Ninth Annual Shale & Public Health Conference
We thank those of you who helped organize the conference program, who were our speakers, and who attended the ninth annual Shale & Public Health 2021 conference.
The ninth annual Shale & Public Health Conference took place as an online conference over two days Tuesday, November 16 & Wednesday, November 17, 2021
New research presented by national experts on shale and public health impacts, and practical applications.
You can watch any of the sessions you missed, re-watch a presentation, or share it with colleagues.
The annual update of the Resource Guide is available as a downloadable pdf.
You can also order one or more hard copies of the Resource Guide by filling out a form at the link below.
2021 Shale & Public Health Conference – The Straight Scoop on Shale
Shale gas extraction and public health, A Resource Guide by Vera Bonnet, Dec 2021, The league of women voters of Pennsylvania
… HEALTH IMPACTS
A study of the materials known to be used in natural gas extraction resulted in a list of 353 chemicals (Colborn, 2011). By searching through existing literature on the lethality of these chemicals, the researchers came to the following conclusions:
75% of the chemicals have been known to affect the skin, eyes and other sensory organs, and the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems
40% could affect the brain/nervous system, immune and cardiovascular systems, and the kidneys
37% have been known to affect the endocrine system
25% could cause cancer and mutations
The following chart, compiled by the Medical Society of the State of New York (Bushkin-Bedient, n.d., used by permission), provides some specific effects of a dozen commonly used fracking chemicals.
Using completely different methods, a community survey conducted in 14 Pennsylvania counties investigated the extent and types of symptoms most frequently reported by residents in areas of gas extraction (Steinzor, 2013). The 108 respondents lived in 55 households, which were no further than five miles away from a gas production facility.
The top 25 symptoms reported were:
1.increased fatigue (62%),
2.nasal irritation (61%),
3.throat irritation (60%)
4.sinus problems (58%),
5.eyes burning (53%),
6.shortness of breath (52%),
7.joint pain (52%),
8.feeling weak and tired (52%),
9.severe headaches (51%),
10.sleep disturbance (51%),
11.lumbar pain (49%),
13.muscle aches and pains (44%),
14.difficulty breathing (41%),
15.sleep disorders (41%)
16.frequent irritation (39%),
18.frequent nausea (39%),
19.skin irritation (38%),
20.skin rashes (37%),
22.memory problems (36%),
23.severe anxiety (35%),
25.dizziness (34%) Many of the above I started enduring after Encana/Ovintiv’s frac invasion at Rosebud, Alberta (including illegally frac’ing directly into our drinking water aquifers, blessed by our lying, law-violating, fraud-engaging, harmed-citizen-abusing “regulators”) and continue to endure. The sinus pain is constant, horrendous and dramatically increased after one of the company’s waste dumpers intentionally sprayed me (and my dog Magic, who suffered terribly thereafter and died less than a year later). The headaches and other pains are near constant. A terrible way to live. Thanks Gwyn Morgan (are you enjoying your mega $millions made raping Alberta and those of us living rural?), and Niel McCrank, Mark Taylor, Kevin Pilger, Darren Bourget, Craig Knaus, Martin Foy et al.
… While the above-mentioned “health woes” may appear to be fairly innocuous to those who are not affected by them, a Texas jury awarded $2.9millionto a family for property damage and personal injury in a suit against Aruba Petroleum, an oil company whose wells virtually surrounded the family home. Symptoms included headaches, nausea, rashes, dizziness and vomiting(Morris, 2014). The company appealed the decision and in early 2017 the 5th District Court of Appeals reversed the decision, saying that Aruba didn’t actually intend to or know that they would “create an interference on the Parrs’ land” (Mosier). Nice escape hatch for the health harming polluters by oil, gas & frac patch friendly judges, which Canada has a plenty too!
A 2016 study by researchers from Johns Hopkins and the Geisinger Center for Health Research found different specific symptoms –sinus/nasal, migraines and fatigue –were significantly associated with exposure to greater levels of unconventional natural gas activity (Tustin et al.).
In June 2015, a major study was published linking hydraulic fracturing to increased hospitalizations. It was conducted by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia centers of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). This was based on the analysis of large databases containing over 198,000 hospitalizations. The study examined the link between drilling well density and 25 categories of hospitalizations by zip code between 2007 and 2011 in three northeastern Pennsylvania counties. The researchers found significantly higher inpatient prevalence rates (hospitalizations per 100 residents per year) for cardiology and neurological conditions in areas closer to active wells. Hospitalizations for skin conditions, cancer, and urological problems were also associated with the proximity of residences to active wells. Although the researchers admit that this study does not conclusively prove that shale gas drilling causes these conditions and hospitalizations, and they call for further research, the study still represents “one of the most comprehensive to date to link health effects with hydraulic fracturing.”
In 2019, a published study by Denham et al. found hospitalizations for genitourinary conditions (particularly for urinary tract infections, kidney infections, and stones in the ureter) were associated with greater cumulative fracking well density in Pennsylvania counties. More hospitalizations for skin conditions were also observed with higher cumulative well count and well density.
A pilot study by McKenzie et al. published in 2019 was described in the 2019 Compendium as “the first study to evaluate, with direct measurements, indicators of cardiovascular disease, and the intensity of oil and gas activity.” In this pilot study, 97 adults living in Colorado were examined for early signs of cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure, changes in stiffness of blood vessels, and markers of inflammation were seen more often where people lived near greater oil and gas activity.
Heart attacks (acute myocardial infarctions/AMI) were the subject of Denham’s (et al.2021) comparison between 2005-2014 of Pennsylvania counties in the Marcellus Shale to those in New York where fracking was discouraged (and later banned), producing a “natural experiment.” The study found more hospitalizations for AMI was associated with more wells among males age 45-54, and also among females age 65-74 and age 75+. There was also an increase in mortality from heart attacks among middle-aged men. A hundred cumulative wells are associated with .09 deaths from AMI per 10,000 males age 45-54, a 5.3% increase. The authors say the results suggest that bans on fracking can be protective for public health.
The red dots in above map of the cumulative frac impacts at Rosebud are shallow frac’d wells by Encana; the black are deeper conventional and deeper frac’d unconventional wells, many if not most by Encana.
Considerations Relating To Exposures To Toxic Substances
We know that certain chemicals that are either used in horizontal hydraulic fracturing or are by-products of fracking are hazardous to human health. The extent to which these chemicals are involved in air and water pollution as a result of fracking is still to be determined. Before discussingthe specifics of different forms of pollution in air and water, there are some general precepts to keep in mind when assessing the current state of knowledge.
1) The potential for health disorders resulting from gas extraction is not limited to the immediate vicinity of the well. Polluted air can be carried up to 200 miles from its source by prevailing winds (TEDX). Furthermore, although any one small engine or even a single drilling site may not emit significant amounts of pollutants, the cumulative effects of air pollutants from many gas wells located in the same general vicinity can be significant enough to meet and exceed regulatory limits.
Nonetheless, natural gas pollutant sources are currently regulated as individual point sources in Pennsylvania (Reber, 2012). Same in oil and gas jurisdictions in Canada, for obvious reasons. More obvious, but equally important, contaminated waters could affect large watersheds. In the past there have been limited baseline measurements for air and water quality prior to drilling. While many companies and property owners now routinely test well water prior to drilling and at intervals thereafter, it is often difficult to trace pollution sources over time. This is especially true in areas far from the drilling site or source of accidental release, making it very challenging to know to what extent downstream health impacts can be attributed to shale gas production.
However, studies are being conducted that do attempt to assess the possible impact of shale gas operations by measuring differences in the prevalence or absence of health conditions and symptoms in relationship to proximity to wells (and other shale gas operations). A Yale university-led random survey of 492 people in 180 southwestern Pennsylvania households found 39% of those living less than two-thirds of a mile from a well reported upper respiratory symptoms, compared with 18% of those living more than 2 km. away. Thirteen percent of those living closer to a well reported rashes or other skin irritation, compared to 3% of those who lived further away. The authors of this peer-reviewed study are unclear if these symptoms could be attributed to tainted water, air contaminants, or to stress or some other factors, noting that this study doesn’t prove that the self-reported symptoms were caused by shale wells, and that more research needs to be undertaken (Rabinowitz, 2014).
2) We know that health effects may be different for different populations, and vary by duration of the exposure. Acute effects are usually an immediate result of exposure and are generally reversible when exposure ends. Chronic effects tend to appear later, sometimes years later, and are not reversible. People with chronic diseases may experience aggravation of the disease when exposed to certain pollutants. Young children and the elderly are at greater risk, as are pregnant women (EPA, 2010).
Peng and colleagues investigated the health impacts of Marcellus shale from 2001-2013 by merging PA DEP well permit data with a database of all inpatient hospital admissions. They were particularly interested in diseases sensitive to air pollution. Looking at changes over time in hospitalization rates in well versus non-well counties, they found a “significant association between shale gas development and hospitalizations for pneumonia among the elderly.” They found this consistent with higher levels of air pollution resulting from unconventional natural gas development (2018).
More research is emerging that examines possible impacts of gas operations on maternal, fetal and child health. In early 2014, McKenzie and her colleagues’ retrospective cohort study of birth outcomes and proximity to gas operations in rural Colorado examined records of 124,842 births between 1996 and 2009 and found greater incidences of congenital heart defects (CHDs) and neural tube defects (NTDs). More recently, McKenzie, Allshouse and Daniels addressed “limitations of previous studies in a new and more robust evaluation,” published in July 2019, which “provides further evidence” of an “association between maternal proximity to oil and gas well site activities and several types of CHD’s (congenital heart defects).” A University of Oklahoma study also found significantly higher incidence of neural tube defects among children whose residence at birth was within two miles of a drilling and fracking site (compared to those with no wells). For this study, records of all births and all congenital anomalies between 1997 and 2009 were examined, along with historical data on well production and location (Janitz et al., 2018). Another Oklahoma study (Apergis et al. 2019) found a relationship between fracking activities and three indexes of infant health, including mortality. Studying 590,780 births across all 76 Oklahoma counties between 2006-2017, the researchers concluded that “the closer the mother’s residence at birth to fracking wells, the more negative the effects on infants’ birth healths.”
Anecdotal reports from a midwife of stillbirths and from parents of birth defects were reported (in Bloomberg Newsand TruthOut) in 2014 in Utah’s Uintah Basin. A 2014 study confirmed high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which the study’s authors associate with high levels of oil and gas production (11,000+ wells) in the Uintah Basin (Helmig 2014). Another detailed study of well location data and infant health outcomes by economists from Princeton, Columbia and MIT was presented at the January 2014 annual meeting of the American Economic Association, according to Bloomberg News.
A retrospective cohort published study (2015) of over 15,000 live births in Southwestern Pennsylvania between 2007 and 2010 by S.L. Stacy and colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and the Magee-Womens Research Institute found relationships between lower birth weight, a higher incidence of small for gestational age (SGA) newborns and fracking well density. Also, a study (Casey et al., 2015) published in Epidemiology, reports greater incidence of high-risk pregnancies and pre-term births in areas with more active shale gas operations. These results are based on another retrospective cohort analysis of electronic health record data from 2009 to 2013 for 9,384 mothers and 10,946 newborns in the Geisinger Health System (which covers north and central PA).Casey et al. (2019) conducted research to see if mental health issues in pregnancy serve as an intermediary factor leading to birth impacts. Although greater exposure in pregnancy to oil and gas activity was found to be associated with a higher incidence of maternal anxiety and depression in pregnancy, and also associated with birth impacts, the analysis did not find a relationship between maternal mental health issues and pregnancy and birth outcomes.
In a study published in 2017, Whitworth and colleagues conducted a retrospective birth cohort analysis of a diverse urban population of 158,894 women in North Texas and found relationships between maternal residential proximity to unconventional natural gas activity and incidence of pre-term birth or fetal death, but little indication of an association with birthweight. Another study published in 2017 compared early infant mortality in the 10 most heavily fracked counties with all of Pennsylvania, in 2007-2010 versus the pre-fracking control period of 2003-2006. Authors Busby and Mangano found that while early infant mortality decreased by 2.4% in Pennsylvania as a whole, there was a significant increase in mortality among the 82,558 births in the 10 heavily fracked counties, seen particularly in the north eastern counties.
The authors posit a possible relationship with naturally occurring radioactive materials in produced water which may contaminate water in private wells.
A study conducted by economists from Princeton (Currie) and University of Chicago (Greenstone) and Meckel of UCLA received major attention when published in late 2017. They looked at birth certificates for all 1.1 million infants born in Pennsylvania between 2004 and 2013, combining this data with maps showing where and when wells were drilled. They found reduced health among infants born to mothers living within 1.9 miles of a well-site during pregnancy. There was a 25% higher probability of low birth weight within .6 miles. One of the unique aspects of this study was comparing siblings with and without prenatal exposure to shale gas activity; the exposed siblings faired worse at birth. Lead author Janet Currie stated, “we have pretty good evidence of a causal effect of health outcomes and fracking –not just a correlation.”In the first published epidemiological study of California oil and gas development and birth outcomes, Tran (2020) and colleagues found that exposure to active oil and gas development was associated with adverse birth outcomes in rural areas. Impacts (including low birth weight, small for gestational age) were greater among those exposed to higher production volumes. In rural areas, oil and gas development may contribute a larger portion of exposure to emissions and toxic chemicals than in urban areas where there are more sources of pollution.
Cushing (2020) and colleagues studied flaring in South Texas as a pathway to exposure to harmful emissions and its relationship with adverse birth impacts. Exposure to a high number of nightly flare events was associated with 50% higher odds of pre-term birth, and shorter gestation, vs. those with no exposure.
Willis et al., 2021 created a sample of 2,598,025 mother-infant dyads in Texas, living less than 10 km from an oil or gas site between 1996-2009. The study looks at relationships between residential proximity to wells, term birth weight, and small-for-gestational age (SGA). The study considered local population changes that can coincide with drilling. A difference-in differences analysis looked at infants exposed (drilling during or after birth) and not exposed (before birth) during drilling activity,and proximity to an active or future drilling site. The study found a small reduction in term birth weight, but not for SGA. There were also some evidence of environmental injustice, such as adverse associations for infants of Hispanic mothers, for the lowest educational attainment among women, and women living in cities. Children and pregnant women are particularly susceptible to “endocrine disruptors,” a class of chemicals that mimic hormones and thus derail normal developmental functions. Very small amounts of these chemicals can have an effect on pregnant women, their children and their unborn babies, depending on developmental stage (Colborn,1993). A study (Kassotis) published in December 2013 tested 12 suspected endocrine-disrupting chemicals associated with hydraulic fracturing and found that 11 blocked estrogen hormones and 10 blocked androgen hormones. Water samples were analyzed and samples from drilling sites had moderate-to-high endocrine-disrupting activity compared with low levels of endocrine-disrupting activity in samples from areas with little or no drilling. Dr. Susan Nagel, one of the authors, says such activity could “raise the risk of reproductive, metabolic, neurological and other diseases, especially in children who are exposed to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.”
Two studies in mice reported impacts from pre-natal exposure to fracking chemicals. In one study, prenatally exposed mice later as young adult females developed abnormal mammary glands. Their mammary glands exhibited changes that would be predictive of cancer and also of problematic lactation (Sapouckey et al, 2018). In another study, mice exposed prenatally to a mix of 23 fracking chemicals exhibited immune system dysfunction later in life (Boule et al., 2018).
In Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology’s special issue on endocrine disruption, researchers (Nagel et al., 2020) review the impact in adulthood of perinatal exposure to a mixture of 23 chemicals at levels commonly found in oil and gas wastewater, surface and groundwater on mice, tadpoles, and human tissue cells. The chemical mixture disrupted hormone receptors and led to other changes such as morphology of mammary glands, and induced pre-cancerous lesions, and reduced sperm counts.
For a pilot study published in 2019, Caron-Beaudoin and colleagues measured urinary and hair concentrations of trace metals (many of which are known developmental toxins) among pregnant women in an area of Northeastern British Columbia where there is a lot of fracking. They found higher concentrations of manganese in hair and urine, and higher median values for barium, aluminum and strontium in hair (particularly among indigenous women). Caron-Beaudoin et al. (2021) in the EXPERIVA study measured volatile organic compounds (VOCS) in indoor air and tap water samples, Findings suggest higher exposure to certain VOCS in pregnant women living in “an area of intense unconventional natural gas exploitation” compared to the general Canadian population. Well density and proximity is also associated with greater exposure to certain VOCS.
Furthermore, although many times chemicals are found to be well below federal limits, these standards are usually designed for healthy adult males who are exposed intermittently during work hours. Risks will be different –and often higher –for people who are exposed 24 hours per day, even though the exposure may be at lower levels (Colborn, 2010). Welcome to living frac’d in the patriarchy.
Researchers have also advocated in favor of “low-dose testing,” finding that the traditional linear relationship of dose-related response does not always hold true, and that non-monotonic responses should be examined, especially among babies and children (Birnbaum, 2012; Vandenburg, 2012).
3) Air and water monitors are only effective if they are placed in affected areas for long enough periods to be able to detect the full impact of the pollutant, the fluctuation of the pollutants, and any relationship of weather to pollution concentrations (Colborn, 2010). Several recent studies have been critical of current methods of collecting and analyzing emissions data. In Pennsylvania, the SWPA Environmental Health Project demonstrated that measurement methods underestimate the intensity,frequency and duration of chemical releases (Brown, Weinberger, et. al., 2014). Further exploring this in a 2015 published study, Brown, Lewis and Weinberger modeled a hypothetical case study based on actual observations in Washington County. High (peak)levels of small PM 2.5 particles and of volatile organic compounds happened 83 times over a 14 month period. Compressor station emissions produced 118 peak exposures over a year, and a gas processing plant 99 peak exposures in a year. The variability and fluctuations in exposures would be consistent with the episodic nature of some of the types of health complaints reported. They found that the drilling, flaring, finishing and production phases were more problematic than the actual “fracking” stage (when the shale seams are first penetrated to make possible the release of gas). Weather conditions were also an important variable determining exposure to six air pollutants currently regulated by the EPA that were found at the unconventional natural gas development sites. In Texas, researchers were similarly concerned that communities were receiving “potentially false assurances” regarding health problems because of “dramatic shortcomings” in monitoring of air pollution (Rawlins, 2013). In Canada’s frac fields, “regulators” commonly tell companies when air and or noise will be monitored or tested after complaints by impacted families, to allow companies to turn their offending polluters off during testing/monitoring. Or, worse, regulators let companies do their own testing/monitoring which ensures fraud. The states’ monitoring efforts also came under fire by groups which claimed that Texas was doing a very poor job of monitoring, describing the chemicals released into the air as a “toxic soup” (Morris, Song & Hasemeyer, 2014).
The same holds true for radioactive releases. A study found that the testing protocols used both by state regulators in Pennsylvania and EPA regulators can result in dramatic under estimates. Pennsylvania wastewater produced in the Marcellus Shale tends to have a high saline content. These contaminants are known to skew results when testing for radioactive elements. While more accurate tests exist, the procedures used by the EPA have not been updated(Kelly,2014).
4) Gases (like methane) can travel through water, and under the appropriate conditions, may become airborne. Whether traveling through water or air, many chemicals are eventually deposited in the soil where they can accumulate over time and potentially contaminate our foodsheds, especially in areas like Pennsylvania which is primarily agricultural (see section on “Hydraulic Fracturing And Our Food Supply”).
My water after Encana/Ovintiv illegally frac’d Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers. it’s contaminated with methane, ethane (thermogenic fingerprints), phthalates, TBA, more.
… Further evidence shows increased methane emissions in the atmosphere directly over heavily fracked areas of the U.S. (Compendium, 2016).
Air pollutants, including methane, can impact health. Using electronic health records from the Sutter Health system that serves 3.5 million Northern Californians, Elser et al. 2021 find an increase in the incidence but not the severity of migraine headaches due to exposure to pollution from methane super-emitters and nearby oil and gas wells. …
Prior to Encana frac’ing the shit out of my community, I never had a migraine. Post frac’ing, I suffer them regularly. An interesting feature of my ex lawyers, Murray Klippenstein and Cory Wanless (in training), was that they refused to include the many health harms I suffer in my Statement of Claim. Klippenstein ordered me also to not mention the health harms I live with during my speaking events and interviews. I never understood that, but heeded the legal “advice.” I now wonder if they were trying to control my voice from the start. My ex lawyers knew when they quit, withheld my website, trust account funds and files, that I was ill.
A bit more on industry’s methane negligence:
2021: New study: Canada overlooking (intentionally?) industry’s methane leaks.
Will oil, gas and frac companies heed old or new regulations to reduce their pollution? Think regulators in Canada will make companies heed regulations? AER and Alberta Environment didn’t have the guts to regulate illegal aquifer frac’er Encana/Ovintiv; they regulated me instead. Think Canadian NGOs will admit that they enable the oil and gas industry’s law violations, public health harms, and abuses? E.g.: Pembina Institute works to silence concerned citizens courageous enough to speak out; Pembina worked hard trying to silence me.
2021: Canada underestimated methane emissions from abandoned wells by as much as 150 per cent; Texas and Alberta have highest percentage of wells but no prior pollution measurement. Of course not, Alberta is Hell where regulators help Encana/Ovintiv illegally frac community drinking water aquifers. Kassie Siegel, director Climate Law Institute: “Big Oil is getting rich. For individual, ordinary people, it’s all risk and no reward.”
2021: Dr. Anthony Ingraffea:“It’s the industry that drilled the well. It’s the industry that made money from the well. It’s the industry that was supposed to follow regulations for proper design, proper construction, proper maintenance and ownership of that well forever — and now they are saying let the taxpayers pay for it? No. No. The money has to come from the shareholders. The money has to come from the coffers of the oil and gas industry. They made the mess. They clean it up”
2020: Thank you Anthony Ingraffea and Robert Howarth! Two Professors Faced Years of Harassment for Defying the Fossil Fuel Industry. Now, They Are Reframing the Discussion Around Fracking
… It was around this time Ingraffea crossed paths with Howarth. After a six-month sabbatical, Howarth returned to a campus bustling with conversations about methane emissions from fracking. As a biogeochemist with an interest in the interactions of chemicals in ecosystems, Howarth looked into who was researching the effect of methane emissions from fracking on the atmosphere only to find there was no one.
Howarth’s colleagues at Cornell encouraged him to talk to Ingraffea because of his deep knowledge of fracking. After meeting, the two decided to merge their expertise in fracking and methane emissions to write a paper investigating the environmental effects of fracking in shale rock.
The paper, published in 2011, found that methane is a stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. This conclusion dashed the notion pushed by the fossil fuel industry that natural gas could be utilized as a “bridge fuel” between oil and renewable energy sources.
The narrative of shale gas as a cleaner alternative to coal and oil was one championed by the fossil fuel industry and the Obama White House — the paper faced pushback before it was even published.
Howarth had given exclusive rights to the story to The New York Times, allowing the newspaper to cover their research and disclose its findings before it was published. A week before The Times was set to publish its story, much to Howarth’s surprise, the paper had been leaked and The Hill had covered the two professors’ findings — immediately jumping to discredit Ingraffea and Howarth. …
This event was just the start of the reaction the two faced in response to their paper — Ingraffea described the pushback they received as coming from all levels, “from the White House all the way down.”
Steven Chu, the Secretary of Energy during the Obama administration, even claimed that the paper was not credible. … At the time, the Obama administration was a strong proponent of utilizing shale gas as a bridge fuel — a goal that ran contrary to Howarth and Ingraffea’s findings. “The natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence,” Obama said. “Natural gas isn’t just appearing magically … We’re encouraging it and working with the industry.” …
Despite the brazen attempts to dissuade [Howarth and Ingraffea] from spreading their findings, they persisted.
“How do you deal with it? You go on, life goes on,” Ingraffea said. “You just live with it. Just keep publishing, keep doing research, and watch other people publish and do research.”
In the years since the publishing of their initial paper, other researchers have reaffirmed Ingraffea and Howarth’s findings. In February, researchers from the University of Rochester found large increases in atmospheric methane after industrialization, conflicting with the claim that much of methane emissions occur naturally.
These findings matched Howarth’s latest estimates from a study in 2019, which found that 3.5 percent of shale gas production is emitted into the atmosphere. …
2020: The insanely polluting leaking oil & gas industry! New paper on methane leak detection & repair: More than 1,600 leaks & vents at only 36 sites in NW Alberta. Think of the cumulative pollution, community poisoning and public health harms, notably as more and more companies, enabled by politicians (industry’s maids), regulators and courts, use bankruptcy to avoid clean up.
2020: Satellites show major new methane leaks: Oil and gas industry responsible for far more methane in atmosphere than previously thought; Undetected methane leaks from energy industry are major global issue
2020: Yet another new study: USA Permian Frac Basin leaking massive amounts of methane, “the largest source ever observed in an oil and gas field,” more than double federal estimates. How many decades will the frac fraud go on for and why do NGOs and synergy groups keep enabling the fraud?
2019: Colorado: Another *recently* capped energy well leaking in a community. “Who wants one of those in their neighborhood?”
2019: Holy Frac-a-Leaky-Moly! New study in BC. Atmospheric pressure can dramatically affect how much industry’s leaking natural gas might escape from subsurface into atmosphere. “Decreases in barometric-pressure led to surface gas breakthroughs (more than 20-fold increase in less than 24 hrs), even in the presence of low-permeability surficial soils.”
2019: Canadians wait a long time, usually forever, for petroleum industry leaks, spills and damaging fracs to be appropriately cleaned up. Regulators nowhere to be seen, except lying to the public and in Synergy Alberta meetings with AER execs like Gerard Protti and Jim Ellis schmoozing synergy girls at the pub
2019: Top 100 People Killing the Planet, Includes Encana’s CEO Doug Suttles
2017: Ontario: In Norfolk, leaking abandoned industry *sour* gas wells forces exclusion zone for vehicles, vessels, and evacuation of 22 homes. In nearby Town of Jarvis (population 2,300), unusually high methane readings, firefighters test gas levels at every home. Compare to grossly negligent, “No Duty of Care,” Charter-violating, lying, spying, heinous AER covering-up industry’s deadly gas leaks.
2017: “Flawed science or scientific fraud?” (Sounds like Alberta) USEPA significantly underestimated oil & gas sector methane emissions? Inspector General has opened an investigation. “This is a big deal. (A 2 % methane leakage rate = 200 coal plants of GHGs)”
2017: Nikiforuk: Canada’s Methane Leakage Massively Under-reported, Studies Find, New data shows ‘fracking and LNG industry is a much dirtier industry than it is made out to be.’
2017: Diana Daunheimer’s Excellent Summation of AER & CAPP’s Evil Synergy Alberta as to why Trudeau govt caves in to oil & gas industry pathetic whines about costs, Delays requiring reductions in industry’s leaking methane for 2 years (and if reelected, for 4 more years?)
2016: More Frac Fraud and Cover-up: High-Level EPA Adviser Accused of Scientific Fraud in Methane Leak Research
2016: Colorado regulators find leaking methane and VOC violations at 10 companies, Encana included
2016: In the Birthplace of U.S. Oil, Methane Gas Is Leaking Everywhere and likely just as bad, if not worse, in Canada.
2016: Whistleblower: High Ranking EPA Official Covered Up Methane Leakage Problems Across US Natural Gas Industry; Inspector General called to investigate scientific fraud risking safety of workers, communities
2016: New study on methane leakage from PSE Healthy Energy: Unaddressed Methane Leakage From Natural Gas Sector Could Undercut Emissions Reductions
2015: Regulatory Failure, Corporate Failure, Inspection Failure, Integrity Failure, Casing Failure, Safety Failure, Greed Trumps All: Regulator & SoCalGas Co. knew casing was corroding, failing with major leakage problems at Porter Ranch gas storage facility more than a year before catastrophic leak
2015: Wind damaged Pengrowth Energy gas well causes natural gas leak into Dead Horse Lake
2015: USGS and Penn State find high levels of methane in Pennsylvania stream near leaking shale gas well; “Multiple samples from the stream…showed groundwater inflow of thermogenic methane”
2015: Calmar families asked to leave homes again in effort to fix Imperial Oil’s methane leak, Ordered fix made the leak worse
2015: “Politics of Fracking and Reality of Leaking Wells” March 6, 2015 Camrose, Alberta Surface Rights Federation Annual Meeting, Guest Speaker Andrew Nikiforuk
2014: Trouble Beneath Our Feet: Leaking Energy Wells a Burning Issue; Big problem, Expensive to Fix, Impossible to Completely Stop
2014: Action needed on abandoned energy wells leaking methane in Quebec and everywhere else.
2014: BC Gas Minister’s Leaky Well Comments ‘Ignorant,’ Scientist Says, Cornell engineer takes issue with Rich Coleman’s claim that BC is leak-free
2014: Five EOG gas wells leaked methane for years in Bradford County PA
2014: Woman dead, man seriously injured in home explosion in Orwell Ohio; well on property with chronic leaking natural gas problems
2014: Industry Fuming because Study Finds Newer and Unconventional Gas Wells Leak Methane More than Older and Conventional Wells; Problem Could be Nation-wide Putting Aquifers and Families at Risk
2014: Two-tiered Alberta: Urban, but not rural, home owners and businesses get inspections and protections from leaking abandoned energy wells and stratigraphic test holes: St. Albert residents sitting on abandoned oil and gas wells
2014: B.C. horse breeder recounts fracking sour gas leak scare caused by Encana
2014: ANOTHER COVER UP? Alberta Government had report of sulfolane leak and excedance since 2009, no fines or punishments against company levied, watchdog did not tell residents
2014: MUST READ: Shale Gas Plagued By Unusual Methane Leaks, Scientists investigate high levels of damaging gas released in fracked areas
2014: New Study: Drilling operations release plumes of methane 100 to 1,000 times the rate the EPA expects; drilling through coalbeds might be causing the high leakage
2014: Leak in 100 year old shallow natural gas well caused serious methane migration into Waynesburg Medical Center; Methane build-up rendered the center uninhabitable!
2014: Government finds methane in drinking water wells in Gaspé, water wells are within 2 km of Pétrolia’s oil wells, one of them reported in 2012 to be leaking methane
2014: Multiple leaking, problem wells, Maralex Resources draw Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s notice
2013: B.C. school kids in danger, can suffer DNA damage illness from leaking sour gas several km away, yet B.C. allows wells within 100 m (~330 feet) of schools while Dallas City Council votes in 1,500 foot setback from homes and wells!
2013: Fracking by Black Hills Exploration & Production investigated by COGCC for possible frac hit causing water and gas leak at old vertical well
2013: Source of Fox Chapel leak is old oil well, Pennsylvania’s DEP says
2013: High US methane emissions blamed on leaks; Harvard fracking study show industry methane leaks far higher than official estimates, rings methane alarm bells in Australia
2013: After North Sea Gas Leak, Drillers Fear Corrosive Fluid Could Threaten Deep Sea Wells Across The World
2013: Methane Leaks from Fracking are Much Worse than We Thought
2013: Uinta Basin gas leakage far worse than most believe, New study says up to 12% of basin’s methane leaks; EPA estimated on average nationally that 0.8 to 1.6% of natural gas leaks
2013: Efforts to test Marcellus in upstate New York produces leaky well Carrizo crews on site to fix casing problem in Owego
2013: Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) probing methane leakage at Dart Energy coal-bed methane wells
2013: GAS LEAK! ABC Four Corners on Coal Seam Gas (Coalbed Methane) in Australia
2013: Old iron gas pipes are leaking across Michigan; replacement is slow, natural gas explosions can be deadly
2013: Crews Still Trying to Contain Sour Gas Leak by Questerre Energy Corporation South of Grand Prairie (near recent groundwater contamination case caused by fracing) & north of Grand Cache, Alberta
2013: Methane leaks erode green credentials of natural gas, Losses of up to 9% show need for broader data on US gas industry’s environmental impact
2012: Doctors raise alarm over toxic coal seam gas leaks, Gas Industry Attacks Scientists After Research Finds Triple The Normal Levels Of Methane At Australian Gas Fields
2012: Farmer irked by leaky gas well near home seeks bigger fine for Encana
2012: Independent study finds significant fault line methane leaks near PA natural gas operations
2012: Pennsylvania’s DEP investigating two methane leaks in Sullivan County
2012: Abandoned Well May Have Caused Sullivan County Methane Leak
2012: $250000 in community safety projects following Encana deadly sour gas leak
2012: Planet Sludge: Millions of Abandoned, Leaking Oil Wells and Natural-Gas Wells Destined to Foul Our Future
2012: More Than Three Months Later, Methane Gas Is Still Leaking In Bradford County
2012: Well leaking hydrogen sulfide in Wayne County
2012: Is natural gas truly a clean source of energy? Industry is booming, but ‘fracking’ and leaks soil its image
2012: The Gas Is Always Greener When It Leaks Less
2012: Despite regulations, gas wells leak, especially as they get older
2012: Gas Wells Leak – Even Upside Down – in Australia 44% of gas wells leaking in the Tara Coalbed Methane field
2012: Potential for environmental impact due to acid gas leakage from wellbores at EOR injection sites near Zama Lake, Alberta
2011: Leaking Energy wells in Quebec keep on leaking
2011: Calmar Homeowners Suing Town of Calmar and Aztec Home Sales Inc over Leaking Wells
2011: Maryland AG to sue Chesapeake Energy over Pennsylvania well leak
2011: Imperial Oil leaking natural gas wells a nightmare for homeowners near Edmonton
2011: Inspectors found leaks at shale wells, government report says
2011: Leaks found in shale gas wells: Que. Report, 31 were inspected ‘and more than half have problems,’ says envrionmental expert
2010: Leaking gas well forces families out in Calmar neighbourhood
2010: Leak shuts down drilling operation at Michigan well
2008: Water woes, Wells contaminated at site of gas leak
2008: Gas company fined record $374,000, Colorado Interstate Gas penalized for Fort Morgan leak
2007: Factors Affecting or Indicating Potential Wellbore Leakage
Add frac’ing (clanging and banging the pipes) to the leaking mix, and look out.
If you’ve already registered for Cradle to Grave: The Reverberating Health Hazards of Oil and Gas Industry, that’s great! You are in for an informative and thought-provoking event.
Halt the Harm Network is joining forces with Physicians for Social Responsibility Pennsylvania (PSR PA) to focus on worker’s often uninformed toxic exposure to PFAS chemicals and radioactivity, and its effects on their their family, communities, and beyond.
The virtual, half-day conference will be held on December 10, 2021 from 12:00 – 4:30 p.m. Click here to register.
Although the unconventional gas development (UGD) industry has consistently and falsely claimed to be a great creator of jobs promising regional prosperity, the quantity and quality of those jobs are not questioned enough. Thankfully, the Ohio River Valley Institute recently released a set of reports exposing how the UGD industry failed as a job creator in Appalachia, and how a real-life model of successful energy transition can bring the promised regional prosperity.
Meanwhile, the inferiority of UGD industry jobs remains underexposed, despite the excellent investigative journalism covered in Rolling Stone magazine, Public Herald, the DeSmog Blog, and other recent reports. The danger in promoting UGD industry jobs as safe or healthy opportunities cannot be scrutinized enough because of the harm and danger these jobs pose for workers, their families and communities, and, ultimately, as the impact spreads, our climate.
The speakers will include:
Dr. Carl Werntz, Occupational Physician;
Wilma Subra, Environmental Scientist;
Lee McCaslin, Master Driller;
Justin Nobel and Kristen Locy, Investigative Journalists;
Dusty Horwitt, Investigative Journalist;
Paul “Bobby” Manion, Wayne State University/PSR PA Research on Radioactive Emissions.
The panel discussion will be moderated by Dr. Pouné Saberi.
We invite you to register for this event. You will receive the Zoom link to attend the conference after completing registration.
Refer also to:
Brilliant courageous Justin Nobel to PA DEP’s Bureau of Radiation Protection at “Policy Hearing on Closing Hazardous Waste Loopholes” about oil & gas companies “screwing their own workers.” Critical issue in frac fields, including in Canada, because of the massive volumes of radioactive waste generated (Radium 226 persists for 1,600 years)
Ohio: More radioactive frac waste. More deregulation and lies by regulator?
Oil Patch Strategy of Obstruction on PFAS use: “Commission another government study” while they poison us, Like Canada’s Council of Canadian Academies’ frac panel cowardly concluded
New Report: “Nightmare Contaminant” Forever Chemicals (PFAS) Use in Drilling & Frac’ing in More than 1,200 Wells in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, Wyoming between 2012 and 2020, including by Encana (in Canada too?). Records obtained from US EPA under Freedom of Information Act. Did Encana now Ovintiv inject PFAS into Rosebud and Pavillion drinking water aquifers?
Australia Esso Longford plant: Toxic PFAS chemicals found in dam and groundwater
Contamination of US drinking water with manmade “forever chemicals” far worse than previously estimated reports EWG; White House and EPA tried to stop the report from being published.
New study: Unconventional oil/gas development has larger impact on ambient particle radioactivity (PR) level compared to conventional; Widespread upwind unconventional/frac activities could significantly elevate PR level in downwind communities and induce adverse health effects to residents.
America’s Radioactive Secret: Oil & gas wells produce nearly a trillion gallons of toxic waste a year in America. It could be making workers sick and contaminating communities (in Canada too). “Us bringing this stuff to the surface is like letting out the devil … It is just madness.”