Natural Gas Drilling: What We Don’t Know (USA)

Various technical topics related to science, energy, climate change and coal & gas.

Natural Gas Drilling: What We Don’t Know (USA)

Postby HVPA_research » Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:05 pm

Here is a link to an excellent review about the environmental dangers of the un-natural gas industry in the USA recently published by ProPublica Natural Gas Drilling: What We Don’t Know. All the "what-we-don't-knows" apply equally to the Australian coal seam gas industry, perhaps even more so because it started only recently. In NSW there are practical purposes no regulations that specifically refer to the CSG industry. The following are some examples of the "unknowns":
For example, it remains unclear how far the tiny fissures that radiate through the bedrock from hydraulic fracturing might reach, or whether they can connect underground passageways or open cracks into groundwater aquifers that could allow the chemical solution to escape into drinking water. It is not certain that the chemicals – some, such as benzene, that are known to cause cancer – are adequately contained by either the well structure beneath the earth or by the people, pipelines and trucks that handle it on the surface. And it is unclear how the voluminous waste the process creates can be disposed of safely [3].

Where are the gaps in the environmental science and what will it take to address them?
How will the wastewater be safely disposed of [3]?
Are regulations in place to make sure the gas is extracted as safely as possible [6]?
And are state and federal regulatory agencies equipped to keep up with the pace of drilling?
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