Think About It – Cement Won’t Last Forever

Energy From Shale is yet another generic new front group created by America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) to advertise the illusion that the highly polluting process of shale gas production is really shiny, clean and green. They recently launched their first PR effort, asking us to “Think About It.” Believe me, ANGA, I have.

Even when done correctly, fracking cannot be done safely. 


All cement wellbore seals, every last one of them, will fail over time. Cement simply doesn’t last forever. Steel can crack. Even if drillers get everything exactly right the first time, cement will become porous due to heat and pressure. Earthquakes, whether caused by nature or deep waste injection wells, hold the potential to damage seals. In about 50-60 years tops, according to gas industry estimates, most wellbore seals will fail, eventually enabling pathways for fluids and gases to communicate  with aquifers, geological formations or the environment.

Image Credit: George E. King Engineering, March, 2009

This is an aspect of the drilling issue that simply cannot be ignored. When it comes to the future security of our drinking water supplies, this is the crux of it.

Now, It’s About Gas. Ultimately, It’s About Water.

It’s not roulette. It’s a certainty,” Gasland II filmmaker and citizen of the United States, Josh Fox, recently said on HBO’s Real Time With Bill MaherThis is a problem the gas industry can’t fix.”

Headless Fed: EPA Punts Fracking Study

The good news is, drillers have the technology to reseal and replug failed wellbores. The bad news is, they have to do it fairly often. More than 5% of wellbore seals fail immediately.   

Presently, no company is required to bond their wells far into the future. Drillers in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania also tend to encounter 100,000 or so unregistered, orphaned conventional gas wells, which poses another threat to our water supplies. Funding to locate Pennsylvania’s orphaned wells has been, you guessed it, drastically cut. Future generations will have no one to thank but today’s gas drillers, complicit politicians and a shocked populace for this new legacy of fresh water pollution.

Unfortunately, ‘Frack’ Obama’s campaign promise to tackle climate change is at serious odds with the actions of his frack-friendly administration. Based upon his appointees and their policies, Obama is clearly keen on his domestic shale gas cash cow. Now, he appears to have borrowed a page from the O&G playbook, running out the clock rather than winning arguments based on any peer-reviewed science or widely available data. And here I thought it was a republican War On Science.

Fed: Fracking Study Won’t Be Done Until 2016, Associated Press via Press Connects, June 19, 2013

EPA Pushes Back Fracking Impact Study to 2016, Trisha Marczak, Mint Press News via EcoWatch, June 21, 2013

Playing Politics With Pavillion, Wyoming 

EPA Refuses To Finalize Study Blaming Fracking For Water Pollution, June 21, 2013 

“The US Environmental Protection Agency has dropped its plans to further investigate whether or not fracking led to the contamination of a Wyoming aquifer, and the agency no longer plans to write a report on the matter.”

So I’ve been thinking about it, and here’s my new slogan for Energy From Shale:  America Deserves Better!

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One Response to “Think About It – Cement Won’t Last Forever”

  1. Kim Triolo Feil Says:

    reality is real when it happens to you…when it happens its too late

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