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[copy for Ithaca Test Group] Fluids From Marcellus Shale Likely Seeping Into PA Drinking Water

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[Note: Solely for the purpose of this "mashup" demo document, NowComment staff added several images the article linked to to the bottom of the page, deleted a few links, and made the video more prominent. Similarly, comments don't reflect any expertise or policy preferences about fracking.]

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Jul 10
Dan Doernberg

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(Jul 10 2012 3:48PM) : NowComment® in a nutshell: [Edited] more

NowComment <http://nowcomment.com> is the most sophisticated group collaboration app available for discussion, annotation, and close reading of online documents. It facilitates rich, in-depth conversations by showing threaded comments "in context" with the original document. Students start or join conversations on whatever passages they find interesting and important, intellectually engaging with a text (and with each other) in ways that can extend or take the place of face-to-face class discussion. Instructors can join in to steer the discussion or correct errors if desired, and a transcript is automatically created for grading and student review.

Features include multiple document views, sorted comments, video and image handling, tagging, private and public documents, flexible workgroup creation, and a scalable design that can handle thousands of comments from hundreds of users (maybe more!) per document.

Some short videos:

NowComment: Educational Uses of Online Discussion 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpERPMLlwoY

NowComment Site and Document Features
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgKogcEa7vo

NowComment Basics (educational use example)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BnlNwzahi0

NowComment has been used at many schools and is now integrated into the University of Virginia’s learning management system as a core instructional tool. Instructor comments about NowComment are at http://nowcomment.com/testimonials

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Jul 10
Dan Doernberg

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(Jul 10 2012 3:55PM) : "NowComment in a nutshell" was a comment about the paragraph in general. This comment, on the other hand, is attached to the first sentence of the paragraph. more

Once you’ve read through the document, you can also make general comments about the document as a whole by clicking on the Document-level Comment link at the bottom.

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A drilling site in South Montrose, Pa. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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Dan Doernberg

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(Jul 10 2012 3:52PM) : NowComment allows comments on photos and other images; they're treated as paragraph comments.
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Dan Doernberg

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(Jul 10 2012 4:03PM) : Looks like South Montrose is a beautiful part of rural Pennsylvania. more

This is a second comment on the same photo, but it’s not a reply to that comment, it’s starting its own thread. The thread above is all about how NowComment works, this thread is about the landscape of the area.

A nice feature of NowComment is that it supports unlimited numbers of conversations on each passage, picture, and video…. so those interested in exploring some topic in great detail can do so without interfering with or cluttering the conversations of those talking about something else.

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Jul 10
Chelsea Koons

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(Jul 10 2012 5:17PM) : South Montrose is located in the very northeastern corner of Pennsylvania. more

The closest (relatively) big city is Binghamton, NY. Here’s a map:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=South+Montrose,PA&hl=en&sll=41.833965,-75.877139&sspn=0.028426,0.054846&oq=SouthMontrose,PA&hnear=SouthMontrose,Bridgewater,Susquehanna,+Pennsylvania&t=m&z=15

Note the indentation of my comment relative to Dan’s; this shows that I’m replying to him rather than starting a new conversation on the same part of the document.

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Dan Doernberg

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(Aug 23 2012 1:56PM) : what is this machine?
New research has concluded that salty, mineral-rich fluids deep beneath Pennsylvania's natural gas fields are likely seeping upward thousands of feet into drinking water supplies.
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Though the fluids were natural and not the byproduct of drilling or hydraulic fracturing, the finding further stokes the red-hot controversy over fracking in the Marcellus Shale, suggesting that drilling waste and chemicals could migrate in ways previously thought to be impossible.

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Dan Doernberg

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(Jul 10 2012 4:23PM) : This video was released in May 2011 by journalism students at Jay Rosen's NYU's Studio 20 in collaboration with ProPublica. more

Source: http://www.propublica.org/article/fracking-music-video

Note that all NowComment comments have to have a Summary of Comment line. This works like the header of an email, giving you an idea of what the person is talking about in the rest of their comment.

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Jul 10
Dan Doernberg

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(Jul 10 2012 4:34PM) : 0:13-0:30 explains the basic technology of fracking; the rest of the video explores the implications and details of how it's done more

Putting the start and end time of the video segment you’re discussing makes it easy to keep separate conversational threads on different parts of the video.

(Though with NowComment you could have separate conversations about the same segment of the video if you wanted, e.g. one conversation about the graphics of that segment, one about the underlying science, one about the political implications, etc.).

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Hi, I’m Becca! I’m currently a Senior journalism major at Oh… (more)

Jul 11
Rebecca Rak

Hi, I’m Becca! I’m currently a Senior journalism major at Oh… (more)

(Jul 11 2012 9:01AM) : Video mentioned Wyoming and possible water contamination more

At 0:35, the video said something about a small town in Wyoming not being told about water contamination. Here is the google maps location of Sublette: http://goo.gl/maps/5QdG

An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal focused on the neighboring county’s small town, Pavillion. In the article, the EPA links the contaminated water supply to fracking near the water table.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203501304577086472373346232.html

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The study, conducted by scientists at Duke University and California State Polytechnic University at Pomona and released today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, tested drinking water wells and aquifers across Northeastern Pennsylvania. Researchers found that, in some cases, the water had mixed with brine that closely matched brine thought to be from the Marcellus Shale or areas close to it.

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No drilling chemicals were detected in the water, and there was no correlation between where the natural brine was detected and where drilling takes place.

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Rebecca Rak

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(Jul 11 2012 9:22AM) : Whether fracking can be held directly responsible or not, some residents claim that due to fracking, their water supplies are flammable more

CNN did a piece on different accounts of water being contaminated in Pennsylvania and surrounding areas examining personal accounts of flammable water via youtube. Here’s the short video:
http://cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2012/05/23/exp-jvm-fracking-update.hln.html

In the video, after showing the flames in question, CNN explains that after concerns about the safety of groundwater, Vermont has become the first state to outlaw fracking completely. Read more here:
http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/17/us/vermont-fracking/index.html?iref=allsearch

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Still, the brine's presence – and the finding that it moved over thousands of vertical feet -- contradicts the oft-repeated notion that deeply buried rock layers will always seal in material injected underground through drilling, mining, or underground disposal.

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"The biggest implication is the apparent presence of connections from deep underground to the surface," said Robert Jackson, a biology professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University and one of the study's authors. "It's a suggestion based on good evidence that there are places that may be more at risk."

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The study is the second in recent months to find that the geology surrounding the Marcellus Shale could allow contaminants to move more freely than expected. A paper published by the journal Ground Water in April used modeling to predict that contaminants could reach the surface within 100 years – or fewer if the ground is fracked.

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(Jul 11 2012 9:26AM) : Robert Jackson Bio more

https://fds.duke.edu/db/aas/Biology/faculty/jackson/

Robert B. Jackson is the Nicholas Chair of Global Environmental Change at the Nicholas School of the Environment and a professor in the Biology Department. His research examines how people affect the earth, including studies of the global carbon and water cycles, biosphere/atmosphere interactions, energy use, and global change.

Rob Jackson received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Rice University (1983). He worked four years for the Dow Chemical Company before obtaining M.S. degrees in Ecology (1990) and Statistics (1992) and a Ph.D. in Ecology (1992) at Utah State University. He was a Department of Energy Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow for Global Change at Stanford University and an assistant professor at the University of Texas before joining the Duke faculty in 1999. He is currently Director of Duke’s Center on Global Change and Duke’s Stable Isotope Mass Spectrometry Laboratory. In his quest for solutions to global warming, he also directs the Department of Energy-funded National Institute for Climate Change Research for the southeastern U.S. and co-directed the Climate Change Policy Partnership, working with energy and utility corporations to find practical strategies to combat climate change.

Jackson has received numerous awards, including the Murray F. Buell Award from the Ecological Society of America, a 1999 Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering from the National Science Foundation (one of 19 scientists honored at the White House by President Clinton), a Fellow in the American Geophysical Union, and inclusion in the top 0.5% of most cited scientific researchers (http://www.isihighlycited.com/). His 150+ peer-reviewed scientific publications have been cited more than 10,000 and 14,000 times in Web of Science and Google Scholar, respectively. His trade book on global change, The Earth Remains Forever, was published in October of 2002. His first children’s book, “Animal Mischief”, was published in March of 2006 by Boyds Mills Press, the trade arm of Highlights Magazine for children. Its sequel, “Weekend Mischief”, appeared in 2010.

Jackson’s research has been covered in various newspapers and magazines, such as the Boston Globe, New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Scientific American, and BusinessWeek, and on national public radio, including the syndicated programs “Morning Edition”, “All Things Considered”, “Marketplace”, “The Tavis Smiley Show”, “The Next 200 Years”, and “Earth and Sky” (for which he is a science advisor and scriptwriter). He conceived and organized the Janus Fellowship, an annual undergraduate award to encourage the study of an environmental problem from diverse perspectives; 1999’s first recipient traveled down the Nile River to examine water use and water policy in Egypt.

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Last year, some of the same Duke researchers found that methane gas was far more likely to leak into water supplies in places adjacent to drilling.

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Today's research swiftly drew criticism from both the oil and gas industry and a scientist on the National Academy of Science's peer review panel. They called the science flawed, in part because the researchers do not know how long it may have taken for the brine to leak. The National Academy of Sciences should not have published the article without an accompanying rebuttal, they said.

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"What you have here is another case of a paper whose actual findings are pretty benign, but one that, in the current environment, may be vulnerable to distortion among those who oppose this industry," said Chris Tucker, a spokesman for the gas industry trade group Energy In Depth. "What's controversial is attempting to argue that these migrations occur as a result of industry activities, and on a time scale that actually matters to humanity."

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Jul 10
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(Jul 10 2012 4:39PM) : Energy in Depth (EID) in its own words more

http://www.energyindepth.org/whats-eid/

What’s EID?

Launched by the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) in 2009, Energy In Depth (EID) is a research, education and public outreach campaign focused on getting the facts out about the promise and potential of responsibly developing America’s onshore energy resource base – especially abundant sources of oil and natural gas from shale and other “tight” reservoirs across the country. It’s an effort that benefits directly from the support, guidance and technical insight of a broad segment of America’s oil and natural gas industry, led in Washington by IPAA, but directed on the ground by our many affiliates — and IPAA’s more than 6,000 members — in the states.

What’s so new about harvesting oil and natural gas from rocks deep underground? Not a whole lot, actually. First you need to drill a well, then you complete that well via the hydraulic fracturing process. Our industry has been doing those two things for decades, with fracturing technology safely applied to more than 1.2 million wells over the past 60 years.

But there’s one little wrinkle when it comes shale: To make it economical to explore, you have to somehow find a way to access a greater share of the reservoir underground by drilling fewer wells. That’s where horizontal drilling technology comes in, allowing producers today to tap roughly 10 times the amount of energy we did in the past with – get this! – one-tenth the number of wells. Obviously, that’s good for the environment: fewer wells means less disturbance to land. But fewer wells are also good for business. Those things are really expensive.

On this site, you’ll find fact sheets and videos and charts and graphs — some boiling down the steps involved in the development process, others straightening out the myths you may have heard about what we do and how we do it. You’ll find letters and quotes from state and federal regulators testifying to the safety of the process – from drilling and completing the well, to managing and recycling the water, to bringing that well-site back to its original condition. And you’ll also find studies – some on jobs, others on safety, and even a few about how the shale “revolution” in the United States is impacting our “friends” in Russia and Iran.

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Chelsea Koons

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(Jul 10 2012 5:44PM) : EID is promoting a June 2012 short documentary "Truthland" that claims to identify major falsehoods in the Josh Fox HBO movie "Gasland" that did so much to... well... ignite the national debate about fracking. more

Prof. Engelder appears in the movie, presumably in an expert witness kind of role.
http://www.truthlandmovie.com/

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Another critic, Penn State University geologist Terry Engelder, took the unusual step of disclosing details of his review of the paper for the National Academy of Sciences, normally a private process.

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(Jul 10 2012 4:44PM) : Prof. Engelder bio more

http://www3.geosc.psu.edu/

Terry Engelder, a leading authority on the recent Marcellus gas shale play, holds degrees from Penn State B.S. (‘68), Yale M.S. (’72) and Texas A&M, Ph.D. (‘73). He is currently a Professor of Geosciences at Penn State and has previously served on the staffs of the US Geological Survey, Texaco, and Columbia University. Short-term academic appointments include those of Visiting Professor at Graz University in Austria and Visiting Professor at the University of Perugia in Italy. Other academic distinctions include a Fulbright Senior Fellowship in Australia, Penn State’s Wilson Distinguished Teaching Award, membership in a US earth science delegation to visit the Soviet Union immediately following Nixon-Brezhnev detente, and the singular honor of helping Walter Alvarez collect the samples that led to the famous theory for dinosaur extinction by large meteorite impact. He has written 150 research papers, many focused on Appalachia, and a book, the research monograph “Stress Regimes in the Lithosphere”. In the international arena, he has worked on exploration and production problems with companies including Saudi Aramco, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Agip, and Petrobras.

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In a letter written to the researchers and provided to ProPublica, Engelder said the study had the appearance of "science-based advocacy" and said it was "unwittingly written to enflame the anti-drilling crowd."

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In emails, Engelder told ProPublica that he did not dispute the basic premise of the article – that fluids seemed to have migrated thousands of feet upward. But he said that they had likely come from even deeper than the Marcellus – a layer 15,000 feet below the surface – and that there was no research to determine what pathways the fluids travelled or how long they took to migrate. He also said the Marcellus was an unlikely source of the brine because it does not contain much water.

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"There is a question of time scale and what length of time matters," Engelder wrote in his review. In a subsequent letter to the Academy's editors protesting the study, he wrote that "the implication is that the Marcellus is leaking now, naturally without any human assistance, and that if water-based fluid is injected into these cross-formational pathways, that leakage, which is already ‘contaminating' the aquifers with salt, could be made much worse."

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Indeed, while the study did not explicitly focus on fracking, the article acknowledged the implications. "The coincidence of elevated salinity in shallow groundwater... suggests that these areas could be at greater risk of contamination from shale gas development because of a preexisting network of cross-formational pathways that has enhanced hydraulic connectivity to deeper geological formations," the paper states.

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For their research, the scientists collected 426 recent and historical water samples -- combining their own testing with government records from the 1980s -- from shallow water wells and analyzed them for brine, comparing their chemical makeup to that of 83 brine samples unearthed as waste water from drilling sites in the Marcellus Shale.

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Nearly one out of six recent water samples contained brine near-identical to Marcellus-layer brine water.

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Nevertheless, Jackson, one of the study's authors, said he still considers it unlikely that frack fluids and injected man-made waste are migrating into drinking water supplies. If that were happening, those contaminants would be more likely to appear in his groundwater samples, he said. His group is continuing its research into how the natural brine might have travelled, and how long it took to rise to the surface.

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"There is a real time uncertainty," he said. "We don't know if this happens over a couple of years, or over millennia."

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[ End of main article, linked-to documents below]

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http://www.propublica.org/special/hydraulic-fracturing-national

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What Is Hydraulic Fracturing?

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Hydraulic fracturing is a process used in nine out of 10 natural gas wells in the United States, where millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground to break apart the rock and release the gas.

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Scientists are worried that the chemicals used in fracturing may pose a threat either underground or when waste fluids are handled and sometimes spilled on the surface.

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Jul 18
Dan Doernberg

I’m the head/founder of Fairness.com LLC. We really hope you … (more)

(Jul 18 2012 12:22AM) : The top level (tanker trucks et al) shows the logistics underlying the natural gas industry. more

Those who want to focus on economic factors can post to this thread… or start a new thread (maybe focused on just one aspect of the supply chain, or on the financial/cash flow aspects, or whatever they’re interested in).

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Jul 18
Dan Doernberg

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(Jul 18 2012 12:23AM) : left hand diagram -- macro explanation of fracking more

This can be a separate thread from the logistical aspects explored in the other thread (there can be an unlimited number of threads on any sentence, paragraph, image/diagram, or video.

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Jul 18
Dan Doernberg

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(Jul 18 2012 12:25AM) : Right hand diagram - thread #3 so far on this picture more

Those who want to talk about hydraulic engineering and related issues in general can post to this thread… without disrupting the conversation in the other threads!

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http://www.propublica.org/article/anatomy-of-a-gas-well-426
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Anatomy of a Gas Well

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ProPublica, April 26, 2009, 8 a.m.
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Jul 10
Dan Doernberg

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(Jul 10 2012 4:49PM) : Note that this diagram is 2009, three years earlier than the main article.
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Several layers of steel casing typically enclose a well bore. The empty spaces between can be sealed with cement.
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DMU Timestamp: June 22, 2012 12:37

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Nov 11
Dan Doernberg

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(Nov 11 2013 12:01AM) : The website URL for the Gasland movies is http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/ more

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