Monday, November 15, 2010

The big risk of polluting groundwater should not be discounted!

Dear Colleagues

RISK ... something nobody wants to talk about.

I just came across this piece ... text below:

Oil is a big part of the modern profit economy ... water is something most people in rich countries take for granted. The dangerous problem is that there may well be a link between the "frack" process for extracting natural gas and the pollution of groundwater.

This RISK is serious. My approach to risk is not purely mathematical, discounting the danger of an event by a probability ... but considering the danger of the event itself. What would be the impact of groundwater for New York City becoming tainted with toxins ... one can hardly imagine!

I certainly do not want to trust Halliburton with this risk.

Peter Burgess
Halliburton to EPA: Just Trust Us and Go Away
by Jess Leber November 09, 2010 10:49 AM (PT)

Oh, Halliburton. How your arrogance astounds me.

Two months ago, U.S. EPA wrote nine major natural gas drilling companies a letter. It politely asked the recipients to voluntarily tell agency officials the secret brew of chemicals they use to "frack" gas from the shale deposits. EPA wasn't even planning to make the ingredient list public, a policy the industry is fighting tooth-and-nail in Congress.

Instead, it just wanted the information to help with a crucial first-ever federal study of the health and safety risks of hydraulic fracturing, a drilling technique that has already ruined water and air quality in towns across the country and has proceeded unregulated thanks to the Dick Cheney-pushed "Halliburton loophole" passed in 2005. In case anyone's memory fails them, Cheney himself is a former Halliburton executive.

Today, EPA announced that 8 of the 9 companies complied with the request. You can take a wild guess which one refused.

EPA now issued a subpoena to Halliburton to compel the information from them, since it has a tight legal deadline to provide the initial results by the end of 2012, and that will be sort of hard to meet without knowing the chemicals they are studying.

Halliburton's antics do not stop at the federal level.

As the anti-fracking advocacy group EarthWorks points out, its lobbyists have fanned out to weaken or halt public disclosure laws in major fracking states. Against the wishes of the industry, Wyoming recently passed a law to require the first disclosures of drilling toxics. And a proposal now being considered in Pennsylvania has now been successfully weakened at Halliburton's specific behest.

Halliburton argues the chemicals are trade secrets. But when those chemicals risk contaminating public water supplies and producing huge volumes of toxic wastewater that the public must deal with—trade secret or not, we all have the right to know.

As Earthworks writes in a clever headline, "Halliburton to PA govt: "trust us." PA govt to Halliburton: "ok." PA citizens: "What!?!"

Don't let Halliburton get away with this any longer. We don't want to trust them. We want to know.

Tell Halliburton to disclose its fracking chemicals by signing this petition.

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