Would You Like Petroleum on That?

A scary, and disgusting, story on a new concern over fracking is making national headlines. From NBC News:

In the midst of the domestic energy boom, livestock on farms near oil- and gas-drilling operations nationwide have been quietly falling sick and dying. While scientists have yet to isolate cause and effect, many suspect chemicals used in drilling and hydrofracking (or “fracking”) operations are poisoning animals through the air, water or soil…

…In Louisiana, 17 cows died after an hour’s exposure to spilled fracking fluid, which is injected miles underground to crack open and release pockets of natural gas. The most likely cause of death: respiratory failure.

In New Mexico, hair testing of sick cattle that grazed near well pads found petroleum residues in 54 of 56 animals. In northern central Pennsylvania, 140 cattle were exposed to fracking wastewater when an impoundment was breached. Approximately 70 cows died, and the remainder produced only 11 calves, of which three survived.

In western Pennsylvania, an overflowing wastewater pit sent fracking chemicals into a pond and a pasture where pregnant cows grazed: Half their calves were born dead. Dairy operators in shale-gas areas of Colorado, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Texas have also reported the death of goats exposed to fracking chemicals. [Pols emphasis]

Goat’s milk is not a staple of the Pols’ diet, but that’s hitting a bit too close to home.

Fracking has become a growing political issue here in Colorado, most recently with residents in the City of Longmont voting to ban fracking (which conflicts with Colorado law on regulating the oil and gas industry). This year alone has seen multiple studies on potential fracking concerns at virtually every step of the process, and the oil and gas industry has immediately jumped to discredit every one of them.

The difference with this newest report, which originally appeared in The Nation, is that sick animals make for compelling images (the first picture on the NBC story shows a cow with its tail disintegrating). It’s a lot easier to discredit numbers and calculations, but it’s substantially harder to whitewash images such as these.

Anybody want to lay odds on the probability of fracking becoming a big topic in the 2013 legislative session?

35 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Gorky PulviczekG Pulviczek says:

    This is why the Gov’s current, “trust the O+G industry, they know what they are doing” attitude is so wrong.  They clearly don’t know what they are doing, and there is no reason we should trust them.

  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    them cows and sheeps was born to die anyway . . . so what if they wound up going to the school lunch program instead of King Soopers?

    Like the Frackengovernor says . . . “drink ‘em if you got ‘em, boys”

    Seriously, as for odds on the 2013 legislative session — the Vetolooper’s position is well known. I don’t see anyone in the Democratic leadership with enough of a death wish or vendetta against our publicly popular Governor to allow this to become an embarrassment.  My bet — ain’t gonna’ happen.  (That could change, however, if the Governor becomes a moneywrench in the civil unions machinery.)

  3. DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

    What is that made of?

  4. Meiner49erMeiner49er says:

    “Men Who Frack with Goats”

    Sure to be a cult classic.  Wonder if they’ll be able to get Clooney again?

    But, seriously, as a goat owner, this hits too close to home.  The nearest rig is 20 miles from my home, but for how long (and no, I don’t own the mineral rights to my land).

    Darned well BETTER be a big topic in 2013!

  5. BlueCat says:

    that fracking does harm.  The standard should be proof that it doesn’t because we aren’t going to be able to un-poison ourselves.

    This ought to be a no brainer.  We need a Manhattan Project size investment and commitment to developing a clean renewable energy economy for the 21st century and beyond.  We need to to face the fact that dirty, dangerous, finite sources are a dead end, in every sense of the term, and it’s time to get to the energy equivalent of the moon landing. This is the United States of America. We used to do the  big things and we can do the big things again.

    The Hickenloopers of the world are dead, 100%, no question, wrong on the whole subject. Period.

  6. ClubTwitty says:

    by the Obama administration’s BLM, under a land use plan written in the 1980s.

    This is the reality of the US Dept of Interior.  talk is cheap, actions speak loudly.

    Go here

    http://www.northforkaction.com to find out how you can help, and please sign and share this petition to the President.  

    https://petitions.whitehouse.g

    Protect the North Fork!

    30 Days * Six Actions

    Nov. 20 Action

    Action #2

    EMail the BLM in DC

    and the U.S. Department of Interior

    Urge that both tell the Colorado State Director of BLM to:

    1) Withdraw the North Fork oil and gas leases

    2) Finish revising the land use plan to fully protect the North Fork valley.

    Email:

    BLM National Director (Acting): Mike Pool

    MPool@blm.gov

    US Dept of Interior Ass’t Sect. for Lands and Minerals: Marcilynn Burke Marcilynn_Burke@ios.doi.gov

    Cc:

    BLM Colorado State Director:  Helen Hankins Helen_Hankins@BLM.gov

    BLM Colorado Communications: Steven Hall Steven_Hall@BLM.gov

    Ask for a response.

    Nov. 16 Action

    Action #1

    Make 5 phone calls

    Call the BLM Colorado State Director

    Helen Hankins 303-239-3700

    Call our two US Senators’ Grand Junction Offices

    Senator Michael Bennet 970-241-6631

    Senator Mark Udall 970-245-9553

    Call our state Representative and state Senator.

    Representative Millie Hamner 303-866-2952

    Senator Gail Schwartz 303-866-4871

    Urge that the State Director withdraw all the North Fork leases.

    Ask that your elected officials call the state director with that request.

    Tell them that the citizens of the North Fork deserve to have their input considered and the pubic lands need updated, 21st century management that protects our water and way of life.  

    Leave your name and phone number and ask for a call back.  

  7. parsingreality says:

    I thought I’ve heard of fracking using high pressure water for many years.  Am I wrong?

    So, now we have to put nasty chemicals in to get the same or better results?  I’m at a loss to understand why adding chemicals would make a rock strata open up.  ”I was holding tight with water only, but damn, those PCB’s just make me split!” Isn’t it the pressure?  

    Even though different companies claim their fluids are proprietary, I presume the possible ingredients lists is all over O&G academia.  

  8. Willard Smitten says:

    Propellants and biocides and gels and lubricants benzene and diesel fuel and guar. And lots and lots and lots of water, taken out of the hydrological cycle…

  9. JFrackenlooper says:

    Like in NM, rather than ‘Red or Green’  in Colorado we could ask:

    “Halliburton or Schlumberger”?  

    I am changing the signs at the crossing…

    “Welcome to FrackFul Colorado (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the CO Oil and gas Assoc).”

    You want ‘Organic’?  Try Clean-Stim ™ instead!  You heard it here first folks…

    You can eat it!  

  10. Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

    The COGCC hearing that was scheduled for Dec. 10th. has been postponed until Jan. 7th., as of this writing. The subjects of the hearings are setbacks from residences and location of water monitoring sources.

    It is imperative the Governor understands that Coloradoans’ care deeply about the long term health of our state. Oil and gas drilling is an industrial activity that is anathema to good health…except for the pocketbooks of a very small minority.

    Make plans to participate in this discussion.    

  11. wade norris says:

    info:

    https://www.facebook.com/wade….

    Be the Change, Jamming for a Frack Free Colorado!

    Sunday

    3:00pm until 5:00pm

    Unity of Boulder

    2855 Folsom St, Boulder, Colorado 80304

    SPECIAL GUEST:

    Josh Fox, creator of the documentary Gasland, the short film The Sky is Pink, and the soon to be released Gasland II.

    LIVE MUSIC

    Elephant Revival members, Laura Goldhamer, Pressure Point, Earth Guardians, Josh Fox on banjo, Kunundrum and more….

    SILENT AUCTION

    To donate, contact DontFrackMe@gmail.com

    ALSO FEATURING:

    Phil Doe, Be the Change, USA

    Wes Wilson, whistle blower on EPA’s failure to regulate fracking, featured in Gasland

    Shane Davis, Fractivist.com

    Angela Monti Fox, mom of Josh Fox and founder of TheMothersProject.org, Mothers for Sustainable Energy

    ___________________________________________

    Following this Bill McKibben is speaking at Boulder campus and many of the people are coinciding this rally with Josh Fox to draw a spotlight on Gov. Hickenlooper’s decision to attack Longmont’s plan to block fracking.

  12. MADCO says:

    You appear  to be on it.

    Can’t we just have a law that says no fracking in my yard.

    Or anyone’s.  

    Then, referencing Rene Descartes and Colorado water law  we claim that Colorado is God’s back yard.  game over.

  13. MADCO says:

    Why would oil field workers show up in an ER and catch fire?

    Why would they be poisoned?  Why would they have rashes over their exposed skin?

    ANd yet- it’s illegal to require a fracking formula to be public.

    I get FICO and Coke. And even Heisenberg’s Blue ice.  BUt fracking formulas?  c’mon –

    to paraphrase the amorous patriot – …ither there’s nothing there, so why not releasing them, or there’s something there, so why hide them? I believe we have the right to know.

  14. MADCO says:

    Cause in some houses, well…you do the math.

  15. ParkHill says:

    Oil spills themselves are bad for the environment, not to mention livestock or human.

    Some chemicals are harmless, some dissipate easily, some break down over time, some are tolerable in small quantities.

    Some are poisonous in large amounts, some are poisonous in small amounts, some cause cancer (Benzene), some have unknown long-term consequences.

    There are many different formulas for frack fluids, depending on the type of rocks and type of oil or gas.

    Acids are good at dissolving limestone, opening up the pores in some kinds of rock.

    Benzene is very cheap and is a very good solvent, something that is useful in dissolving paraffins and gunk that clogs the pores in the rock. I understand that benzene is in common use for fracking.

    I’m not sure why benzene was not in the long list supplied by  Cub Twitty. Because it causes cancer Benzene has been banned from industrial use in laboratories.

  16. parsingreality says:

    Not denying all the apparent problems with the fluids, but wanting to know how chemicals assist in what to me appears to be a physical issue.

    Maybe the chemicals soften the rock.  Maybe the chemicals let the water slip in deeper.  Maybe it’s all a scam.  

    Maybe Twitty will weigh in.

  17. parsingreality says:

    Maybe we can dye the fluids to keep the red or green question pertinent.  

  18. ClubTwitty says:

    I think someone else mentioned it, but the chemicals..which industry loves to mention is only a couple percent of the frack juice, knowing full well but not disclosing (as that would approach truth-telling) that toxicity is not measured in percent, but ppm or even ppb…

    Here, for instance is how industry spins their toxic sludge as good for you:


    While 99.5 percent of the fluids used consist of water and sand, some chemicals are added to improve the flow. The composition of the chemical mixes varies from well to well.

    http://www.energyfromshale.org

    Well, half a percent is still a whole-hell-of-a-lot of ppb…

    But the chemical additives serve all sorts of purposed down hole..

    Acetamide is used as a solvent, plasticizer, and a wetting and penetrating agent.

    http://mychemistry.us.com/dict

    by way of example, the various compounds achieve both very specific purposes for unique geology and resource targets, and more general purposes…like lubricant.  My understanding that it is these specific recipes that are most carefully guarded.

    But here is a good run down…

    http://fracfocus.org/chemical-


    Chemical Name CAS Chemical Purpose Product Function

    Hydrochloric Acid 007647-01-0 Helps dissolve minerals and initiate cracks in the rock Acid

    Glutaraldehyde 000111-30-8 Eliminates bacteria in the water that produces corrosive by-products Biocide

    Quaternary Ammonium Chloride 012125-02-9 Eliminates bacteria in the water that produces corrosive by-products Biocide

    Quaternary Ammonium Chloride 061789-71-1 Eliminates bacteria in the water that produces corrosive by-products Biocide

    Tetrakis Hydroxymethyl-Phosphonium Sulfate 055566-30-8 Eliminates bacteria in the water that produces corrosive by-products Biocide

    Ammonium Persulfate 007727-54-0 Allows a delayed break down of the gel Breaker

    Sodium Chloride 007647-14-5 Product Stabilizer Breaker

    Magnesium Peroxide 014452-57-4 Allows a delayed break down the gel   Breaker

    Magnesium Oxide 001309-48-4 Allows a delayed break down the gel   Breaker

    Calcium Chloride 010043-52-4 Product Stabilizer Breaker

    Choline Chloride 000067-48-1 Prevents clays from swelling or shifting Clay Stabilizer

    Tetramethyl ammonium chloride 000075-57-0 Prevents clays from swelling or shifting Clay Stabilizer

    Sodium Chloride 007647-14-5 Prevents clays from swelling or shifting Clay Stabilizer

    Isopropanol 000067-63-0 Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent Corrosion Inhibitor

    Methanol 000067-56-1 Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent Corrosion Inhibitor

    Formic Acid 000064-18-6 Prevents the corrosion of the pipe Corrosion Inhibitor

    Acetaldehyde 000075-07-0 Prevents the corrosion of the pipe Corrosion Inhibitor

    Petroleum Distillate 064741-85-1 Carrier fluid for borate or zirconate crosslinker Crosslinker

    Hydrotreated Light Petroleum Distillate 064742-47-8 Carrier fluid for borate or zirconate crosslinker Crosslinker

    Potassium Metaborate 013709-94-9 Maintains fluid viscosity as temperature increases Crosslinker

    Triethanolamine Zirconate 101033-44-7 Maintains fluid viscosity as temperature increases Crosslinker

    Sodium Tetraborate 001303-96-4 Maintains fluid viscosity as temperature increases Crosslinker

    Boric Acid 001333-73-9 Maintains fluid viscosity as temperature increases Crosslinker

    Zirconium Complex 113184-20-6 Maintains fluid viscosity as temperature increases Crosslinker

    Borate Salts N/A Maintains fluid viscosity as temperature increases Crosslinker

    Ethylene Glycol 000107-21-1 Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent.   Crosslinker

    Methanol 000067-56-1 Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent.   Crosslinker

    Polyacrylamide 009003-05-8 “Slicks” the water to minimize friction   Friction Reducer

    Petroleum Distillate 064741-85-1 Carrier fluid for polyacrylamide friction reducer Friction Reducer

    Hydrotreated Light Petroleum Distillate 064742-47-8 Carrier fluid for polyacrylamide friction reducer Friction Reducer

    Methanol 000067-56-1 Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent.   Friction Reducer

    Ethylene Glycol 000107-21-1 Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent.   Friction Reducer

    Guar Gum 009000-30-0 Thickens the water in order to suspend the sand Gelling Agent

    Petroleum Distillate 064741-85-1 Carrier fluid for guar gum in liquid gels Gelling Agent

    Hydrotreated Light Petroleum Distillate 064742-47-8 Carrier fluid for guar gum in liquid gels Gelling Agent

    Methanol 000067-56-1 Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent.   Gelling Agent

    Polysaccharide Blend 068130-15-4 Thickens the water in order to suspend the sand Gelling Agent

    Ethylene Glycol 000107-21-1 Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent.   Gelling Agent

    Citric Acid 000077-92-9 Prevents precipitation of metal oxides Iron Control

    Acetic Acid 000064-19-7 Prevents precipitation of metal oxides Iron Control

    Thioglycolic Acid 000068-11-1 Prevents precipitation of metal oxides Iron Control

    Sodium Erythorbate 006381-77-7 Prevents precipitation of metal oxides Iron Control

    Lauryl Sulfate 000151-21-3 Used to prevent the formation of emulsions in the fracture fluid Non-Emulsifier

    Isopropanol 000067-63-0 Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent.   Non-Emulsifier

    Ethylene Glycol 000107-21-1 Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent.   Non-Emulsifier

    Sodium Hydroxide 001310-73-2 Adjusts the pH of fluid to maintains the effectiveness of other components, such as crosslinkers   pH Adjusting Agent

    Potassium Hydroxide 001310-58-3 Adjusts the pH of fluid to maintains the effectiveness of other components, such as crosslinkers   pH Adjusting Agent

    Acetic Acid 000064-19-7 Adjusts the pH of fluid to maintains the effectiveness of other components, such as crosslinkers   pH Adjusting Agent

    Sodium Carbonate 000497-19-8 Adjusts the pH of fluid to maintains the effectiveness of other components, such as crosslinkers   pH Adjusting Agent

    Potassium Carbonate 000584-08-7 Adjusts the pH of fluid to maintains the effectiveness of other components, such as crosslinkers   pH Adjusting Agent

    Copolymer of Acrylamide and Sodium Acrylate 025987-30-8 Prevents scale deposits in the pipe Scale Inhibitor

    Sodium Polycarboxylate N/A Prevents scale deposits in the pipe Scale Inhibitor

    Phosphonic Acid Salt N/A Prevents scale deposits in the pipe Scale Inhibitor

    Lauryl Sulfate 000151-21-3 Used to increase the viscosity of the fracture fluid Surfactant

    Ethanol 000064-17-5 Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent.   Surfactant

    Naphthalene 000091-20-3 Carrier fluid for the active surfactant ingredients Surfactant

    Methanol 000067-56-1 Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent.   Surfactant

    Isopropyl Alcohol 000067-63-0 Product stabilizer and / or winterizing agent.   Surfactant

    2-Butoxyethanol 000111-76-2 Product stabilizer Surfactant

  19. Diogenesdemar says:

    that isn’t a recipe for Twinkies?

  20. parsingreality says:

    I knew that I/we could rely on you for the answers.

  21. ClubTwitty says:

    Until you destroy every great institution in this land.

    First its shoving toxins and scarce water resources down frack holes to release copious amounts of profits, and thus free ourselves from dependency on what is already banked off-shore, that you decry; and, now its standing in the way of venture capitalists robbing corporations by loading them up with massive debt, paying themselves obscene bonuses, driving them into bankruptcy, and blaming it all on the hard-working Americans scraping by in few jobs in hopes of getting at least close to a livable wage.  

    Where are your ethics sir?

  22. BlueCat says:

    making me spit out my coffee? Twitty, thanks for the info which probably can be used by those undergoing Twinkie withdrawal, whoever they may be.

  23. Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

    it ISN’T the recipe for “Clean-stim”, the Governors’ drink of choice..

  24. parsingreality says:

    I was in a Mexican restaurant not long ago and it said green chile was an option on something.  My pulse rate went into dangerous territories, but upon further inquiry, it was just a tomatilla based sauce.  

    Fortunately, roasted gc’s show upon fairly often in Austin, so my daughters snare and freeze some.  Then when I visit, I get to stick the needle in.

    I tried roasting Anaheims and other peppers on the grill, but it is so slow I found it not worth the effort.  

  25. Diogenesdemar says:

    Florida was a wasteland . . . you just confirmed all my suspicions.

  26. Gorky PulviczekG Pulviczek says:

    My wife and I are going.  Hopefully some other Polsters will be there too!

  27. parsingreality says:

    There are very good reasons Florida was virtually uninhabited until after WWII.  The capitol, Tallahassee, was selected as the spot half way between Pensacola and Jacksonville, no point farther south need be considered.

    While electricity and DDT turned southern Florida into something approaching habitability, today’s reasons to not live here are political and financial. The latter is just a reflection of the former.

    As Rethuglicans have controlled the legislature and the governorship, the insurance industry has raped us.  

    I left here to be moved by the mountains of Colorado in 1973.  Now, stuck here, I do see a beauty of the coasts and islands, where, fortunately, I live.  It’s not a better/worse, it’s just different.

    OK, I’ll admit that 83 degrees and sunlight weren’t bad companions as I did my 5 miles on the beach today………..

  28. Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

    Benzene is a component of natural gas…or methane. Certainly no need to introduce it into the well, except as it incidentally appears in some production fluids.  

  29. parsingreality says:

    I remember that when I was a kid, one would put a stamp in a bit of benzene and it would reveal some cryptic data, like the DaVinci Code or something. I think it had to do with making certain watermarks visible or something.

    But then, I also remember running around behind the Jeep truck spewing DDT in a water based fog to kill the squitters.

    That I remember anything is miraculous.

  30. Gray in Mountains says:

    was surprisingly cool on a hot summer evening

  31. Diogenesdemar says:

    Hunks of asbestos in my rock collection . . .

    Mercury droplets “borrowed” from the school lab . . .

    Chemistry sets . . .

    Fireworks . . .  

  32. parsingreality says:

    I remember playing with it in junior high.  I don’t know where I got it from, presumably science classes.  Some friends stole it, and I remember their mother very embarrassed and we all working it out of their carpet.

    I have a bit in a taped up 35 mmm film can from a mercury lab thermometer that broke a few years ago.  Someday, off to the Hazmat dump.

    I had a big chemistry set from Porter Chemical back then.  You could make things go bang, flare, and any number of things that now have parents screaming.  I do remember looking at some chemistry sets maybe twenty years ago and they were pathetic.  Change colors of solutions, etc., snore…………

  33. Gray in Mountains says:

    I had a pint of the stuff and of lead as well. Lots of fun

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