A Letter to Governor Sandoval

— originally drafted by Christian Gerlach and edited by Vickie Rock

Dear Governor Brian Sandoval,

Can you please explain why the Nevada Division of Water Resources has denied new water wells to farmers and ranchers due to drought in northern Nevada, yet that same Division has approved permits for oil companies like Noble Energy, a corporation that plans to use millions of gallons of our ground water to hydraulically fracture in a known seismic zone?

Farmers and ranchers actually return something of value to humanity.  Frackers, on the other hand, infuse our limited water resources with hundreds of nasty chemicals, including known carcinogens like benzene and glycol-ethers (precursors to plastics).  In that process, the water consumed by frackers is rendered unusable, except for more fracking.

Governor, you are allowing state agencies, that are supposed to protect our citizenry and natural resources, to disregard measures that ensure the public’s safety. SB390, as passed, makes it such that companies like Noble Energy can literally frack Nevadans, without any fear of recourse for any misdeeds or damage the create environmentally or ecologically.

The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is being paid by Noble Energy to do studies on the areas that are going to be fracked.  And, according to the Nevada Division of Minerals, the results of DRI’s study can be kept confidential at the request of Noble Energy for potentially, an undisclosed amount of time. Studies are NOT being done independently of Noble Energy, and the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection won’t be required until 2015 to come out with its own study of fracking’s impact.  How is this not a conflict of interest? Something that puts people’s livelihoods on the line? The people of rural Nevada don’t have the luxury of LakeTahoe or LakeMead. Northern Nevadans have water wells that could easily be poisoned through fracking processes.

On March 13th 2013,  KNPR’s State of Nevada had Rayola Dougher, a senior economic adviser for the American Petroleum Institute, as a guest. She misled KNPR’s listeners as to the safety of fracking.  Ms. Dougher failed to mention that the process is exempt from seven major federal regulations:

Really?  Please explain how SB390 which you signed into law will protect our municipal water supplies.  I’d love to hear or read that explanation.

Another fact, which was taken offline by Nevada Public Radio (@KNPR), is that a man by the name of David Focardi commented about the interview.  Mr. Focardi commented that he had worked on oil rigs in Nevada and that there was fresh water up to 14,000 feet deep. I reached out to Mr. Focardi, but he has yet to answer any of my correspondence.

According to Mr. Lowell Price of the Nevada Division of Minerals, fracking would take place in the 7000 to 9000 foot depth range.  And while our ground water aquifers may be at depths of say 14,000 feet, our “ground” is riddled with fault lines. Those fault lines mean that there may not be an impervious layer of rock between where hydraulic fracturing is proposed to take place and the actual aquifer feeding our communities with drinking water.  Those fault lines may also provide connections between subterraneous channels and the different aquifers of water supporting our communities.  Once that water is contaminated, what happens to our communities.  The only good that may come from fracking, if you really can call that “good” — is that I guess that would mean you won’t be grabbing any of that water from contaminated northern Nevada aquifers for use in Las Vegas and its suburbs.  But then, that’s a whole different letter for another day.

Fracking processes require thousands of gallons of water-laden frack fluid PER MINUTE pumped under high pressures into deep horizontally drilled oil/gas wells.  Frack fluid could be released through a fault line or a fracture created by fracking into municipal ground water. When I spoke to someone at the Desert Research Institute they said that a geological study is being done and any “study” would remain the proprietary information of Noble Energy.  So, even if Noble Energy or the Desert Research Institute found fault lines they won’t be required to tell anyone about it.  Reliance on secret and proprietary studies conducted by organizations that would have significant incentive to conceal any information that might have an adverse effect on approval, is tantamount to malfeasance in governance on your part.

I realize that if Noble Energy had to release information as to where the oil is, that could allow other oil companies to come in and undercut Noble Energy.  But there needs to be a work-around to ensure our water resources are not placed at risk.  The risk to human health and life should matter more than any sum of profit for a single corporation.

So I ask you Governor why frack with us or allow others to do so? There is already oil drilling in Nevada done without Fracking. Why must we frack? I say bring oil jobs to Nevada if you must, but don’t frack!  Now the reason I post this is because of what you promote, Governor Sandoval.  You keep saying it’s about jobs and that Hydraulic Fracturing would bring jobs to Nevada. The truth is, these jobs won’t be widespread nor will they sustainable lest there are thousands of oil/frack wells, like there are in Texas or North Dakota.  But, Mr. Governor, we do NOT have the water resources to make that happen.  And what water we do have, won’t be usable for human consumption once Frackers are done with it.  So. Mr. Governor, when all is said and done, what jobs you create would be for naught, as without drinkable water, Nevadans will no longer be able to live anywhere near the wastelands created by the Frackers.

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Save Nevada’s Water —Ban Fracking in Nevada

TO: NEVADA’S GOVERNOR, NEVADA BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, AND NEVADA DIVISION OF MINERALS

Pass Legislation in the state of Nevada banning the practice of hydraulic fracturing in the extraction of natural gas and oil, and/or convince the administrators within The Nevada Bureau of Land Management and Nevada Division of Minerals with the power to stop the gas and oil companies from fracking Nevada and deny further permits to Noble Energy and others whom seek permits for similar purposes. But Don’t just wait for the Petition, give the powers that be a piece of your mind.

  • Call Governor Brian Sandoval at (702) 486-2500 and Phone: (775) 684-5670
  • Call The Nevada Division of Minerals Mr. Lowell Price or Alan Coyner (775) 684-7040
  • The Desert Research Institute (775) 673-7300
  • The Nevada Department Of Environmental Protection Mr. Alan Tinney (775) 687-9433

Why is this important?

Hydraulic Fracturing is the process by which thousands of gallons of water per minute and various chemicals including known carcinogens are injected underground at high pressures to break up rock to release natural gas and oil for extraction. This process is not the only way the gas and oil companies drill for gas and oil. It is just that this process releases more oil and natural gas in theory. The EPA website explains the process and has a subsequent link to an interactive presentation explaining the process in detail presented by National Geographic.

The problem is that this water after having been infused with the chemicals often gets into the water table and poisons the water. Furthermore hydraulic fracturing is exempt from the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and any oversight from government agencies because The 2005 Energy Act and the Halliburton Loophole.

(ENERGY POLICY ACT OF 2005. Go to Page 102, Section 322. HYDRAULIC FRACTURING. SEC. 322. HYDRAULIC FRACTURING. Paragraph (1) of section 1421(d) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300h(d)) is amended to read as follows:

(1) UNDERGROUND INJECTION. The term underground injection

(A) means the subsurface emplacement of fluids by well injection; and

(B) EXCLUDES

(i) the underground injection of natural gas for purposes of storage; and

(ii) the underground injection of fluids or propping agents (other than diesel fuels) pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities.)

In England hydraulic fracturing has been linked to causing earth quakes by changing underground topography and resulting subterranean settling. In Oklahoma the state is investigating the link between hydraulic fracturing and earthquakes.

The problem has gotten so bad, that in some areas that get their water from wells, the wells themselves end up venting natural gas resulting in flammable water well heads and flammable gas build up in plumbing systems. In Wyoming hydraulic fracturing has poisoned ranchers water to the point to which one can fill up a trough and take a blow torch to the surface of it and form plastics from all the chemicals infused with the water.

Water is the most precious resource in the desert! The gas and oil companies plan on starting hydraulic fracturing in the state of Nevada. Proposed counties include Southern Clark, Nye, and Elko.

This could cripple our tourism industry too. There are assertions we lost a lot of visitors just with the talk of possible ground water contamination from the Yucca mountain project, so can you imagine what this could do to our state? Not to mention what could happen to the ranchers in northern Nevada, their waters, and industries. We need help getting the campaign off the ground. We need volunteers to collect signatures. We need to spread the word about the dangers of hydraulic fracturing. And we need to ban hydraulic fracturing in Nevada!

Sign-the-Petition-gold.fw

REFERENCES

Ban Fracking in Nevada

— by Christian Gerlach

I started my own campaign on CREDO’s new site that allows activists to start their own petitions.

My petition, which is to the Nevada Legislature and Governor Sandoval, asks the following:

Please pass an amendment to the Nevada state constitution banning the practice of hydraulic fracturing in the state of Nevada.

Hydraulic fracturing is the process by which water and various chemicals, including known carcinogens, are injected underground at high pressur to break up rock to release natural gas and oil for extraction.

The problem is that this water, after having been infused with the chemicals, often gets into the water table and poisons the water. Furthermore, hydraulic fracturing is exempt from the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and any oversight from government agencies because of the 2005 Energy Policy Act and its “Halliburton loophole,” which excludes fracking companies (like Halliburton) from regulation.

Water is our most precious resource in the desert! We need to spread the word about the dangers of hydraulic fracturing in order to ban hydraulic fracturing in Nevada!

Click here to learn more and add your name to my petition to ban fracking in Nevada.