Monday, September 13, 2010

Natural Gas Drilling: Think, baby, think!

Water guzzler trucks line up at a water extraction site in Ulster, PA, on the Susquehanna River
Photo: Carol Manuel (2010)
The numbers can be deceiving. That is what the gas companies are counting on. They make a habit of using rhetoric for their own purposes. Words can be misleading. Take, for example, the idea of water trucks stealing taking 3,570,000 gallons of water out of rivers and streams in Susquehanna County, PA. Cabot Oil recently filed a request with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, indicating their intention of procuring this volume of water for what is called "consumptive use." This means that the water is never returned to the environment- gone forever. The average person, like you and me, would have a hard time visualizing just what this means for the surrounding community.  Gerald Salmon, a resident of Vestal, NY, writes on
Hard for you to picture what 3.6 million gallons looks like? An 18-wheeled Hess tanker truck delivering gasoline to a station on the Vestal Parkway holds about 9,000 gallons of gas; 10 trucks would hold 90,000 gallons of gas, and 100 of them would hold 900,000 gallons. So, it would take 400 such trucks to hold the 3.6 million gallons of water Cabot wants to use each day.
And Salmon goes on from there, developing the picture further, painting the image of almost 5 miles of trucks end to end. Next he puts the "only one-half of 1 percent additive," proudly proclaimed by the "good neighbor" gas companies as an advantage, into perspective. Gas driller public relations people will stand in front of local citizen groups and say that the amount of deadly, toxic chemicals used in the drilling process is so minimal as to not be significant. Salmon does the math for us: two full tankers filled with 18,000 gallons of a "witch's brew of toxins, chemicals, and carcinogens guaranteed to poison its associated drilling water forever. That's the one-half of one percent we're talking about. Unless laws are changed, these chemicals do not have to be made known to the public. It is proprietary- a company secret.

Read the article in full here.

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