March 26th, 2012, 12:13 AM
rural eastern ohio, a change is on the way
Another Viewpoint: Weighing in on the fracking debate
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
0diggsdigg ShareThis5By Steven Corso
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Another Viewpoint is a column The News-Herald makes available so all sides of issues may by aired. Steven Corso lives in Chardon.
I heard from a natural gas industry spokesman that the industry plans to have 300 hydraulic fracture natural gas well pads in Geauga County. This is the county where I live. But even if you do not live here, please read on remembering that the headwaters of the Cuyahoga, Grand and Chagrin rivers are located in my county.
Each well pad could have six or more horizontal drill bores. Let's work with six.
Six times 300 is 1,800 well bores.
Hydraulic fracturing utilizes chemical-laced water and sand at very high pressure to force open cracks in deep shale, where natural gas is locked. The gas flows from these crack into the well bore, which is located over a mile deep. The horizontal portion of the well could extend a mile in length.
The industry has recently been coaxed to make public the chemicals it uses in the process. As it turns out, independent investigation of these chemicals reveals that many of them are toxic to certain organs, carcinogens, mutagens, and/or endocrine disruptors. The industry downplays the risk by pointing out that only 0.5 percent of the solution they pump through the water table into the shale is chemical additive. Back to the math.
To frack one horizontal well bore requires millions of gallons of frack fluid — I've seen estimates ranging from 2 million to 7 million gallons. Let's work with 3 million gallons.
A half percent of 3 million is 15,000 gallons of chemicals!
So if each of the 300 well pads has six horizontal bores and each of those requires 15,000 gallons of chemicals, then that's 27 million gallons of chemicals.
The industry tells us that some portion of the fluid pumped into the shale comes back out and can be reused. Unfortunately, when this water does return, it often contains very high concentrations of salts, heavy metals, and radioactive elements like radium. Continued...
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Nevertheless, some fluid can be pumped back through the water table — so 27 million is probably a high estimate.
The 95.5 percent water used has to come from somewhere. For 300 well pads with six well bores the total amount of water we're talking about approaches 5.4 billion gallons of water. Where's all this water come from? Well, in other gas extraction areas, the water has come from local municipal water supplies, ground water supplies, or has been diverted from local streams and rivers. It has also been trucked in from other places. And don't forget, eventually all this radioactive, carcinogenic, salt water has to be disposed of.
On average, to drill and frack a single well bore requires round-trip deliveries from around 1,000 large, diesel-powered trucks. In Geauga County, there might be (300 x 6 x 1000) 1.8 million truck deliveries around the county over the coming years. At 400 square miles, there should be — on average — one 5+ acre well pad every 1.3 miles in Geauga County.
But Geauga is not unique. The industry wants a similar number of wells in most Ohio counties. In fact, it wants 500,000 such well pads tapping into shale under much of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York and other adjacent states. The industry says this can all be done safely, but some experts have explained how this fluid could migrate up to the water table, or close to it, via faults and other nearby wells; in fact, there's evidence that this has occurred. We're ignoring the inevitable truck traffic accidents and leaks and the mathematical guarantees of air pollution.
Is this the future world we want to inhabit? Do we want to industrialize the American countryside? Would our children trade spring peepers for tanker trucks and generators? Fishing and swimming for community clean-up projects? The smell of cut hay for volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants?
The gas industry and our state and federal governments — under the influence of gas industry money — say this is going to be great for the country and local communities. But who gets to decide the future of rural America?
It seems we locals will decide. We will each "vote" in our own strange and corrupted "democratic" process. The ballot of a "Yea" vote is a signed lease, which is rewarded with the delivery of a handsome check a few weeks later. A "Nay" vote is unaccompanied by financial reward but will still yield, for those who cast it, the big costs that always come with industrialization.
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The following are comments from the readers. In no way do they represent the view of news-herald.com.
Wil Burns wrote on Mar 21, 2012 2:41 AM:
" We get out drinking water at the DEEP SPRINGS TROUT CLUB, located in Chardon, Ohio. (We have for years) Will all this fracking contaminate this spring? "
Justtim wrote on Mar 21, 2012 5:52 AM:
" Oh my God! Were all going to die! "
PVILLE wrote on Mar 21, 2012 10:05 AM:
" Justtim you are correct. We are all going to die. What purpose is served to speed the process up. and contaminate the world for those you leave behind?
This man brings up a point we should pat attention to it. "
Keep reading wrote on Mar 21, 2012 10:37 AM:
" There is an excellent article in Rolling Stone which illustrates the incentive for the fracking industry is not in gas production, but leveraging land leases....so just like the mortgage industry, greedy investors are making big profits speculating. In years to come, Northern Ohio fresh water will be sooo valuable..lets not ruin it. "
Also Very Concerned wrote on Mar 21, 2012 10:55 AM:
" St. Mary's Social Justice Ministry (Painesville) is very concerned about hydraulic fracturing. In their bulletin this past Sunday, they stated that 40-60 thousand pounds of chemicals (93% of which are toxic) go into every well. These chemicals are already showing up in Pennsylvania rivers used for drinking water...and did you know that the federal energy bill that went into effect in August 2005 REMOVED the rights of the EPA to regulate fracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Superfund Act?
The leasing agents of the oil and gas companies involved are aggressively hosting local meetings to entice land owners with large signing bonuses and on-going royalties.
There is a meeting at 6:30pm at Moreley Library in Painesville on Tuesday, March 27. The award winning indepently produced movie titled GASLAND will be shown along with discussion on this topic of serious concern to all of us.
Thanks to the author of this Viewpoint for writing.
Unbridled GREED to the detriment of all including generations to come MUST always be challenged! "
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March 26th, 2012, 12:24 AM
in columbiana county, which is far more rural than geauga county they are going to build a 900 million dollar natural gas procsessing plant that separates the different kinds of oils and gasses that come out of the ground. i know we need the oil and gas but there are going to be some changes in rural eastern ohio and as sportsman i don't think we are going to like it. the NY times had a big article on the energy boom in our part of the country and texas and i'm going to try and copy and paste it in the campfire section. i think the state of ohio can lease our public lands to the gas drilling companies so we need to be informed. i know we need the jobs and i know we need the energy the drilling will provide. and i also know we need to howl like bobcats if they start to screw up the environment.
March 26th, 2012, 12:41 AM
you need to get some of your facts right about fracting. First to put a well they only need about 1 acre of land to do so. There is not much land that would be disrupted. Again these wells are 6000! feet deep. The average water well is only a couple hundred feet deep. There is not a pump big enough to be able to fract all the way to water sources or to the actual source. Its simply impossible. When a well is drilled they then lower the casing and pumped it with cement that fills the inside and out side to completely seal the whole shaft. There are millions of wells in the United States and leaks in this cement are very rare. Stop listening to all these environmentalist and allow this to bring our economy back.
March 26th, 2012, 06:45 AM
I will add that these oil and gas drilling and exploration firms know that with only one or two screwups, they will be halted in their work. The bad publicity will be enormous. So they will be very very careful. There will probably be a few mistakes and accidents, but let us hope they are minor. And I have no problem with some leases being let on public land. Let us start slowly and see how the exploration companies perform on public lands in regards to the environment. Drill, baby, drill!
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April 3rd, 2012, 02:16 PM
Gas well snapshot shows high-producing Ohio wells
Published: Tuesday, April 03, 2012
0diggsdigg ShareThisBy Andrew Welsh-Huggins
COLUMBUS — Natural gas wells using the drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing are producing at a much higher rate than traditional wells, according to the first look at production figures from nine active wells in the Utica Shale formation in eastern Ohio.
Figures reported Monday by Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. show five wells in eastern Ohio producing 2.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas in 2011. The other four wells produced hundreds of barrels of oil but are not in natural gas production yet, according to Chesapeake.
The report, which Chesapeake provided to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, shows one well in Harrison County producing 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas, or 2 percent of the state’s entire natural gas production.
Put another way, that well has 300 times more in daily production than the average well drilled vertically into the ground, said Rick Simmers, chief of ODNR’s Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management.
“The preliminary production for all the wells on the gas side is very high,” Simmers said.
Companies including Chesapeake have drilled 38 other wells that have yet to report production.
Ohio has issued about 150 permits for Utica Shale wells in Ohio. By contrast, the state has about 49,000 traditional gas wells reporting production of about 73 billion cubic feet in 2011.
The figures continue to fuel Chesapeake’s optimism about the formation, spokesman Keith Fuller said in a statement. “The data reported, while promising, is still very limited and only a small part of the information needed to gauge the potential of the entire formation,” he added.
The data reported Monday involves wells drilled using a method dubbed “fracking,” in which thousands of gallons of chemically laced water are blasted into shale deposits, freeing natural gas trapped in the layers of shale.
The natural gas reported Monday includes both “dry” gas that can be distributed almost immediately to gas companies for home and business use, and “wet” gas that includes other proponents such as butane and propane that must be stripped out, Simmers said. Continued...
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Eastern Ohio is in the midst of a natural gas boom as developers seek to capture rights to Utica Shale deposits. Last month, BP announced it had leased 84,000 acres of land in the Utica/Point Pleasant shale formation in northeast Ohio for oil and gas production.
The Utica Shale lies below the Marcellus Shale, where oil companies in Pennsylvania have drilled thousands of wells in search of natural gas and, more recently, oil.
Also last month, Chesapeake announced a $900 million project for gathering, compression and processing of natural gas and natural gas liquids. The project will roll out over five years, with parts of the complex scheduled to begin operations by June 2013.
Decisions by Chesapeake and BP to develop in Ohio come despite a proposal by Republican Gov. John Kasich to hike the taxes that oil and gas drillers pay for extracting the state’s natural resources. Ohio’s oil and gas association has criticized Kasich’s plan as a potential turnoff to drilling activity. The governor wants to use the proceeds to fund a modest statewide income-tax reduction beginning in 2016.
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April 3rd, 2012, 02:28 PM
i might add that since my first post on this subject i have read that ohio has some of the toughest environmental laws in the nation when it comes to drilling for gas and oil. that is a relief. we can eventually run our cars on natural gas, you can buy one from honda that does and there are cities in this country that run there garbage trucks and busses on natural gas. shutting down some of the older coal fired power plants and replacing them with power plants that run on natural gas would also make good use of it. it looks like a big deal for the residents of this state. as long as they do it in a responsible manner and don't trash the enviroment it is a huge win for this state.
April 3rd, 2012, 11:13 PM
They will and do have some really strict rules they have to follow, remember they don't want to destroy our land for those wells will last around 30 year's and they can use the same well after it's done and drill the opposite direction up to 6 times that is potentially 180 year's that that well will produce gas, oil etc...
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April 4th, 2012, 12:23 PM
Another Viewpoint: Auburn trustees need info on fracking rules
Published: Wednesday, April 04, 2012
0diggsdigg ShareThisBy Diane J. Jones
Another Viewpoint is a column The News-Herald makes available so all sides of issues may by aired. Diane J. Jones lives in Auburn Township.
Ohio Revised Code 505.11 reads "...the board of township trustees may lease township real property to any person upon terms agreed upon by the board and the lessee. Any consideration received from the lease shall be payable, as prescribed in the lease, to the township fiscal officer, who shall give a receipt for the amount received and deposit it in the township general fund ... The board of trustees may execute .leases to mine iron ore, stone, coal, petroleum, gas, and other minerals upon lands owned by the township."
According to a recent TV news broadcast from Channel 21 in Youngstown, Poland Township in nearby Mahoning County has already executed such a lease for gas drilling on township owned lands. Because ORC 307.11 grants the same privilege to elected county officials, Columbiana County recently received over $625,000 for signing a gas-drilling lease. Likewise, the same right applies to state-owned lands in ORC 1505.07 and 1520.02 and to lands owned by boards of education in ORC 3313.45.
In light of such information, should ever-increasing numbers of Geauga County residents be concerned with the ballooning number of leases within Geauga County?
Should they be concerned with the increasing use of hydro fracturing to maximize gas production from Utica and Marcellus shales? Is it significant that victims who report the contamination of pristine drinking water from fracking on videos at facebook.com/StopFrackingOhio are as nearby as Medina and Shalersville? Could this latest financial bubble of leasing mineral rights spell irreparable harm for Geauga County residents?
At the March 19 Auburn Township meeting, Trustees Cavanagh, Eberly and Troyan had a splendid opportunity to gain trust and respect. Tracy Fee and Linda Zmek, two Auburn members of Network for Oil and Gas Accountability and Protection, returned after first addressing the trustees in early September 2011.
When Linda Zmek asked, "What have you done (regarding fracking)?" the trustees stared in silence. She asked Eberly, "Do you think (Auburn Township residents) want to drink contaminated water?" His silence became defensiveness: "If you were a true believer," he admonished Zmek, " you wouldn't be using petroleum products." A red-faced Cavanagh, emboldened by his "little research," lumped drilling, solar panel, biomass and wind turbines together because, he asserted, they all require subsidies to survive.
In the end, trustees blamed the Ohio Legislature and Ohio Revised Code for their powerlessness to do anything to protect Auburn's drinking water from the effects of fracking. The trustees did not mention ORC 505.11, which clearly gives them the power to lease to drillers if they so choose but does not mandate such action.
Had the trustees offered the olive branch of cooperation with a resolution to prevent hydraulic fracking on the 100-plus acres of township-owned land, they would have earned a well-deserved sigh of relief from the audience, whose members came from several townships in Geauga County.
Unfortunately, negative trustee response to the concerns voiced by NEOGAP resulted in audience members' disappointment in the "powerless" Auburn Township trustees. Certainly the visible annoyance of at least two of these trustees has raised a huge question about their integrity: How will the trustees now convince residents that they won't lease the mineral rights beneath township owned parcels for cash on the barrelhead? Powerless? indeed.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxx my mother and my 2 uncles grew up on a farm in southern ashtabula county. my 1 uncle and a few members of the family still live on part of it. growing up she said the well water they had was the best you could have, it was perfect. in the 1960's they drilled for natural gas on the property and they have had free heat out there ever since. it also ruined the taste of the well water. after reading how columbiana county has recieved 625,000 dollars from the natural gas bonanza nothing is going to stop the drilling for gas in this state. if there are flames shooting out of hundreds of taps in people's kitchens and farm ponds start catching on fire that might slow it down some. other then that it's here to stay. i'll continue to copy and paste what i consider interesting and we will see how it pans out. i'm really hoping for the best.
April 12th, 2012, 09:09 PM
I have a Marcellus Shale well about 1/4 mile from my house. Aside from a few inconveniences, I've had no issues whatsoever. Without doubt, the single best thing that's ever happened to this area.
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April 28th, 2012, 05:20 PM
on the front page of todays cleveland plain dealer there is a article about the leader of the amish men who are in jail over cutting other amish men's beards because they are not toeing the line or for what ever reason. to be honest i don't know why they are doing it and don't give a damn. the point of the article was that they want the leader to start paying for his lawyers instead of using public defenders because he has recieved 2 million dollars ($2,000,000) for the oil and gas rights to his 800 acre farm in jefferson county. two million!!!!!! who's going to be the first on there block driving that car made by honda that runs on natural gas? i wonder if he's going to move to Beverly Hills? where's granny and jethro? Jed's in the big house!! wouldn't that be a pisser. you get a check for 2 million for a farm that you will still own and your in the county jail for cutting beards. i'll bet the kids want to shoot the horse, burn the buggy and head for the bright lights, big city!