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EMF Studies

16 April 2016

Texas Fracking Numbers: 10 Billion Pounds of Chemicals, Many Carcinogenic, Injected Underground, 120 Billion Gallons of Water Used Since 2005...

Jeff Jacoby with Texas Campaign for the Environment and
others protested against pro-fracking legislation outside the
state Capitol in Austin last year.  (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin
American-Statesman)
Texas fracking has used 120 billion gallons of water since 2005, while producing 15 billion gallons of wastewater in 2014. And at least 2.5 billion pounds of methane, which contributes to global warming, were released in 2014.  Ten billion pounds of chemicals — many of them carcinogenic — were injected underground as part of the drilling process.

Texas fracking numbers are mind-boggling, but what do they really mean?
by Jeff Mosier , Dallas Morning News, 
14 April 2016

Environmental groups have analyzed the data and come up with a set of staggering numbers to illustrate the impact of fracking in Texas.

Ten billion pounds of chemicals — many of them carcinogenic — were injected underground as part of the drilling process.

Texas fracking has used 120 billion gallons of water since 2005, while producing 15 billion gallons of wastewater in 2014. And at least 2.5 billion pounds of methane, which contributes to global warming, were released in 2014.

There are phenomenally large numbers in the “Fracking by the Numbers” report from Environment Texas Research & Policy Center and the Frontier Group. The report’s subtitle, “The Damage to Our Water, Land and Climate from a Decade of Dirty Drilling,” tells you the groups’ stance against fracking.

Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, said there was already awareness of the damage caused by fracking. But he said recent access to downloadable data allowed his group, part of the Environment America Research & Policy Center, to present a fuller understanding.

He said this gives the public “an overall picture” of what fracking is doing and points to the need for more action.

“To protect the public and our environment, states should take action to ban fracking, or, failing that, to ensure that oil and gas companies are held to the highest level of environmental performance, transparency and accountability,” the study’s executive summary argues.

The study focuses on Texas but also includes information from other states.

Steve Everley, senior adviser to Energy in Depth, part of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, said he rolled his eyes when he saw this latest report.

“Upshot here is that E.T. is citing a bunch of really big and (supposedly) scary numbers,” he wrote via email. “They want people to think in terms of ‘millions of pounds’ of a chemical, without giving any context as to what that means (e.g. how many pounds of hydrochloric acid was used in backyard swimming pools last year?).”

Everley also mentioned that Environment Texas issue a similar nationwide report in 2013 that was flawed. He also said the group conducted a similar study last year looking at gas and oil drilling on University of Texas land.

Here’s a link to Energy in Depth’s response to the 2013 report and its response to the UT report. Everley also mentioned a Texas Tribune Festival conference where Dr. Scott Tinker, UT’s director of the Bureau of Economic Geology, described Environment Texas’ study as flawed (the comments start on track 3 at about 44 minutes).

It’s difficult to look at some of these figures through a statewide lens since oil and gas drilling is scattered throughout the state. There was a drilling land rush in the western part of our region — Tarrant, Denton, Parker and other counties. In most of Dallas County and areas to the east, there’s nothing.

Without perspective, it’s difficult to know what to make of the 10 billion pounds of chemicals.

Metzger said this shows that a phenomenal amount of chemicals is being pumped into the earth. What happens if some of those chemicals migrate into water underground or pollute drinking water during a spill or accidents?

The new report notes that a Yale School of Public Health study found that at least 157 fracking chemicals are toxic.

Twitter: @jeffmosier

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