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SENTRY JOURNAL » Uncategorized » The EPA, North Dakota, and “Fracking”

The EPA, North Dakota, and “Fracking”

Lately I’ve seen a number of great posts on how the EPA is now turning their attention to a technique oil and natural gas companies use to gain access to vital energy resources called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.”  A few years back North Dakota was a state that was struggling to keep young families here.  The winters are tough and long and most of the jobs back then were lower paying agricultural related  jobs.  Then came the Bakken Oil field and everything  changed.  The Bakken oil field stretches from Canada down through North Dakota and it’s estimated that it could hold 3.6 billions barrels of recoverable oil. This makes the find the largest in U.S. History since the discovery of the oil fields in Alaska.  To put this in perspective of just how large this find is, many geologist believe that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in  Alaska could hold up to 10 billion barrels of oil.  So as you can see this is huge not only for North Dakota, but also for America.  This field will play a vital role in helping the United States become energy independent and in meeting out future energy needs for decades to come.

North Dakota has now become an energy beacon for the nation and eyes are starting to turn our way.  This includes the eyes of the EPA. and like a bloodhound they have locked in on the scent of our prosperity and now want to conduct a study on “fracking’ and the impact it may have on underground sources of drinking water (USDW).  What is happening in Texas is now finding its way to North Dakota.  The EPA wants this new study even though a 2004 EPA study on the injection of hydraulic fracturing fluids into coalbed methane production wells concluded that this drilling technique poses little or no threat to USDWs.

The follow results we noted in the EPA report:

• The agency concluded that the injection of hydraulic fracturing fluids poses little or no threat to USDWs.
• EPA found no confirmed cases linked to fracturing fluid injection or subsequent underground movement
of fracturing fluids.
• EPA found that no hazardous constituents were used in fracturing fluids, and hydraulic fracturing did
not result in creating a path for fluids to move between isolated formations.
• Reported incidents of water quality the degradation were attributed to other, more plausible causes.
• Although thousands of wells are fractured annually, EPA did not find a single incident of the contamination
of drinking water wells by hydraulic fracturing fluid injection.

Sounds pretty cut an dry to me.  Hydraulic fracturing poses little or no threat to our underground sources of water supplies and yet on March 18th 2010 with the approval of a Democratically controlled congress, EPA launched a new study to determine what health effects, if any, fracking may cause.

Say Anything.Blog ran an excellent piece on this story a week ago.  You can read the entire story here>>

It appears on the surface this new study is politically motivated and has very little to do with science.  The fact is the EPA has shifted dramatically left towards environmental groups that seek to shut down the oil and coal industry in our nation.  We have witnessed this with their actions in Texas and with their desire to regulate CO2 with a cap and trade policy.  The EPA has become the federal hammer for many of the environmental groups that seek to implement a green agenda.  So what can be done about this?

North Dakota state legislator Representative Jim Kasper has introduced a bill that would seek to protect the state from job killing EPA regulations by declaring that any EPA rule, or even any EPA inspection in the state, would need to be approved by state officials.   HB 1287 introduced by Representative Kasper states;

Rules adopted by the environmental protection agency are null and void and of no force and effect in this state without the approval of the state agency with subject matter jurisdiction in the area governed by the rule. The environmental protection agency may not conduct visitations or inspections in this state without the prior approval and permission of the state agency with subject matter jurisdiction of the subject matter of the visitation or inspection.

This is a step in the right direction.  Any state willing to stand up for its people and its industries is a state that gets it.  More states need to follow North Dakota’s lead and start exercising their 10th amendment muscles again.  This is about federalism and our constitution.  Environmental issues should be managed by the states because the states are in a better position to address the needs and concerns of their citizens.  It’s really that simple.  The sooner we embrace this basic environmental philosophy, the better off we will be as a nation and people.

Jim over at Conservatives on Fire posted a great article titled “Has the EPA Become Just Another Environmental Activist Group?”  I encourage you to check it out.

Liberty forever, freedom for all!


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  • Country Thinker February 18, 2011 at 3:48 AM

    Random 4:45 AM thoughts…

    I just signed off on approval for my neighbor to put in anatural gas well. Of course I want her to drill on her property if she wants to – drill, baby, drill!

    If passed, I would like to see ND stand up and enforce HB 1287. Good luck. Not saying I think it’s wrong, per se, but it seems like risky showmanship. Give Obama the chance to make his regulatory hellhounds the chance to look like reasonable, law-abiding agents, and opponents like renegades, and he will do it.

    Nixon gave us the EPA. Thanks, GOP!

    • John Carey February 18, 2011 at 6:03 PM

      I believe they will enforce it. The state is making a great deal of money off the oil companies and they are not ready to give that up.
      John Carey recently posted..Mr Jackson Goes to WisconsinMy Profile

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  • Steve Dennis February 18, 2011 at 5:14 AM

    Does it sound like Kasper’s bill has any chance? I would love to find out how this turns out. You are right about the 10th amendment; it provides us with a powerful tool to stop the overreaching federal government and I hope that states start to use it more and more as Obama continues his assault on the constitution.
    Steve Dennis recently posted..Republicans to introduce legislation which would stop the EPA from implementing cap and tradeMy Profile

    • John Carey February 18, 2011 at 6:46 PM

      Most definitely Steve. The money flowing to the state from these oil companies is too much not to be protected. I think it will pass. No matter what the reason, moves like this make me smile.

  • Jim Gourdie February 18, 2011 at 8:18 AM

    Good for North Dakota! It’s more than time for the states to start to fight back.

    I’m not a petroleum engineer but I am a metallurgical engineer who specialized in minerals benefaction. I spent over 30 years in the mining industry so I do know something about drilling through the water table when there is potential for contamination. Maybe I can help people understand why the risk of contamination is very small by describing how we avoided contamination of groundwater in my day.

    We would start by drilling a pilot hole completely through the water table. Just like a water well. We would then drill a number of smaller holes all around the pilot hole. Into these smaller holes we would pump grout under very high pressure. The grout would be forced into all the cracks and cervices’s and solidify. We then pump the water out of the pilot hole. If water continued to enter the pilot hole we would drill more grout holes and pump more grout. this process continued until no more water entered the pilot hole. We then knew that we could continue the pilot hole into the lower strata with no worries about contaminating the ground water. I’m sure the gas drilling companies are doing something like what I described. The EPA is looking for problems where no problems exist.
    Jim Gourdie recently posted..¡No Hay Luz!My Profile

    • John Carey February 18, 2011 at 6:50 PM

      I believe these gas and oil companies are getting a blamed for something that can happen by natural means. It’s not a good business move to contaminate water supplies. You’re just asking for more regulation, something the oil and gas companies do not want. I’m sure they take great care when drilling.

  • Bunkerville February 18, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    I wish the same for Pennsylvania. The rural areas here as well are suffering from the lack of good jobs.
    Bunkerville recently posted..Vote Tally Count -’czars’ overthow’ House VoteMy Profile

    • John Carey February 18, 2011 at 6:52 PM

      I know PA has large area of natural gas. My brother has signed up for this in that northeastern part of the state. On a side not Bunker. Whenever I leave a comment on your site I think it gets kicked to the spam folder. I never see it.

  • Reaganite Republican February 18, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    What about Soros being behind the “Gasland” movie… a thinly-veiled hit piece designed to shut down development of this gargantuan domestic energy source.

    And once again we have the Left distributing spoils to their financial backers and propagandists (Soros, GE) dressed-up as “green investments”- and working against this country’s actual long term interests.

    Do you see the Chinese screwing around with windmills? Or buying/controlling every oil well they can find on the planet…?
    Reaganite Republican recently posted..Killer Shell Commercial Starring FerrariMy Profile

    • John Carey February 18, 2011 at 7:18 PM

      That movie is nothing but lies. I did some research on it and it was unreal just how much they misrepresented the facts RR. I do know the Chinese are buying up a number of energy resource sites throughout the world. Who ever controls the these resources sets the tone of the energy conversation. We had better wake up when it comes to China.

  • Martin February 18, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    Reading your excellent article reminds me of something my mom always says. “Don’t confuse the issues with the facts.”
    Martin recently posted..The Ladies of Boston Stage a Coffee PartyMy Profile

  • Amanda Martin February 27, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    Oh, poor oil companies get blamed for everything-hahaha and they laugh all the way to the bank. They are why we need more and more regulation. Say what you want about Gasland. There is much documentation about those poor people in Pa getting sick and gas coming out of their water pipes–I don’t think anyone can make that up. I guess if you want to rape a state North Dakota at least has fewer residents to hurt. This is all about money and greed–sorry it has to devastate others lives and suck politicians and local people in on the promise of jobs.

  • Laura Stramer March 6, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    The EPA study completed in 2004 was originally court ordered in 1989 following the Atlanta 11th circuit court’s finding that an Alabama fracking operation contaminated residential drinking water. The study was not actually undertaken until 1997. Then in 2001 Dick Cheney convened his energy commission which was heavily weighted with Haliburton representation and as a result of the committee’s influence congress pre-emptively (prior to completion of the EPA study) exempted the fracking process from the Safe Water Drinking Act. (Haliburton is the company that patented hydraulic fracturing fluid and is one of the three main producers of fracking fluid so I think you can recognize the conflict of interest at work there.) Following completion of the study in 2004 an EPA whistleblower (Weston Wilson) alleged that parts of the report citing safety issues with the fracking process had been removed from the study. The 2004 study was reviewed and found to have indeed been mishandled and highly suspect in its conclusions. I love my home state of North Dakota and while I want its people to thrive and have the economic benefits of industry, I grieve to see its people hoodwinked by the energy industry in this moment of import to the current and future residents of the state. The EPA is trying to fulfill its duty to act in the best interest of the people by protecting the environment. Their aim in not to stop development or destroy business but to protect our health and our precious water supply. There are other methods of fracking (currently being used in Canada) that do not require the colossal amounts of water being used in the fracturing process used in the U.S. and which appear to have a better recovery rate of the fluids used for the extraction process. Let the EPA do the new study. Get all the facts you can. Inform yourselves and don’t approach this important issue from purely political motivation. Remember reality has no political affiliation and pollution does not target a particular political party. I just received this link to a video that shows some serious indications of resultant health problems related to fracking operations in Williams County, ND. Please watch it and see what you think. Thanks.

    • Laura Stramer March 6, 2011 at 4:39 PM

      correction to my above timeline: the original residential well contamination was in 1989. The study was ordered in 1997, and begun in 2000.