The People Of Illinois Should Be Ashamed Of Fracking – Let’s be clear it is gluttony

And if you do not believe me, then go to the links below and read what they say.

http://www.dangersoffracking.com/

http://theweek.com/article/index/261337/more-proof-that-fracking-is-dirtier-than-advertised

As for what I think:

Hydraulic Fracturing is a drilling process that drills oil and gas wells into shale formations and produces what is referred to as “ tight petroleum fluids”. Principally oil and methane. This process begins by drilling a typical vertical well.  The drill bit is then turned to drill horizontally and moves as far as 3 miles. Then the well is cased with concrete and a slurry of liquids are prepared. We will come back to that discussion in a bit because the fluids pumped into the bore hole are very special. Once the drill is extracted it is replaced with special pipe that is flexible enough to make the turn and has holes in it which are temporarily plugged with ping pong ball  like ball bearings. Once that is done, the fluids  are piped down the well under extremely high pressure. These fluids blast the bearings out of the way and the fluids escape from the pipe and pulverizes the surrounding rock. Then the danger of fracking begins. Because of the  physics of pressure, the fluids  which are now in front of the flow of the oil and methane burst back to the surface and must be contained. After that the dangers only grow. These risks include: Pollution risks, Health risks, Death risks and Financial risks.

The health risks are many. The groundwater risks arise from the fracking itself and the type fluids used. The fluids are extremely toxic.  While I can”t say what exactly are in the fluids because the drilling companies refuse to release them, everyone admits that toxics like diesel fuel, hydrochloric acid, silica, and antifreeze are involved.  For a list of the thousand of chemical used please see  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_additives_for_hydraulic_fracturing .   Will the fluids remain in the area fracked and will the oil and gas flow towards the well head if other avenues are available? This is something no one can guarantee. If even small amounts of the fracking fluids do not return through the bore hole then ground water contamination is possible and well water contamination is all but guaranteed. Surface contamination comes in the form of produced water contamination on the ground and in the nearby waterways. Many wild catters want to just dump those waters in waste pits or worse yet dump them in larger stream and rivers. Even tank storage is problematic. Transportation to a disposal site risks many types of accidents. I believe that all these fluids should be recycled. They contain radioactive materials, heavy metals and poisons like arsenic. Finally there is air pollution. This come in the form of methane and benzene. Many wild catters want to flare the methane and only deal with the oil. This guarantees that methane will be released and methane is one of the most potent green gases around. Exposure to benzene can be lethal as will be discussed later and will lead to lung damage and many cancers.

Some of the health risks were discussed above but there are a set of studies to be considered. You can find these studies easily online but in their gist they ask the question, “Are children in fracking zones healthy”?  The answer is NO. In general children that live within a ten mile area of fracked wells have many more health problems than children that live farther away. Please see this list for a discussion of benzene on human health – http://www.allenstewart.com/practice-areas/gas-property-damage/chemicals-used-in-fracking/   If that is true then how healthy can the adults be? But fracking is so new that it is hard to tell. I know in my heart that taking that plunge over that cliff is not worth the danger. We need to stop now.

Then there are risks of death to the nearby humans. Is that extreme? Not in the least. The increase in the large truck traffic alone and the attendant violations of trucking laws will destroy roads and lead to a large increase in traffic accidents leading to increases in deaths. And of course there will be deaths directly relating to the increase in drilling activity. Drilling for oil is inherently dangerous and the industry has its own mortality rate. We have already seen large numbers of deaths due to train wrecks involving trains pulling tanker cars holding fracked oil. Because of the trapped gases in fracked oil it is a lot more explosive. Who wants to die a fiery death? While pipeline leaks could have been discussed anywhere, the problems of pipelining unconventional oil are clear. Since the oil must be heated under pressure to physically move through a pipeline, any leak means the oil cools rapidly and latches on to anything in its path. Especially if it falls into water it will not float and it must be dug out of the bottom. Wherever it lands it begins to release its toxic chemicals including the ever present benzene. While no deaths have yet occurred, fracking possess the possibility of causing major calamities. The first are earthquakes. Today there is no doubt that fracking can cause earthquakes. The questions is when will they cause a major one? So far no earthquake caused by fracking has been greater than a 4.5 earthquake, so we continue to pray they stay small. Then there is the question of Bhopal On The Prairie. This was not a concern of mine but many people who live near old coal mines raised it with me at events I attended. They said, “What if they frack near an old coal mine or an old uncapped oil well” both of which Illinois has in abundance? Well the answer is, all the stuff that should go up the nrw well bore hole will spew out into the general environment. If you are anywhere near that the methane will kill you. This is unlikely but just one incident could kill many people.

Ever wonder why oil men refer to their business as a “Boom and Bust” business? It is because of their Financial Risks. These risks are not limited to the investors and the drillers themselves. First and foremost any property owners near these wells will see their property values go to zero and if you hold a mortgage on any such property you will be in debt for a worthless property. There is also a growing push to send the fracked oil and its refined products overseas. This means that oil prices will rise and the cost of gasoline will follow along. But ultimately it is the case that  wildcat fracking is a Ponzi Scheme and that costs investors the most money. Small drillers raise money well by well but when the first one “comes in” they divert some of the profits to the next well which enriches themselves. Because fracked wells have such a short life expectancy (possibly as short as 3 years) eventually the level of those losing money on their investments climb and the driller declares bankruptcy leaving those newest investors holding huge losses. Not only that but it leaves the State of Illinois and individual property owners holding the bag for any damages that remains. This also leads to market manipulation on insider information because the upcoming bankruptcies are an open secret in the oil and gas industry itself.

I must end with a plea for Illinois to stop this. Fracking is nothing but a case of gluttony gone wild. These are not resources we need to exploit now. We could leave these resources for future generations that may need them. But in our general lust for fatter and fatter energy girths we will be looked on by future generations with mortification. Again, shame on everyone in Illinois.

Doug Nicodemus

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More Protection From Fracking For Prairie Chickens – Then human beings

Well that makes sense because humans are driving themselves to extinction.

http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059995434

ENDANGERED SPECIES:

FWS finalizes ‘landmark’ lesser prairie chicken protections from drilling

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finalized a voluntary agreement designed to protect the lesser prairie chicken and its dwindling habitat from oil and gas drilling activity as the deadline approaches for the service to decide whether to list the colorful bird as threatened.

FWS and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) announced late Friday that they had signed the formal agreement, called the Range-wide Oil and Gas Candidate Conservation Agreement With Assurances.

Landowners and companies that enroll in the Candidate Conservation Agreement With Assurances (CCAA) through WAFWA agree to take steps to protect lesser prairie chicken habitat and to pay a mitigation fee if their actions harm the bird’s habitat. In exchange, the service agrees not to impose any further restrictions or mandates on the participants if the bird is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

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If We Are Setting Record Oil Production Levels – Why are prices so fracking high

I get this question all the time. The argument is always the trade off argument. We get jobs and cheap fossil fuels but  the environment is degraded. And boy and how. Destroyed is more like it but we do not even get the results that the fracking industry promised. Did I mention it is cold outside?

http://www.startribune.com/business/241382091.html

Record high prices for propane, natural gas in some markets as cold snap saps fuel supplies

  • Article by: JONATHAN FAHEY , Associated Press
  • Updated: January 21, 2014 – 6:12 PM

NEW YORK — A second fierce blast of winter weather is sapping fuel supplies in many regions and sending prices for propane and natural gas to record highs.

Higher natural gas prices are also leading to sharply higher wholesale electricity prices as power utilities snap up gas at almost any price to run power plants to meet higher-than-normal winter demand.

Propane users will get pinched the most. Those who find themselves suddenly needing to fill their tanks could be paying $100 to $200 more per fill up than a month ago. Homeowners who use natural gas and electricity will see higher heating bills because they’ll use more fuel. But prices won’t rise dramatically because utilities only buy a small portion of the fuel at the elevated prices.

A swirling storm with the potential for more than a foot of snow clobbered the mid-Atlantic and the urban Northeast on Tuesday. The snowstorm will be followed by bitter cold as arctic air from Canada streams in, causing homeowners to crank up the thermostat.

Record high prices for propane, natural gas in some markets as cold snap saps fuel supplies

  • Article by: JONATHAN FAHEY , Associated Press
  • Updated: January 21, 2014 – 6:12 PM

NEW YORK — A second fierce blast of winter weather is sapping fuel supplies in many regions and sending prices for propane and natural gas to record highs.

Higher natural gas prices are also leading to sharply higher wholesale electricity prices as power utilities snap up gas at almost any price to run power plants to meet higher-than-normal winter demand.

Propane users will get pinched the most. Those who find themselves suddenly needing to fill their tanks could be paying $100 to $200 more per fill up than a month ago. Homeowners who use natural gas and electricity will see higher heating bills because they’ll use more fuel. But prices won’t rise dramatically because utilities only buy a small portion of the fuel at the elevated prices.

A swirling storm with the potential for more than a foot of snow clobbered the mid-Atlantic and the urban Northeast on Tuesday. The snowstorm will be followed by bitter cold as arctic air from Canada streams in, causing homeowners to crank up the thermostat.

Michael McCafferty, a propane expert at Platts, an energy information provider, said the wholesale spot price of propane rose 70 percent between Friday and Tuesday to a record $2.45 per gallon. Both the size of the jump and the price itself he called “unprecedented.”

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There Are No Criminal Charges For The Frackers – So all they have to do is pay money

No Frackers will go to jail if they violate WHAT LAWS? IDNR might as well give away the state of Illinois to being totally trashed. Where will the Fracking start? In our State Parks?

Day 49   1/2/13

Topic:  Fines penalties, suspensions and revocations

For regulations to work, levied fines must exceed the financial benefit a company gains by violating the rules. None of the rulemaking sanctions meet this criterion. This results in the other 150 pages of rules being essentially meaningless because they will be ignored.   The draft rule sanctions place the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act (HFRA)  on the road to failure before the first permit is issued.

Examples:

  1. Section 1-100(b) of the law specifies misdemeanor and felony criminal charges for a number of violations of the law.  Yet there are NO criminal charges in the rules
  2. In Section 1-60(a)1-6 of the law, there are six (6) grounds for suspension or revocation of a permit.  These are re-listed with a 7th in section 245.1100 of the rules.  But the very next  section of the Rules–245.1110–reduces the grounds for an immediate permit suspension to one: “an emergency condition posing a significant hazard to the public health, aquatic life, wildlife or the environment.” This is the most stringent requirement of the seven grounds listed in section 245.1100.  Why bother to list seven possible grounds for permit suspension or revocation in section 245.1100 if you then require the Department to identify the most stringent criteria for an immediate suspension.
  3. Section 1-60(b) of the law requires a much lower standard of proof to suspend, revoke or deny a permit than the rules (245.1110).  Under the law, the Department need only serve notice of its action (to suspend, revoke or deny), including a statement of the reasons for the action.
  4. In the law, if a well operator’s permit has been suspended, the burden of proof is on well operator to prove that the identified problem is “no significant threat to public health, aquatic life, wildlife, or the environment” [Section 1-60(d)].  In the rules, this phrase becomes something IDNR must prove before ordering a permit suspension [Rule Section 245.1100(b)3A].
  5. Sections 1-100 and 1-101 of the law have some stiff penalties that accrue on a daily basis until the reason for the fine is corrected.  These fines can go as high as $50,000 per violation and up to $10,000 per day.  These are replaced by fines so trivial ($50-$2500) that it will cost the IDNR more to impose and collect a fine than the dollar value of the fine itself.

Revisions Needed:  Return to the standards of the law with regard to fines, penalties and revocations.

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Frackers Must Pay For Our Lawyers – In our dreams

This probably will not happen, but it can’t hurt to ask.

Here we are at Day 47 (12/31/2013) of the IDNR Comment Period as we close out 2013.   We anticipate hand-delivering 20,000 hard-copy comments to IDNR on either Thursday or Friday afternoon of this week–just trying to firm up the date and time.  We will have a date and time locked in by tomorrow. Thank you, all of you, who have participated in writing comments.  We couldn’t have done this without you.

Today’s Topic: Recouping Attorney Fees

  • Go to: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/OilandGas/Pages/OnlineCommentSubmittalForm.aspx
  • Click the button:  Subpart C: Permit Decisions (245.300-245.360)
  • In the “Section” dropdown box, click:  245.310 Permit Denial
  • Submit your comment/s (below)
  • Click “Submit”

Comment:

DNR’s rules should include a provision that would authorize the recovery of attorney fees for those who successfully challenge a permit application.

The Statutes:

Section 1-102(c) of the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act (225 ILCS 752/1-102(c)) allows a circuit court to award attorney fees where a person successfully sues to enforce compliance with the Act:

   “(c) The court, in issuing any final order in any action brought under this Section, may award costs of litigation (including attorney and expert witness fees) to any party, on the basis of the importance of the proceeding and the participation of the parties to the efficient and effective enforcement of this Act.”

Also, section 10-55(c) of the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act (5 ILCS 100/10-55(c)) allows a circuit court to award attorney fees to a party who successfully challenges a DNR rule in court:

   “(c) In any case in which a party has any administrative rule invalidated by a court for any reason, including but not limited to the agency’s exceeding its statutory authority or the agency’s failure to follow statutory procedures in the adoption of the rule, the court shall award the party bringing the action the reasonable expenses of the litigation, including reasonable attorney’s fees.”

The Rules:

But DNR’s proposed rules do not allow for an award of attorney fees for an interested person who hires an attorney and successfully challenges a permit application.  Given the typical situation–a vast disparity in financial resources between the typical industry applicant, on the one hand, and an adversely affected individual landowner or other interested person on the other, the ability to hire and pay for an attorney will be essential to ensuring a fair hearing on a contested permit application.

Needed Revision:

Section 245.310 should be revised to include a provision for the reimbursement of attorney fees to a person who successfully challenges a permit application.

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Fracker Trash Illinois And Run – The will file bankruptcy before they remediate

Just take a look at all the gaping holes the other extraction industry have left in Illinois. Their are parts of Illinois that look like the 10,000 lakes area in Minnesota that used to be valuable farmland. This will be no different.

Day 46  12/30/13

Topic:  Topsoil Replacement Requirements

Comment:

Sections 1-70(b)2 and 1-95(c) of the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act state that stripped topsoil is to be replaced with similar soil and the site returned to its pre-drilling condition.

Section 1-95(c) of the Act specifically states: “The operator shall restore any lands used by the operator other than the well site and production facility to a condition as closely approximating the pre-drilling conditions that existed before the land was disturbed for any stage of site preparation activities, drilling, and high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing operations.”

When drilling is anticipated to be completed in less than a year, Section 245.410(d) of the Rules stipulates that the topsoil is to stockpiled and stabilized to prevent erosion.  However, “In the event it is anticipated that the final reclamation shall take place in excess of one year from drilling the well, the topsoil may be disposed of in any lawful manner provided the permittee reclaims the site with topsoil of similar characteristics of the topsoil removed.”

What is missing, and needed, in this section of the Rules is the stipulation that the replacement topsoil will be not only similar in characteristics of the topsoil removed, but also match the removed topsoil in VOLUME.   In fact, there is no place in the rules that requires measurement of the topsoil removed or measurement of the replacement topsoil.  Without such a requirement, it would be easy for an unscrupulous operator to replace the topsoil with smaller quantities than were originally removed.

Revisions Needed:  When final reclamation is anticipated to exceed one year and topsoil is removed from the site, Section 245.410(d) must require measuring the volume of the removed topsoil and stipulate that the replacement topsoil will match both the quality AND quantity of the removed topsoil.

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Fracking In Illinois Will Not Be Safe If They Have Their Way

Pollution with be rampant.
Day 45   12/29/13
Topic:  General Fluid Storage
Comment:
This section lacks the specificity needed to insure that fracking will be conducted in a manner that will protect the public health and safety and prevent pollution or diminution of any water source. (Statute 1-53(4))
  • “Compatible” (245.825(a)(2), (c)(1)).  The regulations should clarify what is “compatible” for purposes of provisions that tanks and “piping, conveyances, …must be constructed of materials compatible with the composition of the fracking fluid….” Specifically, theDepartment should clarify that “compatible” includes being resistant to corrosion, erosion, swelling, or degradation that may result from such contact.
  • Corrosion inspection (245.825(a)(5)). The Department should define what is meant by the requirement that above-ground tanks be “routinely” inspected for corrosion, i.e., specify a time interval.
  • Secondary containment (245.825(b)). The Department should require that secondary containment be designed and constructed in accordance with good engineering practices, including: (a) Using coated or lined materials that are chemically compatible with the environment and the substances to be contained; (b) Providing adequate freeboard; (c) Protecting containment from heavy vehicle or equipment traffic.
Illinois People’s Action.
510 E. Washington St. Suite 309
Bloomington, IL 61701
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Frackers Hate Maps – The less the public knows the better

If you can find them you can engage in direct action.

 

Day 44   12/28/13

Topic: Directional Drilling Plan

Comment:

This comment addresses inadequacies in two sections:  Sections (245.210(a)(4)) Directional Drilling Plan and Section (245.210(a)(7)) Scaled plat maps, diagrams, or cross sections,

These sections do not explicitly require that the applicant provide a map that depicts the exact location of the wellbore, i.e., draws it on the map from beginning to end. This information is critical to specific notice and standing, which reference persons within 750 feet of the wellbore.

Revisions Needed:  Require a map depicting the exact location of the wellbore.

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Illinois Frackers Want To Make You Sick – They do not want to make you better

Call you Doctor and have him send in his comments.

 

Day 43   12/27/13

Topic: Trade Secret Disclosure to Health Professionals

Comment:

The proposed language concerning disclosure of trade secret-protected information to health professionals is neither consistent with the statute nor protective of the public.

Right to Know.  Section 1-77(l) of the Act is clear that information shall be provided, as needed, to health professionals who demonstrate a need for it.  Yet, section 245.730 of the Rules diminishes the language of the Act, stating only that the Department “may” provide information to health professionals who demonstrate a need for it.

Limitation to “normal business hours.” Subsection 245.730(b)(1) of the Rules states, in the event of an emergency, that a health professional may call the Department during “normal business hours.” For an emergency that occurs after hours, the Rules suggest calling the trade secret holder. This is inadequate. The Department should provide a 24-hour hotline for emergency calls pursuant to this section.

“Trade Secret Holder.” Subsection 245.730(b)(2) of the Rules allows a health professional to seek the necessary information from a “trade secret holder,” but there is no means provided for the health professional to know who the trade secret holder is, or what phone number to use to reach it. Furthermore, this provision is found nowhere in the statute, seemingly adding another unnecessary burden on the health professional.

Lack of a time limit for the Department’s response. The Department should abide by the same 3-hour time limit for a response that applies to trade secret holders pursuant to 245.730(b)(2).

Disclosure of names receiving trade secret information.  Subsection 245.730(e) of the rules requires that health providers report to the trade secret holder the names of persons to whom the protected information was disclosed.  This requirement is found nowhere in the statute. It is inappropriate to burden health professionals with such an obligation in the absence of statutory authorization to do so.

Revisions Needed:  Rewrite the section to comply with the strongest interpretation of 1-77 of the Statute including 24-hour accessibility.  Do not require that health providers report names of persons to whom protected information was disclosed as this was not required in the statute.

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Day 41 For Fracking Comments – Man I am getting tuckered out

But these are important technical comments. So get to it.

Day 41, 12/25/13  Merry Christmas!  Yes, we’re hoping you’ll take just a minute from your festivities to comment on the fact that IDNR violated it’s own rules with regard to the 5 hearings it held around the state. 

Topic – DEFICIENT NOTICE FOR PUBLIC HEARINGS
This comment is in response to the paragraphs of the published notices setting the dates for the public hearings on the Proposed Amendments to the Rules under the Oil and Gas Act and on the Proposed Rules under the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act.  37 Illinois Register 18081, 18081-82 (November 15, 2013); 37 Illinois Register 18097, 18099 (November 15, 2013); 37 Illinois Register 19746 (December 6, 2013); 37 Illinois Register 19747 (December 6, 2013).
Comment:
DNR did not provide the required public notice for any of the public hearings, because in each case the notice for the hearing was not published in the Illinois Register at least 20 days before the hearing.  Although the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act allows DNR to hold a public hearing, in response to a request for a hearing, less than 20 days after public notice in the Illinois Register if the notice of hearing is published in the notice of proposed rulemaking (5 ILCS 100/5-40), DNR has chosen by rule to require a minimum of 20 days’ notice.  DNR’s adopted rule for scheduling public hearings states as follows:
“The Hearing Officer shall set a time and place for hearing and shall give notice as follows, at least 20 days prior to the date of the hearing;
a) to the proponent, by mail;
b) to members of the general public, by means of a general news release and notice in the Illinois Register.”  2 Ill. Admin. Code 825.140.
The first notice of public hearings–for Chicago and Ina–was published in the Illinois Register on November 15, 2013.  But the Chicago hearing took place on November 26, 2013, and the Ina hearing took place on December 3, 2013.  Each of those hearings was held on less than 20 days’ notice.
The second notice of public hearings–for Effingham, Decatur, and Carbondale–was published in the Illinois Register on December 6, 2013.  But the Effingham hearing took place on December 16, 2013, the Decatur hearing took place on December 17, 2013, and the Carbondale hearing took place on December 19, 2013.  Each of those hearings was held on less than 20 days’ notice.
Thus, DNR’s public hearings were held in violation of its own administrative rules.  These violations deprived the citizens of a  meaningful opportunity to be heard.
The remedy for this violation is either additional hearings in these areas, each with the required minimum 20 days’ notice, or alternatively, a new First Notice with the opportunity for new public hearings and a new public comment period.
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