Comment: Thanks for the interview on fracking in the Livingston paper.  A friend shared it with me. So glad to link up with others concerned about this latest and unashamed assault on our planet.  Energy, yes; responsibility and accountability, yes; destruction, no.  Below is a copy of the comment posted to that article/interview, with all due appreciation and thanks.

“Glad someone is on watch in Montana. I live in South Central Texas in the heart of the Eagle Ford Shale activity, a frantic rush for gas and oil money, where production is a mixture of oil and very toxic gas (wet gas). People are receiving hundreds of thousands and millions, no doubt. Tax money is pouring into county coffers. But at what price?

The mix is stored in batteries of tanks and separators. Toxic gases are vented and burned off (flared) until the required closed loop system can be put in place.  Some people have been hospitalized with toxins in their blood and told to move out of their homes away from the vapors given off or be dead in a year.  Oil is stored and trucked out until enough pipelines can be laid–a spiderweb across the county.  When gas prices are down, none is sold. In hard NE winters, gas prices soar, and gas is sold again. Meanwhile, “dry” (i.e. no mix with oil) gas wells are shut down.  As I understand the current activity, shale formations differ, so methods of production differ. Shale is basically rock; oil and gas are “stored” in it by nature in microscopic form under very high pressure at depths before considered unreachable.

Toxic chemicals and high-pressure pulses called “fracking” release the microscopic content, forcing sand into the rock fractures to hold them open so the chemicals can do their work.  Explosion is not quite the process; “pockets of gas” is not quite the correct description–at least down here. Drilling pipelines and both their concrete and steel casings have been known to rupture anywhere between the surface and the destination levels of shale, spilling regular drilling fluids and the very toxic and “proprietary” or still “trade secret” chemicals into the geology at that point-which can include aquifers and people’s water well sources.  Some are being made public; but a Supreme Court decision still protects those the industry labels “proprietary” and you and I will never know what has entered our water, air or soil until some doctor has to be told what he is expected to diagnose and treat.

The time to test your water is BEFORE company reps show up any testing takes place.  If there is a knock on your door by a landman, test your water before you even answer the door.  It may already be contaminated if testing and/or drilling has taken place. This contaminated state then becomes your “baseline” and in court the oil and gas companies can claim that your water was already contaminated before they got to it.  Because if you did not have it tested before they set foot on yours or your neighbor’s land, you have no argument.  This is like the “thief in the night” about which the Gospel warns. These money-bearing lease signers from the land of “black gold” or “invisible gold” can be like wolves in sheep’s clothing if one is not prepared to recognize the dangers involved.  Some companies may be honest and have a conscience. Some may not. Learn to know the difference.    Cf. Bluedaze Blog by Sharon Wilson in the Barnett Shale around Ft. Worth-Arlington, TX for some things to watch for.

From Sister Elizabeth Riebshlaeger