Wednesday, July 25, 2012

More from "Truthiness"Land

So call me a snoop, but when someone is held out as an "Expert", I like to know a bit more.     Consider this my "internet" road tour into "Truthiness"land. 

This is by no means intended to call the opinions or statements made by the "experts" into question, but rather to share what wasn't presented in "Truthinessland" by Energy-in-Depth and Independent Petroleum Association of America producers and editors.

Two of the experts presented were:
Scott Roberts –  former Deputy Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for Mineral Resource Management
Truthland Expert  Former Deputy Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental ProtectionNew Cumberland, Pa.  Recently retired from DEP after more than 25 years of service, Scott spent his whole career protecting the health and safety of Pennsylvania residents. Among his career highlights: Working with Democrats and Republicans from Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation earlier this decade to secure more than $1 billion in additional federal funding to remediate the state’s highest-priority abandoned coal mines.


Martin, Joseph, P.  PhD, PE
Truthland Expert Professor, Engineer, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pa. Joseph P. Martin, Ph.D., P.E. is a 29-year professor in the College of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at Drexel University. He holds three degrees in civil engineering—B.S. from Tufts University, M.S. from Northeastern University, and a Ph.D. from Colorado State — and is considered a leading expert in his field. In 2012, Martin was selected as the “Engineer of the Year” by the Delaware County chapter of the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers.

In 2010, the City of Philadelphia PA produced a report entitled: 
Report of Philadelphia City Council’s Joint Committees on Transportation and Public Utilities and the Environment Pursuant to Resolution No. 100515:  Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling’s Impact on Philadelphia

Mr. Roberts was a member of the Regulator Panel: Member of the Regulator Panel: The fourth panel presented two members of different government agencies that play an active role in regulating drilling and one representative of two nonprofit corporations that monitor environmental policy in Philadelphia.

Dr. Martin was a member of the Science Panel: The first panel featured three scientists who presented facts and discussed the potential impacts that shale gas drilling could have upon human health, aquatic life and environmental quality. The panelists exposed gaps in information that must be filled in order to determine the full cost of fracking.

I encourage you to read the entire report and make up your own mind.

The following is Roberts' transcripts from the report:Roberts: “During the hydraulic fracturing, it's a high-pressure operation. A hose will burst, the materials will be sprayed out and spilled, or after the water flows back from the well, there's materials handling problems. And those are unacceptable. They're illegal under state law, and we should not accept that, period.” (Transcript p. 257)

Roberts: “Right now the statewide average, we're seeing about 13 percent of the water that is pumped underground comes back up during what's called the flow-back stage of well.” (Transcript p. 258)

Councilman Jones: “How often in the lifetime of a well or over a period of a year should a well be inspected?” (Transcript p.246)
 Roberts: “We try to go out and inspect those wells that are in production, really that's not where the problems occur. The problems would occur during those drilling operations. So we try to target having our inspectors going out at points of the process that are most likely to have problems.” (Transcript p.248)

Councilman Jones: “So in that phase, how many times is a good number of inspections?” (Transcript p.248)
Roberts: “It depends again on the nature of the operation and the operator, but four, five, six times.” (Transcript p.248)

Councilman Jones: “ How often and is there a process by which you monitor a well being shut down?” (Transcript p.249)
 Roberts: “Yes. There are specific legal requirements in the State of Pennsylvania for what's called well plugging, and when that well reaches the end of its commercial life, the owner or operator of that has an affirmative obligation to plug that well. It has to be done in a particular manner to make sure that the gas from a depth isn't leaking up the well bore and it's safe.” (Transcript pp. 249-250)

Leaking up the well bore?  According to Truthland, there is no such thing.
Councilman Jones: “So is it equally as a vulnerable time as the initial drilling?” (Transcript p.250)
 Roberts: “Oh, absolutely. And obviously with the Marcellus wells being as young as they are, we don't have any that have reached that point in their life expectancy.” (Transcript p.250)

Roberts: “We absolutely agree with the public and everybody else that the industry needs to be transparent with what they are using in these wells. And it is more difficult than perhaps was explained earlier in trying to get the industry to do that, but as was mentioned, we are changing our regulations and modifying them.” (Transcript p.256)

ummmm......according to Terry Engelder's statement in Truthland, the gas industry is just using dish detergent.The following is Martin's transcripts from the report:
Although much of the frack water is used for recycling, there is still no easy way to discard other water, which must be sufficiently treated before producers discharge the water.

Dr. Martin asserts that a treatment solution is entirely up to industry
, while it is the public's role to set up standards that industry must satisfy.  (Martin: Transcript pp 33-35)

For every well, there are up to five layers of steel casing and cement to prevent brine leakage. (Martin: Transcript pp. 36-38)

Panelists disagreed about whether the injected material would be absorbed into the shale layer.
Martin said that the 8 injected chemicals are mostly organic and would be absorbed into the layer. (Transcript pp. 72-74)

Councilman Jones: “If everything went right, this is the benefit. Real quick, if things go wrong, what would be your nightmare?”
Martin: “My nightmare would be the spill of frack liquid when it's being carried from a site to some sort of treatment. People do get in accidents, trains do derail, things like that. The nightmare is nightmares. Everything is fairly controlled at the site if we fix these contractual issues. The state has monitors. Maybe they don't have enough, but the nightmare that I have is carrying a million gallons of frack water. When they finish an area to recycle it and it's too salty to deal with, it's being carried. Then we are dealing with a low-level variation of how do we move nuclear waste casts in Nevada. That's my nightmare of a spill of salt water on the road.”  (Transcript pp.85-86)

While each well drilled in the state is filed in the DEP's public record, along with a list of the materials that are injected, the particular concentrations of each substance is not disclosed by every driller. (Boufadel: Trasncript p. 65)

Furthermore, these substances are given under a generic trade name, but the specific chemicals are withheld. (Velinsky and Martin: Transcript p. 70P

Councilman Jones: “Even though they (companies) don't tell the public, do they tell someone, some regulatory agency, that this is what I'm putting in the ground so that you know?” (Transcript p.68)
Martin: “Yes. It's on the well record that's filed at the DEP that they have to list the materials they put in. They don't necessarily have to put in the concentrations. But that's in the public record for every well that's drilled…What is not fully disclosed…are the concentrations, but the contents are there” (Transcript pp.68-69)
Councilwoman Brown: “So are we hearing that there are no standard protocols, if you will, that the public is uniformly made aware of?” (Transcript p.69)
Martin: “No.” (Transcript p.69)

Councilwoman Brown: “There are no protocols, one. And, two, the public is not uniformly made aware of whatever the substance they're getting at the end of the drill?” (Transcript p.69)
Velinsky: “That's correct. And one of the things is that the drillers may say we're putting a chemical in and they give you the trade name, but they don't tell you the specific chemical.” (Transcript p.70)

Near the end of the movie, Sherry sits down with Loren Salsman, a Dimock resident, and they share a glass of water.  A year ago - Jul 25, 2011, EID visited Mr. Salsman and made these videos.   Funny how you never saw or heard the water filtration system humming in Truthland.

For more of what was not mentioned in Truthland - Read:   


  1. nice work

  2. I'm curious - who pays for the cartridges, system maintenance, and for the electricity to run that equipment?