In 1930, my greatgrandparents purchased a beautiful farm in Bradford County, PA, in a little hamlet called French Azilum. In the summer, we spent time there, resting, breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the wild flowers, the bright stars and planets on a clear moonlit night, and swimming in the Susquehanna River. If gas drilling is allowed to continue, Bradford County and all of Pennsylvania will be forever changed, ruined beyond repair.
See the true cost of gas! Natural gas is just another dirty fossil fuel. A [Barnett Shale] drilling rig operating for 3 months has the same impact as a city of 4,000 people—water use, solid waste generation, air emissions and traffic. [David Burnett, Dir. Global Petroleum Research Institute, a collaborative research organization representing 12 major international oil producing companies]
Thanks to TXsharon and Bluedaze: Drilling Reform for Texas for this video. TXsharon is a tireless advocate for public health and safety and the irreplaceable environment we take for granted on this planet. She does her work as a volunteer inspite of repeated attempts to discredit her, intimidate her, and silence her.
People of the Marcellus Shale, this is what an industrial zone looks like. The rolling hills of Pennsylvania will soon resemble this landscape. Most of us didn't know the landmen were combing the country, getting landowners to sign gas leases. Now it is probably too late to stop it. All we have left is to regulate the industry as much as we can. However, the gas industry is the most unregulated industry in the nation. We are limited to a few things like road use and permits for water use. Don't give any gas company a free ride.
(A dead cow lies in a Louisiana pasture, a victim of drinking contaminated water near a well pad)
McLinko Gives His Side on Gas - by Doug McLinko who supports the gas industryand the demise of Bradford County through the ill effects of hydrofracking- 6/25/2009 The Rocket-Courier
On June 18, 2009 a letter to the editor entitled “Mind Boggling” by Christopher Bradley was printed in the Rocket-Courier attacking the nascent natural gas industry in Bradford County and the positive effects it will have on our economy during the nationwide recession.
Mr. Bradley and I have a fundamental difference of opinion on government’s role in the local economy; I believe in free markets and private enterprise while the writer takes the side of big government. I generally avoid responding to these letters, but Mr. Bradley was so inaccurate, inarticulate and invidious, that I will make an exception.
Bradley’s assertion that I am “lobbying for the gas companies in order to line my own pockets,” is a serious matter. Absent some hard evidence, it’s also malicious.
Clearing up misinformation is a day-to-day task in this new industry in our county. The gas companies have not confiscated land through eminent domain. Rather, contracts between landowners and gas companies were signed allowing drilling on their private property for a lease payment and future royalties. Even local and state governments have entered into these agreements. [Sadly!]In fact, by a unanimous vote, this current board of commissioners leased county land and a right-of-way for pipeline across a remote part of Mt. Pisgah for just under $2.5 million. [Tragically!]
As your county commissioner, I realize the economic benefit [for the few] and job opportunities [except many of the workers are brought in from elsewhere] that will occur as a result of the drilling activity in Bradford County. I also support constructive regulation of the industry to ensure our environment, infrastructure and water are protected. [except the drilling industry is not regulated by the EPA, nor is it subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act or the Clean Water Act]
Bradley took issue with a statement I made recently in response to Gov. Rendell’s proposal to tax landowners in the Marcellus Shale region and divert the money to Philadelphia. I wrote, “If you believe in agriculture preservation and preserving the family farm, this gas play has done more than any government program could ever do.” Bradley responded to my statement by listing a bucket full of government services, but never addressed the fact that Bradford County’s family farmers are struggling to pay their bills while milk prices hover around prices that were seen in the 1970s.
The Farm Bureau and extension offices provide valuable services, but they cannot provide the financial support necessary to keep the family farm afloat in this economy. I invite Mr. Bradley to attend a local Farm Bureau meeting with me and see for himself how lease payments and royalties can save family farms throughout Bradford County.
It’s obvious that Mr. Bradley has never spent time on a farm. He makes the ludicrous statement that drilling activity on farmland will leave it fallow and shut down agriculture in the county.
While a small fraction of land in the drill unit will be utilized during the drilling process, the vast majority of land in the parcel is left untouched and agriculture production is not affected. [McLinko]
[Gas drilling contaminates the air, soil, and often water. It requires the cutting down of many trees to put in access roads. It necessitates the disruption of farmland to make room for well pads, compressor stations, waste water treatment plants, pits for water and fracking fluid, and water pumping stations. Farm animals die from drinking contaminated water in pastures. Land transformed for industrial use by hydrofracking cannot be reverted back to arable land.]
Mr. Bradley states drilling companies will use “heavy equipment that is not easy on the land.” Perhaps he does not realize heavy equipment has been used on the family farm for the past century. Since the advent of heavy equipment, farmland has remained fertile and in fact, crop yields have increased.
I have spent a lot of time researching the natural gas industry and am well aware of both the benefits and drawbacks the activity will have in our county. After traveling to Wise County, Texas with a delegation from Bradford County, I returned back to Wise County on my own dime to further explore the industry’s impact on the region. [McLinko]
[According to a report from a Wise County resident, Mr. McLinko did not meet with people in Wise County who have suffered serious ill effects from gas drilling, even though they had graciously arranged for such a meeting while the Bradford County group was in the area last fall. Why did Mr. McLinko choose not to find out the drawbacks of gas drilling? Or if he did, why did he not report them?]
Locally, I have brought representatives from the industry to answer questions posed in open forums by local officials and concerned citizens. The most important action that I can take as a county commissioner is to open up a dialogue between county residents and the industry. Education is key to ensuring the county benefits from this opportunity. We must maximize all opportunities economically as a county while ensuring the protection of our environment and respecting our rural heritage. I encourage Mr. Bradley to join me in this effort.
Bradford County Commissioner
Dear Readers, Does anyone expect an industry representative to mention negative effects of gas drilling? An open forum presenting one side of an issue is hardly adequate. If Commissioner McLinko were interested in dialogue, he would involve more than just industry people here or in TX, all of whom stand to make a lot of money and cannot be objective. The economic advantages of gas drilling will be great for a few "lucky" landowners and a lot of industry people, but the real costs of increased need for fire protection, emergency medical staff, drug counselors, road repair, insurance cost increases, work force drain (resulting in local businesses suffering), legal fees for the inevitable litigation, medical costs from the illnesses that will occur from air, soil, and water pollution, loss of livestock and farmland for growing crops, loss of recreational areas which will no longer be safe or desirable, loss of hunting and fishing areas, all these things will take an enormous toll on Bradford County residents. Gas drilling will cost a lot of money.
Doug McKlinko, Bradford County Commissioner Does he speak for the local residents?
Here is a report from Journey of the Forsaken which describes what happened in this video (May 2009). Thanks to Lisa Bracken for capturing this event and writing about it.
Twenty-three days after EnCana completed hydraulic fracturing operations on the F11E (CO), the liner is removed, some of the sludge is pumped out and the remainder - perhaps 70 barrels or more - is dozed in.
The pad overlies a spring that often surfaces here. It is fed by a shallow groundwater aquifer that supplies water to West Divide Creek and a family's private water well located maybe 200 yards away. An irrigation ditch is located approximately 30 feet from the East end of the pit.
If one of the pumper trucks had overturned on the county road, spilling this stuff into the environment, a hazardous materials unit would have responded, sequestered the area, potentially evacuated citizens and employed measures to safeguard first responders, citizens and the environment. But because this is a hydraulic fracturing waste pit, out of sight of the public and on private land (owned, coincidently, by EnCana) it is simply covered up.
This same site - if it were at a gas station or a paper mill or a chemical manufacturing plant - would likely be a violation and require extensive clean-up and proper disposal at a licensed facility... as it should. But, again, here, in rural Garfield County, it is simply buried.
Industry would like us to believe that frac fluids are merely salt water, a little thickener, and food additives. But we know frac mixtures contain all kinds of hazardous substances, like biocides, benzene, hydrocarbons, solvents, descalers, surfactants, enzymes, acids, and patented synthetic chemicals. We also know the adverse health effects of some of these agents.
We know a nurse in Durango, CO nearly died of catastrophic organ failure after unprotected exposure to fracturing chemicals (we don't know what happened to the field worker she cared for). We know her physician had to guess how to treat her as she lay dying. And we know that industry lawyers blocked her testimony at a rules reform hearing where citizens and advocacy groups were lobbying for chemical disclosure. We also know that the oil and gas industry has totally refuted her claims in literature distributed to lawmakers in Washington, DC intended to influence legislators against voting to repeal hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Watching a bull dozer blade this toxic brew beneath twenty feet of uncontained soil is horrifying. Knowing that this industry is allowed to poison the land, the water and the people is even worse.
Eventually this pit was completely covered.
This site is less than a half mile from my home.... a place in the Rocky Mountains now exploited for its natural gas resource. A place once rich in other resources as well... water - air - land - wildlife - community.
EnCana calls where I live their "Field of Dreams". As they abuse the ecosystem and destroy its fragile sustainability, they reap a finite reward while leaving behind an industrial waste dump.
I apologize for the shaky video and loud background noise. The wind was blowing so hard it was shaking my hand and totally flooded the microphone.
Despite the awful nature of this situation, the meticulous work conducted by the dozer and excavator operators was something to see. I knew an operator who competed in heavy equipment rodeos, and watching him excavate was amazing.
All the folks on this site seemed capable, and I doubt that any of them gave a second thought to burying this pit. Field workers have told me this is common practice. They probably had no idea it was right over an aquifer and never considered the effects on a stream or private water well. They work around this stuff all the time, and many come to consider it routine, even unknowingly putting their own health at risk. But, EnCana leadership is well aware, and that is where accountability must begin.
As with most of these situations, it is the underlying structure of inappropriate federal exemptions, weak state rules and poor but accepted practices that lead to making this the terrible situation it is.
Only with full accountability can we develop workable and mutually beneficial solutions. Which are more than possible - they are at the leading edge of demand and on the precipice of necessity.
Ultimately, the fossil fuel industry must come out of the dark ages and embrace a more honest and cooperative manner of conducting their operations.
Part of that involves repealing exemptions that allow and encourage them to operate like a lawless regime, putting human health and safety as well as the environment at frequent and serious risk.
For over a year, at www.journeyoftheforsaken.com, I've been documenting EnCana's aggressive and irresponsible development of 60 natural gas wells around our home and the infamous area of the 2004 West Divide Creek natural gas blowout.
DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY! Go to http://www.journeyoftheforsaken.com/ for more remarkable stories from Garfield County, CO. Credit goes to Lisa Bracken who maintains this website.
TOXIC CHEMICALS RELEASED DURING OIL & GAS OPERATIONS
Arsenic Chronic arsenic exposure can cause damage to blood vessels, a sensation of "pins and needles" in hands and feet, darkening and thickening of the skin, and skin redness. It is a known human carcinogen, and can cause cancer of skin, lungs, bladder, liver, kidney and prostate. Hydrogen Sulfide Hydrogen sulfide has been linked to irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, difficulty in breathing, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Low-level exposure might also lead to poor attention span, poor memory, and impaired motor function. Short-term exposure at high concentrations can lead to loss of consciousness and death.
Mercury Mercury can permanently damage the brain, kidneys, and developing fetus and may result in tremors, changes in vision or hearing, and memory problems. Even in low doses, mercury may affect an infant's development, delaying walking and talking, shortening attention span and causing learning disabilities. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Several of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that can be found in crude oil have caused tumors in laboratory animals and are considered possible or probable human carcinogens. Studies of people have found that individuals exposed for long periods to mixtures that contain PAHs can also develop cancer. In addition, animal tests have found reproductive problems and birth defects. Volatile Organic Compounds
Acetone Acetone can cause nose, throat, lung, and eye irritation; headaches; light-headedness; and confusion. In animals it has been linked to kidney, liver, and nerve damage, and increased birth defects. Benzene Benzene is a known human carcinogen and causes leukemia.
Ethylbenzene Ethylbenzene can cause dizziness, throat and eye irritation, respiratory problems, fatigue and headaches. It has been linked to tumors and birth defects in animals, as well as to damage in the nervous system, livers and kidneys. Toluene Toluene can cause fatigue, confusion, weakness, memory loss, nausea, hearing loss, central nervous system damage, and may cause kidney damage. It is also known to cause birth defects and reproductive harm.
Xylene Xylenecan cause headaches, dizziness, confusion, balance changes, irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat, breathing difficulty, memory difficulties, stomach discomfort, and possibly changes in the liver and kidneys. Radioactive Substances Radium Radium is a known human carcinogen, causing bone, liver, and breast cancer.
Radon Radon can cause an increased incidence of lung diseases such as emphysema, as well as lung cancer.
Why don’t we hear even more stories about illnesses related to oil and gas operations? Oil and gas companies may claim there is a lack of data proving that industry pollution is a cause of illness. While more research needs to be conducted, important information is available. There are now more wells than ever before, and more of them near where people live. Chemical poisoning is notorious for resulting in nonspecific signs or symptoms that resemble other common diseases, immediate symptoms might be nonexistent or mild despite the risk of long-term severe health effects, and physicians may not recognize the connection between illness and the oil and gas operations.
In a 2004 program sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two medical toxicologists from the National Center for Environmental Health discussed the challenges of recognizing illness stemming from chemical exposure, including: • Chemicals do not always cause acute and obvious health effects. Immediate symptoms of chemical exposures might be nonexistent or mild despite the risk for long-term effects. Because of this lag time, it may be difficult for us to recognize the exposure source leading to the illness. • Another obstacle that could lead to difficulty in recognition might be exposure to multiple chemical agents. • Chemical poisoning is notorious for resulting in nonspecific signs or symptoms that resemble other common diseases.
Physicians might be less familiar with recognition and treatment of illness related to chemical agents simply because illness from most chemicals is just not that common or at least not recognized as often as it occurs. In addition, some individuals choose not to share their stories, especially in communities with local economies dependent on the oil and gas industry. Others move away, sometimes with their homes purchased by energy companies and with signed agreements that prohibit them from telling their stories. And still others have given up on trying to call attention to this matter. One man recently stated at a public meeting, “…if few people are complaining about drilling these days, it's because they've given up after being ignored for so long.”
The above information was presented in October 2007 by Amy Mall of the NRDC. She spoke before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Henry Waxman. You can read Ms. Mall's remarks in their entirety here.
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act was enacted in 1986 to establish a process for informing people of chemical hazards in their communities. Companies are required to report the locations and quantities of certain chemicals stored, released, or transferred. Some of this information is made available to the public in an annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). Congress originally specified which industries were required to report to the TRI, but gave the EPA the authority to add or delete industries. The EPA was also given discretion to require reporting from any facility, based on criteria including the toxicity of the chemicals involved, proximity to other facilities that release a toxic chemical or to population centers, and the history of releases at the facility. While petroleum bulk stations, terminals, refining and related industries are required to report to the TRI, oil and gas exploration and production are not.
This information is part of testimony presented by Amy Mall, Natural Resources Defense Council, on the applicability of federal requirements that protect public health and the environment to oil and gas development. Ms. Mall appeared before the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Henry Waxman, on October 31, 2007. On that day, the NRDC released a report entitled, “Drilling Down: Protecting Western Communities from the Health and Environmental Effects of Oil and Gas Production." This report discusses hazardous materials that can enter the environment during oil and gas exploration and production, the loopholes in federal laws that allow industry to legally release these contaminants into the human environment, and the technologies readily available to control pollution and minimize toxic waste in order to reduce any impacts to human health.
Summary: The oil and gas industry has expanded rapidly during the last decade in the United States, particularly in the Rocky Mountain region, and predictions call for that trend to continue. Oil and gas production is a dirty process; many of the steps involved can be sources of dangerous pollution that can have serious impacts on the region’s air, water, and land—and on people’s health. Despite the number of dangerous materials involved in oil and gas production—and the frequent proximity of these operations to residences and other community resources—the oil and gas industry enjoys numerous exemptions from provisions of federal laws intended to protect human health and the environment.
10. Creates jobs for road repair crews, EMTs, lawyers, nurses, physicians, marriage counselors, firefighters, law enforcement officers, & meth dealers & has added bonus of providing extra income for corrupt politicians
9. Drilling noise easily drowns out next-door neighbor's kid's garage band
8. Devastated landscape, loss of green space, & clouds of killer smog mean less hiking & biking & LOTS more time for TV
7. Eliminates hours of tedious trout fishing by "pre-killing" your catch
6. Flammable tap water livens up any party
5. Putting off the inevitable switch to renewable energy sources is the American way
4. Fulfills your California-dreamin' fantasies by bringing earthquakes to YOUR home town
3. Makes slow & boring process of disintegration of the American community a lot more exciting by actively setting neighbor against neighbor
2. Provides important object lesson on why you should read a gas lease BEFORE you sign it
1. Helps the kids learn that money is more important than anything else
At a recent meeting held at Broome Community College (NY), several speakers gave their testimony about the effects of gas drilling on public health and family economic stability. This video is about 18 minutes. There are a few introductory remarks prior to Mr. Williams' and Ms. Mingins' talks. Glenn Williams, Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coaltion (BRSC)
Mr. Williams isaffiliatedwith the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition(BRSC). His story is an eyeopener. Hetells of discovering that the DEC has not ever collected data about problems with gas drilling. Therefore people can say there is no evidence of any problems with gas drilling. He tells of the 300 chemicals in fracking fluid, 65 of which have been identified as carcinogenic or causing endocrine disruption. He reports that Lebanon, NY, which has 55 wells drilled, ran up a bill of $300,000 for road repair due to heavy traffic from gas drillers and were compensated only $12,000 by the gas drillers. He says a landowner will be taxed 42% on profits (federal and state) and possibly face law suits from neighbors for damages done to adjacent properties. He questions how much money can actually be made by landowners.He explains how a company like Chesapeake Appalachia, a limited liability corporation, can just walk away from any harm they have done and declare bankruptcy while the larger corporation, Chesapeake Energy cannot be held responsible. He believes firmly that gas companies must pay for well testing before, during, and after drilling, pay for replacement loss of home values, and replace the water they take from aquifers. Candace Mingins, farmer, Van Etten, NY
Ms. Mingins lives with her husband and three children on their family farm in Van Etten near Ithaca, NY. They have an orchard which is in its 34th garden year. A well was drilled on their property in 2006 on the Trenton Black River formation. In 2008, she helped organize Shaleshock Citizens Action Coalition. Listen to Candace as she tells what it is like to deal with a multi-national gas corporation. Hear what it is really like to sign a lease and then have to live with the consequences. It will shock you.
Pennsylvanian Ron Gulla has farmed since he was ten years old. He worked his way through college to get a degree in business administration. He and his wife Laurel have raised two children on their 118-acre farm, where they have had first-hand experience with a well on their property.
Five-term supervisor of the Town of Caroline, Don Barber grew up on a dairy farm in Danby and still lives on a small farm with his family. He chairs the Tompkins County Council of Governments and also owns a successful residential construction company.
Natural Gas Drilling and Local Government Responsibility To Protect the Health, Safety, and Well Being of its Citizens
by Don Barber
In general local governments need to find ways to insert themselves into a process that the State has written us out of.
Potential action steps:
1. Develop overweight vehicle permits and driveway permits to protect your roads and create direct contact/negotiations with the drilling firm.
2. Identify and legislate critical environmental areas (CEA) within your municipality. DEC must then perform site specific SEQR review for permit applications which affect these CEA’s
3. Contact every State Legislator, Governor Paterson and his Deputy Secretary for the Environment, and the DEC Commissioner that we need:
• Notification of permit applications and permits issued; • Emergency Services need contact info, hazardous material info, gas fire training; • Fuel production tax or Severance tax to create proper revenues to local governments - tax revenue to support DEC oversight program
4. Contact State Legislators requesting that ECL Section 23-0303 be amended so that local governments become involved agencies for SEQR review. And to support S8748 Natural Gas Drilling Prohibition Near Watershed
5. Contact your Congressperson and US Senator to support HR 2766 Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act of 2009.
Don Barber- Chair Tompkins County Council of Governments, Supervisor Town of Caroline, supervisor at townofcaroline.org
Autumn tells her story. She is a landowner with an active well on her property. She lives in the town of Van Etten, NY, northeast of Elmira, population 1,518. The town has an area of 42 square miles. The median income for a household is $32,011, and about 12.5% of the population lives below the poverty line
In 1999, Autumn's parents signed a gas lease with Fortuna. A well was drilled in 2005. Autumn describes her town as a poor, rural area, and she believes, based on her personal experience, that the state, town, and county governments are grossly unprepared for what lies ahead. As for the people she knows, she says,
....almost every single person, if they felt that there was a choice between royalty payments and their water, they would choose their water.
Her message to the Department of Energy Conservation (DEC)is:
You are way in over your head.
Autumn believes that "We need to find alternative renewable sources of energy" if we are to survive on this planet. She laments the fact that neighbors who have lived side-by-side for years are no longer talking to each other. The need for money and fear for the future drive many friends to isolated lives. More community building is desperately needed to face the gas industry and the problems it brings everywhere it goes.
The effects of natural gas drilling can have both indirect effects leading to population declines and direct mortality in wildlife. So claim the Colorado Division of Wildlife officials in an article published in the Valley-Journal last December (2008). Click here to read the original piece. John Broderick, DOW senior terrestrial bioloigist said,
...if and when intensive drilling comes to the Thompson Creek area where several gas leases have been sold, the impacts will be unmistakable.
Waterfowl suffer the greatest direct mortality rate. Ducks land in reserve pits or production pits and are coated with oily substances. Sometimes these birds can be cleaned by hand and saved. However, usually they die of respiratory failure, according to Broderick. Elk calves and deer also get into these pits to drink. But unless the animals keel over and die right in or near a pit, it is difficult to establish the cause of death in animals.
The less obvious effects of gas drilling on animal populations is more significant. The drilling and road construction that goes along with it disturb animal habitat and fragment the areas where animals live and breed. In the long term, this results in significant population declines. Raptors- hawks, owls, and eagles- are particularly vulnerable to this stress. Raptor pairs will often not mate, or they abandon eggs or even their young.
Roads are a big factor, too. They cut through unbroken habitat and expose ground areas which provided cover for the animals. This interferes with the temperature and with shelter from wind and cold. The animals, such as deer and elk, are left with less hiding cover. Roads and gravel well platforms increase runoff. Less water goes into the soil, and toxic chemicals end up in nearby streams. Roads upset the native vegetation, allowing weeds to establish themselves, thus reducing the forage for the animals. People, who would never have had access to pristine forest areas, now have easy ways to drive around. Roadkill is on the rise. With this problem of humans entering the animal habitat, poaching and other illegal activities become more common.
It is hard to come up with scientific evidence that will hold up when confronting regulatory agencies. However, Colorado officials concerned about these issues are looking to Wyoming for data. Scientists in Wyoming have discovered that, while one well per square mile may have minimal effects on mule deer populations, multiply that by 16 wells per square mile, and the detrimental effects can be measured more convincingly.
Fish can also be affected. In the Colorado River, cutthroat trout are common. Trout streams can become inhospitable to fish when sediment gets into the water, sinks to the bottom, and fills in the spaces between gravel stones. These areas provide habitat for aquatic insects which the trout love to eat. Sediment from drilling operations buries and smothers the insect larvae which normally develop and grow among the stones. Spawning is also affected. Trout lay their eggs in hallowed out places in the gravel. When the eggs are fertilized, the female sweeps the eggs into the spaces between the stones where they remain until hatched. After the baby trout are hatched, they stay in the gravel until they are old enough to feed. Ken Neubecker, president of Trout Unlimited, said,
If sediment coats the stream bottom during this time, the brood will be smothered.
Spills are another threat to fish. There are a number of ways in which industrial materials or toxic chemicals can end up where they shouldn't be. Spills from tanker trucks and leakage from holding ponds are common. Depending on where the spills originate, they can contain hydrocarbon chemicals, bentonite, and other harmful substances. Neubecker describes the result:
You get a bunch of that in a stream and it would be like lining a pond with concrete.
Some toxic hydrocarbon substances would be even worse, especially in smaller streams with low water.
It'll sterilize a stream for a long distance. A small stream would take a lifetime to recover.
Some gas leases in the Thompson Creek area in Colorado have stipulations that no roads or well pads can be placed within 350 feet of streams. While that may seem like a good thing, the gas companies can and do ask for waivers. The Bureau of Land Management often allows the gas industry to skip the restriction. Enforcement is also problematic. If a spill is reported, if it is not investigated in a timely way, the volatile chemicals evaporate before any testing is done.
Since human beings are equipped with abilities that presumably far exceed those of other animals, it behooves us to use care when extracting natural gas from the shale beneath us and to proceed in a manner that does not hurt wildlife and the habitat they depend on for their existence.