Given the very significant interest in the Marcellus Shale drilling, I’m pleased to inform you that the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science, the Paleontological Research Institution, the Cornell Water Resources Institute and Cornell Cooperative Extension will host a panel discussion on
“The Marcellus Shale: Energy, Environment and the Public Interest”
to be held in Uris Hall Auditorium from 4:45 to 6:45 pm on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
This forum is intended to inform the Cornell faculty on the broad range of energy and environmental issues that underlie the current controversy regarding extraction of shale gas from the Marcellus Formation in southern N.Y. and northern Pennsylvania. Cornell experts in geology, energy, groundwater, and public policy will be present to help answer questions regarding the potential risks and benefits associated with this national energy resource.
Read Abrahm Lustgarten’s Is Marcellus Shale too hot to handle?:
As New York gears up for gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, state officials have made a potentially troubling discovery about the wastewater created by the process: It’s radioactive. And they have yet to say how they’ll deal with it. The information comes from New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation, which analyzed 13 samples of wastewater brought thousands of feet to the surface from drilling and found that they contain levels of radium-226, a derivative of uranium, as high as 267 times the limit safe for discharge into the environment and thousands of times the limit safe for people to drink. (Read more)
EPA: Chemicals Found in Wyo. Drinking Water Might Be From Fracking by Abrahm Lustgarten, for ProPublica:
Federal environment officials investigating drinking water contamination near the ranching town of Pavillion, Wyo., have found that at least three water wells contain a chemical used in the natural gas drilling process of hydraulic fracturing. Scientists also found traces of other contaminants, including oil, gas or metals, in 11 of 39 wells tested there since March.
The study, which is being conducted under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program, is the first time the EPA has undertaken its own water analysis in response to complaints of contamination in drilling areas, and it could be pivotal in the national debate over the role of natural gas in America’s energy policy. (Read more)
The Safety of Fracturing Fluids – A Quantitative Assessment by Steve Coffman, member of the Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes –
August 4, 2009
In response to a FOIL request to New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation, the Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes received a list of 48 toxic substances (as defined by the DEC or EPA) permitted for use in hydraulic fracture drilling of gas wells in the Marcellus Shale formation in Yates, Schuyler, Steuben, Broome and Cortland Counties. The received materials came in the form of documents submitted by the drilling companies themselves: Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and Company Drilling Data Sheets.
Continue reading The Safety of Fracturing Fluids – A Quantitative Assessment
Here’s a 2008 report by the National Park Service on development of the Marcellus Shale. It has nice data and pictures, and seems pretty fair – it does discuss the problems.
National Park Service Report on Marcellus Shale Drilling (PDF)