The Natural Gas Industry wants to
begin drilling in
and aquifer contamination?
initial gas well drilling, existing water in nearby water wells can be
temporarily lost as the drilling goes down through the aquifer into
the layers below. The potable water aquifer can be contaminated with
bad water from a layer lower down. Gas well bore casing cementing may
also be defective or not be complete throughout the length of the
well, depending on its installation and the ground formation, and this
could allow mixing of potable and bad water, and possibly bacteria
from other sources as well as underground toxics. On the surface,
in-ground waste-storage/evaporation pit liners may leak; these pits
could also overflow in a storm. If well stimulation or fracturing
(fracking) of gas/oil-bearing strata is allowed, whether on a vertical
or a horizontally-drilled well, pressure-cracking can sometimes reach
into other strata and cause water contamination by fracking fluid
and/or methane migration. Many commonly used fracking fluid chemicals
are known to be toxic to humans and wildlife, and several are known to
cause cancer. These include petroleum distillates such as kerosene
and diesel fuel (which contain benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene,
naphthalene and other chemicals); polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons;
methanol; formaldehyde; ethylene glycol; glycol ethers; hydrochloric
acid; and sodium hydroxide. Very small quantities of such chemicals
are capable of contaminating millions of gallons of water. Though
some hydraulic fracturing fluids contain chemicals deemed to be
"hazardous wastes" even when diluted to parts per billion, these
substances are being injected into wells that could affect underground
sources of drinking water. Spills of fracturing chemicals and wastes
during transportation, fracturing operations, and waste disposal have
contaminated soil and surface waters in other areas, adding to
short-term as well as possible long-term negative consequences for
underground sources of drinking water.
In many oil
and gas producing regions, there has been a degradation of air quality
as drilling increases. These volatile air toxics (often odorless) may
be originating from a variety of gas-field sources such as separators,
dehydrators, condensers, compressors, chemical spills, leaking pipes
and valves, and flame flaring of uncaptured gas. Emissions are also
released when chemical-laden wastewater used in drilling returns to
the surface, and when naturally occurring toxics such as methane and
radon are released from underground. This wastewater often goes into
open pits, where it will off-gas its organic compounds into the air.
This contributes to the air pollution problem, and the organic
compounds are now termed Hazardous Air Pollutants. In addition, the
emissions from and dust raised by the hundreds of additional large
work trucks driving in and around our county will only worsen the air
well is being drilled there will be multiple weeks of pounding and
noise for each well. Increased traffic noise of large truck
transportation, and from other on-site equipment, will continue as
wells are productive. Ongoing noises from well head equipment and
permanent lighting pollution will also
affect people and animals nearby.
*increased road use
by large trucks?
well may need hundreds of large work trucks to service it from the
beginning to the end of its productive life – a span no one can know
for sure. The increased road use in our county will potentially lead
to more traffic collisions, road and bridge damage, and accidents
causing spills of hazardous materials, which will also put extra
stress on our first responders (law enforcement, firefighters and
*an industrial vs.
county’s “Gem Community Comprehensive Plan” calls for our agricultural
atmosphere to continue into the future. This is why it is important
for our local planning and zoning commission to have the final say
over the gas and oil industry here in our county so that we do not
become an industrial zone.
*decreased property values?
People may not be able to leave the area
because their assessed property values decline. Properties with drill
sites have to find a buyer willing to take on a drill site and the
lease. For those properties that have their well water (aquifer)
contaminated, finding a new buyer may be impossible. The industry and
royalties are dependent upon the unpredictable price of gas, so this
makes the real estate market volatile, and it is difficult for the
county, schools, and private stakeholders to plan from year to year.
Local tourism could be negatively affected as well. Man-made
earthquakes are now becoming more common due to fracking. We must
safeguard our county's infrastructure, including Black Canyon Dam, and
all property owners against any potential disasters.
For all of these
concerns, and more, it is imperative that Gem County has a far-sighted and
effectual Gas & Oil Well Ordinance to protect our People.
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