Afraid of Fracking?

Not Fracking is What We Should Fear!

Greg Kozera

Recently I got a call from some college students in the northern panhandle. They asked, “Can you tell us about fracking?” “Sure.” I responded. “But why do you want to know?” “They are going to frack under our college and we’re scared.” They answered.

“So what about all this stuff I hear about fracking?” my cousin from Pittsburgh, JoAnn asked recently. I was surprised. I didn’t even think she knew that there were any oil or gas wells in Pennsylvania. So I did what I do to everyone. I told her the truth. She was fine after I explained the process to her. “Did you sign the lease?” I asked. “No. We were afraid.” She responded. Too late now since the City of Pittsburgh has banned drilling.

The public has a lot of fear of hydraulic fracturing due to all of the misinformation they hear about it. We tend to fear what we don’t understand. I don’t fear hydraulic fracturing or fracking as some call the process because I have been involved with it for over 35 years and I understand the science and engineering of it. I know that we have been fracturing wells for over 65 years. Fracturing is as old as television. Over 1 million wells in the United States have been fractured. I also know that fracturing CANNOT contaminate groundwater or cause earthquakes or do many of the other bad things people believe.

My greatest fear is NOT FRACTURING by putting unreasonable regulations on the process. YOU should fear this too.

I fear dark hot nights in the summer and cold dark nights in the winter. Were you without power after the June 24th storm? We were out for three days. I have friends that were out for as long as eight days. We didn’t even have ice to put in our water or soda. I thought, “This is what it would be like if coal, natural gas and oil weren’t available.” We couldn’t even run generators much less our computers, televisions or refrigerators.

I fear depending on Russia and Iran for our energy because that is where much of our oil and natural gas would have to come from. Over 90% of the wells in this country require hydraulic fracturing. No fracking means no domestic oil and gas industry. Since the EPA has coal on the ropes this means we would be at the mercy of foreign powers for our energy. This energy would not be cheap. We would no longer be free to determine our future or even defend ourselves. That is how we beat Germany in WWII.

I fear more of our brave soldiers dying or being maimed in the Mideast protecting our oil supply. My son is on his third tour in the Mideast. Do you really think we would be in the Mideast if we didn’t need the oil? By using our abundant natural gas resources for transportation we can eliminate the need for OPEC oil. That is the best plan I have heard for bringing our kids home.

I fear senior citizens like my 90 year old mother not having electricity or natural gas that they can afford. The average natural gas bill fell by over $1,000 last year thanks to the abundance of natural gas due to fracturing. Quite a stimulus.

The good news is that obesity would no longer be a problem. We couldn’t afford to drive our cars so we would have to walk or bicycle. We would eat less because high energy costs will make food more expensive. Personally I prefer to exercise.

I am an optimist and I am also an engineer. I know that wind and solar at best couldn’t even meet 10% of our energy needs. My grandson knows that! He said, “Grandpa, how do those windmills make electricity when they aren’t turning?” Good question. Don’t expect wind and solar to come to the rescue.

I fear a polluted planet. Not just because natural gas is clean but we know that Russia, Iran and Nigeria don’t have any significant environmental regulations. We are spaceship earth. But we will keep warm in West Virginia. We have lots of trees we can burn.

I fear a devastated economy with hundreds of thousands MORE people unemployed. This would not only be oil and gas people but also those industries that support them like the steel industry, sand, gravel, railroads, tires, parts, engineers, attorneys, coveralls, auto makers and other equipment makers to name just a few. Do you get the picture? Government would have to pay these people since they would be unemployed instead of collecting taxes from them.

I don’t fear hydraulic fracturing because I understand that water doesn’t run up hill. It’s called gravity. Hydraulic fracturing is done at thousands of feet below the surface. How do you feel about running up a 5,000 foot mountain? A water molecule doesn’t like it either especially if it has to go through rock. Water likes to stay at the same depth it is at or flow deeper. Water CANNOT go UP thousands of feet through rock to reach our groundwater.

I fear all of the HOME water wells in the same aquifer as I get my water from. These wells are unregulated. The casing isn’t cemented. Surface contaminants or fluids from septic systems can flow down these wells to our drinking water and people worry about gas wells???

When a natural gas well is drilled there are 4 pipes that protect our ground water and are cemented in the ground. The process is regulated and inspected.

We always hear about those dangerous fracking chemicals. The reality is that the chemicals we add to our drinking water to purify it are more dangerous.

This country has had millions of earthquakes since we started keeping records in 1900. Now suddenly they are caused by fracturing. I don’t think so. The State of Virginia did a study in 1990s that proved fracturing doesn’t cause earthquakes.

The natural gas industry knows a lot about the hydraulic fractures we create. We know that a hydraulic fracture is a crack about a 1/8 inch to ¼ inch wide. They extend several hundred feet in two directions from the well bore and they extend upward a few hundred feet at most. We KNOW this from observation. We have been fracturing coal in mines to remove the methane before the miners get there. Unfortunately not all mines do this but mines that do have had no fatalities from methane explosions. The miners and engineers observe these created fractures. We have also observed hydraulic fractures on downhole video cameras.

If you would like to know more about hydraulic fracturing or fracking a new book is available that explains the hydraulic fracturing process, the importance of it to our country and why it is done in a way that the average non natural gas and oil person can understand. Check out Just the Fracks Ma’am at www.justthefracksbook.com


Greg Kozera is the President of Learned Leadership LLC. He is the author of 3 books and numerous technical papers and articles. He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering. Greg has over 35 years of experience working in the natural gas and oil industry. He can be reached at gkozera@aol.com.

© 2012 Greg Kozera


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