THE FLOWBACK: The Costly Consequences of Hydrofracking

RUN! RUN! RUN!

by Mayor William Sciscoe, Town of Dish, Texas

Run for your life! Run for the lives, health, safety and well-being of your family members and loved ones! Run for the value of your estate! There are billions of dollars under your feet and people are coming to get it. They do not care who or what they have to run over or through to get it. It is an under-ground gold rush, with you and your property in the way.

They have the legal right to take control of your property and do with it what they will. Their rights trump the rights of all others. They can and will take any portion of your property they want and turn it into a heavy industrial zone, toxic waste site and visual eyesore, which will spew toxins, carcinogens and noise.

In September of 2011, I visited Ithaca, New York. My airplane-type club buddies and I meet in beautiful locales several times a year, and Ithaca was the current choice. Two thoughts kept running through my mind in the several days I spent there. One, I was glad I got to see this area up close before it gets destroyed. Two, these people do not have any idea how much their world is about to change.

I, too once lived in a serene, ideal, and beautiful place. In the mid 1980′s I moved my young and growing family out to some acreage thirty miles northwest of Dallas/Ft. Worth, on the beautiful rolling green hills of North Texas, with the clean air, peace and quiet of country life. We built a home. We shared the land with my aging parents, and my wife’s aging parents. We raised five great young Americans, and some cows and horses. Our children developed into two Eagle Scouts/U.S. Marines (one is at the U.S. Naval Academy and the other, an Afghanistan war vet, is now serving on the USS Iwo Jima); a veterinarian-technician; a popular radio host/sports commentator; and a Lear Jet mechanic/avionics technician. Life was good for us there.

Then the heavy trucks started to roll in. And then more heavy trucks. And bulldozers and rock trucks roll in. And drilling platforms arrive, with support trucks and service trucks. A diesel-powered drilling rig,grinding into the earth around the clock for 7 to 30 days, with banging and clanging drill pipes. Then the twenty trucks haul it to the next well site a very short distance away. Following this, trenching machines bigger than houses, scarring the earth from each well head to the compressor stations. They are making way for the high pressure gas pipelines. And sand trucks roll in and out. And water trucks are every-where. And pipe trucks. And work-over rigs. And then the frac trucks come in. And more trucks, hauling in storage tanks, pipes and valves. This is a procession that happens at every well head. And the well heads will be much closer than you can imagine. But please be advised that it does not end with the completion of the well head. It is an ongoing process. The heavy waste water trucks will be on your roads 24/7/365 from now on. Where are they hauling all of that radioactive, toxic waste water to, you should be asking yourself?

Of course, when the production of a gas well diminishes, it will need to be fracked again. So, some of this process will be repeated several times.

I do not want to give the impression that I am against the oil & gas industry, exactly the opposite. I come from an oil & gas family. My father has been honored and recognized as an oil field pioneer. My father owned several oil field service companies, manufacturing companies, an oil field tool rental business, and was a wildcatter of the Permian Basin and the states of the lower Mississippi River Valley. His father and brothers were also oil field pioneers. Among several other interests, I am an oil & gas operator and investor. So, a portion of my income comes from this industry.

This industry does provide jobs. And it will provide some cash flow to the local economy. Many people will manage to skim a little gravy off the industry’s war zone. And you will be living in a war zone. You just do not know it, yet. Rent a small aircraft and have someone fly you over your beautiful hills, valleys, pastures, rivers, orchards and forest. Take pictures and videos. Then do this again every three months. Overall you are going to pay a very, very heavy price, environmentally. Many people will pay that price with their lives. You will see.

Oil & gas production is a dirty, filthy, nasty business. Anyone who tries to paint it otherwise is a liar.Your serene, picturesque countryside, small town lives, scenic drives through Norman Rockwell-type views, and the peace and quiet of your existence, are all going to be decimated. There will be ugly well sites every eighth of a mile or less [In New York they will supposedly be every mile or so.] There will be heavy trucks choking and pulverizing every road from the smallest private driveways to the major highways.

There will be drilling rigs, work-over rigs, compressor stations with multiple 2,250 horsepower diesel engines at full power. For your reference, the average freight train locomotive engines are about 1,250 horsepower. There are twelve of these compressor engines located less than one-quarter mile from my home. I look out my front door and the first thing I see is a gas well site. And right behind that is the compressor station complex. I look out my back door and look at another gas well site. There will be pipeline metering stations, with high pressure pop-off valves releasing one hundred million cubic feet of raw natural gas into your atmosphere. This sounds like a Saturn V rocket, launching outside your door. There will be people who tell you, “Oh, there is nothing to worry about. That gas is lighter than air. It goes straight up to heaven.” But we have proved this theory wrong in the town of Dish, Texas. If anything, these gas fumes, with their toxins and carcinogens, hug the ground and hang in depressions, until moved out by the wind.

What really tipped us off in 2009 was the death of old growth trees near the compressor stations. We checked other compressor sites and found more dead trees. We paid for an independent air study that came back with toxins and carcinogens at four hundred times the EPA short term and long term exposure levels. We now have a 24/7/365 air quality monitor station in our town near the compressor station. But every well head site is venting these gases, toxins and carcinogens.

I recently had a new resident email me at 6:30 AM, complaining about their windows rattling in their new home. They live one-half mile from the compressor station. I responded, explaining the source of their problem. They sent another email a few minutes later saying that they walked the dog in their back yard and their swimming pool water was vibrating. I thought, “Really?”. I walked out in my back yard and sure enough, my swimming pool water was vibrating also. The earth was vibrating through my shoes!

You will smell gas all of the time. You will never again enjoy sitting outside your home. The noise and odor will aggravate you, more than you can imagine. You will not feel safe breathing. Have you read those placards on gasoline pumps that say, breathing these fumes can cause cancer? Six people that I have known, that lived within one-half mile of my home and these well sites and compressor stations, have died of cancer. This is not a densely populated area. All of the homes are single family. And the smallest lot size allowed is one acre.

We have several homes in our town where citizens have had a 36-inch diameter high pressure gas line buried within twenty feet of their front door. These high pressure gas lines are buried all over our town. One property owner next to my property has five pipelines across his once beautiful horse ranch, each with a one hundred foot wide easement. He can never develop that property, never do anything than grow grass on it. He owned his property, but they had their will with it. They have the control of his property, while he cannot hope to sell it. But he still gets to pay the property taxes on it.

They have the right of eminent domain. They can, for a fair price, which they set, run over and through your property with pipeline easements, right-of-way easements, and erect any industrial complex they wish. They are not going to steal your property from you. They do not want it. They do not want to own a toxic waste site or have to pay the property taxes on it. That’s your responsibility.

We have property rights in this country–until someone with more money and power wants what we think we own.

The sale of real estate is governed by the rules of full disclosure. If a perspective purchaser views your property, you must disclose any and all known defects about your property or the area surrounding your property. Failure to do so opens you up to some very serious liability. So, if a gas well goes in down the road, spewing toxins and carcinogens, failing to report this to perspective purchasers can prove very costly to your estate. You will soon find that you are a prisoner in your own home. There are billions of dollars under your feet and there are people coming to get it. And they do not care who or what they have to run over or through to get it.

RUN! RUN! RUN!

Replicated only for posterity. This is article is reprinted from THE FLOWBACK. The Costly Consequently of Hydrofracking. Editor in Chief – Bonnie Jones Reynolds. BJR Publications. Bonnie@hydrorelief.orgwww.theflowback.com  Copyright 2012 BJR Publications. All rights reserved.

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