I need your help to stop fracking in North Carolina

Thank you so much for the your wonderful support and comments on my story about trying to stop the runaway fracking train in North Carolina. The need for clear evidence-based comments is urgent because the east coast Triassic Basins could be the most dangerous shale-gas plays in the America. These shallow ancient lakebed shale gas deposits, located near several North Carolina's most important rivers for water supply, are riddled with near vertical faults and basaltic (diabase) dikes. These vertical geologic structures and the shallow depth make the potential for accidental vertical transport of gas and drilling fluids much higher in these basins than for deep shale deposits like the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania and New York.

Unanticipated flow of gas and water in a Triassic coal mine in the gas bearing formation led to North Carolina's greatest industrial accident. The 1925 mine disaster in Cumnock, NC happened three miles from my house in an area where blocks of gas drilling leases have been purchased adjacent to the Deep River.

Coal Glen mine gave up its fifty-third body late Saturday evening. Water had risen in the mine to such an extent that the rescuers were practically forced to cease the search, but it was noted that fifty-three was the complete toll taken.

...(Names of 53 victims are published here in the original report)...

Four days of incessant and nerve-wracking toil on the part of the heroic rescuers came to an end Saturday night, when, despite the rising waters, every nook and cranny of the mine had been explored and the last body of the 53 victims of the death-dealing blasts of Wednesday's disaster had been brought to the surface.

From the erstwhile peaceful and happy little mining community near three score bruised, broken, and scorched bodies of formerly contented and industrious men have been rushed to morgue, and to burial far and near. North and south, east and west, the trains bore the dead and the heart broken loved ones. Five found their last resting place in the little Farmville church yard, while here and there over lower Chatham, family burying grounds show new-made mounds and Chatham homes are sadly bereaved. Hardly yet has the public, dazed by the bulk of the tragedy, been able to concentrate its interest and sympathy upon the individual losses and sorrows, but to many a home-to parents, wives, and children, brothers and sisters-the great tragedy is centered in the snuffing out of just one life, or, in some cases, as with the Hudsons, that of several of the family.

Fracking for gas will not cause a disaster in an instant, like a mine explosion, but the geologic faults and dikes and geologic heterogeneity that led to the mine disaster makes fracking in North Carolina unsafe for our water, air, land and communities.

We need an organized and mobilized group of citizens to present comments Tuesday night and to comment by e-mail by the end of the month. It's a 444 page report (including appendices) but the individual sections are pretty short. If each person here picks out one area where (s)he has the most expertise and focuses on that one issue, it's manageable. First, download the DENR report

Go to the table of contents.

Then identify an issue and go to the pages identified in the table of contents. If there is an error of omission in the document, such as a lack of whole sections, identify it. For example, the consumer protection has not been completed so it is not present in the draft report. Obviously that makes comments on the content impossible, but if you are an expert on consumer protection, please speak up. If you know about regulatory law and find problems with the process, please comment. Speaker Sign up started at 5:30 in Sanford.

The second public meeting has been scheduled for March 27, 2012, and will take place in the auditorium of East Chapel Hill High School in Chapel Hill from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Both meetings will also be streamed live online at https://its.ncgovconnect.com/denr_shale_gas/.

Please submit written comments via e-mail or U.S. mail to the DENR by April 1, the last day they will be accepted.

Written comments on the draft report will be accepted through April 1, in addition to any feedback received at the two public meetings. Written comments can be sent via email to Shale_gas_comments@ncdenr.gov; or through the mail to NCDENR, attn: Trina Ozer, 1601 MSC, Raleigh, NC 27699.

Sign up for listserv: DENR_shale_gas@ncdenr.gov

For questions, call Trina Ozer at (919) 707-8605.

This comment on my report on the Sanford meeting really hit home.

Public hearing strategy (21+ / 0-)

A good strategy to use for these events where each person gets such a restricted time to speak, is what we did a few years ago in our small community to block a hog confinement facility, and it worked.

We met in advance and discussed the issues in detail together. (We called in some experts, etc.) Then each person who felt able to speak selected ONE point, one of the issues on our list, that he or she felt they could speak to effectively. Then we practiced these, and reminded everyone to STICK TO THEIR TOPIC, and their topic only! Rambling on about other stuff would make the speakers less effective.

The reason this worked as a strategy is that the participants, many of whom felt very passionate about the problem, could have confidence that the others would address all of the issues they wanted brought out, so each person could just focus intently on their part. In our case, we had about 25 speakers, each with their one point to make.

Being so organized, with a plan, also reduced the anger level at the city council meeting. In fact, a policeman was there at the start of the meeting but left shortly after the meeting started because he could sense everything was under control.

We won on this issue. I think many people submitted excellent written comments, but it was the clear, articulate short personal comments, and the very clear summary graphics we showed, that got the council's attention.

by sillia

We have not been given enough time to prepare that well. The extremely short review period and lack of clear meeting procedures by the state of NC has made planning and organizing very difficult. However we can each focus on one important topic. Pick the issue that has the greatest personal impact or the issue where you are an expert.

Here's the 10 minute summary of Gasland which shows the impacts of fracking.

Remember that DENR is not our enemy. DENR is in an extremely difficult political position between a Republican legislature and a Democratic governor (who has been courted by lobbyists of the gas industry on a trip to Pennsylvania). The position of North Carolina state geologist is institutionally conflicted between resource development and environmental regulation and protection. Presentations should be concise, polite and tightly focused on critical issues. The police are eager to arrest people who don't follow the rules so don't blunder into a pointless confrontation. We have a long-term political problem that can only be solved by electing politicians concerned about the environment and individual property rights. Gas production is so weakly regulated by the feds that good state and local laws are your main protections.

Electing Democrats is the only way to stop the runaway fracking train. And that's just the beginning. Your testimony and comments will go nowhere if there's a Republican legislature and governor. The NC Republican party has sworn fealty to big oil and gas. Dick Cheney, George Bush and Republican Congress passed legislation in 2005 (the Halliburton exemption) that exempts fracking from a number of provisions of federal regulations and relegates most oversight to the states. Citizens United has allowed oil and gas companies to use huge amounts of money to influence legislators and affect elections in states that have oil and gas resources. The Supreme Court legalized corruption. We must fight back.

Political leaders from Chatham county did an excellent job of speaking about the negative effects on jobs, businesses and growth in Chatham county, but leaders from other counties did not discuss negative impacts. Much of central North Carolina could be impacted by fracking because Triassic basins extend from Virginia to South Carolina. The region's water supplies depend on Jordan Lake and Falls Lake in the Deep River Triassic basin. The coal and gas bearing formation that crops out on the banks of the Deep River is likely found beneath both these lakes and the cities of Apex, Cary and Durham. To the south, Sanford and Carthage are affected. The Wadesboro subbasin to the southwest of Pinehurst may lack the gas producing lake bed deposits acording to the state geologist.

The Deep River merges with the Haw River to become the Cape Fear River so if the Deep River becomes contaminated, the contaminated waters could flow all the way to Wilmington and Cape Fear. Likewise, the waters of Falls Lake serve as the main water supply for Durham and Raleigh and the Neuse River flows into the Pamlico Sound an area world famous for sea food, birding and tourism.

I participated in a public forum on fracking at the annual meeting of the NC Academy of Sciences Friday night at Campbell University at Buies Creek. Duke University scientists presented the latest information on air quality and water quality problems associated with fracking. They discussed two recent studies that show serious air quality violations were not included in the DENR report. (I brought up one study through a question.) The forum was balanced by the state geologist and a petroleum geologist who has moved to Sanford. Surprisingly, the petroleum geologist, who is all for drilling, implied that many people who leased their land for as low as 1 dollar per acre, got a bad deal. The moderator encouraged public participation so everyone who had a question had a chance to ask it. The only downside was that Carolina was playing in the NCAA tournament at the same time.

Here's my summary identifying why the planned fracking will be unsafe for our water, air, land and homes. DENR concluded that fracking can be done safely in North Carolina's Triassic Basins if they are allowed to enforce effective regulations. I do not share their optimism. I don't think they will be allowed to do their jobs properly if Republicans take control and I think that serious omissions from the report led to an underestimation of risks to human health and the environment.

Before analyzing the detailed technical issues we need to look at the main political issues. Fracking proponents make 2 political claims.

1. Patriotism. NC Shale gas will give the U.S. energy independence.

2. Jobs. NC shale gas will increase North Carolina's employment.

1. Patriotism. Did you know that China is buying into the U.S. fracking business?

The U.S. now has an excess of natural gas. China is motivated to buy our gas at rock bottom prices and sell it overseas as an international commodity. China has 50% greater shale gas reserves than the U.S. but lacks the technological expertise to develop those reserves. The Chinese intend to buy our technologies, train their people to use them here and make a profit on the price spread between our dirt cheap gas and Europe's higher prices. So much for patriotism.

The Wall St. Journal reported that China's state oil company is buying into the American fracking business.

By DINNY MCMAHON in BeijingAnd CHESTER YUNG in Hong Kong

Two of China's biggest oil producers are competing for a stake in a U.S. shale-gas services company—another step in China's effort to tap its huge reserves of a fuel that has helped the U.S. reduce its dependence on energy imports. If China could sell enough gas to Europe to reduce demand there, they might be able to drive down the cost of gas they could purchase from Russia.

Cnooc Ltd. and China Petrochemical Corp. are competing to buy a 30% stake in Texas-based Frac Tech Holdings LLC in a deal that could be valued at about $2 billion, a person familiar with the situation said. State-controlled Saudi Arabian Oil Co. also is bidding, the person said. Cnooc and Sinopec, as China Petrochem is known, didn't respond to requests for comment Thursday. Saudi Aramco couldn't be reached. For Sinopec, the bid is part of a multitiered expansion effort into natural gas.

No matter how China's gas deals play out in the U.S. America will continue to import crude oil to meet demand for gasoline and diesel fuel. Natural gas is not a liquid transportation fuel.

2. Jobs. Gas jobs will go to Texans. North Carolinians will lose jobs.

Fracking for gas is a very technical business that employs specialists trained in the oil and gas industry. North Carolina is not training specialists because it does not have an oil and gas industry. Therefore, jobs will go to Texans, Oklahomans, and people from states that have large active oil and gas industries.

North Carolina has attracted high paying high tech, biotech health care and knowledge industries by appealing to its pleasant lifestyle and beautiful environment. Likewise, it has attracted retirees based on mild weather, an attractive environment and reasonable housing prices. Industrial gas production activities are incompatible with North Carolina's economic development plans. They are also incompatible with the economies and zoning of the large suburban and urban areas stretching from Sanford to Apex, Cary and Durham that are located in the Triassic basin.

Gas will be worse for North Carolina's employment than rural Pennsylvania's because central North Carolina has an urbanized economy with good jobs that pay well.

In an intensive lobbying campaign to influence a skeptical public’s opinions about fracking, the gas industry has commissioned a number of economic studies that find huge job gains from fracking. A recent study by the economic forecasting company IHS Global Insight Inc., paid for by the America’s Natural Gas Alliance, projects that fracking will create 1.1 million jobs in the United States by year 2020. However, a closer read of the study reveals that the analysis also projects that fracking will actually lead to widespread job losses in other sectors of the economy, and would result in slightly lower overall employment levels the following 10 years, compared to what it would be if fracking were restricted. In another study, commissioned by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, researchers with Penn State University estimated that gas drilling would support 216,000 jobs in Pennsylvania alone by 2015. The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show employment in the oil and gas industry to be 4,144 in Pennsylvania.

Rather than trying to project what will happen in the future, one could look at what the employment impact has been from Pennsylvania’s love affair with fracking since 2007, using actual employment data readily available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What the data tell us is that fracking has created very few jobs. In fact, employment in five northeast Pennsylvania counties (McKean, Potter, Tioga, Bradford and Susquehanna) with high drilling activity declined by 2.7 percent. Of course, the economy was in a recession, and it is possible that employment would have decreased by more had it not been for fracking. To evaluate this, one can look at the employment trend in five adjacent New York counties (Allegany, Steuben, Chemung, Tioga and Broome) which had a moratorium on fracking. By assuming that the change in employment in the five PA counties would have been the same as in the five NY counties, a baseline for employment can be established if no hydraulic fracturing had occurred. In the five NY counties, employment declined by 5.2 percent over the three year period. Had employment declined by the same rate in the PA counties as in the NY counties since 2007, employment would have been 51,950 instead of 53,300 in 2010. This suggests that hydraulic fracturing contributed to the creation of around 1,350 jobs – this includes both direct jobs in the gas industry, indirect jobs in the supply chain and induced jobs from spending by workers and landowners. (An industry-funded study by the Public Policy Institute of New York projects that the same drilling level would create 62,620 jobs in New York).

In rural areas with few job opportunities and high unemployment rates, the creation of 1,350 jobs would still be good news, if it were not for the fact that most of the jobs go to workers from out-of-state. A survey of gas companies, conducted by the Marcellus Shale Education & Training Center, showed that 70 to 80 percent of workers were out of state. Including the many truck drivers bringing in fracking water and trucking out the fracking wastewater to be deposited in underground wells in Ohio in such large quantities that it has triggered earthquakes.

Essentially, fracking in Pennsylvania became a job program for people from Texas and Oklahoma. The costs are borne by the local population in terms of polluted drinking water, deteriorating roads from heavy truck traffic, smog, a noise-level equaling that of a busy interstate, a landscape marred by wells, pipelines and holding pools.

Geologic Analysis

My house is located by the arrow on the northwest side of Sanford near may gas lease blocks. The Google map with a list of leases may be found here. Note that lease blocks abut the Deep River. A review of the Geologic map 2 figures down from the Google map shows the old coal mines along the Deep river where coal crops our on the banks. This is the gas producing formation. Needless to say, if these lease blocks are produced the Deep River could be contaminated by an accident.

The geologic cross section which runs from the northwest to the southeast shows the basin is fragmented by multiple faults. Some of these faults are near vertical structures. Given that the producing formation is shallow and the faults are potential pathways to groundwater and surface water, there appears to be a high potential for contaminating water resources if there's a fracking accident even in the deeper parts of the basin.

The shallow depth of the producing formation is similar to the situation at Pavillion Wyoming. Pavillion isn't similar to 10,000 foot deep deposits in Pennsylvania but it is reasonably similar to deposits that go from the surface to 3000 feet in the Sanford sub basin. The EPA discovered that toxic fracking fluids and produced gas have contaminated the groundwater in Pavillion. MW stands for monitoring well in the EPA draft report (PDF). Experts may debate how the contamination happened but the evidence of contamination by fracking fluids is overwhelming.

A number of synthetic organic compounds were detected in MW01 and MW02. Isopropanol was detected in MW01 and MW02 at 212 and 581 micrograms per liter, respectively. Diethylene glycol was detected in MW01 and MW02 at 226 and 1570 micrograms per liter, respectively. Triethylene glycol was detected in MW01 and
MW02 at 46 and 310 micrograms per liter, respectively. Another synthetic compound, tert-butyl alcohol, was detected in MW02 at a concentration of 4470 micrograms per liter. Isopropanol was used in a biocide, in a surfactant, in breakers, and in foaming agents. Diethylene glycol was used in a foaming agent and in a solvent. Triethylene glycol was used in a solvent. Tert-butyl alcohol is a known breakdown product of methyl tert-butyl ether (a fuel additive) and tert-butyl hydroperoxide (a gel breaker used in hydraulic fracturing). Material Safety Data Sheets do not indicate that fuel or tert-butyl hydroperoxide were used in the Pavillion gas field. However, Material Safety Data Sheets do not contain proprietary information and the chemical ingredients of many additives. The source of tert-butyl alcohol remains unresolved. However, tert-butyl alcohol is not expected to occur naturally in ground water.

Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) were detected in MW02 at concentrations of 246, 617, 67, and 750 micrograms per liter, respectively. Trimethylbenzenes were detected in MW02 at 105 micrograms per liter. Gasoline range organics were detected in MW01 and MW02 at 592 and 3710 micrograms per liter. Diesel range organics were detected in MW01 and MW02 at 924 and 4050 micrograms per liter, respectively. Aromatic solvent (typically BTEX mixture) was used in a breaker. Diesel oil (mixture of saturated and aromatic hydrocarbons including naphthalenes and alkylbenzenes) was used in a guar polymer slurry/liquid gel
concentrate and in a solvent. Petroleum raffinates (mixture of paraffinic, cycloparaffinic, olefinic, and aromatic hydrocarbons) were used in a breaker. Heavy aromatic petroleum naphtha (mixture of paraffinic, cycloparaffinic and aromatic hydrocarbons) was used in surfactants and in a solvent. Toluene and xylene were used in flow enhancers and a breaker. Detections of organic chemicals were more numerous and exhibited higher concentrations in the deeper of the two monitoring wells. Natural breakdown products of organic contaminants like BTEX and glycols include acetate and benzoic acid. These breakdown products are more enriched in the shallower of the two monitoring wells, suggesting upward/lateral migration with natural degradation and accumulation of daughter products.

Hydraulic gradients are currently undefined in the area of investigation. However, there are flowing conditions in a number of deep stock wells suggesting that upward gradients exist in the area of investigation. Alternative explanations were carefully considered to explain individual sets of data. However, when considered together with other lines of evidence, the data indicates likely impact to ground water that can be explained by hydraulic fracturing.

Duke University scientists have also discovered fracking fluids and fracked gas contaminating groundwater in Pennsylvania and New York state. Even though the fracked rock is quite deep and isolated, fracking operations somehow managed to contaminate near surface waters. We cannot trust the assertions that fracking will be safe in North Carolina because Pennslyvania gas came from much deeper shale.

Directional drilling and hydraulic-fracturing technologies are dramatically
increasing natural-gas extraction. In aquifers overlying the Marcellus and Utica shale formations of northeastern Pennsylvania and upstate New York, we document systematic evidence for methane contamination of drinking water associated with shalegas extraction. In active gas-extraction areas (one or more gas wells within 1 km), average and maximummethane concentrations in drinking-water wells increased with proximity to the nearest gas well and were 19.2 and 64 mg CH4 L−1 (n ¼ 26), a potential explosion hazard; in contrast, dissolved methane samples in neighboring
nonextraction sites (no gas wells within 1 km) within similar geologic formations and hydrogeologic regimes averaged only 1.1 mgL−1 (P < 0.05; n ¼ 34

Proponents of fracking in the Deep River basin have argued that water has not been found at depth. Permeability is low in most of the Triassic sediments. In many cases the best water sources are vertical basaltic (diabase) dikes. Because they formed from magma and cooled at a relatively high speed for an intrusive rock, these dikes may develop cooling fractures. Moreover, basalt tends to weather faster than the sandy Triassic sedimentary rocks. Therefore vertical dikes are often the water bearing rocks in the Triassic basins. The geologic map prepared by DENR shows swarms of dikes (colored in burnt red) running from the northwest to the southeast. These dikes could be contaminated by fracking threatening the quality of both the groundwater and the surface water because these dikes are permeable and vertical. They are potential short circuits that could speed contaminants towards the Deep River and Sanford's water intake downstream.

Waste Water Issues

Waste water from fracking often contains elevated levels of radioactive substances and it contains toxic organic compounds. It may also contain elevated levels of inorganic toxins leached from the producing formation. DENR has stated it will not allow deep well injection of waste water because the deep bedrock has unsuitable properties for deep well disposal. One company has developed a waste water treatment process which allows them to reuse waste water for fracking, but it is not industry practice. The waste water has to go somewhere. The city of Sanford could end up responsible for treating the fracking waste water. This could pose a serious problem for Sanford because they presently return treated water above their water intake on the Cape Fear River. Perhaps they could sell treated water for fracking, but at this time there's no firm way to handle the waste water.

Natural radioactive Radon may make from fracking dangerous to households.

Shales often contain elevated levels of the natural radioactive elements uranium, radium and radon. Radium levels in the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania are 8-32 times background. Because radium decays to radon gas, radon gas levels are elevated by similar ratios. This radon may cause a large number of excess deaths.

We calculate the number of excess lung cancer deaths for New York State. Our results: the potential number of fatal lung cancer deaths due to radon in natural gas from the Marcellus shale range from 1,182 to 30,448.

High levels of uranium, radium and radon have been found in the east coast Triassic basins and near their boundary faults in adjacent rock. Uranium and radium concentrations rock are generally very sensitive to the flow of groundwater and hydrothermal fluids so the levels of radioactivity are typically variable. The Triassic Reading Prong in Pennsylvania and Triassic rocks in the Potomac river basin are known to be areas of high radon. Radon levels have not been measured from the potential producing zone in central North Carolina's Triassic basins. DENR's measured one surface sample from the Dan River Basin on the Virginia border. That measurement is not useful for evaluating radon levels at producing depths in the Sanford sub basin. We don't know how much radon the gas contains.

Severe Air Quality Problems Found Associated with Fracking

NOAA produced a video recently on their discovery of extreme air quality violations associated with gas fracking operations in the otherwise pristine Uinta basin in Utah.

These observations suport the findings of air quality problems associated with fracking in a recent Journal of Geophysical Research report by NOAA and University of Colorado investigators. NOAA's press release explains in plain English that high levels of air pollution found north of Denver, Colorado were directly traced to oil and gas operations.

When NOAA scientists began routinely monitoring the atmosphere’s composition at a tower north of Denver a few years ago, their instruments immediately sniffed something strange: plumes of air rich with chemical pollutants including the potent greenhouse gas methane.

Some of the pollutants picked up are known to damage air quality. Another, methane, is 25 times more effective per molecule than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. The scientists were concerned. None of NOAA’s other air composition monitoring towers – there are eight, in total, scattered around the continental United States – had recorded anything similar.

After taking dozens of samples and thousands of readings along rural roads, near oil and gas equipment, landfills, and animal feeding operations, the research team has an answer: The unusual air pollutants seen at the Denver tower came primarily from oil and gas production in northeastern Colorado’s Weld County.

"We found gas operations in the region leaked about twice as much methane into the atmosphere as previously estimated," Petron said. "And the oil and gas infrastructure was leaking other air pollutants, too, including benzene, which is regulated because of its toxicity."

The research team’s chemical fingerprinting work showed that oil and gas equipment and activities – well pads equipment including condensate storage tanks, pipelines, compressors and more – leaked or vented an estimated 4 percent of all natural gas produced to the atmosphere. That loss is about double the previous best-guess estimate, based on engineering calculations and industry data, of about 2 percent loss.

"We may have been significantly underestimating methane emissions by this industry in this region," Petron said.

The team also found that emissions of benzene, a known carcinogen, are underestimated. Benzene is tracked and regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Petron and her colleagues found evidence of at least two sources of benzene in the region: oil and gas operations and something else, most likely cars and trucks on roads. And the new study found benzene emissions from oil and gas operations in the region to be significantly higher than expected, between 385 and 2,055 metric tons in 2008, compared with earlier estimates ranging from about 60 to 145 per year.

Finally, the researchers' findings suggest that oil and gas-related emissions of more reactive volatile organic compounds, which contribute to lung-damaging ozone pollution, are also underestimated. More reactive VOCs were not directly measured in the 2008 study, but are almost certainly co-emitted with methane and larger alkanes. According to the EPA, the northern Front Range has been out of compliance with federal health-based standards in the summer since 2007.

This study has national implications because air pollution caused by gas production may have been underestimated by a factor of 2 or more. The conclusions of the JGR report make it clear that pollution from gas operations in other states may be much greater than people realize. Predictions of air pollution in North Carolina are also likely to underestimate the levels of pollutants that will be released if fracking goes ahead. High measured C6H6 levels are particularly concerning because benzene is a carcinogen. Measured benzene levels were 6 to 15 times levels expected based on previous estimates.

3. There are notable inconsistencies between our results and state and national regulatory inventories. In 2008 gas wells in Weld County represented 15% of the state’s production. Based on our top-down analysis, Weld County methane emissions from oil and gas production and processing represent at least 30% of the state total methane source from natural gas systems derived by Strait et al. [2007] using the EPA State Inventory Tool. The methane source from natural gas systems in Colorado is most likely underestimated by at least a factor of two. Oil and gas operations are the largest source of alkanes in Weld County. They were included as a source of “total VOC” in the 2008 EPA NEI for Weld County but not in the 2005 NEI.

4. There are at least two main sources of C6H6 in the region: one related to combustion processes, which also emit CO and C2H2 (engines and mobile vehicles), and one related to the DJB alkane source. The C6H6 source we derived based on flashing and venting VOC emissions in the WRAP inventory (143 Mg/yr) most likely underestimates the actual total source of C6H6 from oil and gas operations. Our topdown source estimates for C6H6 from oil and gas operations in Weld County cover a large range: 385–2056 Mg/yr. Again, the lowest figure is much higher than reported in the 2008 CDPHE inventory for Weld County oil and gas total point sources (61.8 Mg/yr).

DENR reports that central North Carolina is close to exceeding air quality standards now. Gas production operations would raise VOC emissions levels, degrading air quality, and causing violations of standards. If the ozone standards are tightened to levels consistent with scientific recommendations more ozone violations will occur.

Poor air quality caused by gas production will be bad for both our physical health and our economic health. Poor air quality is incompatible with growing retirement communities, growing organic and specialty farming communities and the growing knowledge-based economy of the Resarch Triangle.

Here are some web sites with supporting information.

Loss of property rights and community control.

Fracking the future - Backgrounder on the politics and technical problems involved with fracking

Marcellus shale radon radioactivity could cause 1000-30,000 deaths in New York City. (Triassic rocks can concentrate radon too).

NPR report on EPA finding that fracking fluids contaminated Pavillion Wyoming groundwater.

draft EPA report (PDF) finding that fracking contaminated Pavillion WY groundwater.

NOAA presentation on Severe Colorado air pollution caused by gas production

Fracking pollution problems in Texas.

NOAA's PR Summary of NOAA's Colorado air quality 2012 report.

Fracking does not generate local jobs. It creates jobs for traveling Texans and Oklahomans.

The Cumnock Mine Disaster. 53 men died in a coal mine explosion in 1925.

Bill McKibben why not to frack, Bill discusses 2 books.

400 plus page U Texas Austin report cited by DENR on fracking with a pro industry bias.

Weak N&O report on Tuesday's hearing in Sanford.

NC chapter of the Sierra Club will be leading the opposition to fracking on Tuesday in Chapel Hill.

Local groups opposing NC fracking.

Clean Water for North Carolina an organization leading NC's opposition to fracking.

Save Cumnock The little town of Cumnock is at ground zero where fracking fluids & gas blow outs could enter the Deep River.

BlueNC's latest fracking video.

Croatan Earth First, NC activist green group

Save our Sandhills, a Moore Co. group opposed to fracking.

local citizen's letter to the editor

Comments

Great work, Fish

I especially appreciate the region-specific geologic info and lease data. A lot of this stuff should be incorporated into DENR's studies, and the geologists who've been cheerleading for fracking should be asked point-blank about those vertical pathways to contamination.

The state geologist has an instututional conflict of interest

He has two hats, resource development and environmental protection. That puts him in a position where he is trying to regulate the activities he is promoting. He's a true "geek" who loves the technology and the science. That's why he can come off looking like a cheerleader. He believes he can effectively regulate the technologies if he is given the authority to do so. I fear that the state legislature will deprive DENR of the legal tools it needs to keep us safe while pushing fracking onto the fast track using his promotion of the resource and the technology.

I did ask, point blank, at the NC Academy of Sciences meeting at Campbell University on Friday night. My comments on the potential vertical pathways at the meeting on Tuesday were given positive feedback by a retired NC State geology professor.

Amazing piece of work

This is a great blog post. One of the most informative I've ever seen. Kudos to you.

The point was raised recently that we have seen several hydrological agricultural droughts in our state in recent years. So beyond the obvious concerns about the process and the unknown chemicals involved in the process, has anyone said where exactly they expect to get the water to frack wells in North Carolina?

I'm still simply shocked that something like this, which may be acceptable in corporate eyes in west Texas or Wyoming or the Dakotas, is considered a wise industrial practice in such suburban areas of North Carolina.

Fracking--right here in River City--and that's spelled with an F

I just heard about a bill or "bills" introduced by the North Carolina leglislature that not only approves of fracking methods for natural gas sources, but deliberately wants to "promote" fracking in the state. Your blog provides the best information to date on this dangerous, relatively unknown process. I am particularly frightened of this dangerous process polluting water resources. We are already in a world of hurt regarding sustainable water resources in this country, so what does the NC legislature do? Attempts to turn itself into a "gas producing" extraction state.
It should be expected from this right wing legislature. However, I am a bit scared of some Democrats going along for the ride on the "jobs for America" band wagon. Jobs are fine but we should not go looking to "frack" for gas and deal with all the possible adverse side effects, like release of poison gases into the atmosphere.
We need to get out of the fossil fuel and extraction industries and into sustainable energies. This nutty legislature is doing the opposite.