What the frack?

Do you remember when I used to do those Friday posts with the O&G news bits you missed during the week and then I made snarky comments to go along with them?

Good. Because I don’t either. Blame it on ethylbenzene. I’m not even sure I remember how to do this but it’s probably a lot like riding a bike so I’ll just hop on and pedal faster.


First off, if you have not yet taken the opportunity to donate $5 to this study, just do it — now — before you forget.

Does fracking contaminate water with hormone disrupting chemicals?*

Dr. Susan Nagel reports:

Our work was recently included in this article, which is great. It is important to note that while we have brought attention to this issue, it is far from solved. We need the funds for the proposed rigorous scientific study to push this issue forward. The funds from this campaign will specifically address the issue of EDCs in drinking water associated with fracking. With money from this campaign, we will perform a systematic analysis of the chemicals responsible for hormone disrupting activity in drinking water near and far from fracking sites.

We have hit a plateau in our fundraising. Please keep sharing our project! We only have 15 days left!

*Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with this study in any way. I just fracking love independent studies.


DrinkingPollutedWaterWhile we’re on the subjects of fracking and contaminated water, are you sitting down? This next one is real shocker.

Scientists: Tests prove fracking to blame for flaming Parker County wells

Oh, I don’t mean the headline is shocking. If you saw Gasland II, it’s a no-brainer. What’s shocking is that 2 scientists – Bruce Payne and Geoffrey Thyne – came out of their hidey holes and proclaimed a link between fracking and aquifer contamination.

Yes, that Geoffrey Thyne of the Mamm Creek study who famously advanced the possibility that produced gas may be leaking from drilled natural gas wells into domestic water supplies in Phase II and then radically reversed himself in Phase III by saying it was inconclusive that methane and benzene in the test wells were related to drilling (except for the sodium chloride which was probably from frackwater). If only John Martin hadn’t interrupted at the February BOCC meeting when I asked Dr. Thyne whether water users downstream from Divide Creek should be doing more testing. We’ll never know what he would’ve said.

Here’s what he said about the Texas study [emphasis added]:

“The methane and ethane numbers from the Butler and Teal production are essentially exactly the same as from Lipsky’s water well,” said earth scientist Geoffrey Thyne of Wyoming, who reviewed the data for WFAA. “It tells me that the gas is the same, and that the gas in Lipsky’s water well was derived from the Barnett formation.”

We also asked soil scientist Bryce Payne of Pennsylvania to review the data. He agrees, saying the gas in Lipsky’s water (referred to in the report as well number 8) is clearly the result of fracking operations.

“The gas from well number 8 is coming from the Barnett and it’s coming nearly straight from the Barnett,” Payne said.

What’s more, both Thyne and Payne believe these test results could represent the nation’s first conclusive link between fracking and aquifer contamination.

“And what we seem to have here is the first good example that that in fact is happening,” Thyne said.

Oh really, Dr. Thyne? And what was the Mamm Creek study? The first BAD examples of the link between fracking and aquifer contamination?

I always thought Thyne was kinda scared of the Garfield County Commissioners and that’s why he waffled on us in the Mamm Creek fiasco. The thing is, even though Martin interrupted my question to Dr. Thyne at the February meeting, it wasn’t like Thyne spoke up and offered his opinion. The guns had come out and he stuck his head back in his foxhole.

But why would he fear the GarCo BOCC? Here’s a good example:

Commissioners to review injection well over residents’ seismic concerns

PARACHUTE — Garfield County commissioners have agreed to hear a local citizens group’s concerns about the risk of earthquake activity related to wastewater injection wells used by oil and gas operators in the area.

Commissioners, meeting in Parachute Monday, set a July 14 “call-up” hearing at the request of Battlement Mesa Concerned Citizens to consider additional conditions for an injection well approved by county planning staff last month for energy company Ursa …

You know what really creeps me out about this? I mean besides the very real possibility of an earthquake or landslide in the Battlement Mesa area. What really creeps me out is that according to the article the Commissioners agreed to hear the residents’ concerns but they didn’t voice any concerns themselves. The article doesn’t provide a single quote from even one commissioner saying, “Yes we share your concerns.”

I know the reporter, John Stroud and if one of them had said a peep he would’ve at the very least quoted him out of context.

I wasn’t at the meeting but I have addressed the Commissioners on several occasions on the topics of air quality and public health and witnessed their icy glares and stone silence. These guys are as cold-blooded as they come.

It will be interesting to watch and see how they handle this issue.


No CREDWhat’s for dinner?

I saved the best for last — the pièce de résistance. Do not miss this article. Phil Doe is the only other person besides me who can make me laugh at how fracking mad I am. Here he skewers CRED’s BJ Nikkel and tosses her on the barbie.

Lies, Damned Lies and Fracking Lies
by Phillip Doe

A couple of day ago a few of us went to Loveland, CO., a small city of roughly 70,000, 60 miles north of Denver. We went to listen to B.J. Nikkel, the director of Coloradoans for Responsible Energy Development, CRED. A pro-fracking front, CRED is a registered nonprofit. The Houyhnhnms in Gulliver’s Travels, having no word for a lie, would call CRED “the thing which is not” …

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6 Comments on “What the frack?”

  1. Carl L. McWilliams Says:

    As the readers of Peggy’s blog know, I am the Lead Representative Plaintiff in a pending federal class action to challenge the constitutionality of the Colorado Oil & Gas Commission Act which created the COGCC by statute and not by state constitutional amendment.

    Peggy’s readers also know that I find Republican Garfield County Commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin and Tom Jankovsky to be despicable men and without honor.

    That said, after we are successful in federal district court challenging the constitutionality of the COGCC, a special civil liability known as “Constitutional Torts” will fall upon Samson, Martin & Jankovsky, whereby no sovereign immunity is granted to the three Commissioners:

    42 U.S.C. § 1983, commonly referred to as “section 1983” provides:

    “Every person who under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, Suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.”

    Section 1983 was enacted on April 20, 1871 as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, and is also known as the “Ku Klux Klan Act” because one of its primary purposes was to provide a civil remedy against the abuses that were being committed in the southern states, especially by the Ku Klux Klan. While the existing law protected all citizens in theory, its protection in practice was unavailable to some because those persons charged with the enforcement of the laws were unable or unwilling to do so. The Act was intended to provide a private remedy for such violations of federal law, and has subsequently been interpreted to create a species of tort liability.

    I am going to enjoy drafting a class action complaint where We the People of Garfield County, Colorado will sue Samson, Martin & Jankovsky into personal bankruptcy.

    Carl L. McWilliams
    Garfield County, Colorado

  2. Geoff Says:

    Peggy, The Mamm Creek contamination was caused by lost cement in a well. There has never been any good evidence the problem was related to the hydraulic fracturing portion of the well completion. The technical distinction is important if you want to achieve the goal of better environmental protection.

  3. Beth Strudley Says:


  4. Beth Strudley Says:

    Are you on crack, Geoff? It’s all deadly!

  5. Carl L. McWilliams Says:

    Geoff: Next time you leave a comment; “tener cojones” (equivalent to English “have the balls to”) to disclose your last name.

    Carl L. McWilliams

  6. Lisa Bracken Says:

    “I am astonished by Dr. Thyne’s comments about the importance of ‘distinction’. The 2004 West Divide Creek Seep was believed to have been generated during the completions phase – as noted in recorded testimony by the COGCC’s own geologist at their own hearing. For the ‘uninitiated’, completions is fracking, flow-back etc. And, given the intent of fracking to blow the hell out of a formation, literally pulverize it, it stands to reason that it may – just may – be involved in the mechanical dynamics of fluid and gas movement to surface… unintended or not… through pre-existing faults and fissures, or those introduced through fracking. During the GARCO hearing on this matter, the architects of the GARCO Hydro-geologic Phase Three study noted the apparent communication of fluid (water) flow to surface; yet, downplayed the ability of gas (lighter than fluid and always attempting to rise) to rise with it or independently from it. Also, during Dr, Thyne’s own testimony to the Commissioners (who have intermittently retained his consulting services for years), Dr. Thyne noted that it is now generally agreed by industry, COGCC, etc. that the seep in 2004 ushered thermogenic gas into the shallow interval (underground but close to surface). This has been confirmed by the eventual admission that the methane present in relatively shallow wells now appears to be thermogenic, not just biogenic. Weak and even improper well construction has been acknowledged as a contributing factor – and I concur, in part, with that analysis. But, how can fracking (designed to disturb geologic formation) be dismissed as a contributing factor when so much evidence, in fact, exists to support such a reasonable correlation? How can an incredibly vulnerable hydro-geologic area possessing the trifecta of vulnerability (watershed, outcrop and anticline, targeted for gas production for such vulnerability) be jokingly referred to by Dr. Thyne as the “Triangle of Death”, and not be considered seriously by the same consultant for further study. Give me a friggin’ break. Like the gas underground, the truth rises. Slowly, but surely, it rises. And fortunately, Dr. Thyne is no longer the only credentialed scientist lending a voice.”

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