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Letters to the Editor
 

A fracking mischaracterization


February 11th, 2010

In his Feb. 3 letter ("Mother Nature in fracturing business"), Mickey McVay states that I am not reporting facts in letters to Oklahoma Gazette concerning horizontal drilling/hydraulic fracturing (fra...

In his Feb. 3 letter ("Mother Nature in fracturing business"), Mickey McVay states that I am not reporting facts in letters to Oklahoma Gazette concerning horizontal drilling/hydraulic fracturing (fracking) used to recover natural gas from underground shale.

McVay made his living in part by selling fracking chemicals, and this places McVay in a knowledgeable but also possibly biased position to comment on this topic. He contests my statements that chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing are toxic, and uses as examples water and other agents which we all know are not toxic. He then minimizes the use of the really toxic stuff by stating they are only used occasionally and/or are inert.

I don't know if McVay is familiar with horizontal drilling, but a major toxic chemical mixture he did not talk about was diesel fuels, which are routinely used to allow, among other things, the fracking mixture which contains large amounts of sand to better flow into the well cracks.
McVay criticizes my information sources, including The Wall Street Journal as "elitist petroleum experts."

The WSJ is arguably the most respected conservative newspaper in the country, and I urge McVay and others to read the well-balanced article I referred to, "Tactic Unleashes a Trove of Natural Gas " and a Backlash" in the Business section of the Jan. 21 paper. The article did not mention gas companies paying off complainants just to get rid of them as stated by McVay. The article did mention that Aubrey McClendon, CEO and chairman of Chesapeake Energy, said it is only natural for those not familiar with natural gas operations to have questions about this procedure.

The EPA has questions as they are continuing their investigations into this procedure, again contrary to assertions by McVay. And if this procedure is completely safe, why did it receive a special exclusion from the Safe Drinking Water Act in the 2005 federal energy bill? Interestingly, the use of diesel fuels was not formally excluded in 2005, but a mechanism was then put in place to allow gas companies to continue to use this toxic material in their fracking.

I urge those involved in natural gas to honestly address the public about all the benefits, as well as all the problems, and concentrate on making these procedures as safe as humanly possible.
And not to simply dismiss individuals asking the questions as "ilk" or "elitist petroleum" critics.
"Jay Hanas
Edmond
 
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