Fracking’s Cracking House Foundations (The Marcellus Effect: 12/09/12

A homeowner in Portage County, Ohio, blames fracking at a well 1,000 feet away for damage to her house. The damage started in September, soon after the well went online. There are cracks in her walls and ceiling and through the masonry of her fireplace. Water has been leaking through the chimney and into her house – and her homeowners insurance isn’t going to cover the damage.

Two separate structural engineers have examined the cracks and confirm that they are caused by vibrations. Even though the well is 1,000 feet away, the vibrations sound like a helicopter outside her window.
Homeowners in the Baldwin Hills area of Los Angeles are also complaining about cracks in their homes. Continue reading

Fracking’s most horrifying health risks (Salon: 12/03/12)

New York State’s Department of Health is finally assessing the dangers — but is there time to address them?

BY ALTERNETFracking's most horrifying health risks(Credit: AP/Ed Andrieski)

The good news is that a public health department— New York State’s Department of Health (DOH)— is finally undertaking an assessment of fracking’s likely health risks. The bad news is that it’s questionable whether it will allow adequate time to do a credible and complete job. Continue reading

Fracking Central Park? ( 12/16/12)

A FOIL request of the DEC has uncovered two shale gas well permit applications in New York City’s Central Park. The address on the first application is given as “Central Park West at W. 62nd Street.”  The second is an address on Central Park East. The mineral rights owner is listed as “New York City” and the mineral leases are to “N. Bedford Forrest Operating Company, of Guthrie, Oklahoma,”  ably represented by The Law Firm of Tom West. The applications are shown as exploratory or “wildcat” tests of the Olmsted Shale, a formation of which little is known in Midtown. Target depth is 10,000 feet, which would require one of the biggest land rigs available to be brought up from the Eagle Ford field in South Texas, possibly by barge up the Hudson River.

Analysis of Marcellus Flowback Finds High Levels of Ancient Brines (ScienceDaily: 12/18/12)

Dec. 18, 2012 — Brine water that flows back from gas wells in the Marcellus Shale region after hydraulic fracturing is many times more salty than seawater, with high contents of various elements, including radium and barium. The chemistry is consistent with brines formed during the Paleozoic era, a study by an undergraduate student and two professors in Penn State’s Department of Geosciences found.

Continue reading

Shale drillers want to move wastewater on barges (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:12/16/12

Written by By Emily DeMarco / PublicSource on . Posted in Investigations

barge-webThe “Vulcan” towboat and its load pass the Point on the Ohio River in a redish fog, highlighted by the sunrise. The Vulcan beongs to the Consol Energy fleet. (Photo by Darrell Sapp / Post-Gazette) Continue reading


Grassroots Environmental Education prepared this list of studies for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, July, 2012.

1. Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective (Colborn, Kwiatkowski, Schultz, Bachran) Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Sept. 2011 
2. Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human and Animal Health (Bamberger, Oswald) New Solutions, 2012 
3. Local Experiences Related to the Marcellus Shale Industry (Covey) Troy Community Hospital, Bradford, PA – Power Point document
4. Battlement Mesa Draft HIA (Colorado School of Public Health) February 2011 
5. Fatalities Among Oil and Gas Extraction Workers — United States 2003-2006 (Node, Conway) CDC MMR Weekly April 2008 
6. Chemical and Biological Risk Assessment for Natural Gas Extraction in New York (Bishop) March 2011 

7. Potential Contaminant Pathways from Hydraulically Fractured Shale of Aquifers (Myers) National Ground Water Association. Ground Water, April 2012 
8. Methane Contamination of Drinking Water Accompanying Gas-Well Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing(Osborn, Vengosh, Warner, Jackson) PNAS 2011
9. Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Water Resources (Swackhamer, University of Minnesota) – Power Point document 
10. Investigation of Ground Water Contamination near Pavillion, Wyoming (draft) – (Summary only) (DiGiulio, Wilkin, Miller, Oberly) Environmental Protection Agency, 2011 
11. Geochemical Evidence For Possible Natural Migration of Marcellus Formation Brine to Shallow Aquifers in Pennsylvania (Warner, Jackson, Darrah, Osborn, Down, Zhao, White, Vengosh) Proceedings of the National Academies of Science of the United States 2012 
12. Water Pollution Risk Associated with Natural Gas Extraction from the Marcellus Shale (Rozell and Reaven) Risk Analysis, August 2012 and link to the attached rozell and reaven study. 

13. Human Health Risk Assessment of Air Emissions from Development of Unconventional Natural Gas Resources (McKenzie, Witter, Newman, Adgate) Colorado School of Public Health, 2012 
14. Air Pollutant Emissions from Shale Gas Development and Production (Robinson, Carnegie Mellon) – Power Point document 

15. Methane and the Greenhouse Gas Footprint of Natural Gas from Shale Formations (Howarth, Santoro, Ingraffea) Climate Change, 2011 
16. Venting and Leaking of Methane from Shale Gas Development: Response to Cathles et al (Howarth, Santoro, Ingraffea) Climate Change, 2012 
17. Coal To Gas: The Influence of Methane Leakage (Wigley) Climate Change, August 2011 

18. History of Oil and Gas Well Abandonment in New York (Link not available) (Bishop) SUNY College at Oneonta, 2012 
19. Radium Content of Oil- and Gas-Field Produced Waters in the Northern Appalachian Basin (Rowan, Engle, Kirby, Kraemer) USGS 2011 

Additional Recommended Resources

The documents contained in this digest are the property of the copyright owners and are reprinted for educational purposes only. Compilation prepared by Grassroots Environmental Education.

Fracking’s dangers for workers (Institute for Southern Studies: 5/2012)

Facing South

X-ray showing lungs affected by silicosis by Gumersindorego via Wikipedia.

Number of workers employed by the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry: 435,000

Percent of those workers employed by well servicing companies, including those that conduct hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” for natural gas: almost 50

Occupational deaths in the oil and gas extraction industry from 2003 to 2003 2009 per 100,000 workers: 27.5

Number of times that rate exceeds the fatality rate for all U.S. workers: more than 7

Percent by which fatalities among oil and gas workers rose from 2003 to 2005, as the drilling boom accelerated: 15

Rank of highway crashes among the top causes of fatalities in the industry: 1

Number of oil and gas workers killed in highway crashes over the past decade: more than 300

Of the 648 oil and gas field worker deaths from 2003 to 2008 alone, portion that were due to highway crashes: 1/3

Portion of workplace fatalities accounted for by highway crashes across all industries in 2010:1/5

Length of shifts in hours that oil and gas field workers are routinely pressured into working by employers who cite longstanding regulatory exemptions enjoyed by the industry: 20

The legal limit of workshifts for most commercial truckers, in hours: 14

Of the 2,200 oil and gas industry trucks inspected from 2009 to February 2012 by state police in Pennsylvania, the epicenter of the fracking boom, percent that were in such poor condition they had to be taken off the road: 40

Number of fracking sites where the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently collected air samples to evaluate worker exposure to crystalline silica, which is present in the “frac sand” used in the natural gas extraction process and causes silicosis (shown in X-ray above), an incurable lung disease: 11

Percent of the tested fracking sites where workers’ exposure to respirable crystalline silica exceed occupational health limits: 100

Percent of crystalline silica that typically makes up “frac sand”: 100

Pounds of sand typically used to frack a single well: up to 4 million

Percent of the 116 air samples collected that exceeded the NIOSH recommended exposure limit by a factor of 10 or more, rendering the use of half-mask air-purifying respirators insufficiently protective: 31

Date on which two workers were hurt in an explosion at a fracking tank site in Texas: 5/16/2012

Number of months before the explosion that the site’s owner, Vann Energy Services LLC, was cited for 17 serious health and safety violations: 3

Date on which the AFL-CIO wrote a letter to federal labor officials expressing concern about serious safety and health risks faced by workers in the fracking industry and calling for better protections: 5/22/2012

Percent change in the number of drilling rigs from 2010 to 2011: +22

Percent change in the number of inspections at those work sites: -12

(Click on figure to go to source. X-ray showing lungs affected by silicosis by Gumersindoregovia Wikipedia.)