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Monday, July 22, 2013

Department of Energy Cautions Reading Too Much Into AP Report on Fracking Study

From the Pittsburgh Business Times:
The Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory issued a statement Friday afternoon reminding people that its study of groundwater near hydraulic fracturing is still ongoing.
The statement comes on the heels of an Associated Press report that the lab had found no connection between hydraulic fracturing and groundwater contamination.
Here’s what NETL said Friday afternoon:
“NETL has been conducting a study to monitor for any signs of groundwater contamination as a result of hydraulic fracturing operations at a site on the Marcellus Shale formation in Pennsylvania. We are still in the early stages of collecting, analyzing, and validating data from this site. While nothing of concern has been found thus far, the results are far too preliminary to make any firm claims. We expect a final report on the results by the end of the calendar year.”
Read more here. 

Meanwhile, Duke professor Rob Jackson continues his crusade to prove fracking fluids can migrate up and contaminate drinking water supplies by seeking to grasp onto some way to marginalize the significance of the details reported by the Associated Press on the DOE study.  From newsobserver.com:
Jackson said the Pennsylvania study could be skewed in the sense that the drillers knew they were part of a study and were on their best behavior. He compared the mentality of the drillers to the attentiveness of a motorist being followed by a police officer.
Jackson also noted that Marcellus Shale is separated from aquifers by a mile of solid rock, whereas the distance is much shorter in North Carolina.
That's one reason Jackson was intrigued by another finding in the Pennsylvania study: that a hydraulic fracture traveled 1,800 feet out of the well bore, much farther than had been assumed to be possible.
"An 1,800-foot crack won't reach the surface, but if it does make it more likely that a man-made crack will intersect with natural fails and fissures," Jackson said. "If your shale gas layer is only 2,500 feet underground, then all of a sudden there's a greater concern."
Read more of that article here.

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