Natural Gas Drilling Myths Busted

In the last decade, several myths have emerged about natural gas drilling. Some of these are empty claims and blunders made by members of Congress, drilling opponents, gas companies and even news agencies. Find out what these myths are and get the correct information right here.

Ten years ago (2009), a controversial statement was made in ProPublica’s November edition. The statement “As New York gears up for a massive expansion of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, state Officials have made a potentially troubling discovery about the wastewater created by the process: it’s radioactive” may not be completely true. The presence of uranium isotopes like radium-226 and radium-228 in Shale, gives it a radioactive signature. This does not pose any public health hazard for residents. Tests conducted on the waterways showed no sign of elevated radiation level.

A 2010 documentary GasLand in Colorado implied that gas drilling contaminates water so that it burns. Investigations show that the gas drilling wasn’t the cause of the fire. The fire occurred because the water was drilled into naturally occurring pockets of methane (a flammable substance).

In 2011, Senator James Inhofe, R-OK, stated that “there has never been one case – documented case – of groundwater contamination in the history of the thousands and thousands of hydraulic fracturing wells.” Despite the Senator’s confidence, his statement is incorrect. There have been several surface spills and blowouts. At a site in Dimock, operated by Chesapeake Energy and EOG Resources, there was a 8,000 gallon spill of fracking fluid. This spill contaminated groundwater in the Marcellus Shale region.

Meanwhile, in June 2011, in a Wall Street Journal summarizing an International Energy Agency report, the statement made about the future of natural gas isn’t quite feasible. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The increasing abundance of cheap natural gas, coupled with rising demand for the fuel from China and the fall-out from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, may have set the stage for a ‘Golden age of Gas.” As appealing as this may sound, natural gas is only a transitional fuel until we can find more renewable fuel sources. This belief is shared by many including T. Boone Pickens. He believes that natural gas is a fuel that bridges the gap between fossil fuels, which contaminates the environment, and environment-friendly renewable energy.

It is always important to accept information including those about natural gas drilling with a pinch of salt. Unless it is coming from professionals, always check out all information. If you have any concerns about whether or not a piece of information is true just give us a call and we will be happy to provide you with the truth!

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