A bit of a mess in Pennsylvania

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From The Washington Post:
Drilling fluid gushes from northern Pa. natural gas well into stream, forcing evacuation
A blowout at a natural gas well in rural northern Pennsylvania spilled thousands of gallons of chemical-laced water Wednesday, contaminating a stream and leading officials to ask seven families who live nearby to evacuate as crews struggled to stop the gusher.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. lost control of the well site near Canton, in Bradford County, around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, officials said. Tainted water flowed from the site all day Wednesday, though by the mid-afternoon, workers had managed to divert the extremely salty water away from the stream.

No injuries were reported, and there was no explosion or fire.

�As a precautionary measure, seven families who live near the location have been temporarily relocated until all agencies involved are confident the situation has been contained. There have been no injuries or natural gas emissions to the atmosphere,� Chesapeake spokesman Brian Grove said in a statement.
Thousands of gallons? How many thousands -- one? two? ten? Also, it is not until the fifth paragraph that the cause was mentioned:
Chesapeake said a piece of equipment failed late Tuesday while the well was being hydraulically fractured, or fracked.
So something -- a pump, a valve or other bit of plumbing failed and several thousands of gallons of fluid leaked out. The event was not the result of the fraking process itself, it was the result of a mechanical failure of the equipment being used. Big big difference. Three days ago, I posted about a wonderfully balanced article in the New York Times that pointed out the relative safety of fracking. Just one excerpt:
As for the actual environmental questions, there are three main ones. First, fracking supposedly allows gas and dangerous chemicals to seep into the water supply. This is pretty implausible. Water tables are 1,000 feet or less from the surface; fracking usually takes place well under 7,000 feet. In Dimock, Pa., where methane appears to have leaked into the water supply, state environmental officials say that the problem was not fracking but rather sloppy gas producers who didn�t take proper care in cementing their wells.
We need the energy and extracting natural gas is a lot better for everyone concerned than coal mining. People with political agendas are using the smallest slip-ups to steamroll their views -- I have said it before and will say it again, these people are watermelon environmentalists. Green on the outside but Red on the inside. Classical Marxists who have hijacked the environmental movement from the hippies and are using it to 'bring America down to size'. They are killing industry and jobs by limiting what factories can emit.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on April 20, 2011 8:30 PM.

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