It has been a rough week for the shale industry. Earthquakes have
been tied to a deep wastewater injection well and resulted in, among
other things, demonstrations on the lawn of the Ohio Statehouse. And
residents in rural central New York are organizing door-to-door petition
drives to halt hydraulic fracturing —if not in their state, at least in
Madison and Oneida Counties.
A recently completed study by two Cornell University researchers
indicates the process of hydraulic fracturing deep shale to release
natural gas may be linked to shortened lifespan and reduced or mutated
reproduction in cattle—and maybe humans.
(the colloquial name for hydraulic fracturing), involves drilling a
well about 8,000 feet down, and then up to about 13,000 feet
horizontally. Three to five million gallons of fresh water, specially
formulated sand and up to 250,000 gallons of chemicals, some of them
highly toxic, are poured into the well at great pressure, breaking the
deep shale and releasing the coveted gas.