pro Tem of the Senate, Joe Scarnati, is pushing a Marcellus Shale impact fee, too.

steebo77 on May 23, 2011 at 4:58 PM

Frack it.

hillbillyjim on May 23, 2011 at 4:58 PM

Just call it fracturing, if you don’t want to spell it fraccing.

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Fracking frackkers, go frack…

~~~~~~~~~~hillbillyjim walks off mumbling incoherently~~~~~~~~~~

hillbillyjim on May 23, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Genesis 1:28 – And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Raping the earth is Biblical.

fossten on May 23, 2011 at 5:00 PM

If it generates money and creates jobs, it must be bad.

hawksruleva on May 23, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Knew this was coming. Their objective is to cripple any effort to explore energy sources.

If Chesapeake deserved the fine, fine. But fracking is being used on a lot of relative’s properties in Central PA with no ill effect whatsoever. Typical liberal tactic. One instance equals the entire issue.

hawkdriver on May 23, 2011 at 5:00 PM

I’d like the EPA to explain how fracturing at 9,000 feet below the surface affects the water at 300 feet.

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 5:01 PM

hawksruleva on May 23, 2011 at 5:00 PM

+1

cmsinaz on May 23, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Plus, natural gas as an energy resource really can’t be beat: According to the United States Geological Survey, it burns cleanly and emits the lowest amount of carbon dioxide per calorie of any fossil fuel.

“Natural gas is a fossil fuel?” – Nancy Pelosi

Doughboy on May 23, 2011 at 5:03 PM

Just call it fracturing, if you don’t want to spell it fraccing.

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Finally someone who knows how to properly spell it!

Thanks.

Kermit on May 23, 2011 at 5:04 PM

Since global warming is a hoax, there is really no reason to be concerned about the carbon dioxide output of natural gas. It just means the plants will have less of what they consider fresh air.

backwoods conservative on May 23, 2011 at 5:05 PM

If it generates money and creates jobs, it must be bad.

hawksruleva on May 23, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Hell no, if it generates money and creates jobs, the state of Pennsylvania has to make sure it getting it’s fair share. They’ll fine the he** out of them if they can.

DaydreamBeliever on May 23, 2011 at 5:05 PM

“— more than $1 million in penalties against Chesapeake Energy…”

Which will surely be passed right along to the customers…

Seven Percent Solution on May 23, 2011 at 5:05 PM

Plus, natural gas as an energy resource really can’t be beat: According to the United States Geological Survey, it burns cleanly and emits the lowest amount of carbon dioxide per calorie of any fossil fuel.

True, and that is why the Left/Enviros pushed natural gas as an alternative to other energy forms for years. But now that it is a staple in many homes (like mine) they do everything they can to make it difficult or impossible to access it. It seems that there are only 2 energy sources they are fine with: Solar and wind. Although come to think of it even wind kills birds and ruins views, so I guess we’re left with solar.

Buy Danish on May 23, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Just more of the liberal war on energy.

Grunt on May 23, 2011 at 5:06 PM

I guess we’re left with solar.

Buy Danish on May 23, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Watermelons love any energy source that is theoretical. Once it becomes practical, they abhor it.

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 5:08 PM

Just call it fracturing, if you don’t want to spell it fraccing.

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 4:59 PM
Finally someone who knows how to properly spell it!

Thanks.

Kermit on May 23, 2011 at 5:04 PM

I’ve followed the news of Marcellus Shale formation since the Sun Gazette picked up on locals becoming involved in the leases and it sure seems like either spelling was considered acceptable.

hawkdriver on May 23, 2011 at 5:08 PM

You got to love it when a story combines something interesting and a word like “fracking”; it must be the sax appeal…

RedSoxNation on May 23, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Why is it all governmental (at any level) agencies seem to wish to cripple our energy supplies in keeping with the fearful demands of that anti-energy guy in the Whitehouse?

Too many years of this stuff accidentally working for the same goals as the ccommunist party of America -take it down so they can rebuild it.

Don L on May 23, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Just call it fracturing, if you don’t want to spell it fraccing.

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 4:59 PM

That would be pronounced frak-sing. In English, if you want to add -ing to a word ending with a C, you add a k first. Therefore panic become panicking, picnic becomes picnicking, etc. Hence, frac becomes fracking. It’s only spelled “fraccing” by geological engineers who didn’t really pay much attention in English class.

Kafir on May 23, 2011 at 5:12 PM

hawkdriver on May 23, 2011 at 5:08 PM

It’s just a pet peeve for those of us in the industry.

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 5:12 PM

A friend of mine has a business there and it is booming. He also points out there is full employment in Bradford. In fact, he can’t find enough people to fill the jobs available.

msmveritas on May 23, 2011 at 5:13 PM

He also points out there is full employment in Bradford. In fact, he can’t find enough people to fill the jobs available.

msmveritas on May 23, 2011 at 5:13 PM

What is funny is that just a few miles north, in New York State, where the Marcellus extends, they are doing everything they can to keep the oilfield crews out. I guess they like their unemployment.

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 5:15 PM

The region has a history going back hundreds of years of gas leaking out of the ground and into the water. It has nothing to do with what they’re doing there now. Gasland, et al is a fairy tale with no science behind it.

The horizontal drilling techniques they use allows for the oil/gas companies to minimize the amount of impact they have on the environment. They have far fewer drilling pads and far fewer access roads.

strictnein on May 23, 2011 at 5:15 PM

A friend of mine has a business there and it is booming. He also points out there is full employment in Bradford. In fact, he can’t find enough people to fill the jobs available.

msmveritas on May 23, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Shhhhhhhh! Be vewy vewy quiet.

hillbillyjim on May 23, 2011 at 5:15 PM

I’d like the EPA to explain how fracturing at 9,000 feet below the surface affects the water at 300 feet.

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 5:01 PM

It would depend on where that aquifer is being fed from and the geology of that area. Stating that fracturing is happening 30x deeper is pretty meaningless.

Water and sand make up 98 percent of hydraulic fracturing fluid. All other chemicals amount to no more than 2 percent of the fluid.

When you’re talking parts per million and parts per billion 2% is pretty significant.

jdkchem on May 23, 2011 at 5:15 PM

Kafir on May 23, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Fracture doesn’t end in a ‘C’

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 5:16 PM

And on appeal, the Chesapeake fine is reduced to …..

It’s a dishonest money grab attempt.

Caststeel on May 23, 2011 at 5:16 PM

The water sucks anyway in NE PA. It is so hard everytime we visit family in Bradford/Sullivan Counties my family has to drink bottled water or we’ll never go to the bathroom again! From what family tells me, there is so much natural gas seeping out of the ground, they get gas readings in the water anyway. This has been quite a boon for the local economies and I am very happy for all the dairy farmers who’ve worked all their lives and can now sit back collecting checks every month from these gas companies. I hope the enviro-whackos don’t ruin for everyone.

JAM on May 23, 2011 at 5:16 PM

I’d like the EPA to explain how fracturing at 9,000 feet below the surface affects the water at 300 feet.

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Exactly. The post also doesn’t mention the fact that fracking has been in use for over 60 years with no proven harmful effects on water supplies.

This is just the latest EnviroNazi scare tactic.

Common Sense on May 23, 2011 at 5:17 PM

It would depend on where that aquifer is being fed from and the geology of that area. Stating that fracturing is happening 30x deeper is pretty meaningless.
jdkchem on May 23, 2011 at 5:15 PM

Show me a formation where liquids defy gravity and flow upwards for 8,000+ feet.

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 5:17 PM

hawkdriver on May 23, 2011 at 5:08 PM
It’s just a pet peeve for those of us in the industry.

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Oh, Okay. As long as you’re in the industry. Hey, wait, you’re in the energy industry?

YOU’RE DESTROYING THE EARTH!!!

hawkdriver on May 23, 2011 at 5:20 PM

Fracture doesn’t end in a ‘C’

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Nitpicking doesn’t end in a “c” either.

Hmmmmm. Interesting.

hillbillyjim on May 23, 2011 at 5:21 PM

When you’re talking parts per million and parts per billion 2% is pretty significant.

jdkchem on May 23, 2011 at 5:15 PM

A good breakdown of the ingredients:
http://geology.com/energy/hydraulic-fracturing-fluids/

strictnein on May 23, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Not sure it’s true but the stories of “burning water” is due to methane, not natural gas.

marinetbryant on May 23, 2011 at 5:23 PM

They have determined, at the least, this will be a 40 year boon. It’s going be be massive for Pennsylvania. But ever since companies have been coming out here, the Democrats and the lawyers have been doing everything they can to destroy it. We are so losing it as a country. Here is this massive economic and energy opportunity and so many people are trying to tax it and stop it.
I had an argument with a school teacher during a dinner a few month back. He hated the whole development aspect of this. He had his job and that was all he cared about.

Also, and we are seeing it here in central PA first hand, there are some Republicans who’s motto is “Keep it small and rule it all!”
There have been many people who have become millionaires over night. Poor farmers who had nothing now suddenly getting $10,000 per month in income per well. Today I worked out at a Halliburton site. They are just one of the companies building like crazy out here. We’re getting lots of folks from Texas and all over.
If you have a CDL license you will work non stop. If you are young and want to work on rigs, 2 weeks out and 1 week off you can make a killing. Lots of young people I know making big pay checks doing that. The work is hard but it’s great work for a single young man.

Just one way the Dems have been attempting to destroy the industry, is to tax anyone who has gas under their land, whether it is being pumped or not. They want to tax all the “potential” income a person could make. Whether they have a rig on their land or not. It’s insanity!

JellyToast on May 23, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Exactly. The post also doesn’t mention the fact that fracking has been in use for over 60 years with no proven harmful effects on water supplies.

This is just the latest EnviroNazi scare tactic.

Common Sense on May 23, 2011 at 5:17 PM

It would depend on where that aquifer is being fed from and the geology of that area. Stating that fracturing is happening 30x deeper is pretty meaningless.
jdkchem on May 23, 2011 at 5:15 PM
Show me a formation where liquids defy gravity and flow upwards for 8,000+ feet.

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 5:17 PM

ND has a lot of subsurface water. Lots.
And to get the oil out of the Bakken, fracking is necessary.
Or these fields will most likely be shut shown.
There are nutbags here in ND whining about autism & eadaches & $hit already, which they blam eo n the chemicals used in fracking.
ND cares about its environment. ND understands that there are risks to developing its resources, but is doing so in the safest way they can.
You are more at risk when climbing in your car than you are from any ‘poisoning’ from this.
The ignorance regarding this so astounding it literally reeks.
It’s the same ignorance that touts how ‘bad’ high fructose corn syrup is for you compared to sugar.
Which it is the same to your body.
But that sort of thing does not stop these crazy a-holes.

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 5:24 PM

Fracture doesn’t end in a ‘C’

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Nitpicking doesn’t end in a “c” either.

Hmmmmm. Interesting.

hillbillyjim on May 23, 2011 at 5:21 PM

It’s ok guys, Wikipedia says you’re both right:

Hydraulic fracturing (called “frac jobs,”[1][2] “frac’ing,”[3] “fracking,”[4] fraccing[5] or “hydrofracking”

strictnein on May 23, 2011 at 5:26 PM

strictnein on May 23, 2011 at 5:26 PM

No fracking way.

hawkdriver on May 23, 2011 at 5:27 PM

WHERE are the rainbow colored unicorn farts?

GarandFan on May 23, 2011 at 5:27 PM

“hydrofracking”

strictnein on May 23, 2011 at 5:26 PM

OK.

I’m pretty sure that’s pornographic, right there.

Awww frack.

hillbillyjim on May 23, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Junk science has replaced real science, whether it’s AGW or fracturing.

Ward Cleaver on May 23, 2011 at 5:29 PM

Not sure it’s true but the stories of “burning water” is due to methane, not natural gas.

marinetbryant on May 23, 2011 at 5:23 PM

!…?…! Hm-m-m-m-m…

Yoop on May 23, 2011 at 5:34 PM

There’s a fine line to prevent the rape of the water supply and exploiting energy supplies.

Do any of the laissez faire type actually believe these companies would care one whit about contaminating the water supply if the threat of law suits weren’t a possibility?

When I moved to Maine and saw the clear cutting of the North Maine Woods as far as I could see, I lost faith in corporate responsibility and moral behavior.

rickyricardo on May 23, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Libs are opposed to
Any form of energy.
Fraccing’s the latest.

Haiku Guy on May 23, 2011 at 5:36 PM

to understand this issue you must understand hydrogeologic concepts. A ground water aquifer is made in sandstone deposites. capped above and below by shale formations. sandstone has bigger spaces in the rock allowing the water to move through it. You also get some groundwater aquifer sin limstone (this is how some of the bog caves and sinkholes are made) shale on the other hand is basically rock mad eout of mud and silt. It’s pores are smaller. water does not move through it as much nor as fast. to tap into a sandstone deposit of water a person DRILLS through the shale and sinks a pump into the sandstone layer. The pump sets up a field and wate rhead is formed. the morr porus the sandstand the mor ewater flow you get.

what fracking does is make the shale behave like sandstone by opeinging up the spaces with in the shale formation. the downside of doing that is you have the possiblity of destorying the protection of your groundwater aquifers by allowing water to rush into the aquifer from above where before it was charged somewhere else where the sandstone was exposed like Mountians.

the more fractures you put into the shale the more likely you will destroy the groundwater aquifer.

(this btw is the reason played out oil wells will “recharge” afte ryears of non use. the oil trpped in the shleas will slowly leak into the sandstone formations. This is also how oil companies look for places to drill.

so the EPA has a point. It is very possible to destory groundwater aquifers by fracing the shale.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Fracking has replaced global warming as the newest cause d’jour for the left, they just need something to yell and scream and throw a fit about. From what i understand, fracking takes place below the water table, so unless the fluid used for fracking is somehow flowing up through the earth there’s no basis for the claims of water contamination.

clearbluesky on May 23, 2011 at 5:39 PM

This is a minor speedbump to warn other companies to maintain good standards as they all make billions in and for the Pa. economy.

Nothing will stop the exploitation of this phenomenal resource in Pennsylvania because it helps the unemployment level move in the right direction.

The company can appeal and disprove the claims if they are certain their activities did not cause the pollution.

profitsbeard on May 23, 2011 at 5:40 PM

“hydrofracking”

strictnein on May 23, 2011 at 5:26 PM
OK.

I’m pretty sure that’s pornographic, right there.

Awww frack.

hillbillyjim on May 23, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Hydrofracking = Sex under pressure.

“Her husband was due back at any minute, so they engaged in hydro-fracking”

BobMbx on May 23, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Do any of the laissez faire type actually believe these companies would care one whit about contaminating the water supply if the threat of law suits weren’t a possibility?

rickyricardo on May 23, 2011 at 5:35 PM

The water table is within a few hundred feet of the surface in most places. The shale being fractured is thousands of feet below the surface. There is no physical way for the water to be contaminated, unless the wellbore happens to break at the level of the water table, and that would require a force greater than the fracturing pumps are capable of delivering.

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Do any of the laissez faire type actually believe these companies would care one whit about contaminating the water supply if the threat of law suits weren’t a possibility?

rickyricardo on May 23, 2011 at 5:35 PM

What is the water being contaminated with?

BobMbx on May 23, 2011 at 5:49 PM

It is very possible to destory groundwater aquifers by fracing the shale.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 5:36 PM

I guess I won’t say no on that.
I’ve know incidences of just seismic crews doing work in an area that disrupts water flow in some artesian wells.
But as far as ‘destroying’ an aquifer, well that water will go somewhere.
Maybe it interrupts some guy’s well, floods in somewhere else, whatever.
But I would think that’s what hydrogeologist’s reports etc are for, to minimize that possibility. And that’s what insurance is for. To pay for things that happen like that.
As far as the ‘chemicals’ go, I’m highly doubtful that these people whining about headaches & autism & allergies have ANY leg to stand on.
Point is, I think ALL practices dealing with land & subsurface development have risks.
Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t engage in them.

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 5:50 PM

When I moved to Maine and saw the clear cutting of the North Maine Woods as far as I could see, I lost faith in corporate responsibility and moral behavior.

rickyricardo on May 23, 2011 at 5:35 PM

When I moved to Maine and saw that other landowners were harvesting timber and I wasn’t getting a cut of it I got jealous, but the forests grew back anyway.

tmitsss on May 23, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Yoop-what’s your take?

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 5:51 PM

to understand this issue you must understand hydrogeologic concepts.

(snip)

the morr porus the sandstand the mor ewater flow you get.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Not necessarily.

If you are going to “understand hydrologic (sic) concepts” and water flow then you will, by neccessity, need to understand the difference between porosity and permeability.

Yoop on May 23, 2011 at 5:53 PM

clearbluesky on May 23, 2011 at 5:39 PM

not true. Most groundwater aquifers are deep in the earth below the water table. the water table deals with surface water not ground water.

but any any drilling into those aquifers will cause problems. so all those wells that people have drilled to tap that groundwater over the last hundred years stands the chanc eof contanmenting that groundwater. It is simply a function of it’s placement. to get to the groundwater you have to go through the protective shale layer which means you set up the considiotns ofr containmenation by drilling for a well. Fracking increases the risk but only if the layer between the shale and sandstone is breached. You can frack the top 4 fee tof the shale formation and as long as their is several incheas of untouched shale above the sandstone aquifer you do not have any risk.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 5:53 PM

When I moved to Maine and saw the clear cutting of the North Maine Woods as far as I could see, I lost faith in corporate responsibility and moral behavior.

rickyricardo on May 23, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Cutting down trees has nothing to do with morality.
According to your logic, BEAVERS are immoral.
So I suppose you’re cool when we shoot the beavers ’round here.
Go to the state of WA & see how they are no0w managing forests.
The trees grow BACK.

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 5:56 PM

I’d like the EPA to explain how fracturing at 9,000 feet below the surface affects the water at 300 feet.

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 5:01 PM

We had an EPA contingent “inspecting” one of our fracture operations last week. May as well have been a group of 3rd-graders, from what I was told. They were clueless about what was going on. It’s easy to fool the ignorant.

And by the way, for those unfamiliar, a typical horizontal well fracture grows up or down just a few hundred feet at the most, not the many thousands of feet it would take to get into a potable water table. And there is typically a whole lot of very salty water in rocks between the gas shales and the drinking water. If the hydraulic fracturing was reaching the water table, they would be seeing salt water, not traces of chemicals.

iurockhead on May 23, 2011 at 5:56 PM

But I would think that’s what hydrogeologist’s reports etc are for, to minimize that possibility. And that’s what insurance is for. To pay for things that happen like that.
As far as the ‘chemicals’ go, I’m highly doubtful that these people whining about headaches & autism & allergies have ANY leg to stand on.
Point is, I think ALL practices dealing with land & subsurface development have risks.
Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t engage in them.

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 5:50 PM

oh no doubtt that some of the claims are bogus. I’m just pointing out that it can happen. But then it also can happen if there is say an earthquake or mining, or simply drilling for a well at your house for water. there are ways to ensure the problems are small and the risk is reduced. I think the government’s job is to make sure the companies follow best practices.

Nothing risked nothing gained. In NC they just came out with a report that the area where I live is filled with Nat gas in the shale. but the NC law makes fracing illegal. Hell I could be a multimillionaire and not know it…. but I understand the risk.

It is a detail subject I studied in college and it is a subjec tthat both the dems and reps can whip up the uninformed.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 5:58 PM

A million bucks isn’t going to stop the exploration or retrieval of this energy source.

It will, however, pad the pockets of PA-DEP…

… it what amounts to the perfectly legal government shake-down of a private industry.

Lawrence on May 23, 2011 at 6:00 PM

to understand this issue you must understand hydrogeologic concepts.

(snip)

the morr porus the sandstand the mor ewater flow you get.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Not necessarily.

If you are going to “understand hydrologic (sic) concepts” and water flow then you will, by neccessity, need to understand the difference between porosity and permeability.

Yoop on May 23, 2011 at 5:53 PM

Unseen has a handfull of buzz works, and a vivid imagination. Understanding of hydrogeology? Not so much.

iurockhead on May 23, 2011 at 6:02 PM

Yoop-what’s your take?

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Go back and look at the history of PA. Hydrocarbons and gasses have been leaking to surface since long before man was there. A lot of the complaints are just a way to blame a lot of natural phenomenon on something other than what it is.

Some of that is a law suit looking for a target while some is NIMBYism. There are some problems. There always are. But the problems have solutions.

Yoop on May 23, 2011 at 6:05 PM

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 5:53 PM

I’m certainly no expert and you obviously know more about it than me, i’ll just point you to where i got that info, John Stossel’s show.

clearbluesky on May 23, 2011 at 6:05 PM

BobMbx on May 23, 2011 at 5:43 PM

That’s what I’m talking about.

(Simmer down, Lorien!)

hillbillyjim on May 23, 2011 at 6:08 PM

My hydrolgeology is limited to one undergraduate class at UWYO in Laramie.
And all we did was differential equations.
My mind is still numb.

If you are going to “understand hydrologic (sic) concepts” and water flow then you will, by neccessity, need to understand the difference between porosity and permeability.

Yoop on May 23, 2011 at 5:53 PM

Yup.

Two separate characteristics of rocks control how effective they are as aquifers:

Porosity is a measure of how much of a rock is open space. This space can be between grains or within cracks or cavities of the rock.
Permeability is a measure of the ease with which a fluid (water in this case) can move through a porous rock.

Unseen has a handfull of buzz works, and a vivid imagination. Understanding of hydrogeology? Not so much.

iurockhead on May 23, 2011 at 6:02 PM

There are times when I agree with unseen.
This situation, I don’t think it’s helpful to point things out like that.
Bcs you’re going to help the ignorant gain ground.

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 6:09 PM

Now if only we can convince S. Crowder into doing “The Hydrofracking Rap”, we’ll be golden!

hillbillyjim on May 23, 2011 at 6:10 PM

A lot of the complaints are just a way to blame a lot of natural phenomenon on something other than what it is.

Some of that is a law suit looking for a target while some is NIMBYism. There are some problems. There always are. But the problems have solutions.

Yoop on May 23, 2011 at 6:05 PM

I think a lot of these people are also looking to cash in on lawsuits.
“Look! My kids drank the water & is autistic now!”
I tell my students:
1/2 of science can be understood by using plain old common sense
The other 1/2 is more complicated than you think & common sense can’t help you, only expertise.

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 6:11 PM

I’m certainly no expert and you obviously know more about it than me, i’ll just point you to where i got that info, John Stossel’s show.

clearbluesky on May 23, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Yoop is more the expert here.

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 6:12 PM

If you are going to “understand hydrologic (sic) concepts” and water flow then you will, by neccessity, need to understand the difference between porosity and permeability.

Yoop on May 23, 2011 at 5:53 PM

Not at all. If I wanted to give a college level comment about it I would point it out. Instead I wanted to highlight why fracing could be a problem. on avg the the reason that sandstone makes better aquifers is because they have better permeability and better porosity. some shales have high porosity and low permeability which is something that fracing tries to solve. they open up pathways for the rock to become more permeable. this is good as long as the pathways they open are not on a boundary of a shale/sandstone connection. once that is breached then the groundwater within the protected sandstone aquifer is at risk.

It is enough to know that sandstone and shale are different and what fracing is trying to do is turn shale into sandstone from a hydrogeologic POV. which is fine as long as the boundriaes between the two are kept.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:13 PM

A lot of the complaints are just a way to blame a lot of natural phenomenon on something other than what it is.

Yoop on May 23, 2011 at 6:05 PM

News reports of people here in ND lighting their tapwater on fire is just fear mongering.
It really irritates me that people think this is related to fracking.
I then have to explain things to them.
Which is why I encourage my HS kids to take my basic Geology class.
I would at least like them to learn something about how the physical world works.

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 6:14 PM

It is a detail subject I studied in college and it is a subjec tthat both the dems and reps can whip up the uninformed.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Did that detail, by any chance, include the difference between porosity and permeability, between water table and aquifer, or between gravity flow vs. artesian flow?

Yoop on May 23, 2011 at 6:14 PM

marinetbryant on May 23, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Natural gas is, on average, about 95% methane. The rest is made up of N2, CO2, H2S, ethane, propane, butane and other trace elements like helium.

gitarfan on May 23, 2011 at 6:18 PM

If I wanted to give a college level comment about it I would point it out.
unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Actually, that’s really a basic concept regarding this subject.
So you studied hydrogeology?
I did not expect that.
My hydrology education was the one hydro class + geomorphology & strat/sed.
What was your level?

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 6:19 PM

Unseen has a handfull of buzz works, and a vivid imagination. Understanding of hydrogeology? Not so much.

iurockhead on May 23, 2011 at 6:02 PM

LOL…thant’s funny I guess my BS degree in earth sciences and my minor in geology and my classes in hydrogeology were a waste of effort. I’ll be sure to let Penn State know that and request a full refund.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:20 PM

more than $1 million in penalties

That’s nothing! A Missouri family is facing $4 million in fines for raising and selling bunnies.

Rae on May 23, 2011 at 6:20 PM

LOL…thant’s funny I guess my BS degree in earth sciences and my minor in geology and my classes in hydrogeology were a waste of effort. I’ll be sure to let Penn State know that and request a full refund.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:20 PM

You should have gone to UWYO at LAramie.
I had a 1st class education there in the undergrad geosciences.
It was why I chose to go there.
Their 6 week field camp, from what i have gathered, is one of the best in the nation.
BTW-A degree in the Earth sciences & a minor in geology?
Did you have a lot of weather & climate classes or something?

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 6:22 PM

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Which 5 classes in Geo did you take to fullfill your minor?
Or was it more?

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 6:25 PM

My hydrology education was the one hydro class + geomorphology & strat/sed.
What was your level?

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 6:19 PM

just the BS level classes mostly. My pathway went another way once I got out of college.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:26 PM

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:20 PM

BTW-where did you take your field camp?
We studied in WY of course, but also several places in CO & NM.
It was the best $$ I ever spent.
My girlfreind transferred to Boulder & her field camp was lame.
I learned a lot more than she did.

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 6:27 PM

just the BS level classes mostly. My pathway went another way once I got out of college.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Which classes?

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Not at all. If I wanted to give a college level comment about it I would point it out.

BS! You posted: “the morr porus the sandstand the mor ewater flow you get”

That is not necessarily correct. There are a number of highly porous sandstones that have low permeability, thusly low flow rates. If you are going to comment about the scientific specifics of a recovery method then it behooves you to be accurate in your descriptions.

are not on a boundary of a shale/sandstone connection.

What is a shale/sandstone connection? Are you referring to a “contact”?

It is enough to know that sandstone and shale are different and what fracing is trying to do is turn shale into sandstone from a hydrogeologic POV. which is fine as long as the boundriaes between the two are kept.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Would you care to elaborate on turning shale into sandstone
by commenting on the difference in “openings” in the two rocks by comparing the porosity and permeability of compacted sand grains vs. the porosity and permeability of fractures?

Yoop on May 23, 2011 at 6:35 PM

Which 5 classes in Geo did you take to fullfill your minor?
Or was it more?

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 6:25 PM

hmmm let me think its been 20 years.

had a geochem course
Paleo course
geomorphology
hydrogeology
geology of north america.

took a class on volconism/plate tectonics and a karst geology course too if I remember right.
strat course
mineralogy

why?

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:42 PM

“Natural gas is a fossil fuel?” – Nancy Pelosi

Doughboy on May 23, 2011 at 5:03 PM

Please tell me that quote is made up.

JohnGalt23 on May 23, 2011 at 6:43 PM

BTW-where did you take your field camp?
We studied in WY of course, but also several places in CO & NM.
It was the best $$ I ever spent.
My girlfreind transferred to Boulder & her field camp was lame.
I learned a lot more than she did.

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 6:27 PM

I didn’t go to the field camp. didn’t have enough money had to work for the summers. One of the reasons I went the earth science route instead of a full geology degree. was one thing I wish I would have been able to do.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:45 PM

Shouldn’t the eco-nuts be forced to prove harm rather than just scare people.

Is this related to the failed warnists hypothesis???

tarpon on May 23, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Did you have a lot of weather & climate classes or something?

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 6:22 PM

yeah and several geography classes, ocenography and environmental courses. jack of all trades kind of program

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:46 PM

why?

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Just curious is all. Not trying to be an a$$.
But Yoop’s got some good points.
I think it’s a bad idea to only bring out part of the truth when discussing such a contentious issue.
If you were well educated in this area, or any scientific area, I would think you could understand the danger of only discussing part of the truth here.
People not schooled in this area could take the info & run with it.
I think the details do matter in this matter.

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 6:46 PM

I didn’t go to the field camp. didn’t have enough money had to work for the summers. One of the reasons I went the earth science route instead of a full geology degree. was one thing I wish I would have been able to do.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:45 PM

You surely missed out.
I like to call my experience Geology Bootcamp.
UWYO has a very rigorous field camp.
It was worth every penny I borrowed & am now paying back.
We did a lot.
LOTS of mapping, which of course involved lots of climbing & hiking.
I tamed my fear of heights for a while to say the least.

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 6:49 PM

That is not necessarily correct. There are a number of highly porous sandstones that have low permeability, thusly low flow rates. If you are going to comment about the scientific specifics of a recovery method then it behooves you to be accurate in your descriptions.

At times it does at other times it doesn’t. If I wanted to do a white paper on the subjec tI would. I didn’t so I didn’t.

Would you care to elaborate on turning shale into sandstone
by commenting on the difference in “openings” in the two rocks by comparing the porosity and permeability of compacted sand grains vs. the porosity and permeability of fractures?

Yoop on May 23, 2011 at 6:35 PM

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Not sure it’s true but the stories of “burning water” is due to methane, not natural gas.

Well yea…I did pass some gas decades ago when I drove through Pennsylvania….

Sorry.

Mcguyver on May 23, 2011 at 6:53 PM

We did a lot.
LOTS of mapping, which of course involved lots of climbing & hiking.
I tamed my fear of heights for a while to say the least.

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 6:49 PM

yeah that was one of my loves to do the field work. getting outside the class room. we went to gettsyburg on a couple fossil hunts those were fun. did several geologic mapping projects. I hated the detail of the map making but loved taking the readings.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:58 PM

yeah and several geography classes, ocenography and environmental courses. jack of all trades kind of program

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Sounds like the BS degree my ex received after 7 years of college and a whole bunch of credits that amounted to a nothing degree.

ladyingray on May 23, 2011 at 6:59 PM

Show me a formation where liquids defy gravity and flow upwards for 8,000+ feet.

Vashta.Nerada on May 23, 2011 at 5:17 PM

Volcanoes, geysers. Limiting flow to gravity is pretty naive and silly.

jdkchem on May 23, 2011 at 7:00 PM

If you are going to comment about the scientific specifics of a recovery method then it behooves you to be accurate in your descriptions.

At times it does at other times it doesn’t. If I wanted to do a white paper on the subjec tI would. I didn’t so I didn’t.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 6:50 PM

So you chose to only partially inform regarding a contentious subject where the details being argued by the general public are the problem. That is certainly your option.

But it behooves all others to judge your creditability in future posts by that decision.

Yoop on May 23, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Would you care to elaborate on turning shale into sandstone
by commenting on the difference in “openings” in the two rocks by comparing the porosity and permeability of compacted sand grains vs. the porosity and permeability of fractures?

Yoop on May 23, 2011 at 6:35 PM

crap it submit early.

Fractures permeability depends on if the fracturs are connected or if the fractures on single point fractures. On avg a fracture would be have more porosity than compacted sand grains depending on the size of the sand grains and the size of the fracture. Fracing it is my understanding is the attempt to make the shale more permeability by connecting the voids within the shale therevby allowing the gas to flow to the pump. Nothing wrong with that. However shales low permeability also act as a capstone to some major sandstone aquifers in Pa in the Mountains esp. destruction of those capstones will expose the sandstone aquifers to a greater risk of containmentation. that isn’t even taking into the eqation that a lot of the central PA geology is made from limestone depsoits.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 7:03 PM

Fracking poses no deleterious environmental risks.
The EPA poses human risk………shut it down…all of it.

lilium on May 23, 2011 at 7:04 PM

So you chose to only partially inform regarding a contentious subject where the details being argued by the general public are the problem. That is certainly your option.

But it behooves all others to judge your creditability in future posts by that decision.

Yoop on May 23, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Yoop has a huge point here, unseen.

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 7:06 PM

Did that detail, by any chance, include the difference between porosity and permeability, between water table and aquifer, or between gravity flow vs. artesian flow?

Yoop on May 23, 2011 at 6:14 PM

yes

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 7:12 PM

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 7:03 PM

My expertise regarding fracture propagation was more along the lines of applying massive amounts of explosives to metal-bearing rocks. So, I’m going to sit back and wait to see a Reservoir Geologist come along and eat your lunch.

Yoop on May 23, 2011 at 7:13 PM

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