The Norman Transcript

Business

October 14, 2012

GAO report delivers mixed message on gas drilling

NORMAN — Shale gas and oil drilling pose environmental and public health risks, but the extent of those risks is unknown, the Congressional Government Accountability Office says in new study.

The GAO, an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress, reviewed existing scientific reports on shale drilling, and spoke to state regulators, industry experts and environmental groups.

Regulators from Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas said state investigations found that the part of the drilling process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has not been identified as a cause of groundwater contamination, the report notes.

Travis Windle, a spokesman for the industry group the Marcellus Shale Coalition, suggested that the GAO report, “like so many other independent reports, determines that hydraulic fracturing is safe and that this critical, tightly-regulated technology has never impacted groundwater.”

But the GAO also noted that, according to studies and publications, “underground migration of gases and chemicals poses a risk of contamination to water quality.” For example, the GAO said that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources found in 2008 that a gas well with a faulty seal allowed natural gas to build up and migrate into the local aquifer, infiltrating drinking water wells.

George Jugovic, president of the Pennsylvania environmental group PennFuture, said he doesn’t think the public cares which specific part of the drilling process poses a threat to health or the environment.

“I don’t think it serves the industry well to shy away from what is a legitimate public concern,” Jugovic said, noting that every industrial process has some risk. The question is what risk people are willing to live with, he added.

Hydraulic fracturing has made it possible to tap into deep reserves of oil and gas but has also raised concerns about pollution. Large volumes of water, along with sand and hazardous chemicals, are injected underground to break rock apart and free the oil and gas.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Business
  • Tunneling your way through the Internet

    Surfing” the Internet used to be a popular pastime. You hopped on your computer surfboard and rode the waves of the Internet, randomly surfing and exploring from one website to the next....

    August 1, 2014

  • Ideal Homes to dedicate Oklahoma’s first Home for HOPE

    Ideal Homes dedicated the company’s first Home for HOPE on Wednesday at 13209 SW 5th in Yukon....

    July 27, 2014

  • Todd Lamb to keynote luncheon

    Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb will provide the keynote address at the Norman Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legislative Lunch at 11:45 a.m. Aug. 6 at the National Weather Center. Lamb will speak on state issues that may impact local business and ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Builders Association of South Central Oklahoma learns about storm water proposal

    The Builders Association of South Central Oklahoma invited Norman Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary to talk about the new storm water fee proposal at its luncheon Thursday....

    July 27, 2014

  • Backing up everything, everywhere, not as easy as it should be

    Though we may wish or believe otherwise, computing devices are still somewhat of a hassle to use. Some devices, like Apple’s iPad, come close to being fully realized machines, but even iPads have their clunky side....

    July 27, 2014

  • Is using E10 or ‘pure’ gasoline more economical?

    An analysis by AAA Oklahoma shows that at today’s prices, E10 motor fuel is cheaper to use than 100 percent gasoline, despite the fewer miles per gallon produced by E10, which is a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline....

    July 27, 2014

  • Appellate judge retiring

    The Honorable Charles A. Johnson retired from the Court of Criminal Appeals after 25 years on the bench. Johnson was appointed to the court on Oct. 31, 1989, by Gov. Henry Bellmon to fill the unexpired term of Hez J. Bussey. After 59 ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Candy Basket celebrates 25 years

    Perhaps it’s the chocolate covered blueberries whose deliciousness still lingers. Or maybe it’s the blood orange and wild honey white chocolate ganache that won’t soon be forgotten by your taste buds. At The Candy Basket there is decadence ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Bramlett & Associates adopts new name reflective of business

    Bramlett & Associates Multimedia LLC (Bramlett Multimedia), 215 W. Main St., announced this month that the company will change its name after 12 years in business and will do business as BOLD-Multimedia. The announcement, made first to ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Toothpick holders convention coming to Norman

    Lynne Ryan has been collecting toothpick holders her entire life. “My parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.L. ‘Bud’ Gibbs started our collection in 1936,” Ryan said. Ryan was born in 1940, and she grew up crawling around toothpick holders, as have ...

    July 20, 2014