International news about fracking


from the international news stream

USA Today – 10 September 2014:
People near ‘fracking’ wells report health woes
By Wendy Koch

Nova Scotia prohibits fracking

There will be no fracking in Nova Scotia. Energy Minister Andrew Younger announced on 3 September 2014 that the Liberal government plans to introduce legislation in the fall prohibiting hydraulic fracturing in shale oil and gas projects in the province.
In the press conference, Energy Minister Andrew Younger announced that “Nova Scotians are not comfortable with fracking,” leading the province to introduce legislation as soon as this fall that would prohibit onshore hydraulic fracturing for shale oil and gas.
This decision would transform the province’s existing two-year moratorium on fracking into a longer term prohibition of the fossil fuel extraction process.

» Watch video:

» More information and links on:

USA: 243 cases of water contamination

For the first time, Pennsylvania has made public 243 cases of contamination of private drinking wells from oil and gas drilling operations.

» Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection:
Regional Determination Letters (PDF)

» The Wall Street Journal – 28 August 2014:
Online list IDs water wells harmed by drilling

» ClimateProgress – 29 August 2014:
Pennsylvania Finally Reveals Fracking Has Contaminated Drinking Water Hundreds Of Times

Northern Ireland’s Environment Minister rejects fracking test site in Belcoo

» Belfast Telegraph – 11 August 2014:
Fracking: Environment Minister Mark H Durkan rejects Tamboran proposals for exploratory drilling in Co Fermanagh
The Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has rejected proposals for exploratory drilling in Co Fermanagh to test for shale gas. Australian firm Tamboran had applied for permission to drill a 750m hole at a quarry in Belcoo.

Mother Jones – 15 August 2014:
Why the scientific case against fracking keeps getting stronger
The scientific argument against fracking and unconventional gas drilling involves not simply groundwater contamination, but also at least two other major problems: earthquake generation and the accidental emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.


“As the U.S. fracking boom continues to expand, tapping vast deposits of previously unreachable oil and natural gas, scientists, regulators and even the industry itself still do not know much about fracking’s impact on human health or the environment. Study after study has highlighted the lack of toxicity information available on fracking fluid—the mix of chemicals, water and sand injected deep into the ground to fracture oil- and gas-trapping rock.

Now a new study, presented Wednesday at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society, says that out of 190 commonly used compounds, hardly any toxicity information is available for a whopping one-third of them. In addition, another eight fracking fluid compounds, the researchers found, are proved to be toxic to mammals.”

Newsweek – 13 August 2014:
There’s Still a Lot We Don’t Know About Fracking Chemicals
Article by Zoë Schlanger

Gas causes more climate damage than coal and oil

Dr. Robert Howarth: Replacing coal and oil with natural gas will not help fight global warming

“Both shale gas and conventional natural gas have a larger greenhouse gas footprint than do coal or oil, especially for the primary uses of residential and commercial heating.

Dr. Robert Howarth, a professor of ecology and environmental biology, came to this conclusion after assessing the best available data and analyzing greenhouse gas footprints for both methane (including shale gas and conventional gas) and carbon dioxide over a timescale of 20-years following emissions. The findings are published in Energy Science & Engineering.

“While emissions of carbon dioxide are less from natural gas than from coal and oil, methane emissions are far greater. Methane is such a potent greenhouse gas that these emissions make natural gas a dangerous fuel from the standpoint of global warming over the next several decades,” said Dr. Howarth.

“Society should wean ourselves from all fossil fuels and not rely on the myth that natural gas is an acceptable bridge fuel to a sustainable future.” ”

» Open or download the report:

» Wiley’s Global Research – 21 July 2014:
Replacing Coal and Oil with Natural Gas Will Not Help Fight Global Warming


600 page report about fracking risks

German reportIn Germany, the Federal Environment Agency released a 600+ page report giving a detailed outline of the many risks involved in fracking. This research led its president Maria Krautzberger to this conclusion (translated from German):

“Fracking is and remains a risky technology and therefore requires considerable limits to protect the environment and health. As long as the significant risks involved in this technology cannot yet be predicted with certainty and controlled, there should be no fracking in Germany to extract shale gas and coalbed methane.”

» Download the report from: (PDF)

Food & Water Watch Europe – 6 August 2014:
Germany’s Environment Agency Calls for an End to Fracking


Report on social, health and environmental costs of fracking

BlackoutReport_Fracking-COVER“Pennsylvania has been a hot spot for fracking—and many consequences of this from of gas drilling in the state have come to light, from social to health to environmental costs, as well as controversies, including contaminated drinking water in the town of Dimock, gag orders on doctors and victims, and the state health department’s enforced silence on the practice.

While that sounds ominous enough, a new report released by Earthworks, after a year in the making, proves that the rush to drill undermines the protection of Pennsylvanians and the enforcement of regulations. ‘Blackout in the Gas Patch: How Pennsylvania Residents are Left in the Dark on Health and Enforcement’ for the first time definitively connects health and environmental impacts of fracking with a lack of state oversight on a site-by-site basis.”

Nadia Steinzor: ‘Blackout in the Gas Patch: How Pennsylvania Residents are Left in the Dark on Health and Enforcement’
Published on 7 August 2014

» Download the publication: (PDF)

» Read more about the publication:

» Article in Ecowatch on 7 August 2014:
‘Unprecedented Investigation Finds PA Prioritizes Fracking at Expense of Health, Environment & Law’

“Our analyses revealed levels of heavy metals above the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Maximum Contaminant Limit (MCL) for drinking water in private water well samples collected near natural gas extraction sites. Most notably, 29 of the 91 samples collected within five kilometres of an active natural gas extraction site had arsenic concentrations above the MCL of ten parts per billion (ppb), with a maximum concentration of 161 ppb.

The maximum concentration discovered in one well was nearly 18 times greater than both the maximum concentration sampled from private water well samples located more than 14 kilometres from any active gas wells and the maximum concentration sampled from historical data collected in the Barnett Shale prior to the expansion of unconventional extraction activities”

» New perspectives on the effects of natural gas extraction on groundwater quality

“The world energy situation is much worse than you have been, and are being, led to believe.”
~ Raúl Ilargi Meijer: ‘Debt and Energy, Shale and the Arctic’

The Telegraph – 4 August 2014:
Shale Gas: ‘The Dotcom Bubble Of Our Times’
Money broker Morgan focuses on Britain and its ill-fated shale dreams

Grist – 24 July 2014:
Drilling in Pennsylvania has damaged the water supply 209 times in last seven years
“So many oil and natural gas wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania in the past seven years that 209 problem wells is a mere 1 percent of the total.” Article by Heather Smith

ProPublica – 18 July 2014:
California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning it May Be Contaminating Aquifers
State’s drought has forced farmers to rely on groundwater, even as California aquifers have been intentionally polluted due to exemptions for oil industry. Article by Abrahm Lustgarten


German ban on fracking: seven years moratorium

On 4 July, the German environment minister, Barbara Hendricks, announced that the German government will soon present a seven-year total ban on fracking down to three kilometres depth.

“There will be no fracking in Germany in the foreseeable future (…). The protection of drinking water and health is of most value to us,” she said at the presentation.

Similar bans in Europe has been given in Spain, Bulgaria and France.

» See on

New York Times – 30 June 2014:
New York Towns Can Prohibit Fracking, State’s Top Court Rules
In a decision with far-reaching implications for the future of natural gas drilling in New York State, its highest court ruled on Monday that towns can use zoning ordinances to ban hydraulic fracturing, the controversial extraction method known as fracking.

Fracking-sand dust danger

“Overnight, a truck carrying sand used for drilling wells had dumped some of its load. The fracking sand — so powdery it seemed scooped from an exclusive beach — stretched for about 100 yards on roads outside homes and the Gardendale Qwik Stop, the colonia’s lone store. In 2012, federal health officials issued an alert about the health hazards workers faced from exposure to fracking-sand dust. Breathing so-called silica dust can cause silicosis, a lung disease.

No one was sure if the sand had been left by accident or on purpose, but people suspected that the driver of an overweight truck had lightened his load. They are unlikely to find out. Gardendale has no mayor, no police department, and only a handful of tilting signs and streetlights. It is often used as an illegal dumping ground.”

» See 30 sec video clip in New York Times – 29 June 2014:
Boom Meets Bust in Texas: Atop Sea of Oil, Poverty Digs In

“Despite its oil and gas boom, Texas has some of the highest rates of poverty in the American nation and ranks first in the percentage of residents without health insurance.
The boom has both given and taken away. School officials bought 1,300 iPads, one for every student in the district. And there are jobs — well paid in the oil fields for some, marginal in fast food joints and cheap motels for others.

But oil and gas have brought a new set of problems, including environmental concerns. During the peak ozone season in 2012, Eagle Ford operations in La Salle County daily emitted 12.8 tons of nitrogen oxides and 28 tons of volatile organic compounds — pollutants that produce smog and can cause health problems — according to a report prepared by the Alamo Area Council of Governments.

There have been 11 motor vehicle fatalities in La Salle County this year, up from two in 2007, which officials blame in part on a population boom and increased traffic from the oil and gas activity. Rents have skyrocketed. Newly hired teachers had such a hard time finding housing they could afford that the Cotulla school district opened its own trailer park for them.”

Excerpt of an article in the series ‘Caught in Poverty’ which examines American hardship 50 years after the war on poverty.


» Read the article on:


“I don’t foresee a day when there will be technology that will allow safe exploitation (of shale gas).”
Martine Ouellet, Quebec’s new natural-resources minister, Canada

“We want a complete moratorium, not only on exploitation but also on exploration of shale gas,” said Martine Ouellet while on her way into her first cabinet meeting, less than 24 hours after she was named to cabinet.

» Read more:

Paul McCartney speaks up against fracking
Paul McCartney is spearheading a new green-oriented campaign intended to convince high officials in the United Kingdom to reconsider their plans concerning shale gas exploration. More precisely, it appears that the former Beatle, together with 150 other celebrities, scientists, and environmental groups, is now asking that a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing be implemented in the United Kingdom without delay.

» Read more:

» Paul Mccartney And Yoko Ono Join Forces To Fight Fracking:

Fracking sucks investment from renewable energy in the United States
Renewable energy investment contracted 5% in 2013 as investors diverted funding into unconventional gas production.New investments in renewable energy sources in North America last year declined to $US56 billion (from $60 billion the previous year).
By comparison, North American oil and gas companies spent more than three times as much – $US168.2 billion – on exploration and production last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

» Read more:

RT – 10 June 2014:
Colorado residents sue state, governor to enforce local fracking ban
Two residents of Lafayette, Colorado, USA, are suing the state, Gov. John Hickenlooper, and energy trade group Colorado Oil and Gas Association for the enforcement of the city’s fracking ban, which was passed last fall in a city-wide vote.

The class-action lawsuit filed in Boulder County District Court comes in response to a separate suit filed by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) in December 2013 that seeks to negate Lafayette’s ban on new oil and gas extraction in the city. 60 percent of Lafayette voters supported the measure to curb hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in November 2013.

» Read more:

Blackpool Gazette, United Kingdom – 17 May 2014:
Fears over ‘failures’ in fracking wells
Fears over ‘failures’ in fracking wells. Almost one in 10 fracking wells will “fail” and possibly affect water supply, a new study has claimed. The research, commissioned by environmental group Friends of the Earth, concentrated on analysing data from hundreds of thousands of wells across North America, where the process of hydraulic fracturing is already well established. – 7 May 2014:
Beverly Hills just banned fracking
It’s the first California city to outlaw the practice, but it probably won’t be the last.


United Kingdom – 15 April 2014:

Anti-fracking demonstrator chains himself to drilling rig

An anti-fracking protestor has scaled a drilling rig and chained himself to it at a Doncaster area gas plant.

A man, named by protest organisers as Will, climbed the derrick and draped a banner with the words “No Fracking” from its summit. A protest camp has also been established across the road from the site.

Pete Kennedy, campaigner for Frack Free South Yorkshire, said: “Billions of pounds will be spent on building the infrastructure for this dash for dirty gas – which will lock us into another generation of fossil fuel use. This money would be much better spent on leading the clean, green energy revolution that we desperately need.”


Fracking activist wins world’s largest environmental award

Helen Slottje has helped enact fracking bans in 172 communities across New York in the last five years.
She will now receive an $175,000 award, the Goldman Prize, and an unprecedented level of international attention.

“Fracking is a symptom of a much larger problem in our society, an oligarchy, a complete separation of people making decision and those whose lives they affect,” she says.

Helen Slottje, a despised figure among gas industry officials, says she’ll use the prestige and money that comes with the award to raise global awareness of her campaign.

» Read more on:

Large gas leaks

Large gas leaks have been found in Pennsylvanian gas wells using aeroplane flyover research. The methane emissions are surprisingly high considering that all of the wells were still being drilled, had not yet been hydraulically fractured, and were not yet in production.


The United States Environmental Protection Agency has released for external peer review five technical white papers on potentially significant sources of emissions in the oil and gas sector. The white papers focus on technical issues covering emissions and mitigation techniques that target methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).


Radioactive wastes from drilling

One recent USEPA report explains that radioactive wastes from oil and gas drilling form in produced water, drilling mud, sludge, slimes, or evaporation ponds and pits and can also concentrate in the mineral scales that form in pipes (pipe scale), storage tanks, or other extraction equipment.

Radionuclides in these wastes are primarily radium-226, radium-228, and radon gas. The radon is released to the atmosphere, while the produced water and mud containing radium are placed in ponds or pits for evaporation, re-use, or recovery. The report expresses a muted concern for oil and gas workers who are most likely to be exposed to this source of radiation.

» www.epa.govl

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Fracking, health and research from the United States

Review: ‘Environmental Public Health Dimensions of Shale and Tight Gas Development’

“There is evidence that shale and tight gas development is associated with pollution that is known to increase public health risks. Additionally, there is much more that we don’t know. Scientific investigations are hampered by limitations on monitoring, reporting, and disclosure requirements of compounds and processes associated with oil and gas development.”
Seth B. Shonkoff, PhD, MPH, Executive Director, Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy


“Recently, there has been tremendous growth in the environmental sciences and engineering literature on shale and tight gas development. However, the epidemiologic literature on population health impacts resulting from environmental exposure remains in its infancy.”
Jake Hays, MA, Program Director, Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy

Researchers from the scientific organization PSE (Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy), the University of California, Berkeley and Weill Cornell Medical College conducted the first systematic literature review of public health effects and routes of exposure of contaminants associated with shale and tight gas development (i.e., fracking). The research shows that many of the studies reviewed identified associations between the development of shale and tight gas and elevated levels of toxic compounds in the environment.

The review, ‘Environmental Public Health Dimensions of Shale and Tight Gas Development’ was published online in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives on 16 April 2014.

» The review:

» Article about the review:

The Examiner – 18 March 2014:
Fracking threatens human health, the environment and wildlife
The world’s quest for cheaper fuel in the form of natural gas is coming at a much higher price than fossil fuel industry officials want to acknowledge.

BBC News – 13 March 2014:
Fracking ‘could harm wildlife’
Fracking has the potential to devastate wildlife habitats across the UK, says research commissioned by leading wildlife and countryside groups. Article by Claire Marshall, Environment correspondent

The Lancet: about fracking and health

Article in The Lancet, the world’s leading general medical journal, about fracking and health. An excerpt:

“In the USA, where more than 52 000 shale gas wells have been drilled, data suggest that risks of environmental contamination occur at all stages in the development of shale gas extraction. Failure of the structural integrity of the well cement and casing, surface spills and leakage from above-ground storage, emissions from gasprocessing equipment, and the large numbers of heavy transport vehicles involved are the most important factors that contribute to environmental contamination and exposures in the USA.”

» 1 March 2014:

Also in the USA, Physicians Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy is running courses on the health effects of gas mining, sponsored by the Medical Society of the State of New York.

CME Series on the Health Effects of Shale Gas Development:


Seven minutes of debate on British television that is worth watching. It’s time to speak up in public and take responsibility for our children’s future.

Report: Gas companies at risk of running short on water
A new American report on hydraulic fracturing and water use suggests that oil and gas companies are at risk of running short on the precious resource.

“Water use for hydraulic fracturing will continue to grow, triggering unprecedented county water demands,” the report warns.

» Read more about the American report, ‘Hydraulic Fracturing & Water Stress: Water Demand by the Numbers’, here:

» Download of the report requires registration.

» Inside Climate News – 5 February 2014:
Fracking’s Thirst for Water: Investors Warned of the Hidden Financial Risks
In dozens of water-scarce counties where fracking is booming, water use is at or approaching more than a billion gallons a year.

» Texas Tribune – 5 February 2014:
Report: Water Availability a Risk for Oil, Gas Drillers
A new national report on hydraulic fracturing and water use suggests that oil and gas companies are at risk of running short on the precious resource.

USA Today | Associated Press – 5 January 2014:
4 states confirm water pollution from drilling
Associated Press review of complaints casts doubt on industry view that it rarely happens.
Article by Kevin Begos, AP

Grist – 10 December 2013:
Wind energy becoming cheaper than natural gas
In the blustery Midwest, power agreements with new wind farms are being signed for even less than gas plants. Wind is breathing down the necks of coal and nuclear too.

Inside Climate News – 17 December 2013:
Study of High Fracking Areas Finds Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals
Fracking may increase health risks from hormone-disrupting chemicals released into the environment, say researchers.

Canada: Pressure growing for a federal fracking freeze

In November, Newfoundland and Labrador put the brakes on fracking – and the Council of Canadians is calling on other provinces and territories to do the same.

Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Natural Resources Derrick Dalley said that the government would not be “accepting applications for onshore and onshore to offshore petroleum exploration using hydraulic fracturing.”

Opposition to fracking – a process that contaminates massive amounts of water to extract natural gas from underground rock formations – has been growing in Newfoundland and Labrador following proposals for exploration in three sites along the west coast of the province. The possibility of fracking in Gros Morne National Park received international attention when UNESCO raised concerns about how it would affect the area and its World Heritage Site status.

Communities in Nova Scotia are also speaking out about fracking. The Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities recently passed a resolution supporting a province-wide ban on the practice.

“From coast to coast, communities are calling for a stop to fracking. We’re relieved to see that the Newfoundland and Labrador government is taking a common-sense approach by reviewing regulations, conducting impact studies and engaging the public before moving ahead,” said Emma Lui, National Water Campaigner for the Council of Canadians, following the government’s announcement.

“Now that fracking is on hold in Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, it’s time for other provinces and the federal government to do the same.”

» The Council of Canadians:
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Grassroots group tells Big Gas to frack off

Suzanne Spiegel – 8 December 2013:
A grassroots anti-fracking organisation in Colorado, US, has shown that people power really works when it comes to challenging state legislation.

» Source:
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Divine intervention? Pope opposes fracking

The worldwide leader of the Catholic Church, none other than the motherfracking pope himself, has come out in opposition to the worldwide scourge of hydraulic fracturing.

Pope Francis has been posing for photographs while holding anti-fracking T-shirts.

» Continue reading:
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American report reveals impacts on freshwater resources

Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The report, Water Resource Reporting and Water Footprint from Marcellus Shale Development in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, provides the most recent and comprehensive investigation of water used and waste generated by fracking operations in the two states.

“Water use and contamination are among the most pressing and controversial aspects of shale gas and oil development.”

A report released on 30 October 2013 reveals the impacts of Marcellus Shale gas development on freshwater resources.

» You can download the report (PDF, 88 pages, 2 MB): marcellus_wv_pa.pdf

» Read more about the report here:
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Fracking could peak as soon as 2016

“Production numbers is that oil and gas production from fracking could peak in some places as soon as 2016.”

We don’t want toxic chemicals in our drinking water, or in our rivers and lakes. That’s one reason to ban fracking. But the strongest argument why we don’t want to see any fracking going on in our region is that it is a dead end. Drilling for fossil fuels is NOT what we should be doing when science (United Nations’ IPCC report, ect) is telling us we are doomed if we continue burning fossil fuels as we do now.

Scientists studying oil and gas well production data are beginning to question how long the fracking boom will last, and they suggest that a shale oil and gas bust may come sooner than expected, even as the industry keeps insisting that the boom (particularly in the United States) has been and will continue to be a success.

British Columbia-based geoscientist David Hughes, whose research was presented at the Geological Society of America meeting this week in Denver, said the story hidden in oil well production numbers is that oil and gas production from fracking could peak in some places as soon as 2016.

» Continue reading:
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Unconventional shale gas production proved short lived and oversold

This, in short, appears to be the American experience.

Australian politicians ought to listen and learn from the United States?

“Industry and its proponents including such entities as the Wall Street Journal, have made fantastical comments about natural gas providing “benefits to the poor” which will be long lived particularly with respect to lower electricity costs for the consumer. Such benefits are already evaporating. We do not live in Camelot regardless of industry and media hype.”

» Continue reading: – ‘Hyped Benefits of Fracked Gas Already Fading’
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Why the industry’s so-called “guarantees” are useless

As it is happening now in United Kingdom, governments will say to us that “fracking is safe” and they will refer to reports that give green light to the drilling madness.

To that we will be replying like Helen Rimmer, energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth UK, did, because these “guarantees” are useless and missing the point.

“Evidence suggests fracking has contaminated drinking water in Australia and the US. There’s no guarantee it won’t happen here – especially given gaping holes in regulations. If we’re going to tackle climate change we can’t afford to burn more dirty fossil fuel – we should be developing renewable energy instead.”

There is not one single good reason why millions of taxpayers’ dollars should be invested in fracking infrastructure and locking us into using gas for another 50 years at a time when world science is warning us, basically shouting at us as loud as scientists possibly can, that we are on track to climatepocalypse, meltdown, The End… u-n-l-e-s-s we act quickly now and spend all society’s time, money and attention on creating sustainable carbon-free solutions?

Making the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is essential for the future of our planet.

It remains a mystery why governments think they should be gambling with our safety, and our children’s and grandchildren’s safety, by supporting explorations and drilling for more fossil fuels at a time when really all we should be doing is getting OFF that gas-oil-coal-reliant system and shutting down the dinosaur infrastructure connected with it, while putting all attention on clean energy and the infrastructure and technologies we need to build a carbon-free world.

» Read more: – 10 January 2013:
Shale Gas: How often do fracked wells leak?
An industri report shows that 60 percent of gas wells leak after 30 years

» The report (PDF):

» More news here

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