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Gas drilling a threat to drinking water due to toxic natural gas and oil drilling chemicals
A new report by Environmental Working Group,"Drilling Around the Law," finds that companies drilling for natural gas and oil are evading federal law and infusing toxic chemicals into thousands of wells, threatening drinking water supplies from New York to Pennyslvania to Wyoming.
The Washington-based EWG claims that Federal and state regulators largely look the other way when such a scenario takes place.
These chemicals reportedly include kerosene and a number of other petroleum products that often contain high levels of benzene, a known human carcinogen that is toxic in water at even minuscule levels.
Oil and gas drillers inject these potentially harmful substances deep into the earth under extremely high pressure in a process called hydraulic fracturing that energy companies use to extract natural gas and oil from underground formations. The process, known as “fracking,” fractures the rock to allow additional gas and oil to flow to the surface. Fracking is currently used in 90 percent of the nation’s natural gas and oil wells.
The mammoth fracking process entails pumping millions of gallons of water at extremely high pressure to break up rocks and pry out natural gas that is locked away in the deep shale deposit. Many environmentalists contend such fracturing operations pose a risk to groundwater sources, which may be contaminated by methane, a highly flammable gas, or by the fracking chemicals used to facilitate the extraction process.
In fact, families living near gas drilling facilities in Wyoming, Ohio, Texas and Osgood’s home in the state of Pennsylvania have already complained that their well water has turned cloudy, or even black in color, and is foul-smelling.
“There’s a rush on to exploit favorable market conditions for natural gas,” observed Lem Srolovic, an attorney in the Environmental unit. “Unfortunately, gas companies and their well service providers appear all too often willing to place communities and the environment at risk. But those companies must conform to a standard of reasonable care for the communities in which they operate. Where gas extraction injures health or damages property, they should be held accountable,” Mr. Srolovic stated.
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