Printed letters, January 1, 2014

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Kudos To Mr.Diemoz.

I’ve personally worked in the Ft. Worth / Cleburne TX area doing completions. There were drilling rigs and well pads right in the city. I never saw any protests and people went on about their business and co-existed just fine with energy operations. They were well aware of the benefits of having energy jobs boosting their economy.

Thanks to Floyd Diemoz (“Plenty of evidence of fracking’s safety”) for jump-starting the New Year by renewing the ever-timely debate over the oil and gas industry’s expanding reliance on “hydraulic fracturing” (“fracking”) – particularly in Colorado.  In so doing, however, Diemoz raises more questions that he answers.  Thus:

First, Diemoz doesn’t directly refute Patagonia CEO Casey Sheehan’s published factual assertions that:

One fracking well uses an average of 2 million to 8 million gallons of water and 10,000 to 40,000 gallons of chemicals.  The water used is contaminated forever.

or that:

Sixty percent of those chemicals can harm the brain and nervous system, 40 percent are known endocrine disrupters, 30 percent are suspected carcinogens, 30 percent are developmental toxicants.

Rather, second, Diemoz points only to the long history of “fracking” – falsely suggesting that “fracking” today is essentially identical to “fracking” 50 years ago, and thus begging all the serious questions about the safety of current “fracking” technology and chemicals.

Third, by asserting that “hardly any negative health effects” on health were “confirmed” in a Texas study, Diemoz admits that the industry’s mantra-like insistence that no such effects have ever been “proven” is transparently dubious.

Fourth, contrary to Diemoz’s assertion, Sheehan is not predicting an “Armageddon of illness and disease” inflicted by “fracking”, but rather an insidiously unseen and gradual contamination of water supplies, human cells, and reproductive organs. 

Fifth, by insisting that “plenty of evidence” establishes that “fracking” is “safe” (at least, mostly), Diemoz effectively refutes the rationale underlying the “Halliburton Loopholes” – which exempt “fracking” from the EPA’s investigatory and regulatory authority under the Safe Drinking Water, Clean Water, and Clean Air Acts.  Why?

Thus, Diemoz should be more worried about Fort Worth and his progeny than about whether Colorado localities can decide for themselves what risks with “fracking” they are willing to take.

Halliburton and other fracking companies who developed a proprietary formula or procedure have every right to protection of their intellectual property, and should not be required to disclose it without their consent.


The need for “trade secret” protection of the manufacturers’ “proprietary formulations” of fracking fluids (“intellectual property”) is substantially overblown.

According to an industry insider, every company that manufactures fracking fluids (and probably the Russians and Chinese,as well)can and do readily “reverse engineer” any competitors’ products they encounter.

What is really being protected are the pet
“additives” injected at the wellhead (like diesel oil) which are not technically a component of the “fracking fluid” itself.

Meanwhile, entirely benign “fracking fluids” are already available (albeit more costly) and must be used in any offshore fracking.


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