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Ohio Utica Shale

Drilling outpaces scientific studies of fracking, report says

By Bob Downing Published: August 5, 2014

From Bloomberg News:

Bloomberg BNA -- Scientific understanding of the effects of hydraulic fracturing and other methods of extracting natural gas from shale rock has not kept pace with the rapid expansion of the industry in North America, leaving researchers with a limited grasp of what drilling could be doing to wildlife and plants, said a study published July 31.

The study in the peer-reviewed journal “Frontiers in Ecology” involved several U.S. and Canadian conservation biologists and organizations, and was led by British Columbia's Simon Fraser University.

“Biotic Impacts of Energy Development From Shale: Research Priorities and Knowledge Gaps” said shale development can contaminate surface and groundwater, cause localized pollution and ultimately emit greenhouse gases that lead to climate change.

But the study's major conclusion is that more research is needed to understand specific potential environmental dangers of shale gas exploration and cumulative biological affects of rapid shale development in some areas.

Many of the chemicals used in the processes—such as methanol, xylene, naphthalene, hydrochloric acid, toluene, benzene and formaldehyde—are regulated in the U.S. by the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act or the Clean Air Act and have been linked to negative health effects in humans, the study noted.

It said high priority should be placed on research into underground chemical migration related to extraction, and contaminant release during storage, during disposal or from accidents.

 

The study noted that many shale basins, particularly those in the eastern U.S., are in regions of exceptional biological diversity.

The Marcellus Shale in the Appalachian Basin lies beneath one of the country's highest diversity areas for amphibians and freshwater fish, the study said.

And in the U.S. and Europe, shale basins often overlap with areas already experiencing severe threats to freshwater resources, it said.

“In conjunction with other anthropogenic activities, environmental change associated with shale operations may cumulatively affect living organisms in unknown, potentially calamitous, ways,” the study said.

It recommended scientific coordination among researchers, industry and governments.

 

“Our findings are highly relevant to British Columbians given the impetus for developing shale resources in northeastern B.C. and the massive LNG facilities and pipeline infrastructure under development throughout the province,” Simon Fraser University researcher Viorel Popescu said in an Aug. 1 news release.

British Columbia is vigorously pursuing development of a liquefied natural gas.

The province and the Canadian federal government requires disclosure of fracturing fluids.

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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.