Would You Like Petroleum on That?

A scary, and disgusting, story on a new concern over fracking is making national headlines. From NBC News:

In the midst of the domestic energy boom, livestock on farms near oil- and gas-drilling operations nationwide have been quietly falling sick and dying. While scientists have yet to isolate cause and effect, many suspect chemicals used in drilling and hydrofracking (or “fracking”) operations are poisoning animals through the air, water or soil…

…In Louisiana, 17 cows died after an hour’s exposure to spilled fracking fluid, which is injected miles underground to crack open and release pockets of natural gas. The most likely cause of death: respiratory failure.

In New Mexico, hair testing of sick cattle that grazed near well pads found petroleum residues in 54 of 56 animals. In northern central Pennsylvania, 140 cattle were exposed to fracking wastewater when an impoundment was breached. Approximately 70 cows died, and the remainder produced only 11 calves, of which three survived.

In western Pennsylvania, an overflowing wastewater pit sent fracking chemicals into a pond and a pasture where pregnant cows grazed: Half their calves were born dead. Dairy operators in shale-gas areas of Colorado, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Texas have also reported the death of goats exposed to fracking chemicals. [Pols emphasis]

Goat’s milk is not a staple of the Pols’ diet, but that’s hitting a bit too close to home.

Fracking has become a growing political issue here in Colorado, most recently with residents in the City of Longmont voting to ban fracking (which conflicts with Colorado law on regulating the oil and gas industry). This year alone has seen multiple studies on potential fracking concerns at virtually every step of the process, and the oil and gas industry has immediately jumped to discredit every one of them.

The difference with this newest report, which originally appeared in The Nation, is that sick animals make for compelling images (the first picture on the NBC story shows a cow with its tail disintegrating). It’s a lot easier to discredit numbers and calculations, but it’s substantially harder to whitewash images such as these.

Anybody want to lay odds on the probability of fracking becoming a big topic in the 2013 legislative session?

35 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Gorky PulviczekG Pulviczek says:

    This is why the Gov’s current, “trust the O+G industry, they know what they are doing” attitude is so wrong.  They clearly don’t know what they are doing, and there is no reason we should trust them.

  2. them cows and sheeps was born to die anyway . . . so what if they wound up going to the school lunch program instead of King Soopers?

    Like the Frackengovernor says . . . “drink ’em if you got ’em, boys”

    Seriously, as for odds on the 2013 legislative session — the Vetolooper’s position is well known. I don’t see anyone in the Democratic leadership with enough of a death wish or vendetta against our publicly popular Governor to allow this to become an embarrassment.  My bet — ain’t gonna’ happen.  (That could change, however, if the Governor becomes a moneywrench in the civil unions machinery.)

  3. DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

    What is that made of?

  4. Meiner49erMeiner49er says:

    “Men Who Frack with Goats”

    Sure to be a cult classic.  Wonder if they’ll be able to get Clooney again?

    But, seriously, as a goat owner, this hits too close to home.  The nearest rig is 20 miles from my home, but for how long (and no, I don’t own the mineral rights to my land).

    Darned well BETTER be a big topic in 2013!

  5. BlueCat says:

    that fracking does harm.  The standard should be proof that it doesn’t because we aren’t going to be able to un-poison ourselves.

    This ought to be a no brainer.  We need a Manhattan Project size investment and commitment to developing a clean renewable energy economy for the 21st century and beyond.  We need to to face the fact that dirty, dangerous, finite sources are a dead end, in every sense of the term, and it’s time to get to the energy equivalent of the moon landing. This is the United States of America. We used to do the  big things and we can do the big things again.

    The Hickenloopers of the world are dead, 100%, no question, wrong on the whole subject. Period.

  6. ClubTwitty says:

    by the Obama administration’s BLM, under a land use plan written in the 1980s.

    This is the reality of the US Dept of Interior.  talk is cheap, actions speak loudly.

    Go here

    http://www.northforkaction.com to find out how you can help, and please sign and share this petition to the President.  


    Protect the North Fork!

    30 Days * Six Actions

    Nov. 20 Action

    Action #2

    EMail the BLM in DC

    and the U.S. Department of Interior

    Urge that both tell the Colorado State Director of BLM to:

    1) Withdraw the North Fork oil and gas leases

    2) Finish revising the land use plan to fully protect the North Fork valley.


    BLM National Director (Acting): Mike Pool


    US Dept of Interior Ass’t Sect. for Lands and Minerals: Marcilynn Burke Marcilynn_Burke@ios.doi.gov


    BLM Colorado State Director:  Helen Hankins Helen_Hankins@BLM.gov

    BLM Colorado Communications: Steven Hall Steven_Hall@BLM.gov

    Ask for a response.

    Nov. 16 Action

    Action #1

    Make 5 phone calls

    Call the BLM Colorado State Director

    Helen Hankins 303-239-3700

    Call our two US Senators’ Grand Junction Offices

    Senator Michael Bennet 970-241-6631

    Senator Mark Udall 970-245-9553

    Call our state Representative and state Senator.

    Representative Millie Hamner 303-866-2952

    Senator Gail Schwartz 303-866-4871

    Urge that the State Director withdraw all the North Fork leases.

    Ask that your elected officials call the state director with that request.

    Tell them that the citizens of the North Fork deserve to have their input considered and the pubic lands need updated, 21st century management that protects our water and way of life.  

    Leave your name and phone number and ask for a call back.  

  7. parsingreality says:

    I thought I’ve heard of fracking using high pressure water for many years.  Am I wrong?

    So, now we have to put nasty chemicals in to get the same or better results?  I’m at a loss to understand why adding chemicals would make a rock strata open up.  “I was holding tight with water only, but damn, those PCB’s just make me split!” Isn’t it the pressure?  

    Even though different companies claim their fluids are proprietary, I presume the possible ingredients lists is all over O&G academia.  

  8. Willard Smitten says:

    Propellants and biocides and gels and lubricants benzene and diesel fuel and guar. And lots and lots and lots of water, taken out of the hydrological cycle…

  9. JFrackenlooper says:

    Like in NM, rather than ‘Red or Green’  in Colorado we could ask:

    “Halliburton or Schlumberger”?  

    I am changing the signs at the crossing…

    “Welcome to FrackFul Colorado (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the CO Oil and gas Assoc).”

    You want ‘Organic’?  Try Clean-Stim ™ instead!  You heard it here first folks…

    You can eat it!  

  10. Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

    The COGCC hearing that was scheduled for Dec. 10th. has been postponed until Jan. 7th., as of this writing. The subjects of the hearings are setbacks from residences and location of water monitoring sources.

    It is imperative the Governor understands that Coloradoans’ care deeply about the long term health of our state. Oil and gas drilling is an industrial activity that is anathema to good health…except for the pocketbooks of a very small minority.

    Make plans to participate in this discussion.    

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