The challenge now for those opposed to Fracking across the UK


2:28 pm - August 20th 2013

by Leo Barasi    


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Carbon Brief’s new poll shows how little support there is for shale gas fracking in the UK. But while the poll suggests supporters of shale have problems to overcome, it also shows that anti-fracking have a real challenge ahead.

Shale gas wells have the lowest support out of any domestic source of energy. Fewer than one in five would support the building of a shale well within 10 miles of their home: that compares with more than half who support wind turbines.

But opposition to shale isn’t yet solid. There are still 40% who aren’t sure either way about local fracking, and fewer opponents than there are for both coal and nuclear. The argument can still swing either way.

And dig into the reasons for people’s opinions about shale, and it’s clear that both sides have problems.

Support for fracking is on shaky ground

The reasons why people support shale are strongly angled towards its being a crucial source of energy for the country.

This is a winning argument if the debate happens on a national level. Everyone knows we need some kind of energy source, so if people agree that shale can provide secure, low-cost domestic energy for the country, it’s hard to find a national-level argument that beats it*.

But this only works if fracking will happen in, say, desolate and sparsely populated places. It’s less effective if fracking happens where people live and you’re facing emotional** arguments.

The reasons for opposition to shale indeed show the challenge for its supporters.

Earthquakes and contaminated drinking water not only sound horrible for people living near wells – they’re also outrageous enough to mobilise outrage across the country. If the country believes that fracking causes so much local damage (regardless of whether it does), the benefits of energy security aren’t enough to win the argument.

Anti-frackers have to make a tough decision

But this is also a major problem for anti-frackers – who have a big decision to make.

There are broadly two ways of framing an anti-shale campaign. It can either be national and calculating, focused on greenhouse gas emissions and the lack of affordably extractable gas; or it can be local and emotional, focused on earthquakes and contaminated water supplies.

The national argument is losing right now. About twice as many say they support fracking because it reduces our dependence on imports, than say they oppose shale gas because it increases carbon emissions (perhaps it should have included methane, but I doubt that would have swung much). Even fewer are worried about whether there’s enough to extract or the cost of doing so.

So campaigners may choose instead to make their arguments local and emotional. This would be natural given current opinion and the potential potency of the arguments (ironically it’s the same approach that opponents of wind farms have taken)

But if you’re really opposing shale because of climate change or because you think it’s inefficient, relying on a different argument is risky. A few successful and safe shale extractions in the UK could undermine your campaign. In fact, media coverage over the last week or so has already begun to dismiss risks of earthquakes and contaminated water. If a campaign is based on earthquakes etc, and those don’t come to pass, it’s going to be in trouble after a year or two (though it’s true plenty of anti-wind farm campaigns haven’t been derailed by contradictory evidence).

Of course campaigns can try doing both: start with earthquakes and, if they don’t come to pass, fall back on climate change. But given how much less traction the climate argument has at the moment, it would need a lot of work to become credible. And switching arguments like that is always risky: you look opportunistic and unprincipled. Doing the two at the same time could mean doing both badly.

For now fracking is facing a tough time. Local protests make every new extraction controversial and politically difficult, and the fracking industry is struggling on the arguments it has to win. But the country is still largely undecided, and despite the current lack of support, evidence of successful extraction could undermine what is currently the key argument against it. Opponents may be doing well at the moment but the source of that support may not be stable.

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About the author
Leo is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He manages communications for a small policy organisation, and writes about polling and info from public opinion surveys at Noise of the Crowd
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Reader comments


These surveys will become obsolete as much of the myth-pedalling of the anti-fracking lobby becomes clear, especially the hysteria about earthquakes and water contamination. Furthermore, it appears the issue of local community remuneration doesnt even appear here. That will, and should be, a game changer.

“Earthquakes and contaminated drinking water not only sound horrible for people living near wells”

Data from the US suggests neither of these is a problem.

Earthquakes caused are so slight that they can only be measured by geologists. Water pollution hasn’t occured, not least because fracking uses very small amounts of safe household chemicals. Your average river is likely to recieve more in terms of hazardous chemical waste or effluent.

3. Man on Clapham Omnibus

1. JonBG 2. Tyler

I presume the ‘water’ goes somewhere does it.

‘Water pollution hasn’t occured, not least because fracking uses very small amounts of safe household chemicals’

How do you know this since the companies producing them haven’t disclosed ALL the chemicals being used.How much is actually used per day in the fracking process? Where are your sources?

2. Tyler "Your average river is likely to recieve more in terms of hazardous chemical waste or effluent"
The danger is to the mains water supply. I wouldn’t recommend supping from the Thames or the gutter in the road.
"safe household chemicals."
Name them.

It’s very easy for “fractivists” to influence public opinion in the middle of August but, to plagiarise A Game of Thrones, Winter Is Coming, with the usual dying off of old people who are trying to save money on heating.

Using the issue as a proxy for campaigning on climate change is demented as everybody needs to heat their homes and you can’t have 20 million households stripping the nation bare of foliage to keep warm in the winter. Sooner or later the gas will be extracted, and climate change will continue to be tackled on a policy level rather than by sporadic sabotage.

Once people realise the earthquakes and water contamination are just the usual scare stories, they will be confronted with the reality of a technology which has very little environmental or visual impact and which will cut heating bills and reduce Russian dominance of the gas market.

The only support for windfarms comes from those not visually affected. Oh, and the landowners, blade and alternator manufacturers and some haulage companies.

Frame the argument with the truth.

Carbon emissions have to be reduced substantially and establishing a fracking industry will result in continued dependency on a high carbon fuel source. Change has to happen and politicians are failing to bite the bullet.

The Conservatives sold us all a pack of lies about their care for the environment and climate change. We all hoped that they had changed, but the reality is they have not.

It’s time to end giving them the benefit of the doubt, they failed.

8. Meg Underdown

I have read that the dry shale we have in Britain is not as suitable for fracking as the wet shale in USA. The fracking might not be financially viable here because of this. Therefore there is not an argument for cheap energy – anyhow renewables – see Germany – should be pursued – why do we always look to the States who are not good at many things like Health and Criminal Justice!

5. Sandman "with the usual dying off of old people who are trying to save money on heating."
Using a scare story yourself.

"very little environmental or visual impact and which will cut heating bills and reduce Russian dominance of the gas market."

Russia does not dominate the British gas market and the price of domestic gas will not fall if fracking goes ahead. Go ahead and believe what the PR agency for Cuadrilla pumps out about environmental matters and cash incentives but don’t expect to fool everyone.

Cameron will pay subsidies for fracking and put corporate wealth before people and the environment. Cameron allows local people to object to windmills but makes it impossible for Councils to stop drilling sites.

An interesting article from George Monbiot about Fracking Testeria. http://www.monbiot.com/2013/08/20/resource-testeria/

@8, Meg Underdown

If the UK shale is not financially viable to extract, then businesses will realise this and not bother to extract it. Hence, problem solved. In fact, if it is not financially viable, the best strategy for the fractivists would be to sit quietly and let the businesses waste as much money as possible realising this.

I suspect, though, that it is very financially viable.

My first problem with the fractivists is that many look like the usual bunch of grotty trouble making tree huggers who need a bath & cause trouble where ever they can find a cause to make trouble with, I’d imagine they were at Dale farm not so long back. where are all the “normal” looking citizens? At home waiting for cheap fuel.

My other problem with them is that, they may be ok living in a wigwam & shiting in the woods but the rest of us don’t & as many people are suffering fuel poverty the chance that the bills could be reduced by fracking is worth taking even IF there is a chance of a tremor here & there, better than people dying or going without food to pay their gas bill.

Lastly, the whole planet is running out of resources, each country needs to start to become self sufficient to avoid the oncoming wars over food & energy, we can’t let the “worried about the planet types” stand in the way of every thing thing that isn’t green friendly if we don’t want our children or their children to die from hunger, no energy or war.

As much as I love the planet it comes second when compared to my fellow people struggling to survive.

Time THE fracktivists fracked off & gave fracking a chance to work, or not.

12. Northern Worker

The UK needs the wealth generated by fracking; it needs the energy; and my old stomping ground in the NW needs the jobs. All this alarmism stirred up by useful idiots like the protesters and z-list celebs – and a druid? – is just total rubbish.

Anyway, if you all want to ban fracking, and we end up with power cuts and old people freezing to death because so-called green energy is useless, well fine. I hope you’ll feel vindicated.

Me? I’ve just ordered 100 bags of house coal for my multi-fuel stove. There’s plenty of wood around and I’ve got a generator.

One issue being overlooked by people defending fracking on water contamination (in addition to the state of disclosure) is that the contaminants don’t actually need to be supplied to the fracking process, they can be extracted at low concentrations from the surroundings and deposited at high concentrations by the fracking process.

Consider http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es4011724

Is this conclusive proof that fracking causes water contamination? No. However, the fact that the levels of contamination in the post-fracking era exceed historical records, and correlate well to the proximity to fracking sites would suggest that the precautionary principle is appropriate here.

14. man on clapham omnibus

13. Andy C Have you the full text?

14.
I followed the link that Andy C gave and the full text can be downloaded if you pay a $35 monthly fee. The text is copyrighted so, you cannot reproduce it without authorisation from the copyright holder.
Iechyd da from DruidsWorld.

As the article is behind a pay wall, for people who don’t have access I suggest this article from Scientific American that covers the article, and has links to related stories:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=high-levels-of-arsenic-found-in-ground-water-near-fracking-sites

To summarise: should we concentrate on whipping up spurious fears about shale gas, or on making spurious claims that renewables are capable of doing the same job as shale gas?

Decisions, decisions.

@ $ Ceilog

Fracking Uses:

90% Water
9.5% Sand

The other 0.5% of the mixture contains:

Citric acid, which is found in Lemon juice.
Hydrochloric acid, which is used in swimming pools.
Glutaraldehyde, which is a disinfectant.
Guar, which is used in Ice cream.
Dimethylformamide, which is used in plastics
Isopropanol, which is used in deodorants
Borate, which is used in hand soap
Ammonium persulphate, which is used in hair dyes
Potassium chloride, which is used in drips
Sodium carbonate, which is used in detergent
Ethylene glycol, which is used in when you de-ice products
Ammonium bisulphite, that is used in cosmetics
Petroleum distillate, which also is used in cosmetics

Nothing in there amounts to a dangerous chemical, given we eat, drink or apply them to our own bodies every day.

“Russia does not dominate the British gas market and the price of domestic gas will not fall if fracking goes ahead.”

Russia dominates European gas prices, let alone UK gas prices.

The price of gas will fall if fracking goes ahead. I assume you are reading from the reports Greenpeace put out. Problem with that report is they are being a little fast and loose wit hthe truth, conflating the effect of gas prices from one individual field (which would reduce prices 2-4%) with the potential price falls from all the available fields. You only have to look at the US for evidence as to what fracking has done to gas prices – they have collapsed – and the UK has proportionally a lot more shale gas than the US.

Add to the fact that energy prices will come down (allowing industrial output to go up) you have the other benefits of not paying despotic regimes huge amounts of money for their fuel sources, and the benefits to the North of England in terms of jobs and growth and the arguments against fracking start to look ever weaker.

@Tyler,

“Nothing in there amounts to a dangerous chemical, given we eat, drink or apply them to our own bodies every day.”

You may be overlooking some important points regarding appropriate use of these chemicals. Dose, method of exposure and context of exposure are quite important. I tend to avoid drinking the contents of deodorant cans and hydrochloric acid. I also prefer not to ingest ethylene glycol given that acute exposure can be followed by tachycardia, renal failure and death.

Dose, method of exposure and context of exposure are quite important.

So, you’re saying we shouldn’t drink neat fracking fluid?

” Dose, method of exposure and context of exposure are quite important.”

So, you’d advise not drinking neat fracking fluid then?

@Richard T

I’d advise against assuming that a group of household chemicals can be safely added to drinking water leading to potential acute, and certainly chronic exposure, just because they can be safely used for their intended purposes.

“Dose, method of exposure and context of exposure are quite important.”

Good point. We should probably make it clear to people that they shouldn’t drink neat fracking fluid.

“I tend to avoid drinking the contents of deodorant cans and hydrochloric acid.”

Good policy, you should extend it to not drinking neat fracking fluid.

Apologies for apparent spam, phone showed no successful posts.

Anyway, they’re paying me for this stuff so no harm done.

@Richard T

Repeating yourself doesn’t increase the merit of your “argument”, especially if you ignore the response to the first instance.

“Apologies for apparent spam, phone showed no successful posts.”

Fair enough

It’s moot anyway, the UK will be massively more conservative in approving additives.

[Note to The Proprietor: as there’s no visible delete button, feel free to dispose of redundant (near) duplicate posts.]

“It’s moot anyway, the UK will be massively more conservative in approving additives.”

Let’s assume that’s true, you still have the issue I raised in my very first comment.

We are talking about hydrochloric acid a concentrations much weaker than in your average public swimming pool here. Not sure how much the average person ingests every time they go swimming but there haven’t been any health warnings as far as I know. You are probably ingesting a more acidic substance every time you have a coke.

Obviously we aren’t talking about *concentrated* hydrochloric acid here, but jsut because a chemical has a scary name doesn’t mean its dangerous.

Nor would I ingest large quantities of ethylene glycol, but again, every time you spray yourself with a deoderant you are breathing in much more than would be present in fracking fluids.

You are are ignoring that should in the off chance the fluid leak into the water table, it would be diluted even more, so that the quantities of these chemicals would be tiny.

You do also realise that fracking in more basic forms has been going on for decades – since the 70s in the UK – with no panic about safety.

It appears to me that the arguments against fracking are not really about the environment (not least because gas is much cleaner than coal) or about the dangers (which have been massively overstated given the US experience). It seems to be more about a general anti-capitalist drive and the horro that somee people will make money out of it. The green types would like us all to live in yurts and are more than happy to see fuel prices increase, with the fuel poverty and costs to growth that would entail. The remaining lefties I simply don’t understand, given that many of these are the same people who complain about Thatcher shutting down the coal mines in the very same areas.

Truly the mind boggles.

Anti-frackers are a coalition of crazy greenies opposed to all utilisation of fossil fuels and Upper Middle Class Nimbys who are outraged, outraged than anyone should dare threaten the perfect bits of countryside they paid so much good money for. But it’s a lot easier to target an oil well near Balcombe than an off-sea oil rig in the middle of the North Sea (for the 1st group).

Fossil fuels, especially Gas, are needed for at least the next 50 years. As such British Gas is a much better option than Saudi Oil or Russian Gas.

Bitter lefties are still complaining about the closing of the coal-mines ‘oop north 30 years ago. Well, here’s finally something that could help replace them in many areas. GET BEHIND IT!!!

Here’s what Cuadrilla has actually used:

http://www.cuadrillaresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Chemical-Disclosure-PH-1.jpg

Here’s what the EA has approved them to use.

? Polyacrylamide (friction reducer )
? Sodium salt (for tracing fracturing fluid)
? Hydrochloric acid (diluted with water)
? Glutaraldehyde biocide (used to cleanse water and remove bacteria)

http://www.cuadrillaresources.com/what-we-do/hydraulic-fracturing/fracturing-fluid/

Disclosure, prior approval, testing, all non-negotiable requirements.

A sense of proportion seems sadly lacking.

We had a diesel spill from a damaged on-site tank when our local windfarm was under construction. Annoying, as some of it reached one of the burns running through our land. Had it been a fracking site, no doubt Lucas would have superglued herself to the gates while proclaiming the end of the world as we know it.

Environment
Companies using the fracking process have special exemptions from USA environmental laws like the Clean Air Act and Clean Drinking Water Act.
If fracking is so safe, why have they got exemptions?
Consumer Cost
No domestic user of gas that comes from the fracking process will see a reduction in gas tariffs.
A Logical Question
If current supplies from other sources, such as the Norwegian gas fields, are adequate why extract now?
The resource is underground and it would be wiser to leave it there.

If the current Government is throwing taxpayers’ money at the drilling companies and refusing to allow local people and local Councils the opportunity to refuse planning consents, there is something wrong.
I read with disbelief some of the posters on this thread who have a weird notion that Cameron and his paymasters are working for the benefit of the British people.

@ Ceiliog

In the US there hasn’t been any pollution of the water table caused by fracking thus far. It’s also far less environmentally damaging than other forms of fossil fuel extraction. Likewise in the UK, where older versions of the fracking technology have been used since the 70’s, we haven’t any problems caused by fracking itself.

“No domestic user of gas that comes from the fracking process will see a reduction in gas tariffs.”

Utter and total nonsense, with no evidence to back it. The real US evidence shows consumers (and the exchequer) will benefit massively. US gas prices have halved in the last 5 years as fracking streams have come on line.

“If current supplies from other sources, such as the Norwegian gas fields, are adequate why extract now?”

Norweigen supplies are dwindling, much like North Sea oil. Currently much of Europe relies on Russian gas totally, and overall Russia supplies about 40% of European gas. Above and beyond that, Russian supplies are also slowly declining, and the supply isn’t wholly reliable, given it has to be piped through unstable regions and politics can often lead the government owned gas companies to reduce or stop supply for political ends.

“USA environmental laws ”

They don’t apply here.

“No domestic user of gas that comes from the fracking process will see a reduction in gas tariffs.”

A significant increase in supply will either push the market price down, or slow the rate at which it increases. There isn’t really any logical argument against this.

“If current supplies from other sources, such as the Norwegian gas fields, are adequate why extract now?”

They’re not. They’re either in decline, like our own conventional gas reserves, or they come from politically unstable sources.

“Cameron and his paymasters…”

Oh, give it a rest.

36. Paul peter Smith

0.5% of the mixture is made up of chemicals, typical water use in US fracking is 2-5 million gallons per well. So whats 0.5% of 2-5,000,000 x total no. Wells (certainly hundreds and over 50 years, thousands).
We do come into contact with all of the above chemicals, in isolation from each other, for brief periods and different methods of ingestion. What we dont do is drink, cook with and bathe in them all simultaneously – forever.

33.
"In the US there hasn’t been any pollution of the water table caused by fracking thus far."
Go to the link in comment #16 and note that employees at the US Environmental Protection Agency had to carry out studies of water content in their own spare time. Note that fracking in the USA has been exempted from environmental laws and the EPA cannot do anything.
"US gas prices have halved in the last 5 years as fracking streams have come on line"
Alistair Buchanan , chief executive of Ofgem, the energy regulator has said that British gas prices will not decrease if shale gas is extracted.

I agree with you that current supplies are dwindling.
I disagree with the manic rush to obtain new sources of natural gas when there should be sensible moves to alternative forms of energy. (See my link at comment #9)
Doing more of the same is unsustainable.

@Tyler

“In the US there hasn’t been any pollution of the water table caused by fracking thus far.”

The following report from the EPA contradicts that claim, and is also in contrast to your previous claim regarding how contaminants would be diluted to “tiny” levels:

http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/EPA_ReportOnPavillion_Dec-8-2011.pdf

Furthermore, you’ve previously made various claims about the constituents and concentrations of chemicals used in fracking fluids, and their comparison to household products, which are problematic. As has previously been pointed out, there are issues over disclosure requirements, particularly when it comes to concentrations, for example:

http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Hydraulic-Fracturing-Chemicals-2011-4-18.pdf

In particular, this report notes instances of the companies undertaking the fracking being unable to identify proprietary chemicals in their own fracturing fluids.

Where *some* companies have agreed to release the names of the chemicals *routinely* used in the process the list is considerably longer than the list you provided (without citation) earlier (perhaps demonstrating by itself that getting this information is not nearly as simple as it should be):

http://fracfocus.org/chemical-use/what-chemicals-are-used

This still lacks details of concentrations and does not consider numerous other chemicals that are sometimes constituents (totalling around 750 different chemicals based on the hydraulic fracturing chemicals report cited above).

Finally, as it has still not been addressed since I first posted about it, the chemicals provided at the injection site are not the only potential source of contamination.

@Paul peter Smith

“..total no. Wells (certainly hundreds and over 50 years, thousands)”

The figure already exceeds 50,000 fractured wells in the US.

@ Paul Peter Smith

You sure about that?

Tap water commonly contains:

Chlorine
Fluorosicilic acid
Aluminium Sulphate
Calcium Hydroxide
Sodium Silicofluoride
Trihalomethanes
Salts of a variety of metals including arsenic, radium, aluminium, copper, lead, mercury, cadmium and barium
Hormones
Pesticides
Nitrates

So you sure that tap water you are so keen on is as clean and pure as you think?

@ Ceiliog

The EPA *are* doing their own tests – just follow the links from the article in #16. I quote:

“It is unclear whether these contaminants have any connection to drilling activities”

Arsenic itself isn’t used in fracking.

“Alistair Buchanan , chief executive of Ofgem, the energy regulator has said that British gas prices will not decrease if shale gas is extracted.”

Not exactly what he said. There will be no decrease in UK gas prices over the next 5 years from US shale fracking. Not the same as saying there will be no price drop. Europe and the UK have proportionallly more shale than the US, and US shale as havled the price of gas in the last 5 years.

Please tell me what alternative energy you would suggest, because at the moment nothing is anywhere near as cheap or reliable as fossil fuel, and much of it is only sustainable on the back of huge government subsidy.

41. Paul peter Smith

@ Tyler
I have no illusions about the pressure our water supplies are under, thats my only concern here. If there truly are no problems with regard groundwater contamination then I’m fully on board with job creation, re-invigorated North, energy security etc, IF.
US law is not UK law as has been pointed out, so I’m looking forward to the government compelling full disclosure of everything in fracking juice. That would go a long way to allaying my fears.

“I’m looking forward to the government compelling full disclosure of everything in fracking juice.”

From my 2nd link in #32:

“Cuadrilla will disclose on its website details of any additives it is approved to use and any additives used in hydraulic fracturing fluid used in fracturing shale. The Environment Agency also discloses on its website details of any additives approved for use.”

38.
From link at comment #16 and interlinks:
Brian Fontenot and another author, Laura Hunt, work for the EPA in Dallas, but they conducted the study on their own time in collaboration with several UT Arlington researchers.
The identity of the chemicals used by the gas industry for drilling and fracturing are protected as trade secrets and because the EPA, based on an exemption passed under the 2005 Energy Policy Act, does not have authority to investigate the fracturing process under the Safe Drinking Water Act. http://www.propublica.org/article/epa-chemicals-found-in-wyo.-drinking-water-might-be-from-fracking-825
Elevated levels of Arsenic: http://www.propublica.org/article/so-is-dimocks-water-really-safe-to-drink

Do you agree or disagree that current consumption of fossil fuels is unsustainable?

On the matter of subsidies, why is Cameron offering £millions to drilling companies?

@ Paul Peter Smith

Agree that the biggest environmental risk with fracking is not actually water pollution but water usage – it’s a scarce resource. US experience shows it isn’t a massive problem though.

Also agree that the benefits for the North will be massive.

The list of chemcicals in “fracking juice” are in my post at 18. It’s mostly water and sand, with some safe household chemicals thrown in.

45. Paul Peter Smith

@40 Richard T
@ 32 is Ceiliog and I cant see any links on your other posts above, are you referring to another thread?

42. Tyler
Water shortage is a problem in the USA.
Water shortage is a problem in the UK.
Bear in mind that water used in fracking is dumped into deep holes because it is not fit for any safe use. Some drilling companies are re-using fracked water to do more fracking but that does not solve the problem.
The chemicals that you list in #18 are bad enough but what about the chemicals that are not disclosed because they are protected as trade secrets?

“@ 32 is Ceiliog”

Not on my browser: “32. Richard T 11:45 am, August 21, 2013”

Maybe MI5 is hacking the board…..

Anyway, the link is to Cuadrilla, they cover the fluid additives issue fairly thoroughly.

“Water shortage is a problem in the USA.
Water shortage is a problem in the UK.”

I’ve been to Texas, and I’ve been to the Forest of Bowland, and the latter is, to use a technical term, much wetter.

48. Paul peter Smith

@ Richard T
My mistake had mobile theme on, no numbers and tiny screen.

@18 Tyler

I’ve just read this: “Citric acid, which is found in Lemon juice.
Hydrochloric acid, which is used in swimming pools.
Glutaraldehyde, which is a disinfectant.
Guar, which is used in Ice cream.
Dimethylformamide, which is used in plastics
Isopropanol, which is used in deodorants
Borate, which is used in hand soap
Ammonium persulphate, which is used in hair dyes
Potassium chloride, which is used in drips
Sodium carbonate, which is used in detergent
Ethylene glycol, which is used in when you de-ice products
Ammonium bisulphite, that is used in cosmetics
Petroleum distillate, which also is used in cosmetics

Nothing in there amounts to a dangerous chemical, given we eat, drink or apply them to our own bodies every day.”

You don’t reckon drinking petrol would be harmful? You obviously, despite two science degrees that look increasingly shaky, don’t think glutaraldehyde is harmful? Or ethylene glycol? When did you last drink antifreeze, as its wrecked your brain. And I’ve not even covered the whole list.

Then there’s the real research that’s been peer reviewed and published: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es4011724

Not conclusive, but strong evidence of increased contamination by harmful substances where fracking has been done.

@Ceiliog

“38.
From link at comment #16 and interlinks:…”

I’m guessing this was aimed at Tyler, as according to the numbers I see, posts 38 and 39 are mine, with 40 being the post I think you’re actually responding to.

"Potassium chloride, which is used in drips" and in judicial executions.
Sodium chloride is the standard chemical in a saline drip.
Two degrees? Fahrenheit and Celsius.

Andy C at 8:27pm
It was a response to Tyler.
I think that some comments may have been held back for a while before publishing. See posts from Paul peter Smith and Richard T (6:06pm and 6:14pm)that show a similar mix up.

53. Paul peter Smith

@ Richard T
Despite the best efforts of my phone I got to check out your link, eventually. It was quite reassuring until it got to the bit about returned water, they claim a percentage returns in the first few weeks and is sent of for decontamination and that much of the rest returns over the life of the extraction (they were a bit vague on that part). The American experience is that approx 80% of water/frack juice stays in the aquifer and the 20% that does come back is so untreatable it has to be buried deeper than nuclear waste. I tried to follow the in house link to water recovery but kept getting ‘page not found’ (could be MI5 again or my phone), but I’ll keep trying. In the meantime, any thoughts?

@ 46 Ceiliog

Water is indeed a scarce resource. The main contributors to its se though are agriculture and household use. I trust you are not saying we should cut back on those though? Frcking uses tiny amounts in comparison to the above.

@ Cherub/Ceiliog

The chemicals used in fracking have been widely disclosed. There are no “secret” chemicals involved.

None of those chemicals are dangerous in the amounts being used. Indeed, there is much worse in the tap water you drink (as I describe in an earlier post), and you recieve much higher doses of the same chemicals from the food we eat (glutaraldehyde is also used as a component in disinfectant and preservatives to fruit and veg for example) and the sanitary products we use (ever wonder what you are inhaling when using an aerosol deoderant?). As for petrol, you get chemically similar compounds present in all sorts of things we drink – distilled alchoholic drinks for example (whisky contains various oils which give it its taste). Dangerous if you drink too much because of the alchohol, not the other bits and pieces in there.

You can never make anything perfectly safe and remove everything which is potentially harmful (again, tap water is a great example, given it normally has hormones, pesticides, heavy metals and other nasties in it). Fortunately though we’ve evolved to have some tolerance for these things, so it all comes down to the amounts we ingest. Fracking’s uses of these chemicals doesn’t carry any risk in that regard.

Tyler at 9:24am "The chemicals used in fracking have been widely disclosed. There are no “secret” chemicals involved.
None of those chemicals are dangerous in the amounts being used. Indeed, there is much worse in the tap water you drink.
" 4 sentences, not one of them true.

Unknown Chemicals
“Many of the hydraulic fracturing fluids contain chemical components that are listed as ‘proprietary’ or ‘trade secret.’ The companies used 94 million gallons of 279 products that contained at least one chemical or component that the manufacturers deemed proprietary or a trade secret. In many instances, the oil and gas service companies were unable to identify these ‘proprietary’ chemicals, suggesting that the companies are injecting fluids containing chemicals that they themselves cannot identify.”
Source: U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Hydraulic Fracturing Report

Dangerous Chemicals
Read: http://www.businessinsider.com/scary-chemicals-used-in-hydraulic-fracking-2012-3?op=1#ixzz2ch5p7RhA

Tap Water worse than Fracked Water?
Mental. Fracked Water, or ‘Spent Water’ (as it’s euphemistically called), has to be deposited into wells/holes that sink far deeper than the water table.

@54
As part of the process, drilling companies use tap water for fracking.
If, according to Tyler, tap water contains far more dangerous chemicals than fracked water what happens to those dangerous chemicals during fracking?
Do the dangerous chemicals magically disappear?

@ Ceiliog

Caudrila for one has listed all the chemicals (and their concentrations) used in fracking. None are dangerous in the amounts used.

That article you quote also tends to dramatise those chemicals and their effects.

Methanol isn’t dangerous except when ingested in large concentrated amounts. it’s a simple alchohol and we drink it (or ethanol) as a species all the time.

Benzene and it’s derivatives (inc diesel fuels) are very common, and the list of their uses in the household are too common to list. You are likely to inhale more benzene from air pollution than by drinking frack water.

Not sure where lead comes into into fracking (not usually used in fracking fluid) but the article says ONE company used 780 gallons (a tiny amount) of a fluid containing lead in it. My guess would have to be that that liquid wasn’t actually fracking fluids, but more likely as a lubricant for the drills themselves.

Hydrogen flouride. Flouride compounds are *intentionally* added to water and toothpaste. Again, the article is misleading, as it probably means flouride compounds rather than hydrogen flouride, which is a gas that evaporates quickly at room temp. So can’t be part of a fracking *fluid*.

Napthalene is another benzene derivative. See above.

Sulphuric acid is very dangerous in its concentrated form. It is not dangerous in it’s dilute forms – as used in fracking. It is also used in numerous industrial processes with the waste being pumped into the atmosphere or rivers as outflow – yet that doesn’t seem to be a concern for you.

Crystalline sillica. Fancy name for sand. We build houses out of it and mess around in it whilst at the beach. Clearly deserves a health warning.

Formaldehyde. Not good for you, but the amount used in fracking is nothing in comparison to the amount people breathe in from cigarrette smoke or car exhausts. Or even from painting and varnishing your house.

Finally we get to the cach-all “unknown chemicals”. Scary.

The point I was making about tap water, is that there are also plenty of nasty (indeed even nastier than those used in fracking) chemicals present in it. Also in the wines and spirits we drink. Nothing is said about it though as the concentrations are low enough to be safe for human use, and you’d look like a complete moron if you started a campaign about how dangerous tap water is.

@ Ceiliog

To finish – you and the anti-fracking lobby are simply playing on people’s fears and lack of understanding. Either you yourself don’t understand these chemicals, or you are willfully portraying an apocalyptic view to try and turn people’s thinking. Either way, it is simply dishonest.

@ Greta

Nope, the chemicals do not magically disappear. They are just in both fracking fluids and tap water in such tiny concentrations they are considered safe. They also get diluted down over time. Mercury and Arsenic are both extemely toxic, but both are regularly found in tap water. Just not in amounts which will do you any harm.

Tyler
Why is fracked water disposed of by dumping it into wells/holes that are deeper than the water table?
Fracking uses vast quantities of water and the ‘spent water’ cannot be re-cycled so how are the counties where drilling is proposed going to cope? If the water companies cannot meet the demand, what will happen?

@ Ceiliog

“Fracking uses vast quantities of water”

Not in comparison to other industrial use, agriculture and household use.

“and the ‘spent water’ cannot be re-cycled”

Possibly the most moronic thing i’ve ever heard. Water doesn’t get “used up”. We “recycle” most of our water anyway given the amount of effluent the human race produces.

At a guess, you have no real idea when it comes to science. Be intersting to know what you do for a living.

61. Paul peter Smith

@Tyler
The claims around water treatment are what smells fishiest about this. All the US reportage focuses on the fact that agriculture uses far more water than fracking, but not one Article I’ve yet seen denies that 100% of water used is ‘consumed’ by fracking. Here’s an example of an article defending fracking by attempting to allay fears over comparative water usage, note the % of water treated and returned to water cycle is 0.
http://theenergycollective.com/jessejenkins/205481/friday-energy-facts-how-much-water-does-fracking-shale-gas-consume
The waste water issue is being presented as a simple decontamination proceedure in the UK, in the US they dont even pretend they have a real solution. They dump it down the deepest holes they can find and point out it isnt ‘that much water in the grand scheme of things.
I’m not a scientist but I have been questioned by the Police alot and the key thing in both cases is to get your facts straight and stick to your story. This stinks!
BTW water temporarily removed from the water cycle by agriculture is not ‘consumed’ in the same way as fracking water. We get most of it back eventually, we dont WANT the frack juice back because there’s nothing we can do with it (except more fracking sometimes).

@ Peter Paul Smith

Water used in agriculture is often full of pesticides and fertilizers and has to be treated. Just like fracking juice, which can also easily be treated.

Tyler to Ceiliog "At a guess, you have no real idea when it comes to science. Be intersting to know what you do for a living."
Tyler "Water used in agriculture is often full of pesticides and fertilizers and has to be treated. Just like fracking juice, which can also easily be treated." You seem to be under the impression that water used in agriculture is in a closed system. If fracking juice is easy to recycle, why doesn’t it happen?

64. Robin Levett

@Tyler #57:

Methanol isn’t dangerous except when ingested in large concentrated amounts. it’s a simple alchohol and we drink it (or ethanol) as a species all the time.

Slightly disingenuous…

Methanol is what makes meths, meths – it’s what makes meths drinkers go blind. A human substituting methanol for ethanol on a heavy evening out would die.


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